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Discussion


The intersection of multiple identities are difficult topics to discuss in person, let alone online. They are complex, multi-faceted, and can evoke strong emotion. You all have done an amazing job of being respectful. I just ask that you proofread your discussion responses before posting and try not to lump groups of people together. If you make a general statement about a group of people, you will need to include reputable cited sources to affirm your argument. You may want to use the word ‘some’ before discussing a group of people.

Introduction

“We just have to convince other people that they have power. This is what they can do by participating to make change, not only in their community, but many times changing in their own lives. Once they participate, they get their sense of power.” – Dolores Huerta

“How do we all get free?”

What does liberation really mean?

Is decolonization the answer?

If we end racism, ableism, sexism, & all of the other isms, would the world become a better place?

How can we each acknowledge our individual privilege?

Who has the power to make change?

Is having power a bad thing?

So far, in this course, we have discussed how the U.S. Constitution impacts historically excluded groups (HEG’s), reproductive rights, gun rights, voting rights, representation in Congress, the wealth gap, and the carceral system. One of the main common denominators is power. We have seen various injustices at the U.S. border, book bans, and so much fear-motivated hate. Free and fair elections are vital to securing democracy and equity, yet the U.S. Congress has yet to pass or come to an agreement on the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021 (H.R.4) and For the People Act of 2021 (H.R.1).

HCC Student Life. (2021, September 23). The “We” in We The People-Constitution Day. YouTube. [Video].

https://youtu.be/SW7MaMkM4qo (Links to an external site.)

(Optional)

“We must have the courage to walk the talk, but we must also engage in the continuing dialogues that enable us to break free of old categories and create the new ideas that are necessary to address our realities, because revolutions are made not to prove the correctness of ideas but to begin anew.” – Grace Lee Boggs

Power

Many students have asked to discuss race relations, but to have a better understanding of race, I feel that we have to first discuss power.

How has the government (de jure segregation) and society (de facto segregation) attributed to the heightened power of one group and the weakened power of another? If we truly believe that “all (people) are created equal” then why are there so many injustices? How has the changing demographics in America impacted the new restrictions on elections and new laws across the country?

Is racism a social construct? Where did racism originate from? Is it a natural instinct to discriminate against someone’s sexual orientation, gender, sexual preference, disability, zip code, etc? Have humans been conditioned in society to hold power over others by reducing the humanity in other people?

Power: Who has it? Who wants it? What are people willing to do to acquire and maintain it? Is it so wrong for those who have acquired power to want to maintain it? Can we blame those who have power for fighting to keep it? Or, those who vote in their own self-interest and not for the greater good?

Videos (Optional)

Liu, E. (n.d.). How to understand power. TEDEd. [Video]. https://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-to-understand-power-eric-liu#watch (Links to an external site.)

NBC News. (2021, August 21). Census Shows A More Diverse, Urban America. YouTube. [Video].

https://youtu.be/cqJwKu4dNSk (Links to an external site.)

Throughout history, when a HEG begins to gain power or a pathway to equity, it is usually followed by new oppressive laws or violence. Litigation is generally required to enforce equitable treatment.

Examples from the Textbook: Power = Oppression

Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831) = Trail of Tears (President Andrew Jackson refused to abide by a SCOTUS ruling.)

The 13th & 14th Amendments Enacted = Jim Crow + Increased Lynching of Black Americans + Increased Carceral Rates

The 15th Amendment Enacted = Literacy Tests/Poll Taxes + Violence Toward Black Americans Attempting to Vote

Increase in Asian Immigrants = Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 + Immigration Act of 1924 + Executive Order 9066 (Japanese Americans Forced into Internment Camps)

Increase in Latino Immigration + Mendez v. Westminster (1947) = 1965 Immigration Quotas

LGBTQ+ Advancements = Stonewall Inn (1969) + Increase in Hate Crimes

Mexican American (Latino) Civil Rights Movement Advances = Arizona v. United States (2012)

Roe v. Wade (1973) = 16+ State Bans on Reproductive Rights

Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) = Refusal of Governmental & For-Profit Entities to Follow Law (Reasonable Accommodations in Employment, Education, Healthcare, etc.)

“Unless we know ourselves and our history, and other people and their history, there is really no way that we can really have positive kind of interaction where there is real understanding.” – Yori Kochiyama

Examples Not in the Textbook:

2020 Social Justice Protests = Critical Race Theory (CRT) Bans (CRT was 1st published in 1995 and was not designed to be taught in EC-12. Why is there an outcry now?)

The large disparity in the carceral sentences between White and Black/Brown individuals accused of the same crime.

Islamophobia or anti-Muslim sentiment. (There has been an increase in the last few months with the arrival of Afghans in America.)

The rise in anti-transgender violence. Black transgender women are murdered at higher rates.

Anti-Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) hate crimes. (There has been a larger increase since Covid.)

Companies still exploiting Indigenous land for profit.

No pathway to citizenship for immigrants, despite past bipartisanship. Studies show that the U.S. needs immigrants. Does it have to do with the increase in the Latino population in U.S. Census records?

The FBI is concerned about the increase in violence and mobilization of white supremacist groups.

The rise in antisemitism.

Despite advancements, women are still paid less than men.

“Sometimes people try to destroy you, precisely because they recognize your power – not because they don’t see it, but because they see it and they don’t want it to exist” – bell hooks

Intersectionality

How does one’s intersecting identities impact their experiences and/or how they are treated in society? How does ones’ intersecting identities impact their access to power?

The Advocate. (2018, January 25). What Is Intersectionality? | Queer 101 | The Advocate. YouTube [Video].

