Friday, January 21, 2011

Question O

"The greatest barrier to change is that dominant groups, as we've discussed, don't see the trouble as their trouble, which means they don't feel obliged to do something about it" (Johnson 127). I am white, male, working-middle class. I am a part of the dominant group and I need to acknowledge that privilege and oppression exist. I have been invisible to it most of my life; no more. I fall into the category of someone who has fueled heterosexism with cruel and mean jokes in the locker room and in social situations; no more. Even though I have many friends of race and do not considered myself a racist, I have still made racial remarks that fuel racial oppression within our social systems in this country; no more. I have sat back for most of the 23 years I have been alive and thought as long as I just stay out of the way and not interfere then I'm not hurting anyone; no more. Whether I like it or not, my participation in our social systems affects oppression, and I'm going to take responsibility as someone who is a part of the dominant group and start where I can to make a change.

Johnson said that changing how we think as individuals is one of the first steps in solving the problem of privilege. However, it will take a collective effort of people applying our understandings to changing the systems themselves. The key for everyone is to connect our choices to the systems we participate in. Things like not laughing at a racist or gay joke, asking officials questions about positions concerning gender or race, or promoting equality for all people in an environment are things we can do to challenge the norm. "When you openly change how you participate in a system, you do more than change your own behavior; you also change how the system happens" (Johnson 143).

 We all have daily choices that are connected to the systems of privilege and oppression. Making small changes in our own lives is where we can start to make a change in the world. We most likely won't be alive to see the results to their fullest, but that's not why we should be working to make a change. We should do it because it's the right thing to do for our present and future humanity.
"Gandhi once said that nothing we do as individuals matters but that it's vitally important to do it anyways"(Johnson 132).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Question N

I believe an activist as any person who fights for a cause that they strongly believe in, in a peaceful yet powerfully passionate way. They stand up for a cause that they believe down to their very core will better themselves, as well as their society and all of humanity. I believe a strong character point about being an activist is someone who rallies their cause without violence. That is why Martin Luther King Jr. is so beloved because no matter what, violence was never apart of his curriculum in his protest for civil rights. In the video The 12 Keys of Spiritual Activism a major quality they promoted was compassion and I agree completely. Their first core step was all action must be based on compassion. "Spiritual activism is action for the benefit of something, not against something". There's a difference from fighting against something, such as hatred towards gays and lesbians, than standing up and fighting for something, such as equal rights and benefits for gays and lesbians. An activist that I really admire was former President Lyndon B. Johnson. It was John F. Kennedy who in the early 60's was extremely influential with civil rights in America for all people. However, when he was assassinated in 1963 many of his movements that he was fighting for, like African-American civil rights with MLK, were carried on and finalized by his vice president Lyndon Johnson. He used his power and influence in Congress to bring about much of Kennedy's legislative agenda, and it was Johnson who continued to work with MLK and got the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed and signed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Question M

I believe the root cause of ageism can be linked to our new advances in technology and science, and how they've been used to change our media world and societies. Our world is moving at such a faster pace then we were 50 to even 15 years ago and older people get stereotyped with this symbol of 'slow' or the 'past'. Our society can have a prejudicial attitude towards old people that is completely unwarranted and incorrect at times. I'll admit that there are times when I have been upset driving behind an old person or waiting in line behind an old person and had thoughts why can't this old person just get out of my way. However, I do not consider myself an ageist because I talk with my grandparents on a weekly basis and love to see them whenever I can. I also have helped out at senior citizens homes and talking with older people can truly be fascinating. They've seen, heard, and learned so much in their times and I've always believed that wisdom and experience are our best teachers.

