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SW 345 Social Justice
Transcript of SW 345 Social Justice
Ch 8 & 9, Johnson, 2006 Privilege, Power, and Difference
Deny and Minimize
What can we do?
Remove what silences us and stands in our way of addressing difficult issues in our society.
Blame the victim
Call it something else
They need to get their act together.
It's better this way
We like it this way
It's fine the way it is
It doesn't count if you don't mean it
Does intention get us off the hook as individuals? Where would closer examination get us?
I'm one of
the good ones!
Privilege and oppression operate on a societal level. We are all connected to inequalities in our society.
Sick and tired
Taking a victimization stance
Getting off the hook by getting on
GET INVOLVED and CONNECTED,
it's a positive perspective on living
Learn how to talk about difficult issues
without diluting or changing the language
of privilege and oppression. Talk about
the isms without blaming others.
"Privilege exists when one group has
something that is
to others not because of who they are or
what they've done or not done but
because of the
they belong to."
"Privilege is a feature of
Capitalism provides the economic framework
for privilege and oppression. It is a powerful force in relation to class, gender, and race. Class differences create and shape people's experience of privilege and the lack of privilege.
"Oppression also takes many forms, most notably
avoidance, exclusion, rejection, unequal access to
resources and rewards, and violence." (p. 126)
The paradox of privilege is that those who have it often don't know they have it. Or that having privilege doesn't necessarily mean you feel like you have it or that your life is necessarily good because of it. For example, just because you're a U.S. citizen
and you speak English, it doesn't mean that you're guaranteed to have a "good life."
"The greatest barrier to change is that dominant groups don't see the trouble as their trouble, which means they don't feel obliged to do something about it." (p. 127)
We can try to appeal to people's kindness and generosity, or we can talk about change as a good strategy to invest in.
But a long-term approach is to help develop a sense of ownership of social issues. It's our community, it's our island, and it's our world. Don't reduce issues to individual intention or whether someone is "good" or "bad." Instead, "a powerful and liberating alternative comes from the fact that we're always participating in something larger than ourselves, social systems." (p. 127)
Privilege is created and maintained by
that are dominated by, centered on, and identified with privileged groups. Because it is rooted in systems,
change isn't simply about changing people.
the solution has to include entire systems
whose paths of least resistance shape how people feel, think, and behave - and how they see themselves and others. (p. 128)
Myth #1: It's always been this way, and it always will
Change is constant.
Social systems are fluid.
We can contribute to change when we choose paths of greater resistance.
An oppressive system seems stable because it limits peoples lives and imaginations so that it is difficult to see beyond it, especially if it extends beyond the collective memory of anything different.
But social systems are not stagnant. And they do not last forever. In the long-term, change will occur.
Myth 2: Gandhi's paradox and the myth of no effect
What do these two refer to in the chapter?
What we do matters, even if we can't see it. Choosing and creating different pathways shows that there isn't just one dominant path to choose from.
Acknowledge that privilege and oppression exists. "Maintaining a critical consciousness takes commitment and work." (p. 138)
Pay attention. Continue to work at understanding how privilege and oppression operate, so that we can make changes.
"When you openly change how you participate in a system, you do more than change your own behavior; you also change how the system happens." (p. 143)
Take little risks and do something
Make noise and be seen
Find small ways to withdraw support from paths of least resistance and people's choices to follow them, starting with yourself
Dare to make people uncomfortable.
Openly choose and model alternate paths.
Actively promote change in how systems are organized around privilege
Support the right of women and men to love whomever they choose.
Pay attention to how different forms of oppression interact with one another.
Work with other people.
Don't keep it to yourself.
Don't let other people set the standard for you.