Break the man.
–Tears for Fears
We’re watching the new Bosch show on Amazon. Whenever Harry calls another guy “brother,” it reminds me:
Stop doing that!
I have benefited from this, especially because I am willingly estranged from my biological brother. Anne is also estranged from her brothers, but no one calls her either “brother” or “sister.”
And that is the point! Calling non-genetically-related dudes “brother” automatically excludes women. We’re not just talking about bro-ing down in a locker room. This exclusive “brother” camaraderie empowers only men in any particular power structure. There is no way to use language like this to include women. So we should stop!
I’m not saying this because the person who called me “brother” the most in my life ended up betraying me right after I nearly died. There are three guys who still call me “brother,” and it touches me. But it should stop.
PS: The one time it is OK to use family terms:
In the Day 30 chapter, you’ll find me having an extended stay at a horrible hospital in the DC area. Paul, who needed to be at a conference, agreed to return my rental car for me. He called the office near him and was told he could return it there no problem.
After taking the Metro to Silver Springs to get the car, he drove it to the office, turned in the keys, and got the receipt. While walking away, he looked down and saw the charge was many times more than it should have been. He told us later that his first thought was, “What kind of fancy-ass car did Matt rent?”
Then he sees a $600 charge for an alternative return spot. He goes back and explains the situation. They tell him the only way to waive the fee is if a relative returns the car. (WTF kinda crazy rule is that?)
Quick on his feet, Paul (who is Jewish while I am not) immediately exclaims, “He’s my cousin!”
They waive the fee.
PPS: Speaking of Paul, he provided a good example of cognitive biases. He read a draft of this book when it was only about 20 pages long. Upon seeing the draft line “Some of my story will show in detail how many vegans (myself included) cause much more harm than good,” he commented:
Impossible to be true, given how many people have been influenced to do good by your writings. You could do nothing for the rest of your life and still easily come out on top. But you shouldn’t do nothing.
This is availability bias – Paul knows many if not most of the sane, thoughtful advocates I’ve influenced. But he isn’t weighing that against everything I did to promote the toxic word “vegan,” nor all the noxious vegans I raised up and empowered.
I bet he’ll change his mind when he reads the finished book.