ECS 110 Self Reflection Final

Clare, E. (2001). Stolen bodies, reclaimed bodies: Disability and queerness. Public Culture, 13(3), 359-365.

Gorski P. (2008). The myth of the culture of poverty. Educational leadership. 65 (7). 32-36.

Guest Speaker: Laura Budd

Martino, W. (2012). ‘Undoing’ Gender and Disrupting Hegemonic Masculinity: Embracing a Transgender Social Imaginary. Critical Voices in Teacher Education, 125-138.

Mickey Mouse Monopoly: Disney, Childhood, and Corporate Power. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYMoo1BYDVs

Miss Representation Trailer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ap2xnMcvpw

Peggy McIntosh. (1988). White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. 45-51.

Project, T. G., & DiAngelo, R. (2015, April 30). Why It’s So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism. Retrieved March 27, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/good-men-project/why-its-so-hard-to-talk-to-white-people-about-racism_b_7183710.html

Racism – It’s a Canadian Thing. (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2017, from http://peoplesvoice.ca/2016/07/28/racism-its-a-canadian-thing/

Rios, A. C. (2015, May 18). Debunking the ‘Pull Yourself Up By Your Bootstraps’ Myth. Retrieved April 12, 2017, from http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/05/debunking-bootstraps-myth/

Sensoy, O., & DiAngelo, R. (2012). Is everyone really equal? An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Singleton, G. E., & Hays, C. (n.d.). Beginning Courageous Conversations About Race.

Solomona, R. P., Portelli, J. P., Daniel, B., & Campbell, A. (2005). The discourse of denial: how white teacher candidates construct race, racism and ‘white privilege’. Race Ethnicity and Education, 8(2), 147-169. doi:10.1080/13613320500110519

St. Denis, V. (2011). Silencing Aboriginal Curricular Content and Perspectives through Multiculturalism: “There are other children here”. Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, 33(4), 306-317.

5 Tips for being an Ally. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dg86g-QlM0

 

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Self In Relation To Others

 i) Normative narratives

Normal narratives about gender often cause restrictions to both male and female. I have noticed that there is a very distinct normal narrative that women are seen as “not good enough” compared to men in many situations or activities. In Damara’s self-story, she explains about a time when she felt that she was incapable of doing the same things as males do because of fear of being hurt. “What I took away from that day was that I realized I couldn’t keep up with the boys anymore. I had come to realize that I had a gender, and I could no longer do the same things the boys could do. I was finally socialized into one category. A category that led me to believe girls don’t play sports where they can get hurt” (Damara). In Damara’s story, she is performing the common rebuttal that she was socialized into believing the girls are weak and fragile. I can relate to Damara’s story because I have always believed that girls can do anything boys can do. However, I would most likely think twice about joining a boy’s football team or taking a class with all males. I think this is because I have been told my whole life that although I can achieve anything I put my mind to but I will always have limitations because of my gender. My parents would be the first ones to steer me away from joining a boy’s sport because of fear of injury, even though I am perhaps stronger and more determined than individuals on that team. This all relates back to the ideology that women are fragile and unaccomplished compared to males. Hannah’s self-story also supports this normal narrative. In Hannah’s self-story she talks about how she couldn’t understand why males and females couldn’t play hockey together. “Once I asked the coach “why are there no boys on the team?” he looked at me and said that “girls and boys don’t play hockey together” It was not until after this moment that I realized boys and girls are different and that we will always be different” (Hannah). Hannah’s story underlines that they don’t allow women and men to play hockey together because of differing abilities. “There is often a lack of support for ‘girls’ sports in schools, and even when there is funding for girls, the broader culture reinforces the idea that’s girls’ sports are not as valuable since girls in sports don’t go anywhere in terms of professional leagues” (Sensoy & DiAngelo p.85) and when women are given the opportunity to play sports it is often sexualized, for example, lingerie football. These stories, as well as my own story, all share the normal narrative that women are inadequate.

