Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Extended Comment – Extension of Heather’s Thoughts blog (TP#8 Blanchard)

Heather had chosen to focus her blog on Fletcher A. Blanchard’s piece “Combatting Intentional Bigotry and Inadvertently Racists Acts”.  The bulk of her blog concerns Blanchard’s mention of the possible use of several social codes in order to reduce racial harassment.  I feel that two more very important points could have been emphasized a little more in Heather’s blog.  One is the phenomena of how easily the perception of race and racism and be affected by what ideas they are exposed to.  Blanchard states that he suspects one of the reasons why opinions about racism are so easily influences is from the high levels of racial segregation in the United States today.  It seems to be more of a segregation of ethnic identity, the creation of “the other”.  The majority of the people don’t live in very ethnically mixed communities and so they do not really get a strong reinforcement of equality and unity.  I believe that this is what Blanchard is eluding to when he mentions that America’s campuses constitute the first multiracial social setting encountered by youth.  He then goes on to say that, “[t]hus the elasticity of reactions to racism appears to reflect the uncertainty that the inexperience, but well intentioned, bring to their first interracial setting”.  In short, many people (especially the majority group) are inexperienced in dealing with issues of race and racism and so they latch onto what people say around them in an attempt to conform to their surroundings.  It is also this inexperience that can lead to unintentional insensitivity to racial issues (even though that the individual may have the best intentions at heart). 
            The second point that I believe needs to be emphasized is the idea that people can work together and take a stand against the mainstream ideologies that create social stratification made in Blanchard’s article.  This also ties into and is reinforced by the ideas mentioned in Andrea Ayvazian’s article, “Interrupting the Cycle of Oppression:  The Role of Allies as Agents of Change”.  In Ayvazian’s article, she calls these people who work together to bring change allies.  She defines an ally 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 benefit.  Ayvazian believes that one of the largest impacts on our society is when allies come together to speak out against inequality.  Being members of the majority group, their words may have the largest impacts among other members of the majority.  When enough people say that, “no, this is not okay” you force the rest of the people to look at their behavior as inappropriate.  By doing this, she also claims that allies create good role models for the youth in order to perpetuate ally behavior.  We have too many examples in mainstream society of the current popular ideology being expressed and so when people participate in ally behavior they demonstrate alternative modes of thinking and behaving.