Rant/Thoughts before the news today:
One of the research papers that I am working on asks a very big question. How do we get rid of inequality? Any type of inequality: racial, gender, class, etc. It's a tough question to answer. Once I finish the paper and turn it in this Friday, I'll pose that question to you. (I won't beforehand, because I always do my own work. It wouldn't be fair to other hard-working students if I had my brilliant readers answer it for me, would it?) Inequality can be a difficult topic to discuss. Class inequality is a little easier, but discussing both gender and racial inequality can be a nightmare. Sometimes people will automatically go on the defensive, as if you are directly putting the blame for the issues on them. Touchy Touchy. Realistically, we are all a little to blame for allowing these things to continue, unchecked. But without power, how can we change anything? It's extremely difficult to only discuss one of these types of inequality... They all are deeply tied into one another.
One of my friends said to me once, after a Sociology class, "I feel so bad for it, but sometimes, I thank God I'm White. I can't imagine how hard it would be to be Black. I mean, I'm already a woman, which makes it harder, and I'm lower class, which is a double whammy. But thank God I'm White. I feel so bad for thinking it, and saying it now. I know you understand what I mean by that, so I hope it's okay." I nodded at her. What she meant wasn't that she hated Black people. It was a simple truth. White people have it better. Easier. As Whites, we are "more equal," which is a term that shouldn't even exist and doesn't even make sense.
I have an uncle who is racist. I met him for the first time on my birthday this year. He took me out to lunch, and partway through the conversation he mentioned how his daughter dates Black men, and how much he hates it. I told him I didn't mind it, and he said he did, because he knows what Black people really are. I stopped him right there, and said, "Look. There are no genetic differences between Black and White people. None. If you're racist, it's because you have fear and ignorance in you." He tried to interrupt me, to say, "No, it's not ignorance, it's actual knowledge of what they're really like, see..." I cut him off. "No. It's ignorance, stupidity, and fear of a difference that you don't understand. That's all it is." I was surprised that he let it drop. I guess he knew he wouldn't win that argument. I was disgusted at that point.
I don't understand racism. I don't understand sexism. I'm going into Sociology, starting in the fall. The Grad Dean told me one of the reasons I was accepted into the program with no Sociological background was the fact that she could see how strongly of a "Sociological imagination" I really have. There is a bad thing about all this though. I'm beginning to notice things I didn't before. Like my thoughts, for example. I worry about being inadvertently offensive. I worry about silly things. I wonder if my actions speak for me. I pay special attention to racism. Not really in my thoughts, because I don't have those issues. What I mean by that is a lack of "judgment," I suppose. I don't think "Wow, my teacher is from India, so she's going to be hard to understand/a bad teacher/etc." But I hear other people actually saying things like this, and it disturbs me. It's amazing how many racist/sexist things you will hear people saying in a day if you just truly listen.
My initial desire when applying to Sociology was criminology. I am extremely interested in serial killers, and how they work, how to stop them and such. But now that I am actually moving into the field, I wonder if my desire to study criminology is as strong as my desire to work towards an elimination of inequalities. Elimination of racism in particular. I don't know what it's like to be Black, and discriminated against because of it. I know what it's like to be a woman from the lowest class. I understand those things. I understand that I am the exception. I looked at a photo of my second grade class the other day... We were all lower class students. I looked closely at my classmates and had a startling realization. Out of the 24 students in my class, I am the only one in college. I am the only woman who does not have children...
I don't know what it's like to be Black. I said that before. But I have experienced discrimination. Not just for my gender or class, but also because of my ethnicity. I am Roma. You couldn't tell that by looking at me, but I'm proud of my heritage, and I do tell people. I've lost friends because of it. No one likes a gypsy.
My question to you today is a simple one. With all that you just read, do you think I should focus on inequality, specifically racial inequality? I want to do good works in the world. Where would I fit best, in your opinion? (No, I'm not planning on switching everything around because a few people say so. I'm just extremely interested in your opinions.)
I suppose I should get to the news now, huh? :)
-- Another police officer was injured in a scuffle with a few Occupy Eureka members. The three Occupiers were fighting with each other when officers intervened on Friday. Two of them were armed with a bike chain and broken bottle. When police arrived, one ran from the scene, and was chased and tackled by an officer. During the struggle, the officer's nose was broken. He is mending on leave. One of the Occupiers involved was taken to a mental hospital after being deemed mentally unstable. The article I'm linking to after this blames Occupy for these incidents, and is very negative.
-- After rumors spread concerning the shutdown of the Golden Gate Bridge on May Day, officials began to panic and set plans to stop it from happening. It turns out that closing down the Bridge was never really part of the final plan. According to social media, the shutdown was part of a tentative plan, but was not included in the final steps. This article has more detail concerning the initial planning, and why it didn't make the final cut.
-- Here's an opinion piece on the "land liberation" included in the possible plans for Occupy Portland. The author asks the question: Is this liberation or theft?
-- Occupy Lincoln has until Tuesday to pack up and move on. Many of the Occupiers say they will not be leaving, and that they are working to fight the city in a legal battle. The city wants the protesters gone so that they can begin renovation work on the State Capitol grounds. While the Nebraska Occupation has been entirely peaceful, officials with the police say they are making plans to deal with Occupiers who refuse to vacate.
-- Police in Seattle want a change to the city code. Currently, the Seattle Municipal Code only allows for police to film protesters if they have "cause to collect information." They are concerned about the events of Occupy the Port, in which protesters began to throw bricks and other items at police. They began filming at that point, but say it would have been better to begin earlier. The ACLU is against the move, saying that individuals should have the right to protest without surveillance, but the police department says the filming would strictly be to protect "those who are exercising the First Amendment from those who would harm them." (That... Just... No. Contradictory much?)
-- Gather.com doesn't seem to like Occupiers very much. They've posted an article describing the new film 'Occupy:Unmasked,' which is a production from Citizens United. It apparently disparaged the Occupy movement, claiming that it is a Democrat creation funded by mega-bucks left-wingers. Anyway, you can take a look here, and see what you think.
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