Pot vs Rape: Punishment Disproportion

Feeling better today.  The dissociation seems to be almost gone.  I was at least capable enough to write the following a short while ago on Facebook, and I think it’s spot-on:

One of my friends posted the following question: “Why do pot smokers do more time in prison than rapists? Serious question.
Hell, most rapists never see a jail cell.”

I’m going to share my answer here, because I think it’s very important that we realize these things.

My first response: “Reefer Madness. Plus the longstanding stereotype that it’s mostly black people who smoke weed. Combine that with institutionalized racism…”

My second, and more comprehensive response:

“I think it has to do with a combination of things:

Male privilege and misogyny, in so many ways. Women get thought of as “sluts” if they enjoy sex or have multiple partners, and get called “frigid” or “prudes” if they “withhold” sex; meanwhile men who have sex with multiple women are considered to be more manly–there’s a reason the women in these instances have been considered as “conquests”…as though it’s quintessentially a male right to “conquer as much pussy as we can get” (to quote Eddie Murphy).

In short, men have been considered superior for many hundreds of years, with women being relegated to secondary and even expendable status, and that still holds true today, no matter how much advocacy women have done (I like to think that the advocacy has done some good, but then I am saddened and angered when I read about another college football player raping another woman). And women are greatly more often the victims of rape than men. So men, the ruling sex, don’t have to care because it’s not something that happens to them as a rule.

(All this points to men as a whole being insecure with themselves and compensating on a vastly widespread and dangerous scale, and I think men need to be able to experience their emotions safely both at home and in school…with classes in the latter’s case beginning very early on, before the hardening and prejudices and acting out of high school or junior high take hold)

Hell, in the US it wasn’t even a crime for a man to rape his spouse until I think 1978. In Ireland divorce wasn’t legal until 1994 I think.

I think that covers why rape isn’t considered a huge deal legally, with regard to punishment length.

The pot thing on the other hand has to do with what I mentioned, but also the perception of “druggies” and “The War on Drugs” (I feel like there should be a trademark symbol after this). I think the war on drugs is racist (just ask Paul LePage about that one), but is also based on the same thing that mental illness is based on: doing illegal drugs or being mentally ill are considered moral failings, still, to this day. There’s plenty of social work history to back this up. The moral failing argument has been made for at least 150 years. Also, I think weed is considered a non-American crop–it’s considered a crop of non-white people, such as the Vietnamese…American boys got a taste of all that green when they were over there. Meanwhile, tobacco is considered fine because white slave owners owned the plantations and made black people work for them. There’s the children angle as well: pot has always been seen as a gateway drug, and there is this image of dealers enticing kids (which they no doubt do)…preying on America’s children. Making pot legal isn’t popular because of this association, and the gateway association with coke, heroin, etc.

I really do think these mentalities are still alive and well today, even if people aren’t aware of them. Pot smokers go to jail for longer because they are consciously or unconsciously considered more of a threat (and because of historical punishment precedents) than rapists (who are, after all, generally all men who are privileged…and often white. Can’t punish white men for getting some, now can we?)”.

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It’s a men’s issue (addendum)

This is a verbatim comment I wrote on the TEDx talk by Jackson Katz (I posted the talk and some thoughts on my previous blog post, similarly-titled):

I wondering: do his clients listen to what he says? Getting men to listen when their minds have been programmed to regard this as garbage has got to be difficult. Some of the comments on this talk seem to represent that kind of blowback. So what if Katz is promoting himself and making money at what he does if he’s good at it? The world could use a lot more male emotional health. It’s only parents from my generation who I’ve personally seen allow their sons to feel emotions in healthy ways and don’t instruct (by word or act) them to bury their emotions. It’s my opinion that the burial of emotions can easily lead to violence, particularly with regard to men. It’s no accident that the sex that commits the most crimes and the most mass shootings and bombings is male. Men are still socialized to suck it up and deal and not be emotional and that, when they are emotional and hugging male friends, they somehow feel the need to write #nohomo. Nationally, globally, the majority of men are insecure about themselves and uncomfortable with emotions. Personally I think it’d be great if men hugged each other regularly and shared personal stories/conflicts as women do, and didn’t feel bad about it.

You’re free to hate me now.

Im reminded of George Carlin’s rant about how the rich (or, my take, the government) keep us fighting among ourselves so they can run off with all the money.

Right now, people are fighting among themselves and being extremely territorial and sensitive about it. I’m the first person to admit I’m very sensitive. But a ton of people are hurting. A lot. It is the emotional responses, usually to written words (lack of inflection, eye contact, tone of voice, etc), that can be problematic.

Recently I said I wanted facts about that photo. You all probably know the one. When the photo was first shared, there was no context except that it was taken very recently in Baton Rouge. Other than that, no context. I made the “mistake” of stating that I wanted facts instead of assumptions (the cops could’ve been removing the cuffs? Unlikely, but I wanted more information. Turns out they weren’t, but at the time all I had was a still photo.) I stated that, without context, the photo was essentially worthless. Journalists do this all the time: take quotes out of context to serve themselves.

Now that I have context, it’s not worthless at all. But people jumped all over me nonetheless. Somehow I’m the bad guy for distrusting the media and wanting more information.

Even now as I write this, I’m expecting to get flak. But here’s my overall point: we’re all, still, fighting amongst ourselves. Instead of attempting to understand and communicate.

I’ve lost so many friends due to misinterpretations, and even when I apologize if I offended someone I get silence or insults in return. I now therefore have zero close friends, and it’s a lonely fricking world.

Can people learn when they are in their emotion minds and acting from that instead of “wise” mind? Yes. Will they? I’m losing faith that most people will even try.  A lot of people I see are more interested in winning an argument than the communication and understanding that can come from the argument.  A lot of people see life as a pissing contest.

To take it a little further personally, what’s the point in being myself if people don’t like who I am? I have so much empathy, I love hugs (and desperately need them from someone I feel safe with, whoever that is), I’m very self-aware though I reassess this all the time…but what does it matter? There’s entirely too much sugar-coating running rampant in this country.  Am I blunt sometimes? Yes. Do I go out of my way to try to allay others’ fears at times anyway? Yes.

Do I need to love myself? Yes. Do I know how? I’ve studied it, tried tons of different things, but keep reverting to depression and self-denigration. I trust so little that I think people are going to leave me if I let them in.  I’ve had a few close friends before, and I let them in, only to be told after years “I’m sick of your bullshit” and been written countless passive-aggressive comments (which I’d ask about, via PM, if I’d done something wrong…only to get silence).

So, in short, I’m lonely, hurting, people are leaving/have left me, and the world is hurting so much that we’re fucking ourselves.