Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Interrupting the Cycle of Oppression- Andrea Ayvazian (Connections)

First off I would like to say that I loved, “Interrupting the Cycle of Oppression: The Role of Allies as Agents of Change,” by Andrea Ayvazian so much that I am actually getting my blog up a little earlier this time. I enjoyed the resolution that was brought to this problem we have been speaking of for the past three weeks; the idea of an ally, someone who stands up to the oppressor and fights for equality among all people. I saw a lot of connections this week that resonated with other things we have read.

One author that stood out in Ayvazian’s work was Johnson. Ayvazian spends a little time in her article going over the idea of privilege, something Johnson knows a lot about. Ayvzain states, “In each form of oppression there is a dominant group—the one that receives the unearned advantages, benefit, or privilege—and a targeted group – the one that is denied the advantage, benefit, or privilege.” Johnson would want us to understand that this happens, it is the dominant ideology. Johnson would agree with what Ayvazian says about how we should use our privilege, “because of our very privilege, we have the potential to stir up good trouble, to challenge the status quo, and to inspire real and lasting change.” What I like most though is Ayvazian goes on to say, “We all know that everyone has multiple social identities.” No one is ever really disadvantaged all the time in a way. We are all different. If you are a young straight African American male then by the ideology you have more power than the straight African American female. Ayvazian also says which I think is one of her best lines in her article that, “Some people are, at some point in their lives, entirely dominant; but if they are, they won’t be forever. Even the white, able-bodied, heterosexual, Christian male will literally grow out of his total dominance if he reaches old age.” We never really look at ageism as a weakness in our society but it is. Even if this man were to live past his prime he is now less dominant because of his age, a natural process, ladies and gentlemen, that he has no control over. How the tables have turned for the SCWAAMP person. 

This article really connected with the Inspired Legacies, “Charity vs. Social Change Philanthropy;” that we can do many things to make a difference in our society. We can do charity which happens on an individual scale. Ayvazian talks a lot about becoming an Ally. She defines it as, “a member of a dominant group in our society who works to dismantle any form of oppression from which she or he receives the benefits.”The person who takes on that role has a hard road ahead of them but they know that it can make a difference for so many people towards an equal opportunity. 

Although this was not one of our authors from this semester Peggy McIntosh was an author we had discussed in FNED 346. She talks about white privilege and the power of the “invisible knapsack.” The idea being that if someone is unaware of the rules of a culture and do not have the right tools then how can we expect them to succeed. Ayvazian brings up towards the end of her article this statement, “I believe that it is difficult for young people to grow up and become something they have never heard of. It is hard for a girl to grow up and become a commercial airline pilot if she has never occurred to her that women can and do fly jet planes. Similarly, it is hard for young people to grow up and fight racism if they have never met anyone who does.”  We need to give children the tools to go out and fight and change the world, to break down the walls of ideology, and to tap the glass one too many times until people listen. Here is a video from FNED 346 which talks about white privilege and how we don’t always see the differences in the world because of who we are.

As I read the article by Ayvazian and read up on the Occupy movement I could not find the connection between the two. It seemed as though the Occupy search should have been with the blog on the social inequality. As I read into Ayvazian I saw that they are connected. These people are activist. They are fighting for what they believe is right. They are standing up and together for a common goal. This Occupy movement is trying to create change in our society’s economic structure. I feel the Occupy movement is something like what Ayvazain is talking about. She says, “What does seem to create a real and lasting change is highly motivated individuals – usually only a handful at first—who are so clear and consistent on an issue that they serve as the heartbeat of the community, steadily sending out waves that touch and change those in their path.” They are all banding together to create this act of change.  

Some points I would like to bring up in class would be the idea of how can we as a class go out and create a social change. By taking this class are we already a part of the change? Can we do more to educate others to help us in the fight without sounding preachy? There are so many unanswered questions that must be why it is so hard to create change. Where do we start? We must, “rise up and shout a thunderous “NO” to the perpetuation of these inequalities.” Together we can make difference like the people of Occupy movement.

1 comment:

  1. I also directly connect Ayvazian's phrasing about "highly motivated individuals" to those still taking part in the Occupy movement. Jose provided some examples of Allies to the movement from inside the wealthy 1%. According to Ayvazian, this is exactly what the movement needs in order to gain momentum.