I easily relate to my classmates self-stories. I know that feeling of disappointment that you cannot do something not based on talent, strive or courage but instead based on gender which is permanent and unable to change. In my self-story about gender, I explain a situation in my life when I was told I was not good enough to do my job because of my gender. “A customer had entered my oil change shop and told me that she would not allow me to work on her vehicle because needed someone with more experience. I told her I was the most experienced working that night to which she replied, “I want anyone but you to touch my vehicle” (Kacie). This customer believed that as a female I was not as physically able to perform my job as well as my male coworkers could. This normal narrative often comes from media as well as peers and figures in women’s lives supporting this narrative. In FAQ: What is “sexism”? The author, Tekenji, describes how gender roles are often seen as “images of cartoon-like villains proclaiming, “Men are stronger and more intelligent than women!” or “A woman’s place is in the home, barefoot and pregnant!” (Tenkenji). These common ideas of gender portrayed by the media support this narrative that women are “not good enough” or less than men. This idea also comes from everyday encounters such as specific jobs designated for women that are looked at as being “easier” or separate male/female sports teams and groups. This narrative illustrates that women are not good enough which steers women away from certain activities and situations. The story reproduces that if you are female and incapable of doing something it is ok because you are female and that is why you are not able. It paints a picture for many women that no matter how hard you try to work at something you will never be as good as a male so there is no point in trying. All of these stories result in females questioning their abilities because of their gender and reproduces the narrative that females are incapable.

ii) Creating counter-stories: Disrupting normative narratives

In CBC’s documentary, The Gender Trap, Cordelia Fine, associate professor at the center for ethical leadership at the University of Melbourne Australia, states that, “gender stereotypes are the invisible hand that guides us in terms of what we already expect to see and often what we expect to see we then believe is fixed and never-changing” (O’Connell). These gender stereotypes then turn into normal narratives that influence our everyday lives. I find these expectations to be quite upsetting. In my job, I am very familiar with this feeling of being discriminated because of my gender. I have learned to accept the fact that I stand out at my job because of my social position and because of this I am vulnerable to discrimination. However, I am proud that every day I perform an act that is counter to the ‘norm’ of my gender and I hope I can be an inspiration for other women to challenge those norms and act opposing them. Throughout the years I have had many customers and coworkers express to me how awesome it is to see a girl in an industry typically dominated by males. I have had numerous women come into my shop and tell me I inspire them to break gender boundaries and there is nothing that feels better.

Although there is a normal narrative that women aren’t “good enough” compared to men, there are lots of situations and opposing normal narratives where this narrative is proven to be wrong. Another example of this is in Cassandra’s self-story. She explains about a time when she was playing football on a boy’s team. “My team respected me and did not underestimate my abilities on the field on based the fact that I am a girl” (Cassandra). Cassandra’s story made me feel proud and happy. Cassandra’s story is a perfect example of a women proving that she can play sports with males. She is breaking the common rebuttal that we tell ourselves that women are just too fragile and we don’t want them to get hurt in male sports. To see a situation where a girl was given the opportunity to be on the same field of her male counterparts is quite incredible. In Is everyone really equal? An introduction to key concepts in Social Justice Education, Sensoy and DiAneglo state that “many people cite sports as now open to women” (Sensoy & DiAneglo, 2012, p.84). I feel that the improvements for women in sports have been great but there is so much more we can do to end this normal narrative. The popularity of women in sports is also increasing and statistics have shown that “society’s interest in women athletes increases during the Olympics” (Sensoy & DiAngelo, 2012, p.85). Females breaking these narratives are taking one step forward to ending degrading stereotypes, expectations and mindsets about gender.

