Allan Johnson's article, Privilege, Power, and Difference was an eye-opener so to speak that made me think of things I had never thought of. I had read this piece in another class so I was ready to handle the material, but the first time I read it this stuff was completely new to me. Even though I've blogged before and read this, I'm still a little rusty after the few weeks of break so I decided to do the Quotes format to kick off the start to this class. I chose three quotes that I feel summarize this text and one additional quote I thought was interesting.
"Her misfortune is connected to my fortune; the reality of her having to deal with racism and sexism every day is connected to the reality that I don't." Pg. 8-9 I think this quote is synonymous with the overall tone of Johnson's work. White men have significant privilege according to Johnson and it is at the expense of other genders and races.
" 'No one is white before he/she came to America,' he wrote. 'It took generations, and a vast amount of coercion, before this became a white country." Pg. 21 This is African American novelist James Baldwin, who Johnson quotes. What Baldwin means is Americans decided over time who would be elite in society and that happened to be white people, specifically men. I think Baldwin is wrong to say this though. Of course America would choose white people first because that is what they knew. Historically, Europe had been ruled by white kings and queens. I don't remember reading about an African American European king ever. But Baldwin brings up an interesting point. Who did decide African Americans were slaves? It could have white men if history wanted it. I would say this is history's issue more than America's but America has the chance history doesn't: it can solve the problem.
"Whites are less likely than blacks to be arrested; once arrested, they are less likely to be convicted and; once convicted, less likely to go to prison, regardless of the crime or circumstances. Whites, for example, constitute 90 percent of those who use illegal drugs, but less than half of those in prison on drug-use charges are white." Pg. 27-28 This entire list Johnson provides is fascinating and seems completely unreal. I chose this one because it can be backed by data, and I feel more comfortable with solid numbers. If true this 90 percent number is outrageous but whats more, many white people get away with it unfortunately. Johnson makes a good case, not just in this list but in the entire article, that there is indeed a privilege among some in society.
Points to Share:
I have two points to bring up and they stay with the Quotes theme of the blog.
"As I suggested in the opening pages of Chapter 1, you can't deal with a problem if you don't name it; once you name it, you can think, talk and write about it." Pg. 10-11 When I read this, I pictured Dr. Bogad earlier in class today. It was as if she memorized and repeated this word for word. Of course I know she didn't because of the strict plagiarism policy that appears on every syllabus like clockwork.
Last but not least:
"Heterosexuals can turn on the television or go to the movies and be assured of seeing characters, news reports, and stories that reflect the reality of their lives." Pg. 33 This point made me think of when my girlfriend and I went to see a new movie, Puss in Boots, last semester. It was not a movie about the gay and lesbian community. It was just an ordinary comedy about a cat who fights crime. However this movie was set in a Mexican town and most of the characters were Latino. My girlfriend noted after the movie that this movie reflected the rise in the Latino population in America and it is starting to show in the media and in blockbuster hits such as Puss in Boots. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eb7rR26ZqSw&feature=fvst
As a side note, I recommend the film. The trailer is linked above. See you all in class tomorrow!