An inspirational story

I think this is a really fantastic story, and I hope that you will also enjoy it as much as I did. I love inspirational stories.

http://www.jameco.com/Jameco/workshop/MyStory/elena-sherman.html?sp_rid=MjMzNjE2MDIzMzAS1&sp_mid=5329026

This is a wonderful & funny, autobiographical short piece, by one of the very first women in the computer industry. She programmed her first industrial computer at the age of nine.

I certainly agree that the playing field is still not level for women in the workforce, or even in society in America. But, I’m sure that you will see that you’ve come a long way baby. Keep chipping away at them. They say that the Cuna Indians in Panama, where the first time that Columbus saw a functioning democracy, and where women, actually had a bigger vote than men. Some say that it caused the beginning of the French Revolution, and the modern wave of democracy that is still sweeping the world. So, even though many say that the Greeks gave the world democracy, it may have been the Cuna Indians.

Again, I thoroughly enjoyed the story of her adventures. These things happened in my lifetime, and I find that pretty amazing. Working in drag. It being against the law for her to eat in a restaurant. Or to use the restroom on the second or third shift. And so on. She sounds like she has a fantastic sense of humor. Clearly she needed it. Ironically, she not only were drag, but she was also a drag racer. It is often strange how American English works.

Don’t you wish you knew her? What stories you could tell. I wish she would write a book.

On a more serious note, it seems obvious to me that it is not obvious to far too many people that bigotry is a bad idea. If you meet one of them, please gently try to help them out of their mistake.

By bigotry, I mean any preconceived idea that because someone, or something, has one or a few certain characteristics, that you can categorically say that it has a whole raft of other characteristics.

My theory is that this idea is so slow to change, because humans love to look for patterns. We are successful as a species over hundreds of thousands of years, because we are good at recognizing patterns. In most parts of the world, we recognize that the Spring is a good time to plant crops. We recognize that when we see certain clouds in the sky, and smell certain smells in the air, that is about to rain. When we hear a certain kind of animal making a certain kind of noise, we recognize that we are about to be eaten. We recognize that when the Walk light turns red, that it is not a good idea to cross the street right now.

But, sometimes we have trouble turning off that calculator in our head. We are a slave to it. We jump to conclusions. By no means do I think that women are the same as men. How can I? Men are certainly not all the same. How in the hell would anyone expect that women would be the same as men? Or the same as each other? Just as why in the world would you think that all people with dark skin, or black hair, or blonde hair, or tall, or short, or speaking Greek, or whatever, would be the same?

It seems reasonable that one might consider that the probabilities change slightly or greatly. But, I think it is absolutely essential to keep an open mind. To look for other clues. I can almost guarantee that it is always more complicated than that.

Unfortunately, one of the patterns that I have noticed, is that talking to people who still firmly believe their preconceptions, seldom helps. So, I will stop for now, because it has been my experience, that either you agree with me on this or you do not. And I’m wasting both your time and mine to keep going on. But I very much hope that you agree, or if not at least that I have chipped away a tiny little scratch in the concrete that encases your opinions.

Because, even though I strongly support the idea of an open mind, I’m not very open-minded about that concept. My conviction that an open mind is important, for you and the fate of the world, is, perhaps unfortunately, is pretty much set in concrete. Kind of ironic, huh?

Well, inside my mind, also embedded in the same concrete, is the idea that keeping a sense of humor is important also. So, these are some of my limitations. Be warned.

Dave

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