Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Takaki Chp 3 "Giddy Multitude"

Takaki Chapter 3 “Giddy Multitude”

In chapter three the thesis would be Takaki states, “Driven by immediate economic interests and blinded by a short time horizon, the planters had not carefully thought through what they were doing to black people as well as American society and future generations” (76). I feel that this chapter talks about the beginning of slavery and how it got started. The lower class of servants, slaves, and landless men both black and white wanted to change order of constructed slavery.
In chapter three the argument was to change slavery. Takaki states, “Caliban, as described in the list of actors, was not only a “savage” but also a “deformed slave” (52). In this chapter Takakii listed many people during that time who were treated unfairly as servants and slaves he named Caliban, Indians, white, and black, and the play the Tempest. Each were treated unfairly and as an act of slavery. Takaki states, “All Indians, regardless of whether they were farmers or hunters, were subject to removal, even extermination, if they continued in their “barbarism” (53). Takaki even talked about some servants that were victims of the Irish “slave trade”. More and more slaves where brought over to Virginia colony from Germany, Ireland, England, and were to to work as slaves or servants. Sometimes the black and the white slaves and servants worked together in a partnership. Takaki stated, “Occasionally, perhaps often, whites and blacks ran away together. Court recorders indicated repeated instances of blacks and whites conspiring to escape together” (55). Virginia absolutely was against the way blacks and whites were working together were not accepting it. When blacks and whites were caught together they were both strongly punished for their actions. In order to keep the blacks as socially low as possible, they passed many laws restricted blacks from doing things such as voting, or having the freedom of assembly or movement. Blacks were treated differently then whites when they were being punished. The blacks were treated worse then the whites were.
Why was there slavery, and why did one servant or slave get treated differently from the other because the color of their skin was this fair at all? This is a big question to many people, why were human beings getting treated unfairly from other human beings? Takaki stated, “What worried Jefferson more than the threat of miscegenation was the danger of race and war” (75). He did not want race and slavery in our world anymore, he wanted peace. Takaki also stated, “In Jefferson’s view blacks were libidinous race. “They [the black men] are more ardent after their female,’ he clammed; “but love seems with them to be more an eager desire than a tender delicate mixture of sentiment and sensation” (74). This was explaining how black people are not as hard or mean as they are portrayed to be and that was used as an example. Takaki stated, “ Unless slavery was abolished, Jefferson feared, whites would continue to face the danger of servile insurrection. Commenting on the slave revolt in Santo Domingo” (75). What Jefferson was saying was unless slavery stops there will be rebellion against government and danger will continue. The world needs a change and slavery must stop or else people are going to rebel against our government and our world and people will be in danger.
I felt this chapter was long I liked the material that it gave and I definitely learned something from this reading. I agree with Jefferson and Takaki’s argument that slavery must stop and treating people differently was wrong. Trying to change the world and their views can be a difficult thing. But Takaki tried to explain the process and the possibilities in the chapter and even though it was a bit long and drug out I felt he made me understand what his argument was.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Chapter 8- Privilege, Power, and Difference

Chapter 8-Privilege, Power, and Difference

In this reading the thesis would be, Getting of the hook by denial, blaming the victim, and saying I’m one of the good ones. In the reading Johnson states, “But the more aware we are of all the ways there are to fool ourselves, the easier it is to wake up and make ourselves part of the solution” (108). What Johnson is saying is that the more ways we try to blow oppression and privilege off, the easier it is for us to pretend we are solving the problem.
Johnson’s argument in this reading is that people of the dominant groups have ways of getting around the problem of privilege and oppression. The use denial, blaming the victim, calling it something else, its better this way, it doesn’t count if you don’t mean it, I’m one of the good ones, and sick and tired. Each one is has some way to stay away from dealing with the problem, which is treating people unfairly. An example of denial Johnson states is, “Racism and sexism used to be problems, but they aren’t anymore” (108). This example is an example of how someone is saying racism and sexism don’t exist and there are no problems with them, when clearly they do still exist and still are problems. An example Johnson uses for blaming the victim is, “If blacks were smarter or worked harder or got an education, they’d be okay” (110). He is saying the person is blaming the victim for the weaknesses of the less dominant group, instead of looking at in a way of, they need to fix something about them self. People also do things like call the problem something else, and look at the problem, as it is better this way. Johnson states, “Trying to live off the hook puts members of privileged groups inside a tight little circle that cuts them off much of what it means to be alive” (124). Therefore, those who are privileged don’t really know how others feel in this world and don’t understand what really goes on.
What if groups were changed and those who are not dominant became dominant, and the dominant group became oppressive. They would get the gist of how the other group feels and would not have their privileged lives. For example, going to get a job, eating at a restaurant, and buying a house are all things that would be so different from what the dominant group is used to. Johnson states, “If being on the hook for privilege and oppression means being perpetually vulnerable to guilt and blame, then we shouldn’t, be surprised that people do whatever they can to get off it. But according to my dictionary, on the hook also means being “committed,” obligated,” and involved” (123). The problem is both groups don’t understand each other and if they were to switch places there would be a better understanding of the other group.
I liked the reading I felt like I had a connection to what Johnson was saying. I did not realize that the dominant group was so oblivious to what other people’s feelings were or to what was right and wrong. I don’t know if the world will ever change but if it does it would make a difference.

