This week within our Values Lecture, we dug deeper into racism and patriarchy alongside their histories and sociological perspectives. The lecture aimed to make us think deeper into how far we have come with racism and patriarchy, and how we are still battling these matters in modern times. As a student who loved studying History in secondary school and whose favourite topic was the Civil Rights Movement in America, I was thoroughly interested by the lecture and it opened not only mine but everyone’s eyes as to how prominent racism and patriarchy are still to this very day.
In the first part of the lecture, we discussed the topic of racism and mostly how it has developed since the late 18th century. We discussed things such as the Ku Klux Klan, Martin Luther King Junior, and the Jim Crow laws set up due to what was called ‘blackface’. Derek really reinforced to me that although we have improved a lot since these times, racism is still prominent throughout society by showing us examples of it taking place on social media and throughout the news. It made me realise that racism can still be prominent within schools and it will be my duty as a teacher to prevent this from the earliest stages. As a teacher it will also be my responsibility to treat all children fairly and with the same amount of respect, no matter what their ethnicity or background may be.
We then went onto discuss patriarchy and how this has also developed through time. Derek touched on historical groups such as the Suffragettes and Suffragists who had to fight hard to win the vote for women, even in the very city of Dundee. This was inspiring to see how far equal rights for both genders has come. However, Derek again showed us video clips and posts from social media that highlighted to us how patriarchy is still evident nowadays. One of these being by the company Always. It portrayed different people of different ages acting out ‘female’ actions. Adults and adolescents were asked to do things such as ‘run like a girl’ and ‘fight like a girl’. Through this, females were portrayed as weak and useless. However, when younger children were asked to do the same actions, they portrayed women to be strong and hard working. This really opened my eyes to my responsibility as a teacher in teaching children to maintain that mind-set: that everyone can be strong if they try their hardest, no matter what your gender is. This lecture also made me realise how significant the feminism move is in the modern day and how grateful I am for the strong, powerful and influential people who have stood up for gender and racial equality within society.