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.