Thursday, December 10, 2015

Power, Privilege, and Difference by Allan G. Johnson - Reflection

Well let's start by agreeing on the fact that we've all been institutionalized since birth. Johnson relates this institutional asylum we call our way of life to a "kind of paralysis" (vii), and is sure not to leave anyone out by suggesting that "all of us are part of the problem" (vii). Well that's for damn sure because if you have even asked, or been asked, "what is your race?" Or even if you checked a box containing either of the letters M or F and never happened to think, "why is this being asked of me and/or why should it matter?" Because I have probably only a handful of times, and every other time it was like changing my underwearhabitual and redundant. It's a clear indication that we have become numb to the systemic and fundamentally devious, yet cleverly methodical social structure, which we have designed for ourselves to the benefit of few. Maybe you have naturally solved this equation some time ago, but most likely you haven't; and if you have, well what have you done about it since then? I know, it was an unfortunate ugly truth for myself. To make matters worse, I happen to be the biggest asshole in the book. According to Mr. Johnson if you're white, male, and/or heterosexual you belong behind door number one—the privileged class! Sadly he right. I cannot do anything about my situation, I just happen to be and white and heterosexual male who happens to have Christian beliefs.

Although I know that because of my classification status I will always be considered as part of the privileged class and I will have an advantage over many others who deserve to hold just as equal rights, there is still something I can do about my situation. If there's a way to help others who do not have the same opportunities and equalities as I do then the best way I can help is becoming more self-educated on the other gender, race, sexuality, and any other classification that is considered to be less fortunate than me. Unfortunately this is not something that is going to ever go away
—it has been and always will be our way of life. What we can do to make our society a better place is acknowledging the system, taking the necessary steps to self-educate, and spread your experiences and knowledge with others alike. 

The F-Word: Feminism in Jeopardy: Women, Politics, and the Future: A Tsunami in History by Kristin Rowe Finkbeiner - Quotes

Well for one, I really dig the title of this book, The F-Word, written by Kristin Rowe—and no, I did not clone her concept to my keyboard as my own. The chapter, "A Tsunami in History," was a good read to open the floor, gain a better understanding, and acquire some sort of appreciation for the optimal feminist. Still, there were some specific things that really stood out to me:

When discussing the opportunities that are now available to women as a result of the sacrifice and service paid by many earlier feminists, Finkbeiner raises concern 
with young women today not understanding the gravity and significance of their involvement in bringing this movement forward and the responsibility that bears with taking on the role as a feminist. Finkbeiner talks about how the women in her family pass down a symbolic ring that represents the power and obligation that expected of her: she calls it "a gift, and a responsibility." She suggests that it is every young and adult woman's duty to honor all of the past women who sacrificed and fought relentlessly to bring women where they are in world today. In fact, I stand firmly behind Finkbeiner. She illustrates the timeline on women's liberation and feminism through three waves: the first wave was getting the right to vote. When these women started this movement men and the rest of society did not have tolerance for it and women had close to no authority. Many women were uneducated so it made having a powerful voice a rare breed in feminism. These optimal women not only battled against sexism and misogyny, but even led abolitionists in the fight to end slavery. Many women were arrested, beaten, and victimized mentally and physically. Finkbeiner makes known that it would only be a women not doing her part if she were to preoccupy her life with all the advantages the older feminist made possible. 
Kristin Rowe Finkbeiner writes that it isn't just important to honor these women of the past by continuing their legacy, but it's important to take advantage of the opportunities that have been made available in order to open new/more doors of opportunity for the future generations. Although getting the right to vote in 1920 was probably the most monumental achievement, it didn't happen overnight. "The amendment was reintroduced every year for the next forty years before it finally passed:" and when it did there were many stipulations to hinder women from being able to vote, mainly the women who desired change the most. 
The second wave took place during the civil rights movement. Women fought for equal opportunities within the workforce, against segregation and homosexuality. Finkbeiner states the third wave is a little harder to define. "The feeling that individual concerns ass up to societal issues in need of electoral (legislative, voting, and candidate) action has been lost, along with flower power and rainbow suspenders, as the second wave fades." This may not sound too bad at first but if you really think about what's being said it's pretty scary. The way I perceive it is our society is basically saying, "hey, look, you got what you wanted, we gave you what we think is fair and it was your choice to bombard us with gay and lesbian rights so you'll just have to be happy with what you have."

It's also pretty clear that many people believe that we have already obtained pure equality between men and women. Unfortunately we have a long way to go.