Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Teaching the Conflicts - Connections

Meredith A. Love and Brenda M. Helmbrecht
Teaching the Conflicts: (Re)Engaging Students with Feminism in a Postfeminist World

While reading this article I was instantly drawn to Love's discussion on page 46-47, titled "post what?" as follows: 

"We have found that, at times, statistics can be an effective persuasive strategy when discussing the need for continued attention to gender and women’s issues in the U.S. As many feminist instructors (ourselves included) have learned, some students, particularly “traditional,” younger university students, believe that there is no reason to fight for a feminist agenda anymore—a sentiment students freely express in our women’s studies courses. We sometimes attribute this resistance to students never knowingly experiencing discrimination."

This quote, especially the bit about never knowingly experiencing discrimination, brought me back to the very first blog I wrote in response to Johnson's reading "Privilege, Power, and Difference." I remember feeling diassociated when reading his points on privilege and their relation to race/gender/etc. As Love/Helmbrecht would define it, I am part of the so-called "third generation movement" where the same issues do not necessarily apply to people my age as they did people growing up in the 70s for example. I obviously cannot speak for women, but I can see where racial discrimination and sexual bias has come a LONG way. I am from a more tolerant and accepting generation when it comes to that.

Women are still sexually exploited in all avenues of media by being expected to dress in nearly nothing, wear far too much makeup, act sexy, and appear submissive. One has to ask themselves, why is she doing this? Women are strong and, especially American women, are not afraid to speak their minds, so its easy to see they are, like all of us (lets be honest), motivated by money. Sex sells and offers an other wise uneducated, attractive woman, opportunities to make a lot of it. You better believe - if women desired sex as much as men and were willing to pay for naked pictures (Playgirl) or buy sex off the street (prostitution), there would be men lining the street corners peddling themselves for extra cash. Men, like women, are not above selling sex  for money. Hell, most men give it away for free anyhow (myself excluded).

It is fair to say women don't earn as much as men, as Love mentioned, and in that right women are not equal and that is not fair. In my opinion, people should be compenstated based on merit and performance only. However, as far as money goes you are only as priviliged as your superior sees you. If a white man arrives at a job interview and is interviewed by a black (yea I said it so what) man his as Johnson calls it "born privilege" really means nothing. Let's face it people are more concerned with actually getting money rather than how or why. We need to change our greedy, self absorbed, perception and start caring about morals, values, equality, and acceptance in order to embrace feminism. We're not there yet, and I don't see people ever getting there. As long as money rules the world we will all do what we have to do to claim our piece. Sex, steal, lie, step on people, etc...

This may be a little off topic, but a great show nonetheless. American Greed, CNBC, 10 pm.

Sex sells - for both men and women - in advertising.

In class tomorrow I would like to bring up this question. Would you be more (or less) likely to buy something if the salesman was of a different....(fill in the blank)?  If you really wanted a job who what would your ideal supervisor or ideal interviewer look like?  Do you feel nervous going into an interview when you see someone of a different race?  How do you feel about the HR always handing out voluntary racially identifying forms?  Just some questions I had in mind that I wanted to share.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

More pictures from Occupy Providence

Occupy Providence pictures.

Here are the rest of my pictures from Occupy Providence.  Thanks for your help Eva.

It's About The Change In You! Part 2

Occupy Providence

Sorry about this not being attatched to part 1.  My computer doesn't want to work for some reason.
Continuing on my visit to Burnside Park, it was very depressing to see the living standards and lack of necessities in order to survive.  My question is are they really accomplishing equality and economic injustice during this cold season?  I see the focus on their living conditions and people feeling bad for these people on what they have to endure day in and day out.  They have alot of pride but I didn't see many of them actively fighting for this cause.  In one instance right when I was about to leave around 2, they were going to protest at the Capitol building about blocking the Achievement First Campaign.  As Shennen had told me it dealt with the conditions of Providence's public schools and quality of education along with the position of teachers in the mix.  Thanks Shennen.  What do you think about Occupy Providence?  Is it successful?  Are they making headway?

While reviewing the Occupy Providence's website I found some rather interesting information on what areas they support and are against.  You can actually follow them by signing in and see what they're up to by the hour.  They have schedules of places they are going to meet and what they're fighting for.  Here are some guidelines I found interesting on the website.

