I cannot believe that we are already in the tenth week of school. With only five class sessions left, I know it is going to go by fast. I want to take time to reflect on the progress that I have made thus far and explore areas I hope to improve upon in these last few weeks of the semester.
I distinctly remember coming home after our first session of class and thinking to myself, “this is going to be another fluffy philosophy class which I will never use in the real world.” No offense to Demetri or my classmates. As the class progressed, I pushed myself to be more open to the various systems of oppression and their manifestations in society. I would not say that I had never been exposed to social injustice or that I was opposed to learning about it. On the contrary, I traveled to Bahrain during the Arab Spring in 2013 and to Palestine during the war in Gaza in 2014 to examine social injustice in those societies. I learned a lot from the books I read and even more from the stories of the people I met.
Before this class, I held social injustice an arms length away; It was always other people who were oppressed and other people who were doing the oppressing. Through this class, I realized that social injustice exists everywhere and I play a part in it every day. I take for granted the privileges that I have not worked for in a society that favors some over others without merit. Social injustice exists because people are either ignorant of its existence or acknowledge its existence but fail to challenge the system. Either way, society as a whole in the United States suffers.
Prior to this class, I was unaware of my complacency within the system. From awareness has grown frustration. I have all this newfound knowledge, but I don’t know what to do with it. In a social system that is so vast and so diverse, what difference will my single voice have on the current structure? More dangerous what other negative social systems am I unaware of? While I have made tremendous progress in these ten weeks, I know I have blind spots. If this picture is not complete, what I am missing? I am positive that there exists large gaps in my knowledge of social justice and the question becomes, “how do I fill in those gaps?”
Perhaps it is just the “Grad School October” but I feel stagnant in writing these blog posts. We learned that oppression exists. We are examining the different forms of oppression. Now what? In these next few weeks, I strive to challenge myself every week to be critical of what I am learning. In the readings, what are the authors trying to convey and why? Are they right? I know that I am often times not critical enough. It is my goal to try to look at the research from every angle and come up with my own conclusions.
In my final blog post paper, I intend to highlight my positionality and the impact it has on my status within American society. From “Pumpkin Spice and Yoga” to where I am at today, I am proud of how I have succeeded in peeled back the layers of social intersectionality and gained a deeper understanding of American social injustice.
Oppression is not fluff. Social Justice is not unimportant. Playing a role in every single one of our lives, it is paramount that we are aware of the social impacts of our system. Within student affairs, our understanding of oppression is even more critical.