Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Short Posts, 12/13/17. On Doug Jones, Sexual Harassment As Labor Market Discrimination, And Other Topics

1.  So Doug Jones pulled it off in Alabama.  I had trained myself not to expect anything of that sort, and still can't quite adjust to the news.  The thanks go to African-American voters, especially women*.  Low turnout by Moore's base also seems to have helped Jones.   And young voters preferred him to Moore.

Alabama is the reddest of red states, so Jones' victory is both astonishing and probably, in the longer run, an anomaly perhaps produced by widespread discontent with our Dear Leader.  But who knows.  I might be wrong about that anomaly bit.  I hope that I am wrong.

Still, I will take any good political news, because they have been scarcer than hen's teeth in the last year.

2.  Several recent pieces point out the real psychological and concrete costs of sexual harassment at work.

To give an example, a housekeeper at a hotel may have to construct her day in such a way as to avoid a pussy-grabbing superior, and if a hotel guest assaults her it's not necessarily the case that she would be believed if she reports the assault, given the power difference.

Then the career consequences from either refusing the advances of a superior or from reporting any harassment might be negative.  In the first case because revenge is always a possibility, and in the latter case because firms do not care for hassle, because the powerful are still more powerful, and because nobody wants to get the reputation of not being a team-player.

All these are among the reasons why sexual harassment at work is a form of discrimination, something which makes the playing fields uneven and which can destroy the career prospects of those who have been its targets.  A good reminder when people debate what the proper treatment of harassers should be.**  

3.  Orange marmalade.  My usual breakfast for many years was rye bread, orange marmalade and cheese.  I don't care for other types of marmalade or any jams, but used to be addicted to the orange one.  Then I stopped eating it (nothing to do with Dear Leader's hair color), for some reason, and only recently returned to it, the way we sometimes return to our high school sweethearts.

And now I, once again, have marmalade in the back of my hair, on the handle of my coffee mug and all over my hands.  Every morning.  You explain that.

* More exit poll results here.  And this quote is interesting, to remind us that Alabama really is a red state, though exit poll results from 2016 would have been more informative on any recent change:

Fifty-eight percent of Alabama women voted for the winner, Democrat Doug Jones, including 35 percent of white women, according to exit polling. While that latter figure might not sound like much, it’s more than twice the 16 percent of white Alabama women who voted for President Barack Obama in 2012, the last presidential race in which exit polling was conducted.

A slightly different take on the exit polls here. (Added later)

**  I believe that this should depend on the severity and frequency of proven harassment.