Racism and Patriarchy

My Story on Racism and Sexism.

When growing up, I never looked at the colour of someones skin and judged them. I never thought about why a man was with a man or a woman with a woman. I had the privilege of being brought up in a house where it doesn’t matter where you came from, your religion, your sex, disability etc. I was brought up that as long as I am happy in my life, then my family would be happy for me.

Which is why, when I was older and starting High School, I never really understood racism or sexism. I never understood people who bullied others for having a disability, or for being gay, or for believing in a certain religion. I just really didn’t see how it was okay to bully someone with a disability, how it was okay to shout abuse at people who had fallen in love with someone of the same sex, how it was acceptable to throw things at people who believe in God or Allah. For me, everyone is the same.

But obviously, throughout High School, I was learning more from others and even though I didn’t understand it (and still don’t fully understand it) I accepted the fact that black people, gay people, women and disadvantaged people were always going to be looked down upon. This is something that has always hit me hard. Due to my gender I am constantly quizzed about not wanting a child. I have never wanted a child and it’s just a personal choice I have made, on my own. Yet, I am being told that I will change my mind when I’m older, that all women eventually have children, that I will regret my decision, that I am selfish for not having a child as there are people in this world that cannot have children. Yet, I don’t hear men get the same ‘grilling’.

Emmet Till + Racism.

Today, in my lecture we started the class off with a story about a young boy called Emmet Till. Emmet Till was a 14 year old boy who apparently wolf whistled at an older lady, a few days later the lady’s husband and brother took Emmet and beat him, tortured him and shot him in the head followed by dumping his body in the river. At court, the jury decided that the two men were innocent and let them go. Not long after they admitted in a magazine interview that they did kill him. But nothing was done about this. Now, this story is shocking and nearly unbelievable. However. I missed out that Emmet was a young black boy, the lady was white, her husband and brother were white, and the jury was white. This also took place over 50 years ago. This is a shocking story to us now when we read this, we can’t even imagine this to happen in todays society.

But in 50 years, will there be another young blogger talking about how s/he couldn’t believe that white police in America were just shooting down innocent black people because they were ‘dangerous’? In 50 years will they be disgusted that up until recently women couldn’t go into St Andrews Gold Course Clubhouse due to their gender? Will they be ashamed that we thought it was okay not to employ someone because they are in a wheelchair? I hope they would be, because I certainly am.

Summary

Today’s lecture really hit hard. I felt angry and sad. It was incredibly interesting and everyone I spoke to agreed as well. It really gets you thinking and wondering what kind of society we live in. I can’t wait to go further into this area, I really enjoy reading about the different sociological theories, and this is something that has really grabbed my attention.

What a load of Pollack!

I have a strong interest in Sociology, and as someone who has such a keen interest in sociology, I recommend that anyone reading this should have a look at researchers such as Pollack. He is specifically gender related.

(EXTRA INFO ON POLLACK IN CASE INTERESTED) In the 1950s, a man called Otto Pollak investigated into whether or not women committed as much crime as men; what he found was women were less likely to be prosecuted and more likely to be cautioned. This was due to a criminal justice system dominated by men and because of this they will tend to be more lenient with women due to them not being considered a threat or danger to society; Pollak called this the Chivalry Thesis. Pollak, however, had no evidence to support this claim, and based this thesis on the fact women are devious and sneaky due to their female biology, or, in other words, because women are able to hide their pain when menstruating and are able to not show a true interest in sexual activities and pretend in the bedroom – this meant that they could trick the criminal justice system.

Equity and Equality: The Difference.

This afternoon I had a workshop, in which we were all sat down anywhere on any of the four tables. After this, each table was given an envelope. Inside this envelope contained materials and we were told to make something that all students should haveequity-vs-equality in their first week of University. So, in our group (group 3 out of the 4) we were given some materials – but not as much as group 1 and 2. We tried to make a leaflet, found it really difficult, tried our best to make something to impress our new lecturer but it was so hard when every time he came over he wasn’t praising us as much as the other tables. Now, when it’s your first workshop ever, a chance to shine and show how hard you want to work and impress people, it’s extremely hard when it seems he already has favourites in the group.

At the end, however, he asked us to stand and present what we had made. Group 1 making a lovely bag which obviously Derek loved as this was his favourite group – the table that happened to have the most resources also. He marked them 9/10. Group 2’s wasn’t as good as group 1, with just a pad (which was still good by the way) and he marked them 7/10 – because they didn’t have enough resources. It came to my group which only really had paper, couple of post it notes and paper clips and marked us 4/10. Which I was so disappointed with as we tried so hard to impress Derek – and even put his hashtag at the bottom of the leaflet for extra points as we felt he didn’t like our table. But actually, it was group 4 that had it the worst with just a pencil and a post it note (plus a couple of paper clips) and he rated their group a 2/10.

After asking us how it went, how we felt, how was the task. Group 3 and 4 agreed it was hard and felt like we hadn’t done a good job. Whilst groups 1 and 2 had a great time. Derek finally explained to us that it’s not fair to give different people different resources and expect us all to come out with the same thing. When helping others as a lecturer (or a student) that people don’t have the same things and do come from different backgrounds – and that’s’ okay.

Today, I was given a reminder that equality is not the same as equity. That everyone here is given the same starting line, and no one is put into an unfair position or disadvantage.

 

 

The three levels of bias

Values: Self, Society and the Professions.

My lecture today was about how we view ourselves and about our conscious and unconscious self. During the lecture, I learned about the 3 levels of bias:

  • Conscious and open bias 
  • Conscious and hidden bias
  • Unconscious bias

When listening at first, I believed that I couldn’t have an unconscious bias. I believed that the only truth in me was the truth I thought in my head and what I thought I thought I knew. But after thinking about it further, I decided that I probably do have some sort of unconscious bias (obviously). Most people have some sort of degree of unconscious bias, and it is deeply ingrained into our thinking and emotions.

So, I went online into https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/  and decided to take a few tests. The first test was about ‘age’, the second ‘gender’ and the third ‘weight’. These were the 3 that stood out to me straight away (out of many other options such as race, countries etc) and probably because I believe that I have really strong beliefs in these categories. If anyone asked me, I would say that I am envious of thinner people, that women and men SHOULD be equal and that age does not make any difference. My tests did not show this though, I have a preference for young over old, a strong association with men and science and women with the liberal arts and a strong automatic preference for thin people compared to fat people.

Today, my thinking is about how I view others and wondering if what I think is a good or bad thing- and how important it is to me as a person, and my effect on society.