Thursday, May 1, 2008

the nature of inequality

"white supremacy and their defining the norm"....i just heard a girl say this at the table next to me.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately.
i know that we cannot help the way we are born or the society into which we were born.
we can't change what the majority of the world thinks when we arrive into it.
sometime modes of thinking are in place that are discriminatory.
if you are not in a minority, you are fundamentally privileged, regardless of whether you think so or not. you are living and acting in a society where you just can't see how you benefit. you may never understand how this is the case. sometimes it's impossible to see your privilege until it's either pointed out to you by someone else or until it's taken away. when everyone believes what you believe, it's easy (unquestionable) to keep thinking that way.
this is so problematic and disheartening to me.
yet, i believe there is a reason why each person is born the way they are.
maybe some people are born with more courage or desire to fight against prejudice.
maybe God has given some people more drive, more of the gifts of helping others understand.
maybe the strongest spirits are those who are in minorities.
and privilege, is just that, a privilege.
it's not fair.
try not to disregard that it exists.
recognize it and don't try to paint the world as ideal and everyone as equal.
it's not.
yes, society is pluralistic, but not everyone is equal.
yes, things are getting slowly, progressively better, but we're not to a place of equality for all people.
i don't know exactly what i'm trying to say.
all i know is that if i fail to recognize that i live in a culture that is dominated and dictated by a white, Christian, male framework, then I will be doing myself a disfavor.
i cannot truly and fully be of service to others without recognizing the framework in which i've been socialized. i read today that 82% of Americans identify with being Christian. This means that an underlying Christian ideology is at work. there will always be some kind of prejudice against those who aren't Christian merely because of that aspect of their identity. The sad part is, that i will not recognize the inequality they feel, unless it is blatantly obvious. I will not notice it because I'm in the majority and i think that that's just the way things are. And i don't know how to fix this. I don't know how to make things better. When you yourself are part of a majority's ideology, how do you NOT reproduce it? It's just who you are, shouldn't you accept it and celebrate it? We need to find a way of doing this, celebrating ourselves, WITHOUT putting anyone else down. We need to find a way of accepting ourselves and who we are, without saying that others are wrong or that they need to be like us.

i'm writing a paper right now (actually i'm writing this blog right now) about how there is a misconception in America about the level of violence in Islam as opposed to Christianity. Some of the statistics about what people think just make me SO upset. Why do people believe things without having any basis? How can people say things without having any sort of realization that their words are prejudice, domineering, WRONG. (one of my qualms with using the word wrong is that it is only my conception of wrong...there's unfortunately no universal or objective "wrong") But regardless of how they have arrived at a certain conclusion, I honestly do believe some people are just wrong in their thought processes. There seems to be a misconception of what justice is and how to attain peacefulness.

i hope for the sake of humanity and for my own peace of mind that certain ways of thinking, acting, perceiving, treating, living, responding are fixable. not just in what i understand as fixable either, in a way that works for those who understand what actually needs to be fixed.

more listening needs to start occurring. real listening.

1 comment:

la said...

you make me happy. thanks for having that conversation with me the other night. (after goofy movie lol)

yay for checking your privilege! i can't tell you how crucial this kind of thought is to the work we do in CalSERVE...and after months and months of these kinds of dialogues, workshops, etc...there are folks who can't express these ideas as eloquently as you just did :)