Ayvazian, “Interrupting the Cycle of Oppression;” Blanchard, “Combatting Intentional Bigotry and Inadvertently Racist Acts”
Basis: I found the final reading of the semester to be one that I think is arguably the most powerful. Both authors, which I will talk about in detail in just a moment, talk about the "cycle of oppression" and how to work together to combat racism. It's a very prevalant issue in our society right now, with things like #BlackLivesMatter, the shootings in places like Ferguson and others, and the constant struggle that people of minorities face. It's something that has been constantly manipulated and modified by the media to fit personal agendas as well, so it's hard to really look at it from a completely objective point of view. I think racism at its core is a terrible, terrible thing that no one should have to endure, and the key to helping to eradicate that issue begins with people standing up and voicing their own opinions.
There were two authors we had to read today, the first being Ayvazian. Her article focused mainly on the idea of "allies". What I can best understand as a starting point is people who may not be subjected to racism (mainly white people in our country, unfortunate as that is to say), need to realize why racism is a problem and take a stand to fight against it. The first thing she really talks about is the idea of people who are grown up not knowing that racism is a real issue and as a result, they have no reason to be "against it". If a child is raised in a house where they are taught to believe (through actions or otherwise) that African American people are "lesser", they are naturally going to follow that same mindset. They need to learn that racism is bad and what they can do in order to take a stand against it. It's about being educated. Having "allies", as she called them, can empower the victims as well and give them the confidence to stand up and fight for their own beliefs knowing that others are on their side. People would rather just sit quietly and not draw attention to themselves, and they just sit by idly while others suffer. It's no different than if you see someone getting bullied in school and decide to just sit there and do nothing about it because you're afraid of how you'll look.
The other author, Blanchard, focused a lot more on the idea of educating yourself and others as a means of inspiring people to stand up for what is right and for what they believe in. To explain that a little bit better, as I saw it, he argued that people are likely to follow "trends" whether they are positive or negative, and as a result, the community as a whole may be hesitant to take a stand against racism (or vice versa) based on the opinions of others around them. In order for people to stand up and fight for what's right and to help others, they need to know WHAT they are fighting for and WHY they are fighting for it. Racism is inexcuseable and it personally upsets me that there are still so many people who refuse to just be accepting of others. I'm not saying you have to like anyone, but you should at least be accepting and respectful of their beliefs.
I found that this resonates a lot with me after going to the Social Justice Event about racism and tolerance in schools, which I have to blog about in the next day or so, where I listened to stories from people who have been bullied or oppressed because of the color of their skin or religious beliefs, and it just makes me sick to think that as a society we can't be better than that. We SHOULD be. I just don't know why we aren't.
Video: This video is an example of exactly the kind of issues we face here. This woman in the video is the Principal at the local high school in Georgia, and her racist comments are not only disgusting, but others are going to see someone in a position of power and get the sense that it's okay to think this way and as a result, they join in (some applaud in the video, too). This is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing to make change.
Question: What do you guys think? How can we work together to better combat racism through knowledge?