Sunday, December 13, 2015

Diversity vs. Hegemony

I have been wanting to put down my thoughts on some of the events that have been going on recently, but have found it difficult to organize my thoughts in anything other than a rant on Facebook which would probably not accomplish much except maybe a few likes for the post and maybe causing a few of my friends to unfriend me. However, once I realized a common thread that ties many of the issues of the day together, I decided that I would share that with as many people as I can. The common thread that can be found in all of a lot of the main issues of the day is the fact that there is a battle raging today between those who value diversity and those who seek hegemony. Before I go any further I would like to define these terms. Diversity is a word that gets thrown around a lot, but often misused. Some people use diversity to mean people of different races or ethnic backgrounds. Some people use diversity to mean people of different socio-economic backgrounds or status. Others think it means all of these, and yet others think it means something else altogether. I think a lot of people throw the word diversity around without defining it because they don't want to admit that they may have a different idea of what diversity means than someone else. To me diversity should not be narrowly defined. To me, true diversity is diversity in all aspects whether it be race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, political viewpoint, etc. The problem comes when someone talks about diversity and assumes that it means the same thing to everyone who is listening to them. I have been at many events where I heard people talk about diversity while at the same time excluding people from that diversity. Which leads me to the definition of hegemony. Hegemony is the dominance of one social group over others. There are many people in this country and around the world who think that their particular point of view should be dominant over all others. Now that I have explained the two sides of this battle I would like to provide a few examples of how this applies to specific issues that have been in the news lately. Take immigration for instance. There are those who believe that all immigrants should be forced to assimilate to some ideal of what it means to be an American and those who believe that there is room for different cultures to be brought into the American family while still honoring and respecting their cultural heritage. This is not to say that there aren't difficult decisions to be made as to how new cultures can be brought to live in harmony within the American family, but at the same time there seems to be some people in this country who want to totally exclude some groups from eligibility to be part of the American family simply because they don't look or act, or believe the same way they do. I could go on and on about this issue, but I prefer to move on to how this struggle between diversity and hegemony applies to other issues. Another example of this is the gun control debate or as I think it is better described the proper role of guns in society. There seems to be two prevailing opinions about this issue. One is that gun rights trump everything and the other seems to be that safety trumps everything. However, I think that both of those extremes are wrong. I think there are some valid arguments to be made for the right of responsible citizens to own guns. I don't however think that means that there isn't room for some rules about what it means to be a responsible gun owner. I think that some people need to realize that we will probably never ban guns in this country, but on the other hand some people need to realize that not everyone should be entitled to own a gun or should own a gun. Again, I am not pretending that this is an easy issue to come to a consensus on, but I am saying that rather than shouting each other and calling each other names, which I am guilty of doing myself, we should rather discuss this issue like civil human beings and see what we can agree on so that we can minimize the number of senseless deaths due to gun violence. These are just two examples of how this battle is apparent in different issues our society is struggling with. In the coming months I would like to delve into these issues and others and try to foster an atmosphere of open discussion about how we can work to find common ground on these issues and respect diversity of opinion. Of course some will probably not want to join me in this journey and would prefer to strive for hegemony for their point of view. I am hoping that I will be able to show some of them the value of honoring diversity.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How close are we to living in an idiocracy?

I watched the movie Idiocracy last night for the first time, and I couldn't help but keep thinking how close to reality it already is. We are living in a society that is increasingly commercialized and bought and paid for by the corporations. For anyone who may not be familiar with the movie, let me summarize the plot. Basically, Luke Wilson gets frozen in a military experiment and then thawed out 500 years in the future. In the future he is the smartest person alive, and ends up saving the country by telling them that they should put water on the crops instead of the Gatorade substance they have been pouring on them because some corporation thought it would help their profits if they eliminated the use of water for everything except toilets. It seems far fetched in some respects, but in many ways it's very close to the reality we live in today.

Just look at the health care bill and the finance reform bills. These are two examples of where what is best for the corporations won out over what is best for the country. It would have certainly been better for the country if we had adopted something other than what ended up being adopted. While there are some provisions that are good in the health care bill, such as the mandate to cover pre-existing conditions, it doesn't do a whole lot to help those who can't afford insurance.

As far as the finance reform bill goes, the banks managed to kill most of the provisions that protect the little guy. It is very likely that the finance reform bill will not do anything to prevent another banking crisis from happening. As I understand it the finance reform bill does nothing to limit the size of banks, and let's them continue many of the practices that led to the mess that the economy is slowly recovering from now.

Until we as a country stand up and take our country back from the big corporations we are destined to one day live in an idiocracy.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

BP Should be Fined in Addition to Paying for Cleanup

I just watched an interview that Anderson Cooper did with an attorney for the families of the workers on the Horizon. After watching this interview, I am convinced that the oil spill happened because of negligence on BP's part. This being the case they need to be fined in addition to paying for the cleanup and for lost wages to fisherman and others impacted by the spill.

What the attorney said was that BP decided to cut corners to finish the drilling sooner, and that is what led to the accident that caused the oil spill. If that is the case, I believe that the government should throw the book at BP so to speak. BP is acting like this was just an unfortunate accident,  and from what I'm heard from this attorney, that's just not the case. Evidently, there were some steps skipped in the drilling process because BP wanted the well completed faster. If this is truly the case, which I believe it probably is, then BP should be punished to the full extent of the law. 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I need your help.

