Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Interrupting the Cycle of Oppresion- Andrea Ayvazian (Connection)

First off I have to say I really did enjoy reading this article.Andrea Ayvazian did a very good job in stating the problem of oppression, and concluding it with what needs to be done to break the cycle, which is taking on the role of an ally. Not only does hit article tie in to the over idea of the class, but it also ties in with the article we read earlier in our short semester, by Yamato, "Something about the subject makes it hard to name." (another favorite)

Yamato's pieces was in relation to the different types of racism's. Which are:
  • Balant and Obvious
    • "I do not want you here because of the color of your skin"
  • Aware/ Covert
    • "I want these Spanish people to move out, so I will raise the rent, so they cant afford to live here" 
  • Unaware/ Unintentional
    • " Can I touch your hair? Wow it is not as coarse as I thought it would be"
  •  Unaware/ Self Righteous
    • Good White vs. Bad White
      • Good white is so focused on trying to not be racist by involving themselves in an under represented, oppresses community that they forget about themselves and/or about the community they belong in.  They are focused on others that they feel the need that they can teach another community about their problems.
  Yamato list clear bullet points of the different types of racism. And Ayvazian focuses on how one can take on the role of an ally to break the oppression, of the multiple types of racism that exist in today's time. Ayvazian states,
" What does seem to create real and lasting change is high motivated individuals, usually a hand ful at first who are so clear and consistent on an issue that they serve as a heart bet in a community, steadily sending out waves that touch and change those in their path. These change agents or allies have such a powerful impact because their actions embody the values they profess: their behavior and beliefs are congruent. (116)"
I quickly thought about Martin Luther King Jr., not only beucase in his holiday in his membrance passed, but because he is one of those allies that fought extremely hard to fight racism. He and his agenda to have everyone love each other and not worry about the color of ones skin, was the heart beat that Ayvazian is talking about, It was that first leap that needed to happen in order to create the loud noise that change needs to occur.

Ayvazian, defines an ally as "a member of a dominant group in our society who works to dismantle any form of oppression from which she of he benefit." This is one of the many steps that needs to happen to abolish oppression. One needs to take a stand, and immediately put a stop to it. Though there are consequences when standing up to an issue that holds a heavy weight, but when one finds an ally in the same group/room, one will feel much better and supported to go against the issue. Ayvazian also tweaks David Wellman's definition of oppression, so that i can fit into the various forms of the -ism family. Wellman define oppression by  "a system of advantage base on a race". Ayvazian then tweaks it by saying " sexism is a system of advantage based on gender, that hetero sexism is a system of advantage based on sexual orientation etc. " This connects with Yamato's piece because its breaking down the different groups that are experiencing the oppression. Yamato goes into detail on the different form, and one must take the stand to it and fight it beucase it is wrong, with this quote
"Challenge oppression. Take a stand against it. When you are aware of something oppressive going down. Stop the show. At least call it. We becomes so numbed to racism that we don't even think twice about it unless it is immediately life threatening. "
 Ayvazian would definelty agree with Yamatos quote here, because Ayvazian wants people to get together and challenge it. Once a group of allies is formed the risk of experiencing violence due to taking a stand against is will be reduced. There will always be a fear when one is taking a stand against a controversial topic. But having allies behind you and all around you, reduces the anxiety and fear of going against it.
Ways to become allies (not limited to):
  • Join Support Groups
  • Speak up!
  • Be the change you want to see.-Ghandi
  • Become a positive role model.
  • Lead by example.
  • Understand the problem, and focus on the solution. 
  • Be yourself!
Discussion for class:

What are other creative ways one can individual stand up and become allies? Just as Professor Bogad has mentioned in class its better to be prepared for when you are in a situation where an individual is being oppressed, one can already have a smart way to get to the person that is belittling the other.

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