Daily Archives: December 16, 2009

My “Positive” Sterotypes of Gay People

Stereotypes can be quite destructive.  I believe, without firm evidence, that our brains are disposed to making stereotypes vs. not in large part because of the survival value of making stereotypes.  Suppose, for example,  we had to learn anew with each exposure about the dangers of rattlesnakes – not a good thing, adaptation-wise.  And the “costs” of overgernalizing to being afraid of all snakes is less burdensome than failing to make the necessary discrimination about rattlesnakes.

I hold a positive stereotype that most Asians are hard working and conscientious.  I don’t demand a high standard of “proof” for this stereotype – I think this is true more often than not (a > 50% probability).  I have not formally tested this hypothesis, but I think it may be true.  In this book, Malcolm Gladwell goes to great lengths in accounting for this assumption by reviewing the cultural history most Asians share in regard to the cultivation and harvesting of rice – not an easy job.

Sorry for the labored introduction, and I recognize that so-called “positive” stereotypes can be less than useful, too.  Any way, I tend to have some stereotypes about gay people that I  think are “positive perceptions”.  I am pretty sure that I did not know any gay people until I was in college.  All of the gay people I have known were professional people – nurses, physicians, psychologists, social workers, speech pathologists, teachers etc.  I expect that I have a restricted sample in obvious ways.  But given the acknowledged limitations of my sample, it seems to me that these things are, more likely than not, true in terms of gay people I have known:  1) most are good at their jobs – I am convinced of this to the point that if I had to make a hiring decision between to absolutely equal applicants I would tend to hire the gay over the straight person, if that datum was known to me; 2) gay people are dedicated to their work; 3) gay people tend to be intelligent; 4) gay people enjoy their leisure time more than most straight people do; 5) gay people are more tolerant than straight people of differences between themselves and others.

I am unable to offer empirical evidence of these assumptions, but they have been true in regard to my experience.  Appreciate any comments on this subject.


Filed under Psychology Ramblings...

Being Gay “Was a Positive Factor”

Pundits are claiming that not only did Annise Parker’s openly gay status not adversely affect her election bid, it may have been “a positive factor” in her election.  Cities like Houston (with a 2.2 million population), Orlando, and Charolotte are becoming international communities and therefore not subject to the petty bigotries of smaller, less diverse places. 

Parker’s adversary resorted to smear tactics which emphasized her being gay.  This strategy backfired on the opposition.  Refreshing, no?  Former mayor Bob Lanier, “Houston is long past the years in which an appeal to bigotry is the winning ticket,” – he added, her sexual orientation was “more a positive factor for her.”

Parts of our dear country are moving ahead, it would seem.  How do we get places like Kansas to keep pace?  All ideas appreciated…



Filed under Diversity, GLBT Rights

Wednesday, 12/16/09, Public Square


Filed under The Public Square

Sloop John B. – The Folk Roots of the Song Popularized by the Beach Boys…

The current political news is so uninspiring, that I thought I’d do something different, less depressing, and hopefully, more interesting…

My current favorite guitar teacher, Fred Sokolow, does an excellent job of teaching the folk classic the Beach Boys popularized.  I had no idea it was a pretty old folk tune.  Here are the lyrics (no doubt, in the public domain longer than my father has been alive, and probably longer than his father’s life span).

‘We come on the Sloop John B., my grandfather and me.  Around Nassau town we did roam, Drinking all night, got into a fight.  I feel so broke (I going with the Beach Boy words here, instead of “break up”) up, I wanna go home.

Chorus:  ‘So hoist up the John B. sails, see how the main sail sets, Call for the captain ashore, let me go home.  Let me go home.  I want to go home.  I feel so broke-up, I wanna go home.

“The first mate he got drunk, broke up the people’s trunk.  Constable had to come and take him away.  Sheriff Johnstone, please let me alone.  I feel so broke-up, I wanna go home.

“The poor cook he got the fits, threw away all of my grits, Then he took and ate up all of my corn.  Let me go home, I wanna go home,  This is the worse trip I ever been on.”

WordPress formatting does not fit well with poetry-type writing, but hopefully, the gist is clear enough here.  Will follow with some YouTube treats.



Filed under History, Music