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Archive for April, 2011

An article titled, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”, written by Peggy McIntosh, describes the daily effects of white privilege and how we are unable to see the dominance the skin color of White actually has. Peggy compares this to male privilege in our world and how men are unwilling to see the advantages they have compared to women. Similarly, Peggy argues that we have always been taught to see racism as something that puts people at a disadvantage, but we were never taught to see how it puts the White race at an advantage.  She creates a list of fifty ways the White race is privileged on a daily basis. Two examples that stuck out to me most were, “I can chose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin” and “I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race”. The first one really affected me because I never took the time to think of this. When I go to buy make up I will pick up one that says flesh color but whose flesh color will it match? It is assumed that the flesh color is that of a White person but it fails to show that the flesh color of a Black person may be different. The second one really stuck out to me because although it is embarrassing to say, I find myself conforming to that idea of stereotyping. For example, I see an Asian and assume that they are excellent in mathematics, but I never realized how wrong it is to assume that.

Taking the ideas of Peggy and using it to look at people on social assistance, we can see that they are being lacked privilege over others. If I had to create a list of three ways to show lack of privilege of people on social welfare it would include the following:

1)      People on welfare still live far below the poverty line

2)      Majority of the people on welfare are adult women

3)      Women are paid lower wages that results in welfare assistance

It is a known fact that women are paid less than men and this fact is what led to 90% of people on welfare being women. Women are not given as many job opportunities as men are and therefore are being forced to depend on social assistance programs. The problems with these programs are that they do not last forever. For example, TANF, which is the welfare program in the U.S., only provides welfare for five years. Well what happens after those five years? How are women supposed to survive if they are less privileged then men in searching for jobs? According to Women’s Media, women still earn seventy seven cents of every full-time male dollar. The only way to fix these problems is to become more aware and active in helping the percentage of women in welfare to drop. After reading many articles, I am motivated to make myself and others more aware of the privileges males have over females and to help women get out of welfare programs and instead be in successful independent job positions.

http://www.womensmedia.com/money/95-gender-wage-gap-are-you-paid-as-much-as-a-man-if-he-had-your-job.html

http://www.nymbp.org/reference/WhitePrivilege.pdf

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The Triangle Waist Company Factory was located in New York City. Many immigrant workers were employed there and women ranging from the ages 16-23 worked there making shirtwaists. On March 25th, 1911 the factory caught on fire and killed 146 workers from which more than half were female. The factory workers worked on the 7th floor up to the 9th. They were not informed of the fire immediately and had no way to escape. They had only one fire escape but even this did not lead to the ground and doors were locked by the owners because they feared workers would steal. Employees were forced to jump out of windows because they would rather risk that then being burned alive. The employees of the factory were not provided with safe working conditions. They worked six days a week and were not properly paid for the work they did.

Kate Kelly wrote an article on Huffpost New York titles “The Triangle Factory Fire Centennial and Why It Matters Today”, this article talks about what we can learn from this fire and how it affects us in present day. Kate writes that workers fought for better pay and working conditions two years prior to the fire but their wishes were ignored and not realized until after the fire happened. In 2004 a New York activist names Ruth Sergel created a group to remember the Triangle Factory workers and to remind us what they did for us. The factory fire created stronger unions and some better working conditions but still till this day there are people who are working in horrible conditions and with bad pay. 98% of garment factories in Los Angeles still have health and safety issues and garment factories in New York violate laws dealing with minimum wage and overtime. Kate says that we all have a responsibility to make sure each of our voices is heard and I really agree with this. Sometimes the voices that are given importance are of those who are wealthy but we have to make sure everyone has their voice heard. By mentioning statistics about how there are still safety issues in big time cities like New York and Los Angeles, Kate is showing how things still have not changed completely.

Today most companies will provide health benefits to their employees and provide a secure environment but it is not everywhere. I work for JP Morgan Chase and the company provides us with benefits and has taken the responsibility to ensure safety in the work environment. I know working for a big time company like JP Morgan Chase is a lot different than working in a factory and it is probably a lot less safe. I feel like we have to have some sort of disaster happen in order for anyone to even think about change. For example, the factory workers in the Triangle Factory had complained about poor working conditions prior to the fire but nothing was done until afterwards and still today it is an issue. When people come to work they want to feel safe and feel cared for, they do not want to be treated as if they are worthless. It is our job and duty as citizens to ensure the safety of our people, and I feel that we should not ignore these horrible working conditions but instead we should do something about it. I know Walmart is not a factory but we all know about Walmart and its poor working conditions. I did an assignment last quarter in which I found that Walmart employees get paid about twenty percent less than the average retail worker. I wish I could do something to help people and make them realize that they deserve better!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kate-kelly/the-triangle-factory-fire_b_832843.html

