Friday, January 21, 2011
I think to have a change for the better we need to overcome our fear of what other people think. Parents and relatives always saying to be yourself or be who you are. I believe if someone truly is passionate about something then they will not be afraid, but we have to believe in it. I believe issues of social justice are not for the faint of heart. I have grown up a lot in the last two years, trying to understand social justice. I find that we have to be optimistic and oppurtunistic. When an ignorant comment is made, especially if they know better, one thing we can do is to ask why they said that. I also can tell them some of the facts. Its also in the way one says things. I think I can use my humor sometimes, I'm pretty witty, not to toot my own but beep beep. I help by talking about social justice issues amongst people. I also plan bone marrow drives. I do at least 60 hours of community service a year. I think that I will leave the world a better place by example. My friend and I started Giovanni's Team at UNH 5 years ago. We have 6 potential matches which is crazy because the chances of someone being a match are 1 in 20,000. The thing I have done over the past 2 years is immerse myself in the community. One has to start small and work thei way up the ladder. I think the most realistic thing any of us can do is to immerse themselves in their community and talk to people. Become involved. That is the best way to learn from other people too. Good intentions only get us so far, fear is what holds us back. One just has to get out there and make themselves known to the community. All the people at Waysmeet and the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs are more than willing to talk to people about issues of social justice. I learned so much just through meeting Sean, Otis, Ellen, and Larry...not to mention all of their staff and students. Also something to remember is that it is a learning process, we keep learning, one can never know all there is to know about social justice. One just has to keep on moving forward and trying to learn and be involved in their community, which is what I intend to do.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
I believe a good activist is someone who understands that they are not always going to be met with flowers and smiles. Although people enjoy and certainly appreciate when people listen to them, its not always going to happen, in fact it won't. We talked about people who have privilege are blind to it and they can feel a lot of guilt towards those who are being oppressed and as a result they become defensive. A good activist needs to be hard, someone who can handle negative attitudes and words and someone who is not all rainbows and sunshine all the time. I have found that there is something to be gained with tough love. Not abusing people, but chances are that some will cry, I mean social justice is not easy. It shouldn't be, if it was then we wouldn't have any isms to be concerned with because everyone would be all about rainbows and sunshine...so, a good activist needs to understand that the world is not always a lovey dovey place, which is why they need to be hard, not cold to people. I associate a effective, positive change agent with someone who is nice, has a sense of humor, is passionate about humanity, and someone who can "live simply, give more, expect less" -which is just a quote that I love and also think is something that people should live by, in general. In respect to being passionate about humanity-I always think of MLK, he said, "A man who won't die for something is not fit to live," and when it comes down to it, I believe if a person is going to combat any of the isms they should have that passion because if they do not then the consequences could be more than they could handle. I'm not saying that if one does go against an ism that they will be hurt or in the worst case actually die, but with a lot of these isms there is tremendous emotion and sometimes a lot of hate. I admire MLK because he was so articulate and I feel like he knew things that would not have been apparent to the most genius people. I also admire his strength and his passion. I admire Bell Hooks for her devotion and her demeanor. I like the video "Visionary" because it doesn't have a real tone to it. I like videos where one can get the facts. I enjoyed the "Activism" video because it demonstrates the "hard" personality that I referred to earlier. People have to be willing to stand up to oppression.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
At school my life is more full of people of diverse ages. Home is more just me and my family. The oldest person in my immediate family is 54. Work is certainly not diverse because I work in the mailroom and all the people there are my age. I think my surpervisor is 28? I actually hang out with my a diverse age group. I am a pretty decent people person so I can talk to almost anyone about things. Younger people are sometimes hard for me to handle (teenagers) I have a nephew who is sixteen and he is nice to me when his friends are not around, is is when they are around for the most part, but his mouth just goes. I appreciate elderly people because I love their stories. I loved talking to my grandmother about the past and how she lived on a farm and had like 10 cows and they used to have to pick up after them....it's a good story. Young and middle-aged adults are privileged because they are generally past all the legal business (drivers license, being 21) and they are physically able to do for themselves. Older folks are viewed as incapable or in the way sometimes. Younger people still have that need to be taken care of aspect to them sometimes. To combat ageism I think we need to teach it. We need to have an experience where individuals can understand how it is to walk a mile in the shoes of an elderly person.
I used to be ageist until I did a short stint in a rehab hospital and I was the only young person there. I was seventeen. Most of the people there had about 45-60, even 70 years on me. I talked with them some and a lot of them had family but they would complain that their family did not visit them. I felt bad about that. Then my grandmother went into a nursing home, she's still there. She was so angry that she got put in a nursing home because she owned and maintained her own house for a good 40 years, but her daughters tried assisted living and she just needed a higher level of care. She is going to be 85. She still has her mind and that is what makes it so difficult for her to accept that she is getting too old to take care of herself. It's kind of like having a disability because she wants to be independent but she cannot physically keep up with an independent lifestyle. She does not want to be a "burden" to anyone. I feel like the root cause of ageism is life is so fast-paced and people actually do treat their family members like they are a burden because the life of an old person is a lto slower paced than that of a young person. I feel like older people have earned it though. I feel like maybe this "ism" is seldom talked about because its a source of guilt for many people, just like a lot of the other isms. Of the videos I watched I liked "Once we were young" the most because it shows how easy it is to help older folks out. Really it is just time, once a program like that is established people have options. I am sure that many older people do not have many that they can depend on, some do, but most do not. This video also made me sad to know that each week 30 older people commit suicide. I believe that is a red flag to society. Our older folks need more options as opposed to living the rest of their days out in a hospital because they cannot afford the high expense to live in a assisted living facility or a nice nursing home. I feel like we kind of just forget or dump our older folks into someone else's hands. We need more options. The sad thing is that no one knows what it is like to be old until they are old too.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
I think this video demonstrates that th human body is highly capable of not only adapting to changes , but living with changes. I feel as though people who are "able" bodied make judgements for people with disabilities because they cannot imagine how it would be to live like the person who is disabled. They often over empathize and end up feeling bad for an individual with a disability. This video shows that many people with disabilities want to be seen as what they are, able-bodied. If a person with a disability can do the same contemporary dance that a non disabled person can do than there should be no problem there, and mostly there is not. I believe that people over empathize with the person who has the disability which makes the person seem inadequate or useless because that is how the able-bodied person would feel if they were in that situation, especially because it is so foreign to them. I can realte that Susan Wendell's article because I believe that she talks about disability being socially constructed. I believe that over empathising with people whow have disabilities is a social construction, like gender. People feel safe and secure in their male or female category and all those outside of the category threaten their security, I suppose? The same is true with disability because many people feel uncomfortable around people with disabilities because they assume that disabled people's social needs and wants are different than their own. I feel that disability and gender are in a way similar in that many people see "the rejected body" as Wendell put it.
I feel as though "Beautifil Daughters" spoke more to me because I was able to see the reactions on those women's faces when they talked about how they were treated and the fear they experienced. I am too guilty of staring at women who I believe may be transgender (because of their height usually). I'm the type of person who catches myself and then feels bad because I know that if they saw me staring at them then I probably just added to their frustration, also, my mother would probably be very dissappointed if you saw me staring at someone. Anyway, throughout the video, I was in awe of how these women were able to stand up to fear and ignorance rather than crawl into a hole and hide who they are. I think the way they handled what they were up against is a tremendous testament to human strength and ability. In a way, I believe they are role models for how we, people involved in social justic, should be on a daily basis. They presented themselves an a strong front against fear and ignorance. Its inspiring that people can make their way up the ladder to, "stand up and be counted" as Leslie Townsend said. I think it's great that her mission is to be a role model, she is taking control of an oppurtunity to lead by example. I also think Townsend's answer should resonate with cisgender people and we should realize that to be an ally one has to stand up and be counted too, because there is definitely strength in numbers. I feel like the "Trans Woman Manifesto" was so well thought out. It explained the narrow confines we have as people who identify as male or female. Townsend said to stand and be counted most likely because before she was unable to do so because she did not fit in a category. Categorizing people is hurtful and as a 5'9" heavy individual I get treated as less than female all the time, yet I dress as a female, look like a female, I am just too big to fit into the feminine category because I am not short and dainty. I'm too tall and too wide. It makes me laugh. The narrow confines are ridiculous.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article because as I was reading it a bunch of things started to click, to make sense. We talked about how the key to privilege is power. I never thought of prositution as something that men initiated. I always thought of it as something women do because they need money for drugs or they have children to take care of. When Dworkin says, "I would like to say to you that these men are cowards, that these men are brutes, that these men are fools, that these men are able to do what they do because they have the power of men as a class behind them, which they get because men use force against women," it clicked that in order to keep one group on the top there has to be one on the bottom. Then I started to put the pieces together that male dominace is more about control than anything else. Even men who don't use or "participate" in prostitution because they should be allies to women. I agree with Dworkin when she says, "they have the power of men as a class behind them," because with pornography that is so true. They have the older men who have done it or allowed it happen, the middle-aged men who have done it or allowed it to happen, and now they have the younger men who are following the example of men before them which really just creates a cycle of abuse against women and not just prostitutes. For example, I was talking to my friend one day and I asked him what he thought of porn because I had just seen a disturbing video about the unfortunate backlash of porn against women. He said that he thought it was empowering. Well, that is something that summed up the cycle: empowering. Of course it is, for men. Sexual acts are almost always embarrassing for a woman to see, but when men see them it is that collective, "Yeah..." I think this because women do feel ashamed or embarrassed because they know that's how they would feel in that position. No one really wants to be objectified. I feel like a lot of women say that they like the attention or they are just free to be themselves. I always think when I hear a woman say either of those things: well for who? Because most of the time there are men around when they start acting "not themselves" its one thing to be around a group of girls, when men are thrown into the mix most women change their attitude really quick. I feel like men have used their power to condition women for that kind of behavior and it is almost impossible to tell a girl or woman that she is acting that way because she doesn't even realize that she is. Once again, a cycle.