What to do if one or more people do not follow these guidelines:
  • It is the responsibility of the whole group, as well as the discussion group facilitators, to tell someone if they are disrespecting another person, to remind them to focus on commenting upon someone’s ideas and not upon their character or motivation.
  • Remember, you can always send individual emails if necessary, but the public discussion forum is not an appropriate place for personal or angry exchanges. Facilitators in the online discussion group should privately email people who are engaging in such activity and ask them to stop doing so.
  • It is the primary responsibility of facilitators not to end discussions, but to move them in a constructive direction in which all members are respectful of one another.

Here is one of the pictures I took of Occupy Providence at Burnside Park.  I have other pictures as well but for some reason they're not downloading but I'll get them up as soon as possible.


It's About The Change In You!

Occupy Providence Post

To start off I really didn't know what Occupy Providence was all about.  All I knew was what the school newspaper published on a weekly basis.  And I never really read in depth the articles they published.  I walked up to Burnside Park with a clean slate and left with alot of knowledge about what it is, what it stood for and the determination of reaching equality in many aspects.  I noticed the mass amount of tents, pallets(from sleeping on the cold ground) and tarps.  There were probably 20 people total that I saw walking around and conversing around this lemonad stand structure Mike(in class).  I met two people named Mike and Chuck.  Later I was joined by Shennen.  I didn't really know where to start and just started with the obvious question, "What is Occupy Providence?"  Mike had just been there for a week and explained to me that they were standing up for equality and the injustices the major corporations had been partaking in.  He said the biggest group they were protesting against were the politicians who were making thousands and not funding local businesses.  He kept on emphasizing greed and corruption against the little men.  He said corporate greed is at an all time high and many people feel the same as Occupy Providence does.  He said with the help of local markets, stores and general people with this concern, progress is around the corner. Mike was standing up for the agriculture businesses who were being put out of business by the bigger corporations.  The mom and pop stores being run out because the bigger agricultural companies had a patent on a seed where production could only be used by them.  Well with all of the lawsuits and attorney fees and court fees, the mom and pop agriculture companies didn't stand a chance.  Mike, like me, is from North Carolina, said there are bigger problems in the South due to the heavy agriculture business companies running these smaller companies out of business.  He said there were a number of causes they were fighting for in Occupy Providence.  I asked him what kind of protests did he partake in and he said a week ago the Providence firefighters and Occupy Providence marched to the City Hall to fight for the continuance of the firefighters pension plans.  I didn't know about this and it shed some light to me that not only Occupy Providence was involved but also the firefighters were in alliance with them. He also emphasized the importance of taxing the rich like the middle class families as well.  This I found very interesting because we had been talking about that in class and Warren Buffet is also a supporter of this.
  I asked Mike general questions about where do they get food, toiletries and locations of bathrooms facilities and the answers I got were very saddening.  He said there weren't any porter potties that you actually have to go to a restaurant and buy something in order to use the bathroom.  I then asked what about the homeless?  All he said was they make do.  Wow!  He said they get donations of food, clothing and blankets but that's pretty much it.  I then asked if the Salvation Army donates anything and he said he wasn't aware of any.  I then asked what about electricity or a generator?  No was the answer I got.  He mentioned that people do have jobs and houses and let the occupy providence followers use their resources considering they don't have any outlets for microwaves.  I can't imagine living out there with no power, bathrooms or the necessities to live.  I then asked if there were water fountains and he also said no.  Water and food is key for survival in these conditions yet there weren't any around.  It was a very depressing environment.  He then told me several people live out there a couple of nights a week and then go retreat back to their homes to stand up for the cause.  I noticed there was a sign that said no alcohol or drugs.  I asked him if he had any behavioral or intoxication problems and he said not very much.  I then asked him do you find alot of people taking advantage of the system by asking for donations, for example the homeless.  He said there's alot of people who take advantage of the system and their movement but yet they can't turn anyone down.  I met another individual named Chuck.  I think he was high or something because he looked under the influence of something.  He kept on repeating himself and made no sense.  While talking to him, he kept on shaving his face and I was scared he was going to cut his face or something.  I need a mirror when I shave, just a little necessity that makes a difference to me.  I asked Mike about local enforcement patrolling for any illegal activity.  He said if they do come it's usually around 4 am when everybody is sleeping.  I asked if there were any medical teams that come out to help and he said he wasn't aware of any.  I was mind boggled about the lack of everyday necessities one needs in order to survive in these treacherous environments.  I then asked him how much sleep do you get a night?  He said you'd be suprised by it but often he wakes up every 2-3 hours.  Crazy!  I asked him has he seen progress and he said he has.  That come Spring time he knows this movement is about to make a big push and fight for equality.  He said the timing could have been better but they got to do what they got to do.

