Friday, September 18, 2015

sleeves; or towards a new racism

hi there

first off, for those of you jumping up and down all infuriated with my incorrect and quite possibly entirely inappropriate use of a term, oh do believe me i agree with you, look you see. it's just that i no longer have the will to fight against it in this brave, new and dumbed down world of ours.

racism is, of course, a very specific thing, with thing being an action, an outlook, a perspective and of course an accusation. it is the latter one of those that has been the most common usage of the word these days, and used it has been for everything that has upset someone. there are other terms out there - xenophobia, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, homophobic, anti-Christian to name but a few - and you are able to disagree with or simply not like them on the basis that they are a complete twat (or similar); as in dislike for what they do, not on the basis of who or what they happen to be. but for some reason the world we live in decries anything that they don't particularly like as being "racist", knowing full well that that's the bunny of a term that grabs attention and, if done properly, gets headlines.

and disagreement, dislike, judge and accuse is what we are doing in increasing numbers. we all like the idea of freedom of speech, especially on the internet, but usually it is only right up until the point where someone says something that we disagree with, and the one who says that which we disagree with is "clearly" racist or similar and thus should be silenced.

time and again it feels like i've had to explain to people that freedom of speech does in fact have a price, and the fee is that either everyone has it or it doesn't exist. in exerting that freedom of speech, you also have to be aware of that old science nugget (physics, i think) that says every action has a reaction.

if you would rather elect to hand over to someone - even yourself - the power to determine just what is and what is not allowed under the banner of "freedom of speech" - mindful of the consequences of using it - be very careful. you're allowing someone else, or putting yourself, in a position where you get to deem and judge what the majority thinks, believes, accepts and rejects. me? i'm kind of prepared to put up with, or simply elect to ignore (an art which Generation Millennial Entitlement seems blissfully unaware of), anything i don't really like or agree with in order that i may hear what i wish to.

oh yeah, sleeves. a bizarre new prejudice, or if you like form of racism, became clear to me over the course of the last week or so. there was an incident involving someone, and they seem happy for me to relay the tale here, so long as i don't reveal their identity. that's fair enough. as for the other party involved, well look i normally doubt yelling a name does any good, but if you somehow come to a conclusion from that well then that's up to you.

anyway, someone went on one of them "assessment" things for a potential job; one that as not much of a career change but all the same waved substantial more coins of money in the direction of the successful applicant. they were on this thing with a number of other people. in an unusual moment, they felt quite confident after they left it, believing that they were at least top three of the, for want of a better word, candidates there. alas no, they turned out not to be in the top three.

once upon a time you either got a job somewhere or you didn't and that was the end of it, everyone moved on. in these enlightened times, however, in which one has to be "engaged with content", feedback is essential. and the feedback this candidate got was essentially enlightening.

the review of the candidate was that the candidate was in fact exceptional. they apparently had an interesting, if you like engaging, personality, they clearly had natural, strong leadership skills that they used in a subtle and effective way, the candidate could perform the work required to a standard higher than anyone else and they would have loved the candidate to be on board with them in a senior capacity.

this somewhat begs the question, then, as to why they fell outside of the top three. a simple case of racism, it seems, in the very modern sense of using the word racism to describe absolutely anyone that happens to be against or dislikes absolutely anything.

the reason for failure was that, although nothing at all to the contrary was either advised or instructed, they were "disappointed" in the fact that the candidate arrived in a short sleeved shirt. yes, even though it was a "proper" shirt, with buttons and a collar and stuff. had the candidate elected to wear a long sleeved shirt, they implied, then they would have been very interested in taking them on.

wow, i will leave that to sink in for a bit for you. here, here's a sideways Predator mode picture of a short sleeved shirt to shake your head in disgust at.

obviously what's going on here is not racism. it is, however, a very clear cut case of "Empire Building", something that affects virtually every corporate and company in the world.

in practically every company there's someone so ensconced in a position or division that they have misinterpreted, or twisted in their mind, the fact that years of experience or establishment has given them far, far more power or influence than they actually have. usually this is indulged, as more often than not they make a lot of noise and faff but don't do any actual harm and the job gets done. inevitably, of course, all things reach a make or break point, and turning away from a company someone who they believe would be a major asset on the basis of their shirt sleeves is a pretty interesting make or break point.

the candidate tells me that the company in question has an "unusually high" turnover of staff rate. far be it from me to put two and two together, but looking from my perspective at the person responsible for making decisions about hiring. if they have an Empire Builder in place that would rather hire rubbish on the basis that they wear shirts with the length of sleeve they happen to like, well, good luck.

weirdly, the candidate was mere moments away from wearing a long sleeved shirt that day. however, it was apparently particularly warm and so, figuring that it would be important to be as comfortable as possible, went with a short sleeve one at the last minute. in doing so, you might argue, they dodged something of a bullet in that moment of change.

racism is a serious word. it should be used and treated in a considered, mostly intelligent, and well thought out way. it should not be banded about frivolously or trivially to describe the apparently idiotic policies of employment at a company, or in many of the million ways the term is bandied about these days. it's difficult these days, however, to achieve that. we, after all, live in a world where a well known black footballer can use a well known racist term on that "twerker" thing and then claim it "not to be racist" as he "didn't mean it that way". equally, we live in a world where a tres very well known special kind of dickhead white footballer can take the judgement from a charge of racism - "with regret found not guilty due to the lack of a direct witness" - and state that he was "completely cleared by a court of law". it's one hell of a tide to swim against.

for me, i think the best i can do is simply elect to wear short sleeve shirts as a stand of solidarity against this incident. i shall continue to do so until racism against short sleeved shirts is eradicated, or otherwise until it is too cold to wear them any more. well, isn't it true that for most people the conviction they have for or against something stands as long as they can do it from a comfort zone?

be excellent to each other, no matter what shirt they wear!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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