I want to resist the normal narrative that females are inadequate as the norm. Although sports are emphasized when discussing sexism between women and men, other activities and jobs also have narratives that conflict the common narrative that women aren’t good enough. Nowadays there are many women in careers often dominated by men such as police officers, engineering, construction and mechanics. All of these stories of women excelling help to silence the normal narrative that women are incapable. There have been large improvements in society to distribute this narrative, but how much has really been done? Is there more we can do? Women now have to right to vote and other equal rights in the law, but are still looked down upon for playing guys football or being a mechanic. If we begin to undo gender by disrupting categories that women and men are expected to be in, we can create a world that is more accepting and open-ended. I want to make it my own personal goal to not discriminate based on gender. I can do this by resisting the normal narrative that women are incapable. To do this I want to start recognizing women breaking this narrative and stop categorizing by gender in my mind in regards to sports, careers, strength and so on, By resisting the normal narrative that women are “not good enough” we can put a stop to negative expectations, stereotypes and beliefs that restrict all genders.

Sensoy & DiAngelo (2012) Is everyone really equal? An introduction to key concepts in Social Justice Education. New York: Teachers College Press.

Writing the Self 4: “anyone but you”

Almost every day I perform the counter to my genders ‘norm’ because of my job. At the age of fourteen, I was lucky enough to be hired at Great Candian Oil change. I first began as a greater but worked my way up to become a technician. I am the only women hired at my job and the only employee under the age of 25. Because of this, I stand out to customers. Throughout the years, I have been discriminated both negatively and positively at my job. I remember one very distinct moment when I was discriminated in a negative way because of my sex.

It was a Wednesday night and I was working a short four-hour shift. I had a great day that day and was in a great mood laughing and joking around with my coworkers. We began to get busy and before we knew it our line outside had grown from 1 car to 2 cars until we were lined up to the street. The buzzer that alerts us that someone new pulled around keep buzzed constantly and with each buzz there was a sigh from all of us workers. I have always loved when we get busy. The smile grew larger and larger on my face until one car rolled into my bay.

At first, she was nice and informed me that she just needed her oil changed and tires check, which was as easy as it gets for us. I typed in all of her vehicle information and was about to get working on her vehicle when she told me that she would not allow me to work on her vehicle. My heart felt as though it dropped into my feet. I began to panic and the only word that came out was “why?” She then began scrambling by saying that she needed someone with more experience. This came as a shock to me as I was the most experienced working that night and had been there for five years. I explained to her the situation and that there was no one else as experienced as I was working at my moment. She continued to scramble then stated, “I want anyone but you to touch my vehicle”.

That is when I realized that it was because of either my sex or age. I was in shock that someone could be so rude and blunt about discriminating someone else. In the moment I did not know what to do. I could feel my heart beating, a lump had grown in my thought and I could feel the tears coming on. I ran as fast as I could to the back room and broke down. My manager rushed after me and asked what had happened. I informed him of the situation and he forced the women to leave our shop and told her to never come back. I was always aware of the fact that I stood out at my job and some people may discriminate me because of this. However, I never imagined someone would deny my service because of this. I know that because of my social position at my job I am vulnerable to discrimination. However, I am proud that every day I perform an act that is counter to the ‘norm’ of my gender and I hope I can be an inspiration for other women to challenge those norms and act opposing them.

Got Privilege?

The first step in understanding white privilege is learning what is implied when being referred to as a white person. In the article, Robin DiAngelo describes being a white person as“ people who either come from or appear to come from Europe, but it’s necessarily a construct of oppression.” From reading the article I have concluded that White privilege is being allowed to be ignorant and think something is not a problem, such as racism because it does not happen to them. I personally believe that if you have never had to be worried about being discriminated in any way because of your race then that is white privilege.

“White privilege” and “white supremacy” seem scary to most people, but why is that? When responding to this article I asked my little brother who is 15 what he thought about white privilege he responded with “that means that white people have it easy right? I believe that is fake.” I then began to explain to him that he would not be discriminated based on his skin color while others would which is an example of his own white privilege. He responded that people who do that are just being “racist”. In his point of view there are only a few “bad apples” out there that support and carry out racism which carries over negatively to the rest of us. This all got me thinking about white privilege. My brother got quite defensive about the topic as though he did not want to admit or allow the idea of his own race giving him supremacy in the world, which is white fragility.