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After observing the PBS site provided below about race, I came to know many things about race that I hadn’t known before. This website really makes you think about race and what it actually. I never knew race included religion, class, and status. My impression of race was always based on skin color. I guess that’s just the way I was taught to think race was. The website talks about racism today and even in history, it brings up the sensitive topic of slavery. We all have learned about slavery in some history class, but had anyone really thought about why it happened? African Americans were treated so harshly because of their skin color, their race. How is this fair? I know slavery may have stopped here in the USA, but has racism stopped. My answer to this question is a definite no. We all do not have the same chance at success. We have so many stereotypes in this world that it is hard to believe we could all ever have the same chance. Although many things lead me to believe this, I would like to focus on one particular reason for me saying this. After the horrible terrorist attack on September 11th, the whole country was left disturbed and negatively affected, and this includes even Muslims.

After the September 11th attack, there was a stereotype created that if you are a Muslim, you are a terrorist. I think this is the most ridiculous statement I have ever heard. A group of RADICAL Muslims committed an act that killed innocents and those that had part in this should be punished, not the whole race or religion of Islam. How is it fair to punish an entire race for an act that radical extremists committed? One of my best friends happens to be a Muslim, she was told by a classmate that she needs to hide the fact that she is Muslim or else she would never be accepted anywhere. My friend came crying to me because she was scared. The only think I could say to her was sorry because no one deserves to hear something like that. Also, her cousin wears a hijab (a head scarf that Muslims women wear) and when she was walking to school a group of boys pulled her hijab off an called her a daughter of a terrorist. How is it this innocent girls fault?

Although there are many to choose from, I provided a link below to an article I found on USA today. This article talks about a man who received a email from a co-worker addressed dear terrorist. There were studies shown in this article that after September 11th, many Muslims have been found to be depressed and have worse mental conditions compared to those of Christians. I feel that this is so horrible and should not be happening. Like I mentioned previously, an entire race should not be punished for crimes committed by others.

We can try and deny it but it doesn’t change the truth. Not everyone, but some people are racist when hiring for a job. And this racism is sometimes based on religion and it is very shameful. I wish we can overcome racism but it has been here since slavery days and I feel like it can get better if we all try.

http://www.pbs.org/race/001_WhatIsRace/001_00-home.htm

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-08-09-muslim-american-cover_x.htm

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We all use the internet on a daily basis, especially for me, it has become something that I do every day. Now when I go on the net I barely pay attention to whether women or men are more prevalent. After doing some research I found that women’s voices are less prevalent than those of men.

To start my research I first went on to the Washington post website. I figured I could see if there were articles written by more men or women. I was so shocked at what I found. When I typed in politics in the Washington post, I came to find many articles, but every single one of these articles was written by a man. There was not a single article by a woman. The link to this site is http://www.washingtontimes.com/opinion/. It was so interesting to me to find this and I did not expect it. It seems as if women do not have a voice in politics even on the internet.

When I get on the internet the first thing I do is usually visit my facebook. Today I paid close attention to the some of the advertisements. Majority of the advertisements had women in them..but what were they talking about?? Some had pictures of women saying they are ready to date and things like that! Is that really the voice women want to have on the internet? I felt like women were being used for attracting attention rather than getting their voices heard. I found a really interesting website, the link is http://www.connected.org/women/christine.html. This is an interview of a lady named Christine Maxwell who is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Internet Society. She had organized a breakfast meeting for women to have their voices heard over the internet. In this interview she says that she thinks women’s voices are heard less over the internet because they have less access to the internet. While this may not be true in the U.S, it is true in other countries. For example, in India women usually don’t even know how to access the internet so how are they going to know that they can have their voices heard through it or not. This is true about many countries. I also think it is very interesting that Christine is the only woman on her board. In The New York Times, there was an article called “Where are the women in Wikipedia”, it has been found that there are very few women who contribute to Wikipedia. It is so interesting to think about this because I use Wikipedia a lot but I never realized that the information on there had a majority contribution from men.

I think it is really important for there to be a balance in voices heard for men and women. We should always be able to see a man’s perspective on issues along side of that of a woman’s. There are many women out there who want to be heard but just do not have a chance to be and I think the internet is a great way to get started. If women are not allowed to come on TV, let’s use Islam as an example, some women have to always have their face covered, in this instance the internet would be a great place for a woman to have her voice heard. We all need to be more proactive like Christine Maxwell in trying to help women get their voices heard through the internet.

 

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