The Privilege Wheel

For Wednesday’s class, we spent a good amount of time discussing the myth of the social identity, and the privilege wheel exercise raised some questions for me. For one, do certain aspects of one’s social identity have more power over the other? How much importance is placed on these aspects?

I personally believe that social identities are situational. To say that social identities are situational, I mean to say that when we are met with discrimination that threatens to diminish the standing of certain aspects of our identity, such as race, gender, sexuality, and religion more importance is placed on these identities. A change in environment, discrimination against those of our in group may heighten the importance of seemingly minor aspects of our social identity. For example, I do not define myself by my sexual orientation, particularly because the environment I live in is fairly liberal and accepting. I do not feel that I face discrimination everyday because of my sexual orientation. However, the homophobic backlash against the gay community brought on by the current Republican GOP election makes me place more importance on my sexual orientation. As the Republican candidates portray the gay community as immoral, sexually charged deviants and threaten to strip the community away of basic human rights, my identity as a gay male becomes more salient. Even though I don’t define myself by my sexuality, when faced with discrimination or threats against my basic civil rights and liberties, my sexual orientation becomes more important.

Read more

Are positive stereotypes detrimental?

Recently, I watched Chelsea Lately during a episode of my insomnia. The host, Chelsea Handler, poked fun at one of the guest cohosts that she would go him to fix electronics over the Jewish cohost, because he is Asian. The prodded cohost began ranting about stereotypes, specifically how it’s not O.K. to generalize and assume that every Asian is good at computers. When he was told to relax, and that it’s positive, he responded that it wasn’t a positive stereotype.

Read more

Black Student Association Dance

This past weekend I attended the Black Student Association Dance with a friend who graduated last year. The dance was a lot of fun with great people, but I couldn’t help to notice that it was not as big as I had expected it to be. The music was great, the people were fun, and everyone appeared to be having a good time. Why did this event not receive as much attention compared to Greek socials?

Read more

How can we facilitate cultural exchange on campus?

“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke

This quote has resonated throughout groundbreaking historical events. The majority of German citizens did not hold Hitler’s beliefs of Jewish persecution, but very few did anything to stop it. Quite recently, a toddler in China was hit by a car in a market. 18 people walked past her but did nothing to help her. The extent of her injuries were so severe, and she died the next day. When the pedestrians were asked why they did nothing to help her, they stated that they were afraid to get involved, as they feared that they blamed for the child’s injuries. This was attributed this to the Nanjing Judge case, in which the judge ruled that the man who saved a fallen elderly woman from being crushed by pedestrians was guilty of pushing her down. In court, it was said that common sense dictates that if he brought her to the hospital, he must have been responsible. Fear of being blamed for the child’s injuries prevented the pedestrians from intervening, and their refusal to help the crushed toddler led to her. But does this quote relate to contemporary racism? If we do not address issues of race freely, are we guilty of perpetuating racist attitudes?

Read more