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Eureka: Race, gender, stereotypes and common sense
by Joseph Gatt
2018-03-16 06:29:45
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Race and gender in Q and A format

Question: There was a trend among scholars claiming that gender was a social construct. France at one point wanted to vote a law eliminating any reference to gender. Is gender really a social construct?

ster1_400Answer: There's a theory according to which women and men tend to have different types of intelligence, men more rational and logical, women more emotional. I tend to refute this using anecdotal evidence, I've met a lot of men whose reasoning, excuse my French, resembled that of animals in that it was highly emotional and devoid of any logical reasoning, then I've met and seen a lot of women reason in highly complex and sophistacted logical and rational ways. Other theories have claimed that women are all about appearance and men tend to focus more on reasoning, but again I've met a lot of women who did not care much about appearance and were all about reasing.

I'll say what Thomas Sowell, perhaps one of the greatest economists, never said, but would have said in his own reasoning. Take the median age of any given society. The median age means the age group that is the most represented in any given society. So if the highest age group is people who are 40, the median age is 40. In Europe, North America and increasingly in East Asia, the median age is nearing 40. But a few years ago or a couple of decades ago it was around 25. With a median age of 25, a lot of the people rooting for you will be 22, 24, 26 or 28. This means women with careers in music and sports will be celebrated. Politics, science or business is a career made for older people, and you won't have many people rooting for you. Now that the median age is around 40 for both men and women, women who want careers ins science, business or politics have a lot more women rooting for them. In the old days, it was white men in the professions because white men tended to have a higher median age, and women tended to be busy with motherhood. Now that we have reached the second generation of women delaying motherhood, they are rooting for each other in such careers.

Question: Hispanics and African Americans in the US or Black and Arab immigrants in France seem to have successful careers in music, comedy and sports. Politics, business and science seem to be fields dominated by white men with a high proportion of Jews. How do you explain that?

Answer: The median age. Hispanics and African Americanss have a median age closer to the early 20s when white people including secular Jews have a median age closer to 40 or 45. Minorities have young music, comedy and sports lovers who tend to cheer for people in those professions when white people or secular Jews have 40 somethings cheering for them in the professions. 

Question: How do you bring more underrepresented minorities to political, scientific or business careers?

Answer: people know a token appointment when they see one. Obama's brilliance refutes the idea that he was the token appoinment, but in the world of politics, he was clearly an outlier, all backgrounds included. Few politicians are that comfortable around the media, or even few actors for that matter. But one mistake I've seen here and there is equating Obama to any racial phenomenon. Again, few people act that smoothly in front of cameras yet are that smart and brilliant.

But there is a trend where people of all backgrounds are entering professions that were once reserved to white people or majority people only. The problem is for people from minorities, African American, Hispanic, Black, Arab you name it, is that when they reach the point where they are about to break into something big, they have few people cheering for them. Being in an Arab country, I speak 9 languages and solive complex problems, but the people around me, a lot of them Arab, don't seem to give a damn. I don't mind that, but I feel bad for Arabs who would have my talents or perhaps even better talents yet who would get shut down by their own communities who would celebrated rappers and sportsmen rather than polyglots or mathematicians. I'm not talking about the media supporting them, I'm talking about their families and friends supporting them.

Final question: Asians tend to be left out of surveys and studies for several reasons. What would those reasons be?

Answer: First, Asians are a recent addition to Western immigration. A lot of them are first generation immigrants. Asian societies also tend to be homogenouos, and as in a lot of homogenous societies, the tribe or the clan is put forward, and what's important is to look good, making the effort to look good is only secondary. So while a lot of Asian second generation immigrants tend to do well because Asian families tend to have less children and the median age tends to be higher, there's a saying in India, China, Korea, Vietnam or Japan that goes “my son's either a doctor or tried to be one.” That is if your son's not a doctor, you say he tried hard to become a doctor but ended up working at a factory.

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