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S0 232 lecture 1 understanding privilege & oppression-2


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S0 232 lecture 1 understanding privilege & oppression-2

  1. 1. Privilege & Oppression S0 232
  2. 2. Purpose of Course •Develop an understanding of anti-oppressive practice in Social Work •Begin to look at issues of power differentials in our society •Begin to develop an understanding of personal reflection on your own social location and its influence on your beliefs and actions •Begin to develop an analysis around issues of oppression
  3. 3. How is the class run • Lectures posted • In class discussion, activities & videos • Take home assignments
  4. 4. Social Identity Oppression Privilege Lecture 1 – An Introduction
  5. 5. Social Identities - definition • Social identity • Part of an individual’s perception of who they are (self-concept) comes from his/her understanding of their connection to a group (Rohall, D., Milkie, M., & Lucas, J., (2007) • Dominant vs Subordinate
  6. 6. Social Identity (Stevens-Curry, A., 2003) • Our identities are social constructed • Our lives are largely a function of our identity – gender, race, social class etc • We are normally born into it • Unlikely to change • Our accomplishments (or lack thereof) are tied to our identity – so too are everyone else's
  7. 7. Social Identity(Rohall, D., Milkie, M., & Lucas, J., (2007) Dominant Group •Has access to power •Provides standards •“Norms” •Economic control •Privilege Subordinate Group •Disadvantages •Categorized •Differential treatment •Lack power and influence
  8. 8. Dominant group (Nagda, R.,) • Has the power to determine: • Who holds the power, • Who gets the best jobs, • Whose history will be taught in school, • Whose relationships will be validated in society.
  9. 9. Oppression (Johnson 2006) •Social oppression • Defined as the exploitation of one group (dominant group) for the benefits by another group (target group) •Key elements: • Dominant group describes what is normal • Those in power and those who are not – get treated differently • The outcome of oppression is often Internalized oppression • The culture of the oppressed group is discounted and dominant group’s culture imposed
  10. 10. Oppression (Johnson 2006) • Systemic • Rooted in our cultural and systems • E.g., media, family, religion, language, education, economics, justice system, and culturally defined norms, reality, what is viewed as correct; beautiful; and valuable. • Socially approved • Power imbalance remains firmly entrenched • Campaign 2000 – reduction in child poverty
  11. 11. Systems vs Individuals (Johnson 2006) • Important to understand the difference between systems and individuals • The major problem is the oppression exerted by systems and not individuals • Harder to identify • Much more difficult to change
  12. 12. Internalized Oppression (Urban Dictionary) the process by which a member of an oppressed group comes to accept and live out the inaccurate myths and stereotypes applied to the group. “We hate ourselves because We grew up And live in a society that hates us” -- Michael Denneny
  13. 13. Why does oppression persist? • Denying it exist • Blaming the targets of oppression
  14. 14. Privilege: What is it? (Johnson 2006) •An advantage not available to others on equal terms •Having control of societies extra resources •Basis of privilege: • Sex – male privilege • Race – white privilege • Age - • etc
  15. 15. Naming our Privilege • Ability • Age • Class • Gender • Race • Physical Appearance • Personality • Sexuality • Culture • Ethnicity • Geographic location • Religion • Views • Education
  16. 16. Privilege permits us to: (Johnson 2006) • Feel comfortable in the world • Escape dangers that others may suffer • Choose whether or not to address certain issues of oppression or injustice • Not have to hide parts of our identity or lifestyle
  17. 17. Why don’t dominant groups see privilege as a problem? (Johnson 2006) • Unaware that their privilege exist in the first place • Don’t have to – privilege protects them from consequences • Perspective that privilege is a personal issue – people get what they deserve • Don’t want to give it up • Afraid..... of blame, guilt, rejection by own group
  18. 18. Assimilation’s Ideals (Johnson 2006) • Group-based differences • Eliminated • Every one is treated the same - according to the principles, rules standards • The myth of “neutrality” • Belief that it “maximises “choice” • The idea that we can develop to our full capacity as “individuals” without the impact of group norms or expectations
  19. 19. Privilege – the lessons we learn (Johnson 2006) • The “isms” - disadvantages of others •Not the advantages that we have – the things that put us ahead
  20. 20. Privilege - Denial and Resistance (Johnson 2006) • No one likes to see themselves as connected to someone else’s misery, no matter how remote the link. • Response - is to find a way to get themselves off the hook. • But we are all on the hook
  21. 21. Our response to privilege (Johnson 2006) •Deny and Minimize • “I can ‘t be racist I have black friends.” • “Women have it good today.” •Minimize • Acknowledge that it exists but doesn’t amount to much i.e. • Women & minorities “whine” • “just get on with it! • Denying the reality of oppression also denies the reality of the privilege that underlies it, which is just what it takes to GET OFF THE HOOK!
  22. 22. Our response to privilege (continued) • Blame the victim • Allows us to acknowledge: • That privilege and oppression exist • There are t and that they have appalling consequences for people • Gets us off the hook by blaming it all on them! • “If aboriginal peoples worked harder or got an education, they’d be okay.” • “Some women are hypersensitive”
  23. 23. Our response to privilege (continued) • Call it something else • An indirect way to deny oppression and privilege: • “battle of the sexes” • Most often seen in sexism - men (dominant group) and women (target group) depend on each other in ways unlike other groups
  24. 24. Our response to privilege (continued) • I’m one of the good ones • Bad people do bad things • Silence & inaction makes us just as much of the problem.
  25. 25. What Can We Do? (Bishop, A., 2002) • The challenge: • Change patterns of segregation, dismissal, privilege, harassment, discrimination and violence • Patterns that have existed for hundreds (or thousands) of years
  26. 26. What is the most powerful barrier to change? (Johnson 2006) • Those with “privilege” need to make the problem of privilege their problem and do something about it. • Why!!!!!
  27. 27. Privilege (Johnson 2006) • Privilege is not always negative • Focus on sharing rather than taking it away • Inequality is created when only certain members of society enjoy privilege • Privilege no longer can exist when all members of society enjoy certain opportunities - equal rights for all members of society
  28. 28. What are the ‘Tools’ we have? (Johnson 2006) • Reclaim the language • Understanding the social system • Using the concepts of “privileged and unprivileged at the same time” – rather than simply looking at “under privilege” • Understanding the forms of oppression (avoidance, exclusion, rejection, unequal access to resources and rewards, and violence)
  29. 29. Reference • Stevens-Curry, A., (2003). An Educator’s Guide for changing the world: Methods, Models and Material for Anti-oppression & Social Justice. The Centre for Social Justice, Toronto Canada. • Rohall, D.E., Milkie, M.A., & Lucas, J.W. (2007). Social Psychology: Sociological Perspectives. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. • Johnson, A. (2006). Privilege, Power & Difference. Boston, MA: Mcgraw-Hill. • Bishop, A., (2002). Becoming an Ally: Breaking the Cycle of Oppression in People. Halifax Canada: Fernwood Publishing. • Left Stage productions for Canada World Youth.