Diversity wars

(Image is from one of the Archer themed t-shirts)

Way back in the 90’s there was a computer game Gender wars, which featured a satire on the society, an alternative history where the relationship between genders went all wrong, men and women assembled into respective armies and the conflict escalated to a full-blown war (while still being funny as gender stereotypes perpetrate  the line of command):

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Surprisingly, something this was a metaphor of becomes a reality, very specific to the modern-day US. I’m talking not even about the famous scandals causing the whirlwind of internet rage, trolling and death treats. I’m talking about things that sometimes happen outside the web, and I have been a witness to.

First happened on my flight to US, as a warm welcome reminding me what kind of country I’m going to. A middle-age white male with a respectable belly, but otherwise well dressed and well groomed was having problems with his seatbelt. A black female flight attendant helped him by taking his seatbelt and connecting it. The man was very upset by it because she didn’t ask for his permission before touching him. There was a brief verbal exchange in which both wanted to call the captain somehow, but otherwise I didn’t quite hear. After some time, the flight attendant returned with the message from the captain: the man was to leave the flight. He calmly packed his bags and left. And then the fight among the rest of the passengers unfolded. A young and naive white and nerdy teenager tried to protect the man’s side, a middle-aged woman who’d put her legs on the wall took up the role of a prosecutor. The following arguments has been used: “I am a movie director – I have a very good eyes – I saw what happened!”, “For a man, groin is a very sensitive area”

The second story happened during one of the comedy shows on Anime Expo. The performances were judged by 3 judges, 2 male and 1 female. Each expressed criticism and suggestions to improve for a comic. A female judge’s speech was interrupted by a shout from the audience. She being a comic herself, went to stage, asked the man who interrupted her to stand up, and “destroyed” him. In particular she made fun of the “Danger Zone” Archer t-shirt he was wearing. Also she pointed out that instead of such courageous feats in public, he should just join the rest of his kind on the internet. He tried to interject later in the show, but was only referred to as “You shut up, you were destroyed just now, we don’t care about you.”

Finally, Google is an American company, so they take issues of harassment very seriously. If something happens, no public fights occur. Instead, a special commission handles the report/complaint, and one day on the meeting it is announced that “N does not work with us anymore”. He is then escorted with security from the building, and cannot enter for 3 days. Then he can collect his belongings. Such reports/complaints can be filed not only by the victim, but also by a third person. It is typically easy to guess who filed the complaint, and my Russian friend would avoid talking to that person in the future, just out of survival instinct. In fact, my Russian friend would avoid making close friends among the coworkers altogether.