Taggay rights

Snowballing

Mayan Corp.

Since I wrote yesterday about Chick Fil-A and Mozilla, there have been some other good takes on the topic.

JD Bentley comes out burning bridges and guns blazing in Mozilla FireEich. He writes,

Today, in a fit of rage and righteousness, I dragged Firefox to the trash can icon in my Dock and let go forever.

Boom. There it went. One browser among many now being dumped into the waste paper basket. Now Firefox is not a paid project. But they do make the majority of their money from the Google bar. That means they need people to be using it to make money. So each deleted browser is a couple of pennies plinking to the ground.

One man’s stand against Mozilla won’t ruin them. But given enough people…

If Eich remains CEO, people may be forced to consider an opposing view, however articulately and delicately laid out, as something other than outright bigotry and madness. That’s wholly unacceptable. If an individual’s viewpoint is clearly–clearly!–on the wrong side of history, it ought to be discounted and buried immediately. And Mozilla ought to be the one doing it. I’m not in need of a philosopher, a priest, or a politician. I need only my web browser.

Web browsers are plentiful and not hard to get. Switching it a trivial task. So trivial many people may not. But enough may move on to hurt their bottom line even just a little.

OK Cupid front page on Firefox

OK Cupid front page on Firefox

Joe Steel pointed out something interesting. Visit OK Cupid from Chrome or Safari and Internet Explorer you’ll be greeted by a woman asking you to sign up. Now visit from Firefox.

I agree with him when he writes,

This increases the conversation, but it can really antagonize people by getting in the way of what they are doing. That doesn’t really put someone in the mood to be receptive.

A for intent, D for execution.

It’s good to bring attention to an issue, but getting in the way of your users isn’t always the best way to do it. Intent is good. Execution may be lacking somewhat. And despite other reports, you can still access the site from Firefox. You need to scroll below the message first.

Joe raises a couple of excellent points. First, “For historical reference, B.E. never said anything about same-sex marriage until his donation was outed in the published donations that followed Prop 8’s passage.” He never spoke out against it. He put his money where his beliefs were. And again, there is nothing wrong with that. But when it become public, there will be consequences for that action.

At the end of the day, this will all go away as the Internet Outrage Machine finds some new cause to champion. Joe continues,

Unfortunately, just as before, this conversation will soon fizzle and he’ll keep being exactly how he is, and probably maintain his position as CEO for a decent chunk of time.

And he’s probably right. Unless there is another chapter or Mozilla feels threatened enough to act. Like Joe, I think Eich is standing on the wrong side of history. And while we are slowly moving towards the eventuality, as recent history is showing.

We are moving forward. Things are getting better. I could have not said it better, so I’ll borrow Joe’s words.

These seismic spikes in conversation slowly move public perception of these issues. Much like tectonic plates creep along, and then shudder, violently. Something changes, people react with big, bombastic conversations about it, and then it dies back down.

Derek Powazek, who wrote a wonderful post on How To Apologize Online. I’ll end the same way this all started, with a tweet.

Conversations and Consequences

This all started, as many things do, with a tweet.

It’s something I’ve thought a lot about but neglected to dip my toe into the pond on, partly because my own thoughts were still half-baked. I wanted to avoid a knee-jerk reaction.

Commentary tracks to our lives

Why can’t we just stay out of each other’s lives? That’s a question that’s been bouncing around my head a lot lately?

Is it because Reality TV shows have taught is it’s OK to turn someone’s life into a topic of public discourse? Is it because social media has opened the door to our lives in unprecedented ways?

Whatever the reason, the window has been smashed, the front door kicked down and our lives are now open for discussion. And that discussion is increasingly less civil and more angry.

Conversations

We need to have conversations about our differences. But we’ve lost the ability to do so. In Trusting Others J.D. Bentley writes,

We’re unable to have proper discussions anymore. People these days are either incredibly apocalyptic or incredibly messianic, incredibly black or incredibly white. Instead of seeing disagreements in shades of gray, or as sound and unsound arguments, people look at the opposing side as the enemy not worth hearing out. They take an apocalyptic approach to diplomacy. The enemy can’t be talked to or negotiated with, only destroyed.
This is most evident today in conversations surrounding same-sex marriage, wherein opponents are cast as hateful and ignorant “bigots” regardless of the tack or reasoning employed and proponents are cast as pushers of a monolithic and mythological “gay agenda”. Both sides build very shallow stereotypes in order to assault the other. If your fellow man isn’t a man at all, but a self-made concoction of everything you hate, of course you’re going to say other people can’t be trusted. We like to see the best in ourselves and the worst in others.

Everyone who agreed with us is the ally and everyone who disagrees is the enemy. But it’s not true. We’re all people. We’re all products of our environments and upbringings. We’re all people. Right and wrong are variables. They’re not set in stone. That’s the beauty of beliefs. They can be changed over time. But not by screaming.

