June 26, 2013

I’m sitting here in my hotel room in Paris. I’m presenting at the French fundraising conference. Always interesting to be outside the U.S., talking with new people, appreciating different cultures, honoring the beauty and reality that people experience life differently.

Yes, people experience life differently – based on culture and race/ethnicity,  gender,  sexual orientation,  physical ability, faith, socioeconomic status, etc. All that produces discrimination. Every country has some form of discrimination. And we certainly have lots of discrimination in the U.S. So government has a significant role in ensuring that this discrimination is prohibited and compensated for.

But in the U.S., mostly the guys win. And the whites mostly win. And so do the heterosexuals.

I want to yell and scream and cry at the infamy – yes infamy of the U.S. Supreme Court and Texas and New York and and and … Shame on you. Shame on you.

In just one U.S. week – several actions will live on in infamy for many of us:

  • The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a vital portion of the Voting Rights Act. Essentially because it is old- fashioned. “Gosh,” said 4 white guys and a black guy, “U.S. voting districts don’t try to make it hard for people of color to vote. Gosh. Not any more.” Well that’s untrue. 
  • New York State did not adopt a bill of rights for women. Wisely proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Includes a woman’s right to choose in NY state – even if the  U.S. Supreme Court (mostly men) strikes down Roe versus Wade.
  • And Texas. Well, there is always Texas. Another law against women. But a female legislator filibustered for 11 hours. And citizens demonstrated. And maybe (or maybe not) the law didn’t get passed through the roll-call vote before the legislative session ended. So maybe the rights of women won. But what a shame that the bill was proposed and required a filibuster in the first place!

And that’s not the end for this infamous week and these infamous men (and some women in the state legislatures): The U.S. Supreme Court compromised affirmative action. “Because there’s just not enough discrimination against people of color and women to warrant any special consideration anymore.” It’s not as if affirmative action (and that silly little part of the Voting Rights Act) made any difference at all in these past decades. Wow.

Apparently, since we elect women to the U.S. Congress and state legislatures (a paltry few compared to dozens of other countries) – and because we elected a black president – well, that means that racism and sexism aren’t very powerful in the U.S. anymore. And birth control and the right to choose for women… Well, that just isn’t that important.

There’s one more opportunity for the U.S. Supreme Court to make this one hell of a big week: marriage equality. The Supremes still have that one to decide.

I am so angry. I am so disappointed. I am so tired of fighting for basic human rights for people of color and women and homosexuals. But fight I will. And so will so many many many others.

Filed under: Social Commentary

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About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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