Part One: Themes
For this semester, identity in society is critical for all themes that I have learned. It is an exciting subject that has enabled me to reflect on the history of ethnic groups and their identity, privileges, powers, racism, social stratification, and discrimination. All these subtopics or themes are critically relevant, and I hope to apply the knowledge acquired where appropriate in my professional life.
Identity and intersectionality are significantly rooted in culture. That is, an individual’s identity is mostly shaped by the culture they are brought up. Contradicting ideologies such as those concerning transgender have made identity within cultural context critical for the society to talk about. Such culturally contradicting issues have placed sociologists in an even better position to probe the issues that affect the quality of life of an individual. Some are power, privileges, integration, and lack of them. Further, discussions to harmonize the issues reveal bias and rigid stereotypes, that are inherent in our cultures, and passed on from one generation to another.
I was excited by unconscious bias, as it is ideal evidence of the implications of cultures in individual lives. An Implicit Association Test revealed that there are stereotypes which every individual has concerning other people or a group of people. Such stereotypes often affect the natural order of inclusion, integration, and assimilation. Besides, they are prone to influence one’s performance in both personal and professional life.
From the semester reading, I look forward to recognizing and appreciate other people’s cultures and combat bias for the good of my professional life. For instance, an effective leader – which I aspire to be, may diligently mobilize teams into appreciating cultural diversity and inclusion. That way, I will take part in combating discrimination. Besides, my fight against discrimination will regard the current incorrect worldviews such as color blindness, for which I will educate others about the implication. I think many people are against social prejudices and inequalities, but the approaches used are often wrong. Therefore, I will utilize the skills and knowledge gained in this course to correct the cultural biases prevalent in our society professionally, and establish better approaches to combating discrimination and promoting respect for cultural and individual identity.
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Part Two: Personal Power and Privileges
Question One: From Harvard’s Implicit Association Test, I have a weak automatic preference for Cisgender People over Transgender People. From the test, it appears that I am unconsciously oversimplifying the issues that concern transgender people, and predominantly appraising those that concern cisgender people. For instance, there are instances I associated bad words with faces of transgender people, even though the bad words were correctly associated with good people. While my personality is fairly neutral in the manner I associate with various sexual orientations, there is a possibility for the exclusion of transgene people in my professional work since I am unconsciously overlooking them (Class notes, “what unconscious bias looks like”).
Question two: Color blindness is an ideology that we are all the same, and that we do not see color (Perez-Isiah, 2018). Color blindness is widely debated, but from a sociological perspective, it has both positive and negative consequences on the people of color. First, it devoid a society the opportunity to treat each person as an individual, yet race is a critical individuality trait (Wingfield, 2020). Secondly, color blindness leads to the demeaning of the cultural identity of people of color. That way, racial stratification is propagated, by overlooking the issues concerning race, such as systemic racism.
Question three: Yes. A person can be oppressed and privileged at the same time. By definition, privileges are characteristics of an individual, that operate on an individual, cultural, or institutional level, giving them favors or advantages over other people (Class notes, “power & privileges definitions”). For instance, whites are privileged over people of color in the United States through a cultural system that propagates systemic racism. Oppression entails prejudice and institutional power that create frameworks for discriminating and disadvantaging a group of people. In a way, oppression is the flip side of privileges. For instance, some Christian schools do not admit LGBTs (Danilova, 2017). In that view, one may be a white college applicant – privileged, and a homosexual – oppressed. Hence, one may be privileged and oppressed concurrently.
Question four: Since childhood, culture has been a paramount tool in shaping my life. Culture regards the belief systems I carry, my behaviors, objects, and traits that are prevalent and evident in my life. For instance, I have learned cultural practices that are inherited through generations, and they have been normalized to appear as the sole correct way of life. Although I have learned to appreciate other people’s practices and beliefs through education and cross-cultural interactions, there is a predominant unconscious oversimplification of other people’s cultures. I have learned my roles in society from my culture, and my attitudes towards work, education, religion, and language are the aftermath of cultural construction.
Question five: From week one presentation, my personality encompasses traveling, exercising, socializing, and passion for technology. I am somewhat an extrovert, and I value teamwork. Hence, I would describe my personality as confident, helpful, and imaginative. While my nature tends to appreciate inclusion, through teams and social gatherings, I have learned through the course that differences are inevitable. That is called intersectionality – the acknowledgment that, however much a group of people may have common traits, there exist some intragroup differences. I have not changed the perception of my personality, but I am aware of the implications of differences and individuality that persist in society.
Class notes, What unconscious bias looks like?
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Class notes, Power & privileges definitions
Danilova, B. (2017). Indiana Christian school says it can deny admission to LGBT students. Retrieved 27 June 2020, from https://www.chicagotribune.com/nation-world/ct-indiana-christian-school-lgbt-20170619-story.html
Perez-Isiah, R. (2018). The Myth of Colorblindness. Retrieved 27 June 2020, from https://medium.com/identity-education-and-power/the-myth-of-colorblindness-9ee6604766d1
Wingfield, A. (2020). If You Don’t See Race, How Can You See Racial Inequality?. Retrieved 27 June 2020, from https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/09/color-blindness-is-counterproductive/405037/