When anyone who doesn’t agree with you is the enemy it’s hard to have a dialog. It’s no wonder our politicians can’t get anything done. They shout at each other from across an aisle. That’s how we interact with each other these days.

We’ve forgotten how to converse.

One thing I cherish is a good, conversation with someone I don’t agree with. A well-reasoned, thoughtful discourse on a topic. The goal is not to change their minds. Nor should their goal be to change mine.

Our mutual goal is to share where we’re coming from so we can be closer as people. And to hone our own beliefs by examining them and making them our own. If one of us has a change of heart as a result, that’s an unexpected bonus. Not a stated goal.

But it’s harder and harder to have such a conversation, especially online, even in less-public forums. It is not my goal to convert you to way of thinking. Just to share what I think.


Corporations are people.

Like it or not, if you’re the CEO or President of a company. You’re the public face of that company. And just as our private lives are open to scrutiny, so too are our public actions.

A company is made of people. And those at the top make up the company’s image. There is no longer a divide between who makes up a company and the company’s image.

Chick Fil-A is now Hate Chicken after the President and CEO spoke out against gay marriage. The company quickly deleted it and PR took over. But the damage was done. A controversy raged for weeks with people calling for boycotts of the restaurant and others rushing to defend it resulting in a record-setting sales day. By March 2014, the company had stopped funding anti-LGBT groups.

Despite the reversal in funding and public image, once branded, it’s very hard to remove the image from a company still run by the same man who made the original statements. Another company is having the same problem.

Mozilla, makers of the Firefox web browser, is just the latest in a line of companies that are learning an important lesson.

You can have your own beliefs. And you can spend your money where you want. But if you’re the head of a company, your views are going to be attached to that company. You are not an island. You are the leader. Your head is on the chopping block and what you say and do matters.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion

Is the head of Chick Fil-A able to be sad about gay marriage passing? Sure. Is the head of Mozilla’s donation supporting Prop 8 in California well within his right? Absolutely. They’re entitled to their actions and those actions have consequences.

But Chick Fil-A is going to be branded as Hate Chicken and lose business by those who won’t support those views. Mozilla has already had people step down because they won’t work for the newly-appointed CEO. As the leader of a business, your actions can hurt that business even if it has nothing to do with the business directly.

Let’s Play A Game

Gay marriage is a hot button issue. There’s no quicker way to get blood boiling. Let’s move it out of that realm into another one. How about something we’ve solved long ago? What about racism? That’s over right? Or women’s rights? How about Christianity? This is the land of the free isn’t it?

Let’s take this article and rewrite it’s headline.

Mozilla Staff Urge Their CEO To Step Down Because He’s Anti-Black.

Mozilla Staff Urge Their CEO To Step Down Because He’s Anti-Women.

Mozilla Staff Urge Their CEO To Step Down Because He’s Anti-Christian.

Mozilla Staff Urge Their CEO To Step Down Because He’s Anti-White.

Would any of these be OK to say? If a CEO of a company came out and said these things, would that be OK with you? Not if you don’t agree with it.

Phobias

The fight for marriage equality is racism all over again. This is not to say racism is over and dead. Because it’s not. But this is the same battle. It’s just harder to see who the enemy is because they’re not conveniently a different color.

While I don’t agree with those who are against equal rights for everyone. I respect their difference of opinion. I respect that in this country we’re allowed to have differing opinions. That’s what this country was founded on. Freedom.

We’re allowed to disagree but when you voice and opinion or give money towards a way of thinking you’re accountable for that opinion. When you give money to support Prop 8, you’re going to lose support from those who aren’t with you.

When you give money to groups looking to keep people from marrying, those who want to marry and those who support their fight are going to stop supporting you.

In your private life, you can do and support what you choose. But when you’re the head of a company and your actions are public, does that change? No. You can still do and say what you like.

However, when you’re the head of a large group of people, not all of those people are going to agree with you. And to those outside the group, it may seem that the group mirrors those beliefs.

What you say matters

Everyone is accountable for their own actions and statements. I’m allowed to say and do what I feel. But I also know that those actions and statements don’t exist in a vacuum. They matter. They can hurt. They can help.

We’re allowed to disagree. We’re allowed to have our beliefs and support what we want. But don’t be surprised when your beliefs aren’t the beliefs of everyone. They’re allowed to the same rights as everyone else.

The CEO of Mozilla can choose to spend his money to prevent gay marriage. Those working for Mozilla can choose to speak out against that and the organization. They can also choose to resign and work elsewhere.

Chick Fil-A’s CEO can do the same. And as a result, he will draw protests and supporters. His profits will rise and fall.

What we say matters. And when you say it from a position of leadership, what you say reaches far and wide. Actions have consequences.

