Friday, August 07, 2015

More Vacation Impressions: On Grrl Painters, Multiculturalism and the Sky

I parked next to a painters' van.  Two house painters in their white overalls got out of it, both young women with long braids.  Not a common sight in the US.  More cultural differences.

The local political topics include a debate about Finnish  multiculturalism and/or its absence.  The latter seems to be* equated with racism.   I haven't studied the various concepts of multiculturalism(s) enough to understand that exact equivalence,  but I'd love to learn how different concepts of multiculturalism solve the contradiction between, say, the goals of gender equality or LGBT rights with the simultaneous acceptance of those cultural-religious values which are built on gender inequality and the desire to criminalize lesbian and gay lifestyles.**

Or am I defining "culture" incorrectly here?  What IS it in the context of multiculturalism anyway?  What happens when "side-by-side" cultures clash in a multicultural society?  Who are the representatives of a minority culture in wider public debates?  The old powerful guys? And is it they who decide what their cultures mean?  Sometimes it looks like that to me
On the other hand, if cultures are defined by excluding those bits I detest (lower status of women etc.), then I'm all for multiculturalism.  Let all flowers bloom!

How's that for a bit of fuzzy thinking and blogging?  The sad thing is  that most every blogging topic requires an enormous amount of silent and boring  research work, and I'm on vacation, so you only get my naive initial thoughts on that topic.  But it's crucial that we discuss and understand the way feminism relates to multiculturalism, and that debate must include the way those concepts are seen from the inside of various cultures, not just from some academic angle.

 The sky.  I can't get enough of the sky.  Why does it look bigger here?  Is it because of the latitude?  Clean air?  Also, I saw a cloud in the shape of a slithering snake today.  To welcome me.

Almost forgot!  Croissants are about 40 cents each, presumably because they are shipped frozen-and-unbaked from the European South in large batches.  They are  then baked here.  The economies to scale must be why the prices are so low.

*  How to define sexism and racism?  The definitions are tricky and often cover many different phenomena, but usually sexism is based on the perceived female gender of its object combined with overall unwarranted negative views about women as a class, and usually racism is based on the perceived race of its object and on negative unwarranted views about individuals of that perceived race as a class.  Note that it doesn't matter if race is not a real biological concept for these purposes.

Having negative views about a culture doesn't seem to me to be the same as racism.  What it is requires a long post on its own.  I should point out here that all cultures have something to criticize and something to praise.  A baseless criticism of a culture, would, however, have some of the flavor of sexism and racism, but it needs its own name.

** Is the US a multicultural society?  For example, do the Christian fundamentalist form a culture which we should respect, along with many others?  Given the cultural values of women's subjugation and opposition to LGBT rights in that culture, what would it mean for me, say, to respect it?