Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Assignment #1-Reflection

Privilege, Power, and Difference
By: Allan G. Johnson

I enjoyed the reading by Johnson because it made me realize that I knew much less about issues relating to gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity and social class.  I realized that if you aren't confronted with these issues on a personal basis it can sometimes be easy to forget just how serious some of these problems still are today.  The fact that a lot of things that may offend people happen so regularly, it is sometimes hard to notice them.  This link below is an example of how sexism is portrayed on the news.
Sexism in the news

I can relate to Johnson's experience at the restaurant with his African American women friend.  He said, " I felt how hard it was for me to talk about race and gender in that moment-about how the legacy of racism and sexism shapes our lives in such different ways, how my whiteness and maleness are sources of privilege that elevates me not above some abstract groups, but above her, my friend."  I feel that I have been in that situation a few times before in high school, where I was afraid to offend a person of a different race or a women in some cases, just because I wasn't sure the way to word certain things.  Offending someone of a different race was always a bigger concern then saying something wrong to a women, because I have had a lot of experience with talking to women, but not a whole lot of experience in talking to many people of a different race back in high school.  The main reason for this is because my high school and my town of Coventry seems to be close to 90% white.  Now that I have been in college and have had friends of different ethnicity's, this hasn't been as much as an issue for me. 

I can also relate to how many people are labeled, as Johnson states the fact that "people are tagged with other labels that point to the lowest-status group they belong to, as in " women doctor" or "black writer" but never "white lawyer" or "male senator."  I find myself guilty of doing this sometimes, and saying things like "Do you know that male nurse, or that women mecahanic" but often try to stop myself, to prevent from potentially offending someone. 

Question for class:
Do minorities sometimes joke about there ethnicity to feel more comfortable?
The reason I ask this is because I have a friend, who is Asian and Jewish, and literally walks into parties yelling " The Asian Jew is here!", and constantly jokes about being both Asian and Jewish.


  1. wow! first post.

    LOVE the video- fox news is scary like that

    "woman doctor"- so theres a difference between being descriptive and using priveleged statements. bring this up in class! to a certain extent we need to use the words, so if there is one woman doctor who works at a place that you're tryint to talk about, you wouldn't say the person in the scrubs, or the person with white shoes, you'd say, the woman. thats description, thats not offensive. i like that youre doing the work and making the connections to your life

    question for class- GREAT. very valid. it's the "im black so i can say nigger" argument. it doesn't help create change, its a defense mecanism i think.

  2. Hello Brandon,

    I think your mind and heart are in the right place. With the simple fact of knowing that you didn't want to offend anyone of different races and that you try to hold yourself back from referring to someone as a male nurse shows that you are making an active effort to treat people equally. There are people in this world who don't care about labeling others, and if they find out they've done it, they continue by doing it more often. We just have to remember that we are human and people can make mistakes. I sometimes may look at 'women police officers' differently because it is not what we have learned in society is 'appropriate for a females.