We are moving backwards

I have heard too much and I can’t remain silent any longer. I am not a political person. I do not protest. I do not demonstrate. I am not occupying anything but a chair at my work place and a bed in my apartment. When a friend shared her thoughts this morning, I decided it was time for this good man to stop doing nothing.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
Edmund Burke

Women’s Rights

We made so many positive strides in this country towards equality. Women have struggled for equality, the right to vote, and the right to make equal wages. Now there is a War on Women in this country.

There have been repeated attacks on Planned Parenthood. Rush Limbaugh’s slut comment fanned the flames.

This comic puts it very succinctly. Women want to have the same rights as men. They are not second class citizens which exist solely to serve the men of the world.

African-American Rights

African-Americans have been on the same road towards equality. Their long road started many years ago.

Rosa Parks began was a lightening rod for a bus boycott that changed minds and changes lives. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech that forever changed the world.

For all the good done and legislation from the 1960s, there is still a very long road ahead. When Rodney King was attacked and beaten in 1991, to the Cincinnati Riots in 2001 are just instances in a long history or racial violence in the United States.

Events like the recent shooting of Trayvon Martin proves there is still a very long way to go on their road to freedom.

Gay Rights

This brings us to homosexuality. I don’t understand why this is such a problem. We have not come very far at all.

It took people like Matthew Shepherd, and Dan Savage’s It Gets Better project to bring attention to the issue of inequality and start the wheels in motion for support and legislation to make things right.

Same-sex marriage is an ongoing struggle with states slowly coming around in support of something that never should have been unsupported.

The military repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell earlier this year. But legislation doesn’t change people. President Obama has declared a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month in addition to ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell but has stopped short of fully supporting gay marriage.

Ever since the beginning of the struggle for same-sex marriage to be legalized, marriage between a man and a woman been said to be under attack. I don’t even understand how that makes sense. How does people of the same gender being married have anything to do with the marriage of other men to women? It goes so far as the newly formed National Organization for Marriage is trying to drive a wedge between blacks and gays. This is the same group behind the Dump Starbucks campaign because, according to the site,

On January 24th, 2012, Starbucks issued a memorandum declaring that same-sex marriage ‘is core to who we are and what we value as a company.

Will they go after Ben & Jerry’s next for their relaunch HUBBY HUBBY as Apple-y Ever After in support of marriage equality.

It is not all bad news. Recently, more than half of Americans support marriage for everyone. There is still a long road ahead for equality for everyone.

Rights are not a finite resource.

There is not a finite amount of human rights to go around. Granting equality to everyone is not going to diminish the rights of anyone else.

White men are not going to be any less free if Black men have rights. Men won’t be any less free is women have rights. Straight people won’t be any less free is gay people have rights.

There is plenty to go around. We are not going to run out if we allow everyone the same rights under the law and in our country.

Those who oppose equal rights for everyone tries to frame the conversation to their advantage. You know what the difference between same-sex marriage and different-sex marriage is? Absolutely nothing?

You know what the difference between gay marriage and… what, ungay marriage? Is that why nearly 50% of ungay marriages fail?

Marriage is just marriage. There is no difference.

What do straight people lose in their marriage by allowing gay people to marry? Absolutely nothing.

If you’re so afraid for your own marriage that other people getting the ability to marry, then your marriage is in trouble and that is no one’s fault but your own.

The only people who should be concerned about a marriage are the two people in the marriage. Marriage is between two people. marriage is also a lot of hard work, communication and acceptance. There are also legal benefits that come with marriage being denied to hard working citizens.

I don’t understand what is so wrong with preventing other people from being married? Can’t they have the same chance to ruin half of their marriages as well? Can’t they be with loved ones in hospitals or dictate what happens in the wake of their spouse’s death? What is so wrong with extending these rights to everyone?

Biology & Equality

Gender is not a binary, yes/no system.
Biology doesn’t support gay marriage bans. Humans are not the only animals that exhibit homosexuality. The opposition is coming mainly from religion and the religious abandoning the Christian tenet of love thy brother and do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

When did it become in fashion to hate people who are different from us, just because they are different? It seems many of the people who lead the homophobic charge lead a very different life.

Equality for everyone

All people should have the same rights. The rights won’t run out if we pass them around. The rights won’t diminish or dilute when they’re extended to everyone.

In the end, we all just want what’s best for ourselves in our life. Why should the iconic kissing sailor from V-J Day in 1945 be any different from this kiss in 2011? Sailor and soldiers away at sea excited to embrace and kiss their loved one.

Equality does not start with national speeches or legislation. Equality starts with small, simple acts.

Patrick Rhone says it best,

It is about being able to have a seat on a bus.
It is about being able eat a sandwich at a counter.
It is about being able to enter a raffle so you can be the first one to kiss your girl…