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Think Paper #6 \ . Privilege, Power and Difference By Allan G. Johnson Chapter 5/6. Discuss what Johnson means by, “A Problem for Whom?. Family relationships Living up to “real men” image Fear of violence True cross-gender friendship p.64.

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think paper 6
Think Paper #6 \
  • Privilege, Power and Difference
    • By Allan G. Johnson
    • Chapter 5/6
discuss what johnson means by a problem for whom
Discuss what Johnson means by, “A Problem for Whom?

Family relationships

Living up to “real men” image

Fear of violence

True cross-gender friendship


what is the race trouble for whites
What is the Race trouble for whites?
  • Enormous suffering caused by racism
  • Discomfort & fear around blacks
  • Demonizing black men & boys
  • Not being trusted
  • Moral integrity, hypocrisy re: values of fairness, etc.
who is really affected by the isms racism sexism ageism
Who is really affected by the “isms” (racism, sexism, ageism,
  • Everybody! They affect more than women, homosexuals, racial & ethnic minorities.
  • Because it’s impossible tolive in a world that generates so much trouble, injustice & suffering without being touched by it. (p67)
how does the trouble around difference affect organizations communities and society as a whole
How does the trouble around difference affect organizations, communities and society as a whole?
  • Denial
  • Oblivious
  • Crisis & scandal
  • Culture of denial and neglect that permeates society as a whole.
why don t dominant groups see privilege as a problem p74
Why don’t dominant groups see privilege as a problem? (p74)
  • B/C they don’t know it exists in the first place.
  • Because they don’t have to
  • Because the think its just a personal problem
  • B/C they want to hang on to their privilege
  • Because they’re prejudiced-racist, heterosexist, classist
  • Because they are afraid
what two strategies are most often used to try engaging ceos and others in positions of privilege
What two strategies are most often used to try engaging CEOs and others in positions of privilege?
    • Appeal to sense of fairness and decency or their good will toward those less fortunate
    • The business case – soscially responsible, organizations work better, raises morale, productivity and lowers costly turnovers, protects agains lawsuits, etc.
  • We need a third choice (p82)
what is the myth that everything is somebody s fault
What is the myth that everything is somebody’s fault?
  • Individualism & individualistic thinking
  • Society encourages us to think that the social world begins and ends with individuals.
  • This is a narrow and distorted view of reality.
  • The social world consists of a lot more than individuals, we are always participating in something larger than ourselves - social systems, more than a collection of people.
define the path of least resistance
Define the “path of least resistance”?
  • Systems load the odds in certain directions for us to follow that are far more appealing
  • It’s the only one we see
  • It’s more comfortable
  • It’s less scary
  • We do what we are told to do
  • We smile, laugh or remain silent
what is the social system that drives privilege power and difference
What is the “social system” that drives privilege, power and difference?
  • We are connected to each other through a dynamid relationship.
  • Patterns of oppression & privilege are rooted in systems that we all participate in and make happen.
  • These patterns are built into paths of least resistance that we are drawn to follow every day.
privilege power difference
Privilege, Power & Difference
  • As long as we participate in social systems, we don’t get to choose whether to be involved in the consequences they produce. We’re involved simply through the fact that we’re here. As such, we can only choose HOW to be involved, whether to be just part of the problem or also to be part of the solution. That’s where our power lies, and also our responsibility.
how do systems of privilege work
How do systems of privilege work?
  • 10. What does it mean to be involved in Privilege and Oppression? Pg 96)
    • Through social systems and how individuals participate in them.
    • Systems organized around privilege have three key characteristics: They are dominated by PG, identified with PG and centered on PG
    • “members of PG are superior, thus deserving
  • Positions of power tend to be occupied by members of that group in ways that make it seem natural and normal.
  • Consider the “Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher
  • Male dominance … describes a patriarchal system that both men and women participate in…gendered patterns of unequal power and paths of least resistance for men & women that support those patterns. p99
dominance cont
Dominance (cont.)
  • Patterns of dominance and the paths of least resistance that sustain them show up in every system of privilege.
  • White dominance is reflected in an unequal racial balance of power in society and its institutions.
identified with privilege
Identified with Privilege
  • Consider, “It’s a man’s world”, It’s a “White world”, or a “Straight world”.
  • Privileged groups are usually taken as the standard of comparison that represents the best that society has to offer.
  • Because privileged groups are assumed to represent society as a whole, “American” is culturally defined as white, despite diversity.
identified with privilege cont
Identified with Privilege (cont.)
  • White identification means rarely if ever being identified as white, which is assumed.
  • However, racial tags are common for everyone else, i.e. black physician, Asian actor, etc.
  • There are NO words that culturally associate women with a valued quality of human relation in the way that fellow and fellowship do for men.
privilege at the center
Privilege at the Center
  • Systems of privilege center on dominant groups, thus Black, Latino and female students are usually “invisible”.
  • The well traveled path of least resistance makes invisibility a key part of the devaluing that lies at the heart of privilege & oppression.
  • Marginalized groups cope by creating their own social systems.
the isms
  • Racism is the patterns of privilege and oppression themselves and anything- intentional or not- that helps to create or perpetuate those patterns. If we extend this to other forms of privilege, then sexism and heterosexism are also more than personal expressions of hostility or prejudice, but include everything that people do or don’t do that promotes male privilege and hetero priv.
the isms cont
The ISMS (cont.)
  • It’s not what people do or say but what they don’t. The Power of silence to promote privilege and oppression.
  • Silence & not looking, or asking are in effect just as racist or sexists or heterosexist because oppression depends on them in order to continue.
  • What counts isn’t just what they do, but evenmore what they don’t do.
the isms and us
The ISMS and US
  • doesn’t mean that white people are consciously racist or that men are intentionally sexist, or that heterosexuals are overtly heterosexist. It does mean that there isn’t a single white person or man or heterosexual who doesn’t have these issue to deal with inside and in relation to the world around them. This is their legacy, handed to them when they were children…pg116