The issue of gender, race, and sex has recently become an object of my affection. I have recently become fascinated by the theories, assumptions, and general stereotypes associated to groups of people because of the experiences I have felt first hand. The things I want to point out are hard for me to say because it has become a painful reality for me as an individual. I want everyone who reads this to understand that I don't mean to offend anyone, but I’m going to point out three quotes by Allen G. Johnson from his book called Privilege, Power, and Difference. In the quotes I will explain what they mean, their relation to the text, and more importantly explain a real world example of of its relevance.
My analysis will delve into the area when the author mentioned in Chapter 3, “What privilege looks like.” In the list of things taken for granted by the socially dominant group (white, male) the first quote I want to look at said, “ Whites can assume when they go shopping, they’ll be treated as serious customers, not as potential shoplifters or people without the money to make a purchase.” This quote is important because it means that no matter where we go the social construction of race is at work. There is no escaping the realities of others just looking at you and making an assumption. Sometimes making assumptions are for a good reason though because statically speaking yes a Black male is more likely to be of a lower income bracket, and yes there are more people who are Black or Hispanic in jail. Some psychologists argue that people treat others differently, solely based on race, because it is a natural evolution of human development which helps ensure our individual survival. The problem though is that today we live in a society where people are protected by laws, surveillance is always around, and people do not have to compete for the same resources at a store, yet people are treated differently. To give you an example in my life I recently went to Home Depot to make a purchase on blinds with my wife. When I found the blinds I liked I asked if the price for each blind was $100 or if that was a set. The women who served me informed me that each blind was $100 and I said, “Ohhhh....,” she then said , “You have champagne taste with beer money.” Needless to say I was very upset! How could she assume I could not afford the blinds? To add to this she came back after a minute and said, “Are you still dreaming.”
Another quote from “What Privilege looks like,” in chapter 3 of Johnson’s text is, “ Whites are more likely to be given early opportunities to show what they can do at work, to be Identified as potential candidates for promotion, to be mentored, to be given a second chance when they fail, and to be allowed to treat failure as a learning experience rather than an indication of who they are and the short comings of their race.” This quote is important because it basically means that white males have an unfair advantage at the work place compared to similar males of a different race. Of course a white male won’t see the advantage because there is a theory in psychology I cant remember that says people will credit their success to personal achievement and inner characteristics but will blame outside circumstances for their failures. Another aspect of this theory says that they will see others achievements as acts of luck and outside circumstances. For example a white male may say “I’ve been promoted because I’m smart,” but when another achieves the same thing they will say, “ They were promoted because they were lucky.” This relates to me because although I haven’t really entered the work force I have some insights from my father who was always treated differently. He told me, “ Because of the color of your skin and where you come from you will always have to try three times as hard compared to others.” At first I did not want to accept this reality but, as last semester showed me my father was right to some degree.
The last quote I want to point out said, “ Whites can reasonably expect that if they work hard and ‘play by the rules,’ they’ll get what they deserve and feel justified in complaining. . .” As I mentioned previously last semester I noticed how I was treated differently and to protect myself from future consequences I will not name the the institutions or people involved. I applied to 10 of the most prominent, well known public relations agencies in Rhode Island I knew it was going to be competitive, but not discriminatory. I have been on the Dean’s list the entire time I’ve been at Rhode Island College, attained a much higher GPA of 3.6 and am part of a national honor society yet despite my academic achievements I was not even called back for an interview at any of these places. While other students who I know for a fact did not have the outstanding course work, GPA, or recommendations they received internships; they are all white.I don’t blame my fellow class mates, but the older people in charge of picking up kids for internship opportunities. I once found a statistic that said, "of all the public relations specialists in the United States only five percent are of Hispanic decent," I wonder why?
To wrap this up, I am not the only Hispanic in this predicament. In an article by Latino Magazine, they found a disparity between the Hispanic population and employment in different sectors backed by data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For more information on this article, you can find it here.
Comments to mention in class:
Reading this article was very hard to read because it struck an emotional chord. The author mentioned we have to get past the fear of racist words to be able to address the problem. For example he wrote if there is a fire you let others know by saying, "Fire!,"I think we owe it to ourselves to address these societal (race, gender, and religious) problems now because if we don't, who will?