by Peter A. Belmont / 2018-09-26
© 2018 Peter Belmont
I have been enjoying reading essays on a newish blog called Attention to the Unseen.
They published a set on #metoo/Kavanaugh sorts of topics which are quite a set:
Brett Kavanaugh and the cruelty of male bonding, and I used to vet judicial nominees. Hereís why Kavanaugh needs the FBI, and Tariq Ramadan: The rock star scholar and the rape claims, and especially The male cultural elite is staggeringly blind to #MeToo. Now itís paying for it.
They’ve also published another, White male power controls every branch of our government.
Taken together, these articles are discussing fairly general behaviors (or wide-spread events) which would long ago have been scandals if news of them hadn’t been suppressed.
#MeToo is a phenomenon of breaking the silence, ending total censorship, and to some extent ending societal denial of some previously hidden scandalous things.
#MeToo is an effort aimed at fighting the coalitions—rich powerful men, media, politicians—who cooperate to conceal the crimes of sexual exploitation.
But many crimes, many scandal-worthy things, are denied, hidden, suppressed. And generally, when a crime is big enough, its suppression “takes a village”, a coalition, a merging of various forces, to keep it hidden.
Let’s look at two such hidden things. Let’s look at two systems of suppressing news of crimes, of behaviors and events that should be scandals.
Powerful-Male-Privilege and Sexual Misbehavior
There is a “system” which today is fairly widely acknowledged—Male-Privilege—and it has a (particularly) horrible subset—Powerful-Male-Privilege—which has for a long time empowered powerful men to do many things including exercising illicit sexual license without fear of retribution. Again, see: White male power controls every branch of our government
Powerful-Male-Privilege has of course also envcouraged the seeming blindness of some men (and some media and politicians) to the wrongness of the assertion by men of power of physical, political, financial, and legal power over women, especially in the sexual realm.
And this “system” of Powerful-Male-Privilege protects itself. So we see the circling-the-wagons behavior of some men, some media, and some politicians to protect such powerful men and keep the system going. The Republicans in the Senate seem ready to keep the system going (and keep it denied) for Kavanaugh as they did earlier for Thomas.
And I doubt that the Roiphe phenomenon (a woman apparently contending that many/most (?) allegations of date-rape are actually morning after regrets) looks a lot like the (to me strange) women’s anti-abortion movement. I see male-domination or an attempt to protect Powerful-Male-Privilege behind these things.
Here’s another comment on all this, by Kimberle Crenshaw:
And thatís the deeper reality behind sexual harassment, sexual abuse, gender injustice, that itís not just the acts that happen. Itís the broader context in which men have far more power not only to create harm, but to deny responsibility for the harm they create. And then, equally importantly, I think, that we see happening right now is, when they are called to be accountable for what theyíve done, when something that happened 27 years ago, perhaps in a context in which Kavanaugh didnít think that there was any social sanction to have to worry about, ultimately catches up with him, what we get is the righteous indignation, the raging, the finger pointing, the blaming of so many people.
Now, the real problem isnít just that there is room for him to do that, but that his doing that is effective, so many people thinking that, ďWell, of course we understand that level of rage.Ē So, overlooking, basically stepping over Dr. Blasey Fordís trauma, in a rush to embrace him, thatís the part about this moment thatís so frightening. Weíve seen this kind of anger playing out in the stadiums that President Trump is going to. And I think a lot of us can distance ourselves from that because we donít see it moving into the halls of power. Well, this kind of sentiment, this ďmy aggression is justified by my self-defense, even though Iím defending against being held accountable for something that Iíve done,Ē thatís come now into the Senate, itís come to the Judiciary Committee, and it may be going into the Supreme Court. This is a very dangerous moment for our society and for our democracy. And itís important to try to draw the line in the sand at this very moment.
But “unearned privilege” exists in more realms than man/woman relations. And societal systems for preventing and suppressing discussion of the ill-effects of various other systems of unearned privilege are well known.
Protecting Israel From International Sanctions
No country—not the USA, not Russia/USSR, not China, not Burma, and not Israel—should get a free pass when it blatantly violates human rights charters, and international law, the UN charter, and UNSC resolutions. Israel has done so—openly and notoriously—since 1948. Its violations of various kinds are by now grotesque.
And yet Israel suffers no penalty. The USA and other countries enact and enforce sanctions against many countries—Iraq, Iran, Russia—but never against Israel.
When a coalition of Palestinian civic organizations began the “BDS” movement—calling for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions to pressure Israel to end discrimination against Palestinians and to allow the refugees from the war of 1948 to return to their country—then called Palestine and now called Israel, what happens? Are sanctions enacted against Israel? No. Instead, governments (state and federal in the USA) act to outlaw (boycott and sanction) people in the BDS movement.
It is clear that Israel enjoys unearned privilege. The pain of Jews due to the pogroms in Russia and Poland in the early 20th century, and the holocaust during WWII, was horrendous—but neither justifies or excuses Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people—1948 to present, nor justifies or excuses Israel’s thumbing its nose at the international community and its legal norms.