Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Friday, April 22, 2016

POWDER Trips: A Rant

Been running into a lot of powder lately. Makes me want to cough, gag, hack. Go out for some fresh air.

Seems like everywhere lately, I get powdered.

I'm not a skier even though I live in Colorado and I'm not talking about the lightweight white stuff that falls from the sky four months out of the year. Nope.

I'm talking about some arrogant pasty bastards.

Pompous Old White Dudes Explaining Righteously. The mansplainers.

What the hell is it about men now in their 60s and older who seem to think they have a special mission to keep the world on track, working like it always has, in their favor, and when someone bends the rules and does something different, they can't deal with it? Especially if that someone happens to be a woman.

Look here dudes, if you happen to be white and reading this, and thinking, "That B****, how dare she lump me into a category with a bunch of fuddy duddies and dinosaurs? I don't think like that!"

Maybe you don't, but you probably unconsciously, deep down, have adopted or inherited some vestiges of white male privilege so just be aware. You can handle it. Breathe. Now read on...

When I was in graduate school, back in the last century, ancient times, I can remember how it felt, being a woman in a doctoral program in science, and having no role models or mentors of my own gender. I wasn't the only female grad student in my program, but at the time there were absolutely ZERO women on the faculty in my department. In fact, they hired the very first female tenure-track faculty member the year I graduated.

When I brought my ideas to several faculty members to try to get my graduate committee together, I was told by the other female students definitely not to go to the one dude who was known as a pervert and had been known to have multiple affairs with students over the years. Which I later found out was true one day, when was out on a run and I caught him hiking down the trail, holding hands with one of the undergrad students in the department!! EEK!

But the one statement that sticks with me all these years later was the fairly young at the time (40ish) professor who told me point blank, "Your ideas have no place in our discipline."

F*** You very much, sir, so glad your pompous arrogant ideas have no place in the modern world and that people have evolved over the last 27 years since you said that to me, to accept those ideas as second nature.

That was in the late 80s, the very end of the heyday of complete and total male dominion over natural resources in academia.

In my graduate program I had all men on my committee, I managed to find four of them who didn't cling quite as tightly to the ideas of dominionistic types. Not that I still didn't struggle with sexism in many blatant and subtle ways. But I managed to get out of there with a Ph.D. and I'm still moving forward.

Bizarre ideas and all. Such bizarre ideas I have, along with others of my ilk. Let's look at some of them...

In graduate school, that physiology and social psychology might actually have anything in common that was worth studying. That qualitiative research might have any value in producing real world-applicable results.

In education, that we would hold everyone to the same standard, not having a separate standard for wrestlers and football players. Or that a lesbian administrator at a university could actually function at her job and even hire women faculty without having an ulterior motive to drive the men out and take over the campus with some Amazonistic agenda.

In healthcare or anywhere, that we could treat people with compassion and sensitivity in our workplaces. That we could stop skewing and screwing the balance of economic resources across all people. That we could do a better job with taking care of patients than rushing them through an auto industry-designed assembly line with understaffed, unsupported and unappreciated nurses.

In cancer care specifically, that we could clean up the mess we leave behind as healthcare workers and physicians treating people with potentially life-threatening disease for which we give potentially life-threatening at worst, quality of life-diminishing and traumatizing at best, treatments. And in business.

I have been noticing this in many aspects of what I'm doing, now that I've crossed over to the dark side into the domain of the corporate and business world, still firmly held by POWDER. They are so sure they know how to do everything exactly the way they know is right. They don't know a damn thing about you or your business, but they want to sell their consulting services to you and tell you how you should market things to potential customers, even though they wouldn't know the first thing about what those customers might be concerned about, value, or want.

Or if a vendor wants to sell you their product, even if it's based on shoddy science and questionable claims, that if you reject them, they have to tell you how inhumane you are and question how you could possibly work with cancer patients. It doesn't matter if the vendor has unverifiable credentials or approaches you in a creepy and unprofessional way that immediately gives you the red flag to investigate them further...

I hope people who are non-white, non-Christian, non-male, non-straight, non-linear, non-robotic, non-upper middle class, non-dominant culture brainwashed don't have to deal with this crap much longer. It might be this way the rest of my working life, but damn I plan to keep doing something to change it until I turn up in a ditch off the side of the road with my stiff, running shoe-clad feet in the air. By my own doing, not by being ambushed by some coal-rolling, truck-swerving, gun-toting jerk high on POWDER.

Thanks for indulging me. As a certain poetic genius* once said, "Haters back off!"

*Miranda Sings, a girl.

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