Quickies: Women penalized for achievements, lying about slavery, and why we’re winning the culture war

  • In some jobs, past achievements may work against female workers – “London Business School researchers find that the more competent and accomplished women are, the worse their performance evaluations — when it comes to managers with traditional gender attitudes.” From Arturo.
  • Harassment as art – Phil Plait on Amy’s new exhibit.
  • We still lie about slavery – “All these decades later, our history books are filled with myths and mistruths. It is time for a true reckoning.” From Criticaldragon1177.
  • Black women’s lives matter – A petition to prosecute police officer Daniel Ken Holtzclaw who, “has been charged with 16 counts of first degree rape, sexual battery, indecent exposure, stalking, forcible oral sodomy and burglary against seven African American female victims.”
  • Why we’re winning: Social justice warriors and the new culture war – “They can’t understand why the new reaction to nude selfie leaks isn’t ‘you asked for it, you whore’, but ‘everyone does it, stop slut shaming.’ They can’t understand the logic of a world where ‘Social Justice Warrior’ just doesn’t work as an insult, because a great many people care quite a lot about social justice and are proud to fight for it. They can’t understand why they look ridiculous.”


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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    1. I wouldn’t be so sure.

      DISCLAIMER: I am not speaking of Skepchick in any way here. Skepchick averts this trend.

      A lot of the SJ bloggers court right-wingers. And most of them come off as just a bit, err, whitesplainy when it comes to racial issues, or gender issues in developing countries. Just my experience.

  1. I don’t think the history we teach below the college level should be taught any more. Those books and their alternative version of history are an assault on education, not a part of it.

    Also I’m pretty sure that picture of Benjamin Franklin flying a kite with a key tied to it (suspended in midair) was an attempt to murder any kids that got too curious.

    1. Victoriadashtwenty,

      We definitely need to do a better job of teaching history in this country, but I don’t know if high school history books are as bad as you think they are.

        1. As an aside, I wish people would stop using ‘factoid’ to mean ‘little-known fact’, when ‘factoid’ really means ‘falsehood that is mistaken for a fact’, such as “In 1491, everyone thought the world was flat.” But wait, there’s more! Everything you’ve heard about Columbus was a lie.

        2. Marilove,

          To a large degree unfortunately yes, and that article is a testament to that. Still don’t remember anything from my high school or junior high history books that I learned about slavery that didn’t make me mad through.

          Thankfully, based on my experience you’re unlikely to come across anything in a public school that portrays slavery in a positive light, ( which in this day and age would cause a ton of outrage ) still it sounds like they’re not talking enough about the worst aspects of slavery, or how it really came about, what motivated it, or the fact that there was no sign that it would wither away if the South had won.

      1. You’re right, you don’t know, allow me to illuminate you. They are that bad. Worse than you can really realize because they are the lens that you look at all the other history you learn through.

        Let me tell you a story. There once lived a man that owned many slaves. He owned more than any plantation owner. He forced them to mine gold for him. He gave them a quota. Those that brought him enough gold were given a medal to wear around their neck. Those that did not had their hands cut off and hung around their necks while they bled to death.

        His reign was brutal. The slaves were used as dog food, indeed, they would feed an infant to the dogs in front of it’s parents. Women that gave birth would often beat their newborn babies to death to spare them life under his rule. His subjects killed themselves, sometimes in mass suicides. When they ran out of slaves they started importing them from Africa. That gold changed the world. It divided the world into black and white and helped create the slave trade.

        Our textbooks tell us nothing about any of this. They credit this man with being the first person to discover America and then mention as a side note some of the others that discovered it earlier but none of them ever dare suggest that he was the last person to discover America. They tell his entire story without ever mentioning that he might have been motivated by money. They don’t mention the gold. He dies penniless, not because any historian ever believed that, but because textbook writers made it up.

        History textbooks are full of fabrications like that. They aren’t based on the latest historical research, they are based on our current understanding of the claims made in other history textbooks. My history textbook said that people thought that the Spanish thought that the world was flat in 1492. Do you have any idea how downright stupid that is? One of the easiest ways to observe the curvature of the Earth is to watch a ship go over the horizon. People slip these things in often with bigoted motives and when we rewrite these books the only thing we strip out are the bigoted attitudes. But we don’t strip out the “facts” the bigots put in the books. So we teach that black people are just as smart as white people while still describing how they were too stupid to handle being free during the reformation. That’s racist bullshit and our textbooks are full of it.

        I would argue, however, that the fact that our textbooks are wrong and racist is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what is wrong with them. There is not only the history they contain but the history they do not contain. There was a plague that wiped out 75% to 90% of Native Americans. That plague was far worse than the Black Plague and yet it does not have a name. Can we even understand that part of history without giving a name to that event? In every description of settlers interacting with Native Americans we have left out the fact that an event akin to the apocalypse has just happened.

        Nor do we really discuss how their culture affected ours. The Constitution was in effect hundreds of years before Europeans settled this continent. The ideas we attribute to young America were almost exclusively ideas that we took from the Native Americans.

        But again, that’s not the big problem with our textbooks.

        Here’s the problem. They don’t let history speak for itself. Consider Helen Keller. She’s a household name and everybody knows how she learned to read and write. But she wasn’t famous for learning to write, she was famous for WHAT she wrote. Was she a scientist? An activist? A scholar? Few people have any idea. We have given her zero sentences in which to communicate her ideas but is that really all that much less than what we gave Martin Luther King? He gets two sentences out about his “dream” and he gets shooed off the stage to make way for our white narrator to tell us what he said and why it was important. (That narrator left out the parts of the speech that are applicable today) In any other class you’d be doing that thinking and making those connections yourself. Doing so makes these things memorable and interesting. But in history class all we get are some very dubious cliff notes. It’s like going to a restaurant and being served a meal that’s already been chewed for you.

        That’s the worst thing about them. They’re boring. They salt the earth and insure that very little curiosity will grow in the minds these books touch.

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