 I need the help of all of the fans of the Brandon Kinney Show with 2 things. Those 2 things are getting the word out about the show, and ideas for show topics and guests.

First, help me get the word out by telling all your friends about the show, and tell them to tell their friends to tell their friends. At this point I don't have a budget for promoting the show so I am relying on word of mouth to help the show reach more listeners.

Second, I would like to know what topics you would like to hear about on the Brandon Kinney Show. Also if you feel you would make a good guest on the show then contact me and let me know that too. You can email me at brandonkinneyshow@gmail.com or send me a message on facebook at www.facebook.com/brandonkinneyshow.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I have an idea to stop the oil spill leak faster.

I think I know a way to stop the oil spill faster. I think that the Federal Government should let other companies come in and try to fix the leak. They could have a contest to see who could stop the leak. If another company is able to stop the leak before the relief wells that BP is drilling are finished then the other company should get to take over the lease from BP. If they don't then BP gets to keep the lease. Of course BP would still be responsible for cleaning up the spill, but I think that it would be a fitting punishment for the accident if BP loses the right to drill in that area of the Gulf. I know it's a crazy idea, but it might just light a fire under BP's butt if the government proposed something similar to this. More about the oil spill and a lot of other stuff on the Brandon Kinney Show.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hetero-centrism or Hetero-sexism is just as bad as homophobia.

A lot of people may not be familiar with the terms hetero-centrism or hetero-sexism, so in order to explain why they are bad I will first need to define them. Hetero-centrism is the implicit belief that everyone is heterosexual, and hetero-sexism is the belief that heterosexual relationships are better than homosexual ones.

The reason these things or just as bad, if not worse than homophobia is that most times the person espousing views that are hetero-centric or hetero-sexist doesn't even realize they are hetero-centric or hetero-sexist. Some examples of this are when a talk show does a story about how to have better romantic relationships and they talk about men and women instead of romantic partners. They may not intend to be leaving homosexuals out, but they are. I know a lot of people at this point are probably saying that I should just get over it, and accept the fact that most people in this world are heterosexual. However, I do accept that fact, but I think that by not including gays in such stories like this you are unintentionally saying that we are not going to talk about homosexual relationships because they are not as legitimate as heterosexual ones. I also think that if more people would make an effort to include gays, more people would start to understand that gays are not really that different from other people, they just love people of the same sex. Another example of this would be when strangers or even co-workers are making small talk and they ask someone if they have a boyfriend or girlfriend depending on what sex that person is rather than asking if they are dating anyone or seeing anyone. By asking a gay guy if they have a girlfriend you are putting them in the awkward situation of having the inner dilemma of answering with a simple no, or coming out to you. I could probably come up with other examples of hetero-centrism and hetero-sexism, but I think you get where I'm coming from.

As always I welcome your comments and/or questions regarding this post. Be sure to tune into the show tomorrow night on www.brandonkinneyshow.com from 9pm to 11pm. We have two great musical acts coming on tomorrow. In the first hour we have Caine Carangi, and in the second hour we have Transistor Tramps.

One more thing. I am going to try my best to post at least once a day on my blog so be sure to check it out every day to see what I'm going to talk about that day.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Is Rand Paul a racist because of his views on the 1964 Civil Rights Act?

Do I think that the Republican Nominee for US Senate from Kentucky, Rand Paul is a racist? No, I don't think he is a racist, but I do think his idea about how far government should go in limiting discrimination is wrong. Let me begin by explaining where I think he is coming from because I don't think that he has been real clear on what he means when he has addressed this issue. From the interviews that I have read and watched, it seems to me that his view is that private businesses should be allowed to decide who they will serve. His argument is basically a free market option. He seems to think that if businesses are free to discriminate that the market will eventually correct for that, and those businesses that discriminate will go out of business. He also seems to argue a states rights issue, and a free speech one as well, all of which I think are wrong when it comes to this issue.

First, let's tackle the free market argument. Paul, and others like him have a very libertarian view of what government should be able to regulate. His idea is that businesses should be free to decide who the will serve because he thinks that to tell businesses that they have to serve anyone is to overreach government's authority. Free market people like him think that the market will decide issues like this. I wonder if there are other issues related to businesses where he thinks the government goes too far. For instance, does he think that OSHA shouldn't be able to regulate workplace safety, but I digress. The point is that sometimes the market does not take care of bad behavior on the part of businesses. The free market allowed discrimination at lunch counters in the South to flourish 100 years after slavery was abolished.

Next, let's tackle the states rights issue. I think most people would agree that if the southern states were left to their own devices they would not have ended racial discrimination in education or any other arena. In more than one southern state it took the National Guard being called out to force them to integrate colleges and court orders to force integration of public schools.

Finally, we come to the free speech argument. This one is a little more tricky. Freedom of speech does mean that people have the freedom to express racial views, but I do not believe that they should be able to express those views by discriminating against people in the marketplace.

In conclusion, I think the debate that Paul is raising is one of just how far the government can go in limiting what businesses can do. He seems to think that government should not be able to tell private businesses who the have to serve. This does not make him a racist, but I do think he is wrong. As always, I would like to invite you to tell me your thoughts and opinions on this matter. You can post your comments here, post them on my wall at www.facebook.com/brandonkinneyshow, email them to me at brandonkinneyshow@gmail.com, or call in on Wednesday to the Brandon Kinney Show at 214-556-6239.