Thursday, December 15, 2005


Just a note: if ever you want to invoke the concept of "choice" to explain why things are the way they are, think about it and define what you mean. Consider how choices are bounded by so many things such as society and identity, etc.

It's really annoying to me recently to hear people say that poor people make poor choices, that they choose to be poor. Is it a poor choice to, say, drop out of school? Sure. But, was that freely chosen, or were there other factors going into that "decision"?

How about claiming that women and men simply choose certain career paths and that alone explains occupational segregation? Sure, women choose to become nurses and men choose to become doctors in disproportionate numbers, but unless you're prepared to argue that there is something inherently "male" or "female" about nursing or doctoring (and, don't get me wrong, I know some people are prepared to argue just that :-) ), it's tough to say it's simply personal choice.

You know?

I'm not saying "choice" is bad or not useful, but for it to be really useful we have to understand the bounds within which those choices were exercised. Okay?

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