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).


  1. I really liked reading your blog, and I think if everyone decided to act the way you do we would live in a much happier place. I agree with you that those who are part of the dominant group need to realize that they contribute to the problem of discrimination that exists in our society. The truth is, like you said, it is all of our problems and we all need to work together to fix it.

  2. You really impressed me with your speech of no more being the same person. It takes courage and will in order to change your views.