White fragility is the inability to cope with conversations about race that don’t protect white people’s innocence involving the situation. This relates to the example given in the article about the Ottawa mayor, Jim Watson, getting defensive and calling those who were revealing his white privilege as being “vulgar and rude”. This shows how white people can be uncomfortable with their own white privilege and accepting that they are privileged. Whiteness often equates to innocence. However thinking or acting in ways that support the system of racism contradicts this ideal of innocence associated with whiteness. If white people are not making effort to reveal their own white privilege and make efforts to create better equality then they support the system of racism. By making all aware of their own privilege we can take the correct steps in acknowledging racial discrimination.

Personally, I have a lot of conflicting feelings about white privilege. As a person of European ancestry, I am considered to be a white person. When talking about my personal privilege I feel torn. A part of me recognizes that I have it easier than some because of my skin color. However, I have not taken the time to recognize certain situations where my white privilege has benefited myself. As a white person, I have never felt as though I would be refused service or acceptance because of my skin color and until reading this article and discussing white privilege in class I did not realize that that is my own white privilege. I now think the key to stopping racism is being educated so that we are not blind to a system of privilege we are apart of as white people. Becoming aware of your privilege so that you can become educated and use your own white privilege as an opportunity to help the world instead of oppressing others is the first positive step we should all take.

“White people are people and race is a thing that happens to everyone else” (Denise Balkissoon).

Writing the Self 3: When the plane hit

My morning started with her calming voice whispering in my ear “Kacie, wake up it’s your first day of school”. Waking up to my mother’s soothing voice had always been and still is my favorite way to start my day. Excited for my first day of preschool I jumped out my bed and hurried to find my clothes my mom had perfectly folded out for me the night before. I rushed to get off my cozy pink pajamas and get on my adorable yellow sundress. As I rushed to get dressed my mother put on my favorite show, Barney and hopped in the shower. It was how I started my every day, sitting on my parent’s bed with my puppy watching my favorite big purple dinosaur sing and dance. My father had already left for work and my newborn baby brother Jared was still asleep in his crib. I could hear my mother singing in the shower and the steam of the water was floating into her bedroom where I sat. My hazel eyes were glued to the screen singing loudly along to every word of Barney’s theme song when the channel suddenly changed.

They showed the video over and over again and I screamed for my mother to fix the TV because I was sick of seeing a plane hit a building so many times. I grew frustrated by the idea of missing even a second of my favorite show. My mood had completely shifted and I was extremely irritated that I was missing my show. I screamed louder and louder until finally, my mother came hurrying out the shower. Expecting me to be hurt or scared from all the screaming she had a pale and worried look on her face. I was immensely upset at this point that my barney had switched channels and screamed loudly at her that she fix the TV. My mother looked frustrated that I interrupted her shower for something so pointless. She grabbed the remote from the bed and looked up at the TV. Suddenly my mother stood frozen, staring at the TV with her mouth open and her hands shaking. At the time I never understood what was happening. My mother had told me that a plane had hit a large building in a city far away from us. She then hurried to the phone and called my father quite worried. I continued watching the TV and saw the pictures of people on the screen. I never understood why the people on the TV had a different skin color than me and I remember asking my mom why the men on the TV were wearing a towel on their head not knowing at the time that it was a Hijab. My mother then told me that I was not going to school that day because I was just going to get to play at home for the day. I was extremely upset and remember thinking that the people on the TV that had darker skin than me had ruined my first day of school. That terrifying and sorrowful day was my first memory of being aware that others have different skin color than my own.

Writing the Self 2: The flag that put me in handcuffs

The moment in time I identified myself most as a Saskatchewan person was when my family and I were almost arrested in Athens Greece for sharing our ride pride with the world. In 2012 my family and I took a three-week incredible vacation to Southern Europe. We were half way through our trip when we arrived in Athens Greece. The sky was filled with thick gray smog, which made the city feel run down and depressing. We made our way off the boat and onto our tour bus for the day. It was hot and muggy that day which made the air conditioning on the bus feel heavenly. The day was long and exhausting and I could feel my lack of sleep catching up with me but we had one finally stop that we were all extremely excited about, The Parthenon.

