Thursday, October 26

Big -ism, little -ism

I wanted to forward you a letter I wrote to Toyota complimenting them on an awesome ad they aired Monday night during prime time television. (In it, a woman carried her sleeping husband from the car to the house and was not portrayed at as all unappealing for taking an action traditionally considered "for men.") I BCCed it to two of my favorite writers, and they each wrote me back with compliments on my letter within 10 minutes. I have to say, I was pleased as punch.

Then again, yesterday I learned from the television that not only are there people in Tennessee who would vote against a black man because he and a white woman hit on each other, but that there are enough of them that cold-hearted campaigners sympathetic to this politician's opponent thought it'd be a good idea to make an ad "outing" the black politician as having...*gasp*...flirted with a white woman.

*sigh* I don't know. I only have 24 hours in a day. What changes that I'd like to see in the world should I give my energy to? Should the fact that lots and lots of people noticed intolerable -ism in one ad (the "Don't vote for him because he gets it on with whites!" ad) but haven't noticed intolerable -ism in other ads (any ad that depicts "appealing" women as women who maintain a certain level of weakness) clue me in that I'm barking up a less important tree?

Or are they each equally important changes to try to see in the world? Should I just try to divide my persuasive efforts as best I can among all the things that strike me as "wrong" with the status quo? Should I just try to divide my supportive efforts as best I can among all the things that strike me as attempts from those with the power to set the status quo to make better ideas become the new mainstream?

And even if they are equally "important" changes to make happen within equal deadlines, what should I do? Put lots of work into supporting one argument in high-profile cases like the Tennessee controversy, because the dialogue's already going, and I can try to create a "majority" of voices and influence the way people act in the future when considering doing such things?

Or should I put lots of work into mainstreaming dialogues that aren't even going (in the mainstream media)? Should I say, "Eh, people are already taking care of the Tennessee ad" and write a barrage of letters to the New York Times siding with the author of their first "Halloween costume" editorial and with Bob Herbert on the idea that singling out girls for shootings is a "hate crime" that should petrify any parent who happens to find themselves responsible for the well-being of someone born into the category called "girls" (and make them want, more than anything else they want in this world, to change the probability of someone in their culture wanting to commit such a hate crime)?

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