Two things I wish I could talk about more than I'm going to, but my brain is not cooperating right now and I'm not going to be articulate, so there's no point. But I do want to mention both issues:
- Legislators in France are trying to make it possible to collect data concerning people's religion, ethnicity/race (but we hate the term "race" in French, it's too loaded with historical meaning), cultural background. This is causing an uproar in France as it's considered contrary to republican principles and a dangerous path to categorizing people. I've argued in the past that not collecting this data just makes it harder to have solid figures on discrimination and on the make-up on our population (which can help acknowledge new realities).
However, I find myself torn on the issue. SOS Racisme has started a petition against the practice, which you could find and sign here
. "Je refuse l’idée que la lutte contre les discriminations et l’effort pour l’intégration suppose la création de catégories ethnoraciales." ("I reject the idea that fighting against discrimination and efforts for integration necessitates the creation of ethno-racial categories.") The question, of course, is, do those categories exist whether or not you say they do? There's no simple answer. Between integration and multiculturalism there's no true answer, both have their good and bad sides. So I just want to encourage you to think about it - think about your position on the topic. What does it mean to expect people to "integrate"? What are they integrating into, how do we expect them to juggle that with their other identities? What are the risks of multiculturalism? Are all practices truly equal? What if a society that becomes so obsessed with what differentiates its citizens that it forgets what unites them?
- The other thing is the WGA (Writer's Guild of America)
strike. The writers went on strike on Monday at 0:01AM EST. They're marching tomorrow, and Jane Espenson will be there
. Joss Whedon has come out and said he supports the strike, while Marti Noxon has signed a Variety ad by TV producers who support the strike
. I believe this is an important struggle. I believe in a country like the United States where strikes are so rare, people who do make the huge decision to go on strike never make that decision lightly. While I don't understand all of the issues at stake here, I do believe that the writers understand them, and have good reasons to fight their fight. In a society that sinks deeper into reckless, unequal (but "compassionate") capitalism every day, I believe there is no such thing as privileged unionized jobs. There's only under-privileged non-unionized jobs. Those people might earn more than you do, but it doesn't mean their fight isn't right. It's not by running a race to the bottom that we will better ourselves.
My heart is with the writers. I hope that they come to a satisfying settlement soon and that people will be supportive. I would love to still be down in L.A. tomorrow to go show my support - so if you are, if you can, do it. Go talk to them, engage them in discussions, honk as you drive past. People who strike might look like they're only fighting for themselves, but they're not. They're fighting for something bigger than that. Never look at a struggle on its own - that's what the media wants you to do, but that's not how it works. It's all interrelated.
In the words of (amongst others) Alan Tudyk: power to the people, baby. Participatory democracy is our chance, so don't look down on those who act on it.