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXJ4Dbdm1ks (Links to an external site.)

“The most radical thing that any of us can do is to stop projecting our beliefs about gender onto other people’s behaviors and bodies” – Julia Serano

Discussion Overview

I intentionally asked a lot of questions in this discussion. Since the beginning of this course, I have asked that you explore each topic and article from multiple perspectives. Throughout the semester, you have been moving from just examining policy to creating actionable avenues to create meaningful change. Like the other discussions, we are only scratching the surface on the inequities in America. I hope that you will use this macro discussion on power and oppression to support issues you are passionate about after the course has ended.

Over the past few years, many organizations have been including diversity statements or Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) statements as part of their mission and vision statements. In those diversity statements, an organization explains its commitment to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility to its employees and customers. After the social justice protests of 2020, you may have noticed the high number of organizations that openly supported the freedom to protest and equity for historically excluded groups (HEG’s). Since then many activists have asked that those diversity statements be followed with actionable outputs. In an attempt to create an inclusive and accessible internal culture, many industries now require candidates to submit a diversity statement for admissions, fellowship applications, education, and leadership roles.

Side note: I am adding this piece because many of you may need to write a diversity statement in the future. Foundation fellowships can be paid and unpaid. Depending on your field of study and/or desired industry, applying to a fellowship instead of traditional employment after graduation may be beneficial to some of you. Regardless of your ideology, there are a wide range of foundations and fellowships that will pique your interest. Academic institutions, non-profits, think tanks, also offer paid and unpaid fellowships. (Yes, I read your discussion 5 posts and I know that some of you feel that if the wealthy paid their fair share in taxes then foundations would not exist.) Just in case you are interested, the Ford Foundation has made a commitment to disability rights and last fall held a 2-day webinar on disability justice: Link (Links to an external site.).

Fellowship: A paid or unpaid opportunity to study a particular field or industry under the supervision of a mentor or expert.

“If you have come here to help me you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” – Lilla Watson

Assignment

Select a topic or issue surrounding civil liberties, civil rights, or human rights. Write a fellowship application to a foundation or an organization for a 1-year fellowship. Describe in 150-200 words your desire to research the intersection of power and human rights. You will need to incorporate either de jure segregation or de facto segregation into your application and how your selected form of segregation has impacted your topic. You may want to include portions of a diversity statement if you feel that you might need to write one in the future. You may write your fellowship application to any foundation or organization.

Question:

1) Detail why your particular topic or issue should be researched. Why are you passionate about this topic? Explain how you hope to engage in work around antiracism, inclusion, accessibility, and/or equity throughout the fellowship. How has de jure segregation or de facto segregation impacted your topic or issue? Optional: How can we become not just allies, but co-conspirators to each other’s plight?

2) Write 3 research questions that you would like to answer by the end of your fellowship?

3) Include at least 2 citations.

Scribbr. (2020, January 2). How to Develop a STRONG Research Question | Scribbr. YouTube. [Video].

https://youtu.be/71-GucBaM8U (Links to an external site.)

Sample Topics/Issues:

Ableism

Classism

Racism

Ethnicity

Gender identity

Gender expression

Sexual orientation

Sexual preference

Religion

LGBTQ+ rights

Disability (visible & invisible)

Sexism

Intersecting identities

Misogyny

Femicide

Suggested Reading

Center for Houston’s Future. (2019). Houston’s Economic Future: Immigration.https://www.centerforhoustonsfuture.org/immigration2019 (Links to an external site.)

First Nations Development Institute. (2018, June 4). Reclaiming Native Truth Call to Action. YouTube. [Video].

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NV-ZIX5Au1s&t=2s (Links to an external site.)

Fischer, J. (2021, March 2). Domestic terrorism is ‘metastasizing’ across the country, FBI director says in Capitol riot testimony. WUSA9. https://www.wusa9.com/article/news/national/capitol-riots/domestic-terrorism-is-metastasizing-across-the-country-fbi-director-says-in-testimony-on-capitol-riot-oath-keepers-antifa-militia-proud-boys/65-d0cef137-9c47-4882-b9c2-62fd7019f291 (Links to an external site.)

Ford Foundation. (2016, October 26). #InequalityIs: Tiffany You on inequity and disability. YouTube. [Video].

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsAUbYd5xso (Links to an external site.)

Gonzalez-Barrerra, A. & Hugo Lopez, M. (2020, July 22). Before COVID-19, many Latinos worried about their place in America and had experienced discrimination. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/07/22/before-covid-19-many-latinos-worried-about-their-place-in-america-and-had-experienced-discrimination/ (Links to an external site.)

Hillyer, Q. (2021, March 1). Some racial grievance mongers should take chill pills. Washington Examiner. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/some-racial-grievance-mongers-should-take-chill-pills?_amp=true&__twitter_impression=true (Links to an external site.)

Man, J. (2021, June 2). How to write a Diversity Statement & Samples. https://diversity.social/diversity-statement/ (Links to an external site.)

The Broken News. (2020, June 3). Trevor Noah explains how society has broken its social contract on Black America. YouTube. [Video].

https://youtu.be/QSyPy9vdA_s (Links to an external site.)

(You may want to search YouTube for the original social contract video by Kimberly Jones. Please note that the original video may contain explicit language.)

U.S. Census Bureau. (2021, August 12). Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the United States: 2010 Census and 2020 Census. https://www.census.gov/library/visualizations/interactive/racial-and-ethnic-diversity-in-the-united-states-2010-and-2020-census.html

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