Questions and Comments for class based on Andrea Ayvazian's article

Questions and Comments on Interrupting the Cycle of Oppression: The Role of Allies as Agents of Change

I was wondering if anybody felt the way I did about the class Gender and Society being a requirement for all incoming Freshman and Transfers?  Also what would you do if you overheard someone being very cruel and see people being targeted by oppression?  Would you react or stand back and do nothing?  What do you think about interventions dealing with violent domestic abuse?  After visiting Occupy Providence would you get involved if a loved one were dealing with the same issues that Occupy Providence is fighting?  After learning of all the struggles they were dealing with I have participated by donating food and batteries to Occupy Providence.  If it weren't for this class, I honestly probably would of never visited Burnside Park.  It's time to make a change and it starts with me.

Some youtube videos I wanted to share.

Interrupting the Cycle of Oppression: The Role of Allies as Agents of Change
Andrea Ayvazian.
Extended Comments on Mike's Blog: Youtube Videos

I forgot to include these on my blog.
Obama on PFLAG.
Cyndi Lauper and Straight for Eqaulity. I didn't know this!
Why are you gay?

The Role of Allies as Agents of Change

Interrupting the Cycle of Oppression: The Role of Allies as Agents of Change
Andrea Ayvazian
Extended Comments on Mike's Mind

   I also found this article a very good read in the purpose in how becoming an ally a great way of diminishing the power of oppression.  Ayvazian describes an ally as a member of a dominant group in our society who works to dismantle any form of oppression from which she or he receives the benefit.  She discusses the dominant group, as white, heterosexual as the particular force and group to rid society of all the negativity that comes with oppression. But whites are not the only group classified as dominant.  Everybody has some sort of dominance within their genetic make-up whether it be gender, race or sex.
   As Mike stated in his blog, we learned in class that an agent is someone who stands up for someone who is being bullied, attacked and targeted.  Ayvazian goes on to say allied behavior is an effective way to interrupt the cycle of violence by breaking the silence that reinforces the cycle, and by promoting a new set of behavior through modeling and mentoring.  She defines modeling and mentoring these abusive powers by standing up and taking action to fight the cause of oppression.  When you see it happening, do something about it.  Silence is only adding to the problem especially if you are part of the dominant group.  She also made me realize that white, heterosexual males aren't the only dominant groups.  For example, when Kenneth Jones referred to allied behavior as "having my back".  That statement is so true because you are helping with the fight to rid oppression altogether when you were work together no matter what race, sex, or gender.  People of all colors, shapes and sizes bring more awareness to the table when we come together to fight the cause.  Jones is not classified as "dominant" because he's African American but he can talk to his fellow African American males because he is viewed as the same as them.  He later states he's reaching out to the group Andrea would have a hard time reaching out to because she's a woman and classified as less.  In return Andrea can reach out to the whites where Ken would have a hard time reaching because of his race, gender and sex.  That's the definition of "having my back" where if everyone took that approach we would have a fighting chance to rid the world of oppression or make a big difference in that aspect. 
   The quote is on the bottom of page 599.   "The anti-racism trainer Kenneth Jones, an African American, refers to allied behavior as "being at my back."  He has said to me, "Andrea, I know you are at my back on the issue of race equality-you're talking to white people who cannot hear me on this topic, you're out there raising these issues repeatedly, you're organizing with other whites to stand up to racism.  And I'm at your back.  I'm raising issues of gender equity with men, I am talking to men who cannot hear you, I've made a committment to combat sexism."
   I also agree with Mike that Ayvazian's article does relate to Johnson's "Privelege, Power and Difference."  Where Johnson states we need to step up and take a stand anf fight oppression.  Where if we just stand around and not do anything we are adding to the problem.  Also Yamato's article "Something About the Subject Makes it Hard to Name", sheds light to being aware and taking a stand on oppression.  We need to stop shying away from the problem and recognize what can we do to help and fix the problem.
  Overall great article Mike.  I enjoyed your comments and questions to share with the class.  It starts with the individual iside of us to diminish oppression overall.  By education, awareness, mentoring and modeling hopefully we will begin to make bigger strides in this area.  I also believe a Gender and Society class like this one should be mandatory in all college's as a Gen. Ed. requirement.