For What Are You Responsible?

My time in Gender & Society has made me do a lot of thinking about the social hierarchies we operate in. Who made these hierarchies? If the answer is the privileged  does that mean every privileged individual has made a conscious choice to uphold this system that provides them such elaborate benefits? This is clearly not the case, but is every privileged person to be held responsible because they benefit from these invisible structures  How complicit are they in the discrimination and subjugation of people who do not receive these privileges they are afforded? It might be an easy answer to say that every privileged person has a responsibility to fight against discrimination because of their power position, and in a perfect world, I agree. But, I don’t think life reduces to these kinds of easy answers. In the end, these systems victimize and trap both privileged and non-privileged parties. While it’s easy to blame those with privilege for their position, I would argue that we can’t condemn them for benefiting from a system they did little to produce. It’s easy for us to believe we would behave differently if we were in their position, but I don’t think that is true. I wish more people would fight the systems that bind us all. I want to encourage that kind of behavior, but I’m not comfortable writing off individuals with privilege entirely.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Big Question Reflection and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to For What Are You Responsible?

  1. taek2012 says:

    You bring up some very interesting points. I do think that when we benefit from systems and structures that privilege us we are being complicit. This does not mean that I think the privileged are necessarily to blame for this; it is not as though every person with privilege is consciously thinking about how they benefit from others’ oppression. However we must hold ourselves responsible for thinking critically. Yes, it is often the structures that cause oppression, rather than the people, but these structures cannot change if people fail to hold themselves and others accountable. Those who benefit from privilege are not bad people, but to a certain extent, they are ignorant people. I, myself, am guilty of having been ignorant of my privilege at many points in my life, and I’m sure I am still ignorant of some of it. But in order to enact change, we need to acknowledge that the system is unfair. This is why it is so important to educate people about racial, gender, and sexual-orientation inequality. I know many people in my life who I have talked to about these issues who had never considered them before, but once they became aware of them, they were able to make small changes in their behavior. People need to hold themselves accountable, but they cannot do that if they don’t know what’s going on. This is why it’s so important for us to discuss these issues openly and often.

What do you have to say about this?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s