As the tour bus pulled up to The Acropolis our excitement began to rise. I could still remember the way it felt turning the corner to see the famous and historic Parthenon. All the tourists on the bus began to point and stare in admiration as they rushed to get out their cameras and snap that perfect picture. My family and I rushed off the bus to get in front of the crowds and begin the long strenuous climb to the top in order to get a better view of the ancient monument. The climb to the top was grueling due to the uneven coble stones, windy paths and high humidity but the astonishing view at the top was all worth it. The horizon of the ancient city was filled with small mountains and the trees were all a rich bright green colour. It seemed although we could see for miles. Finally, the time we were all waiting for was here. We turned around and climbed a little bit more until we were standing in front of The Parthenon.

The historic building was covered in cranes and scaffolding due to workers trying to restore it but we didn’t care. It was still as beautiful in person than in pictures. We hurried to get to the front of the building to take a picture with our roughrider flag, which we took with us to every monumental site we have ever been to. My mother set herself up holding the camera while my father, brother and I pulled out the flag to take a picture. We were all set up and my mother was about to snap the shop when it happened. Loud alarms started blaring and police began charging towards us with whistles. They snatched out flag out of our hands and grabbed the camera from my mother. The police were screaming at us loudly in Greek, which none of us understood. My heart felt like it was going to bust out of my chest and I could feel my eyes filling up with water from fear. They forced us to leave the site and would not return our belongings until we got to the bottom of the hill. Once we reached the bottom they found a translator who explained to us that they only allow the Greek flag on the Acropolis and we had broken a very serious rule.

We began to return back to the tour bus disappointed that we did not get to experience the Parthenon for long enough and get a picture with our rider flag. Before climbing back onto our bus we decided to climb into the bushes to get a picture of the Parthenon and our rider flag. We knew how much trouble we could have gotten in for because of this but we were determined to show our rider pride in every place we went. On our cruise we became known for the people who were almost arrested for being football fans. This whole experience made me feel truly like a Saskatchewan person because the roughriders are such a big part of having the identity of a Saskatchewan person. I felt incredibly proud to be from Saskatchewan in that moment of almost being arrested in Greece.

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Writing the Self 1: Touching down at home

I had been awake for 22 hours now, which caused my eyes to grow large puffy bags under them and my body to feel like I had been running a marathon all day and night. I had thrown my hair up in a messy bun and my feet were swollen from the high altitude that I struggled to get back on my shoes in order to walk off the plane. The airplane stunk of a unique odor of toxic chemicals that the engine was burning and salty peanuts, which the well-dressed flight attendants were handing out. We left early from Rome, Italy that morning in order to catch our 6:45 am flight. In order to get back to Regina, we had to fly from Rome to Frankfort, Frankfort to Toronto then Toronto to Regina. After over 14 hours of flying, I was ready to be home in my own bed. I craved the feeling of my warm bed with my favorite pillow and fuzzy purple blanket.

I was seated next to my sleeping little brother who was dreaming and drooling on my shoulder while both of my parents were reading their favorite novels across the aisle from us. I stared out the window plugged into my music, which blared my favorite artist, Ed Sheeran. I spent the duration of the flight fixed on the dark sky and the irregular looking clouds we were flying past. I was deep in thought thinking about everything and anything that came to my mind. After what felt like a lifetime of traveling the pilot came on the intercom and announced loudly of our descent into the Regina area. It was 2:34 am when the wheels finally touched down on Canadian ground

The moment the wheels of the aircraft touched the ground I felt relieved. The large jolt of landing awoke my brother in a panic. A few moments later he realized we were in Regina and a large smile grew on his face. I glanced over at my parents who smiled back at me with a relieved look on their faces. All four of us had a moment of celebration that we survived what felt that a strenuous journey back home. I through my arms in the air and did a small celebration dance in my seat while my parents and brother laughed and mouthed the words “we made it” to each other. I was immediately overcome by a sensation of peace finally being home in Regina. It was a simple blissful moment of relief that made me feel like I was home. Home has never been just one place to me; it is a feeling of happiness with the people I love.