What was that? (341)

Well, that was an unorthodox way to end class. . . .

Next week, then, we’ll continue looking into domestic policy. In fact, I may simply give Monday over to questions of household labor and child care, and start the abortion/underground politics discussion on Tuesday.

Here are the questions I had/have regarding household labor and care:

-what is the role of the state in female labor participation?
-encourage? discourage? neutral?
-what of difference vs equality feminists? irreconcilable?
-is one better than the other in dealing with the role of husbands/fathers?
-why is female labor participation centered mostly on women’s actions?
-point to continuing neglect of significance of household labor?
-what would a father-centered policy on child/day care look like?
-would this lead to greater attention paid to household labor, ie, that men doing the work makes it worthy of attention?
-how much is family policy a social versus a private concern?
-what of role of single people? people w/o children?
-what role do/should they have in family policy?
-how should family policy recognize them?
-should there be a family wage, eg, those w/families get paid more?
-or are allowances or tax benefits the way to go?
-what is the role of the market and/or private businesses in managing household care & labor?

Also, check out this piece on the role of ‘imaginative identification’ and understanding Sonia Sotomayor’s comments on the wisdom of Latinas. The short version is that those who are on the outside looking learn how to identify with those on the inside; those already on the inside, however, don’t have to learn anything—they’re already in. In practical terms, this means that ethnic minorities will understand more about ethnic majorities than vice versa, and women will understand more about men.

It’s a concept (tho’ not necessarily the precise term) that’s been around for awhile: people on the bottom look up; people who are up rarely look down. Anyway, check out the piece for yourself.

One, last, question (for now): Is the key to advancing women’s equality to focus on men—perhaps precisely because men have, for the most part, not had to engage in the kind of imaginative identification as discussed, above?

Again, this isn’t a new idea: James Baldwin in The Fire Next Time noted that racism was a problem with white people, not black people, and it was an additional (or, perhaps, central)  injustice that this problem was foisted off on black people.

Nonetheless, it is difficult to see how racism can be lessened or eliminated without white people actively taking it on as their/our issue, any more than sexism can be lessened or eliminated without men taking it on as their issue.

Your thoughts?


About proftp

I teach political science and bioethics as an adjunct at a CUNY school.
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