Privilege, Power, and Difference By Allan G. Johnson
While reading this work by Allan Johnson I quickly caught myself writing down quotes of some of things he was saying. So I thought using quotes would be the best way to write this post...
"People can't help fearing the unfamiliar-including people of other races, goes one popular argument. Or women and men are so dissimilar it's as though they they come from separate planets, and it's some kind of cross-cultural (if not cross-species) miracle that we get along as well as we do. Or there is only one natural sexual orientation (heterosexual), and all the rest are therefore unacceptable and bound to cause conflict wherever they become obvious. Or those who are more capable will get more than everyone else-they always have and they always will. Someone, after all, has to be on top. " (Page 3)
I thought this quote was interesting because, why can't we all be equal rather than one having to always be on top? And why is it that women and men working together works so well, yet we can't find ourselves to be able to work so well with others. Even so, the unity between man and woman hasn't been working out so well as it is with rising divorce rates, but why is it that just because one relationship works, all others must be "unacceptable and bound to cause conflict" in our society. If a relationship between man and woman can work so well, how can society say that it is so wrong to have man and man work together, or woman and woman, or black and white in a fair and equal way? This quote stood out to me because it so clearly shows a double standard in our society. It is accepted for some, but not for all. It rose a lot of questions for me, and kept me interested in what else Johnson had to say.
"The bottom line is that trouble we can't talk about is a trouble we can't do anything about" (Page13)
I thought this quote was interesting because it brings about a true point. If we as a people all begin to get offended by certain terms, or usages of words, then how can we discuss why they are so offensive. And if we can't discuss the things that offend us, then we will never get to the underlying issues and problems at hand. So basically, in order for us to fix the problems in today's society, we must first be able to talk about them. If you can't talk about them, and whats wrong with them, then we will never get them fixed, and society will continue to oppress and be unequal for all.
"For now, it's important to be aware that we don't have to be special or even feel special in order to have access to privilege because privilege doesn't derive from who we are or what we've done. It's a social arrangement that depends on which category we happen to be sorted into by other people and how they treat us as a result."(Page 36)
I thought this quote should be put on my blog because people need to truly understand that point. Privilege has nothing to so with who you are, the type of person you are, or what you have accomplishes. Its a social categorization of who, what, and where society thinks you should be. Its disgusting, but oppression ad privilege are parts of our social norm in today's day. The oppressed have no good reason to be oppressed other than the way they were born, and that's unacceptable morally but clearly acceptable socially.
In class tomorrow I would like to talk about the fact that Johnson was speaking about how uncomfortable he was when working with a co-worker who was a black woman. As a woman she had to walk steadily to her car, have her keys ready, and make sure she checked her back seat before she could feel safe to drive home. I laughed because I didn't realize that I DO THIS!! Especially at night, I always race to my car, with my keys in my knuckles in case I get attacked, lock my doors as soon as I am inside, and turn around to make sure no one is stashed away in my back seat to hurt me. WHY?? Because I am a woman. None of my guy friends ever do this.. but I asked some girl friends, and they do. Are we that vulnerable that we have to constantly look over our shoulder in risk of being hurt? & by who? A man? A woman? Maybe a monster? Who knows.. all I do know, is that I feel a little less paranoid knowing that I'm not the only woman who acts this way.