Chapter 6 "What It All Has to Do With Us

Chapter 6 “What It All Has to Do with Us”

The thesis Johnson states is, “To do something about the trouble surrounding privilege, power, and difference, we have to talk about it, but most of the time we don’t, because it feels too risky” (76).
The argument Johnson is trying to make is, the social system in the world works through privilege and oppression. Johnson states, “ what we experience as social life happens through a complex dynamic between systems-families, schools, workplaces, communities, entire societies-and the choices people make as they participate in them and help make them happen” (84). Johnson is saying that the way the would works is seen through the eyes of people as privileged, oppression, class and gender. There are good and bad outcomes of privilege and oppression. Some of the good things are money, organization, and power. The bad things are inequality, racism, and sexism. Johnson states, “As long as we participate in social systems, we don’t get to choose whether to be involved in the consequences they produce. We’re involved simply through the fact that we’re here. As such, we can only choose how to be involved, whether to be just part of the problem or also to be part of the solution. That’s where our power lies, and also our responsibility” (89). Johnson is saying that no matter what is happening this is where the power lies and this is the way our system works, and we are responsible for understanding this. The argument is our system has been working this way and if we try to change it, we have to understand the problems and solutions.
A question to ask about power and privilege is what about everyone else? Johnson states, “How do we see them in relation to privilege and oppression” (85)? What happens when we are put people into categories? Our society put people into groups and is that fair? We are looked at as privileged or oppressed; this is good for some and bad for others. Some get jobs easier because they are a particular gender or a particular color. Johnson states, Individualistic thinking also makes us blind to the very existence of privilege, because privilege; by definition, has nothing to do with individuals, only with the social categories we wind up in” (77). Johnson is saying, what about those who are closed out and treated unfairly? There is not much me can do about it if those who are uncomfortable stay out of the part of society that is so involved with privilege and oppression is their responsibility.
I liked this reading I believe Johnson is saying that there are so many issues with privilege and oppression, race and sexism what is there to do about it. People who absolutely hate the way our society works have to just be positive and stay away from those who are really involved in putting people in categories. Our capitalist system is so involved in making money that they treat others so unfairly. Some disagree with this system so much and disprove of the way our society works. I don’t know if our society will ever change but we can try.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Chapter 3- Capitalism, Class, and the Matrix of Domination

Chapter 3- Capitalism, Class, and the Matrix of Domination

In the article the thesis is “If race is socially constructed and doesn’t exist otherwise, and if human beings don’t have to be afraid of one another, then where does racism come from” (41)?
I believe like the thesis the author’s argument is where does race, privilege, class, and domination come from. In the article the author talks about history of race. Johnson states, “First, white racism hasn’t been around very long-hardly more than several centuries and certainly not as long as peoples now considered “white” have been aware of other “races.” Second, its appearance in Europe and the Americas occurred right along with the expansion of capitalism as an economic system” (41). Johnson is basically saying that the white race has thought of as the only race and they were the ones who were around capitalism and the economic system. People have different ways of thinking about living the good life, an upper class family may have a refrigerator stocked with food and gets to choose what they are having for dinner, where a lower class family gets a loaf of bread and soup for dinner every night. The class and what the culture defines as good life, some may not have and are looked at differently. In the article Johnson talks about how capitalism works, which basically is to turn money into more money. Johnson states, “Capitalists employ workers to produce goods and services, paying them wages in exchange for their time. Capitalists then sell the goods and services that workers produce” (42). This means that for capitalists to make a living they have to get workers to produce and sell the goods. Which in the end works out because everyone is getting paid. But there are issues that come up like do the workers get paid enough, and do the people actually do the work when it comes to the tool and everything in the factory. Class is another issue that is brought up in the article because the people doing the hard labor are the lower class people. The article also talks about capitalism, difference and privilege, race and gender. Johnson states, “Capitalism direct connection to white racism has also operated in the acquisition of land and raw materials, which, like cheap labor, play a key role in the rapid growth of industry and wealth” (46). Which is saying that with capitalists come white power and are treating other races and classes differently.
A question to be asked is how can we change privilege, racism, sexism, and domination? How do we stop the oppressed culture treated differently than the privileged culture? We should respect everyone for who they are. Just because they are in the oppressed group doesn’t mean they cannot work. Johnson states, “Looking at privilege and domination in this way simplifies and clarifies things considerably. For example, once we see that each form of privilege exists in relation to all the rest, we can stop the fruitless habit of trying to figure out which is the worst or most oppressive” (52). So if we concentrate as being one instead of who has the most power and who is the wealthiest maybe we can change.
I thought this reading was interesting talking about privilege, race, sexism, and domination. The answer to the question can race and all the others be gone. I do not know if race and privilege will be completely gone, but I do believe in cases such as who gets the job and who can work and who cant that should not matter what so ever people should be treated equally not matter what color, sex, and class they are.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Blog 6-Power, Privilege, and Difference

Blog 6- Privilege, Oppression, and Difference

I believe the thesis is “The trouble that surrounds difference is really about privilege and power-the existence of privilege and the lopsided distribution of power that keeps it going” (12). This quote is saying that everyone is different and some are more privileged than others, and the power of those who are privileged is what is keeping privilege alive as well as race and discrimination.
Johnson’s argument is that difference is not a problem, we can start treating people equally no matter what privileges they have or what gender and race they are. Johnson states “Ignoring privilege keeps us in a state of unreality by promoting the illusion that difference by itself is the problem. In some ways, of course, it can be a problem when people try to work together across cultural divides that set groups up to think and do things their own way” (12). The quote is stating we ignore privilege because we sometimes don’t want to admit who has power, and when people work with people who are different from one another we want to do things our own way. We are not born with privilege, we are taught it. For example the diversity wheel describes what our race, age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, income, and occupation is. But as Johnson says “the wheel doesn’t say much about the unique individual you know yourself to be” (14). The wheel only shows the differences that we learned are the important ones. There is trouble with diversity and privilege Johnson states, “The trouble around diversity, then, isn’t just that people differ from one another. The trouble is produced by a world organized in ways that encourage people to use difference to include or exclude, reward or punish, credit or discredit, elevate or oppress, value or devalue, leave alone or harass” (16). This quote is saying we treat people differently based on what we learned is right or privileged not by the real person they are inside. In the article Johnson talks about race, whites, blacks, men, women, paradox, professions, heterosexuals, gender, and which ones are privileged. The ones who are not privileged are called oppressive. Johnson states, “Oppression results from the social relationship between privileged and oppressed categories, which makes it possible for individuals to vary in their personal experience of being oppressed” (38). He is saying when they are oppressed the people are kept down at a lower level and have their own ways of life that aren’t as high as privileged people. Which leads into the argument which is, can we change the way we look at people as privileged or oppressed and look at everyone equally?
Johnson argues, can we change the way we look at people? In the article Johnson states, “We routinely form quick impressions of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or disability status” (16). We were taught that certain categories were higher than others, we were not born with privileges or oppressions, but they were taught to us. Johnson states, “What makes socially constructive reality so powerful is that we rarely if ever experience it as that. We think the way our culture defines something like race or gender is simply the way things are in some objective sense” (20). This quote means that when our culture defines what is right and wrong or states this is the way things have to be, we usually follow and believe that is the right way. Everything we were taught will always sick on our heads and it will be hard to change what we have learned. The article talked about whites privilege, male privilege, sexual orientation, and paradox each have an opposite, which is named as the outsiders. Johnson states, “To have a privilege is to be allowed to move through your life without being marked in ways that identify you as an outsider, as exceptional or “other” to be excluded, or to be included but always with conditions” (33). The outsiders are women, blacks, homosexuals, and many others that are treated differently because they are not privileged. The argument is to change this other business and have everyone be the same status. Johnson is trying to argue that people should not be categorized as privileged and oppressed.
I thought the reading was very interesting and informative. I agree with Johnson very much so. I do not understand why we were taught that there are different groups and categories that certain people fall into. I agree that no one should be categorized as privileged or oppressed. I think that it was wrong to do that form the beginning and I think it should be changed, but since we were taught it, its in our heads know and others may disagree to change what we were taught. Treating people differently because of their gender, race, sexual preference, occupation, and religion is wrong. Everyone is special in their own way and I feel that Johnson is trying to get us to focus more on the positive difference instead of making