Seeing older people in my community and the discrimination towards them at times can be frustrating because they are being out casted in ways that truly are discrimination. The video Too Old to Work has the common excuses that are given to old people now when they are being let go or are trying to become employed. 'Overqualified', 'too experienced', 'you'll be bored', etc. are some of the reasons that the people in the video explained as reasons they were not hired. I have heard them many times before from older people at the senior citizens homes and from my grandfather when he was let go of his job. It's really ridiculous because its the companies way of saving money because they can pay an entry level job less money then a person who is qualified. So don't get mad at your grocery store baggier person if they're older and going slow because most likely they're there because that's the only job that they can get with the way our society is discriminating them. It was great to see the video Once we were young and know there are groups like Age Concern out there. I had never heard of them but I think they're doing a great thing helping older people who really need the help. Growing old isn't easy; its accompanied by lost loved ones and change in so many ways that I have yet to imagine. Older people deserve help and the very least our respect.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Question L

The question of how does dance expand the notions of the human body is an interesting one. I feel the video Gimp was pretty amazing, It shows that being disabled is a question of perspective. Dancing allows the freedom to portray feelings, express emotions and overcome boundaries created by society. The limitations society places on disabled people are many. However, the "Gimp" project proves that through dance the disabled can become whole. The comedian Josh Blue, fights discrimination through laughter. This form of enlightenment is another way creative way to fight ableism. The Women Institute on Leadership and Development was inspiring. These women fight to break down barriers across the world. This movement shows that ableism is a world wide problem, and global movements will only increase the efforts to fight ableism. Projects like these can lead to further education of abled people and fight discrimination.
        Ableism is definitely one of the least obvious "isms". Because it's hard to define what is normal. Society has many different views on the disabled. As Wendell points out, "Pace is a major aspect of expectations of performance: non-disabled people often take pace for granted." The fact that disabled people may take to long going up the stairs or at the grocery store, leads non-disabled people to become frustrated with this pace. Our culture is constantly moving and society can feel that the disabled are holding them back. Why can't they be "normal" and move along? Our world is designed for the healthy, not only in body, but in mind. This "ism" is new to me, but just goes to show, culturally we are not aware of how many disabilities people can face, and that we are often blind to them.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Question K

Beautiful Daughters pretty much showed me a world that I knew nothing about and it was very interesting and moving to hear their stories. I don't know any transgender people and having never had to deal with it firsthand it is not something I give much thought to. I was when in high school when I first even heard about transgender and it was shocking to me. I really didn't even know that their were other sexes besides males and females. I have to admit I when I was young I perceived it as very weird that there could be transgender people but I was very immature.

There were a couple things that really stood out to me from the video Beautiful Daughters and the article "Trans Women Manifesto". The first was the definition of transgender that Julia Serano gives that a trans woman is defined as any person who was assigned a male sex at birth, but who identifies as and/or lives as a woman. It was hard for me to get that but when I watched the video when the women were having their meetings, the woman who was doing the research for the group said she never understood how these women didn't understand men because at one point they were a man. Then she said that she finally understood that they didn't know because they never thought of themselves as a man they always saw and thought of themselves as a woman. That really made sense to me and kinda shook me that these women saw themselves as being trapped in a man's body. It really made me appreciate the courage and fortitude of these women who have gone through so much to become who they see themselves as, and then go out into the world and try to live their lives and become accepted for who they are.

The word cisgender is a little strange to me but what I gather from the reading is that cisgender is someone who is comfortable with the assigned gender that they were given at birth. I didn't realize that makes me a cisgender but I guess for us to help transphobia is to just be accepting of people. Be kind and understanding to the delicate and fragile soul of everyone. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion of how they wish to treat people, but I think we all can be respectful of people as their own individuals.

Racism Video

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Process Piece

I'm glad that I got an opportunity to talk about racism and more specifically racism towards the Islamic and Muslim people. 9/11 happened when I was a freshmen in high school and has played such an enormous role in my life. Over the past decade I have grown up listening and watching our country as we have invaded Iraq and declared a "war on terrorism". I have always felt that was a BS way of naming an invansion of another country. If we are declaring a "war on terrorism" what about all of the domestic terrorism that we deal with in the US? What about all of the white males in the US who commit deadly crimes daily? One act from the Muslim people and all of sudden we declare war on them? The stigma, as Tim Wise said in his lecture, sticks to no white person in this country. Privilege blinds us and fuels racism in this country.

Working on this powerpoint was not difficult for me because I have used powerpoint before. Trying to import it into a movie was very difficult. However, I am glad I had the opportunity to make a movie discussing racism and voice my opinions and get some facts in there as well.

Resources Used: