Last Saturday I had dinner with a Texas State Representative and the CEO of a fortune 500 company (don’t trip over those titles I just dropped).Â It was a casual dinner, not business andÂ there was some very interesting conversation at the table. Â
I don’t normally discuss politics, religion, or race issues with new acquaintances, nor do I discuss them at work because those topics are almost forbidden. Everyone is so sensitive now days about particular issues that you are sure to step on someone’s toes no matter how lightly you tread.
So the topic of Private Clubs and exclusion came up and whether or not it was right to exclude certain people based on race or gender. I sat in the middle like a spotter at a tennis match watching the two guys volley back and forth some very interesting points. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts now allow either gender to be a part of their club. Texas Women’s UniversityÂ went co-edÂ back in the late 80’s early 90’s and before the 1960’s there were more than 250 all male colleges, now there are, according to Wikipedia, less than 20.
Progress, that is what many people would say that this, and for the most part I agree, but where do we draw the line on Gender Equality? Men and women are not one and the same and sometimes men want to be around only men and the women want to be with women. If I start a testicular cancer support group should the government be allowed to force me to let women join? How can women begin to relate? And how could men begin to understand the complexities of childbirth, menopause, and breast cancer?
My point is, I think it is fine for the government to make rules regarding any club or organization that my tax dollars support. That is why Texas Women’s University had to become co-ed. It was not a privately funded university and so they had to admit men.
Now about race… there are still some organizations that exclude people based on race. They normally don’t come out and say that they are excluding people based on race, but they can get around the law by creating rules that govern acceptance into the organization. GolfÂ clubsÂ often times require sponsorship from another memberÂ and then there are a number ofÂ requirementsÂ that have to be met even after you have been sponsored by another member. The board members canÂ still reject your application to the club based on any numberÂ of reasons and they never have to cite race as one of them.Â
It’s hard to believe that this type of behavior is till going on in America today. In a world where we have so many other things to fight for we still feel the need toÂ oppressÂ certain groupsÂ in order to make ourselves feel more superior than others. That is really all prejudice is all about. It’sÂ ignorance and pride and putting others down is the first sign of a deeper need to make yourself feel better.
At then end of dinner I agreed with both guys on the various points of gender equality, but I sided mostly with the belief that exclusivity is sometimes necessary only when gender is involved and when both men and women have the opportunity to do the same thing.Â If men want to have an exclusive support group, there is nothing from stopping women from doing the exact same thing -isn’t that still equality? The Girl Scouts should not have to admit men because there is a scouting organization for boys and vice versa.
So where do you stand?