Posted by: acecombat10 | October 18, 2010

What is privilege

So, I originally wrote this for another blog but it never made it on that blog, and since I suck at keeping up with this blog, I thought I might as well use it for this blog.  Enjoy!

What is privilege?  Who has privilege?  Is it a bad thing, or can it be used for good?

Many people have numerous reactions with this word; however, the number one reactions that numerous people experience when hearing this word, especially if they hear that they are privileged, are anger and disbelief.  But what exactly is privilege, and how does one become privileged?

Well, if you go extremely academic and look up the word in Merriam Webster, the definition is “a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor.”  Delving into the world of diversity and social justice, privilege has the same definition but is further expanded to include advantages, rewards, or benefits given to those in the dominant group without asking for them.  Also, privileges tend to be bestowed unintentionally, unconsciously, and automatically.  In other words, it is institutional; it is systematic; and it is instilled upon us after birth.  The word signifies the groups that have gained advantages in various cultures and countries over other people.  Privileged groups are created via social norms from the most powerful and/or influential groups.  These norms are created to allow the privileged group from losing their powers and to allow the status quo to stay in tact.

An excellent piece explains privilege and privileged groups.  This piece, written by Peggy McIntosh and title White Privilege:  Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, mainly discusses racism and the privileges that are experienced by Caucasians; however, the paper can assist in explaining the general concept.  Also, the paper points out another extremely important aspect of privilege—the privileged group has no idea they are privileged (it is invisible) whereas the ‘outside’ group knows and internalizes how they are not privileged.  The last point is extremely important in the concept of privilege and how the privilege perpetuates as a social norm and a status quo.  This paper also discusses various points of privileged that very few people consider to be privileged, like “I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race [gender, religion, etc.] widely represented,” or “When I am told about our national heritage or about ‘civilization,’ I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.”

Tim Wise, another well known scholar in social justice, is one of the best writers, educators, and lecturers concerning anti-racism and privilege (specifically white privilege).  One of his earliest pieces, Racism and the Culture of Denial, discusses privilege and includes excellent comparisons people may relate to.  If you go to his website (www.timwise.org) or look up YouTube videos of him, you can obtain more information and essays concerning privilege, racism, sexism, and et cetera.  Tim points out that with privilege, we do not have to explain our actions, don’t have to sweat our failures, and don’t have to worry that stereotype will be further perpetuated (or maybe eliminated) by our performances.  People with privilege will not have the bad choices of a few will stick to all whereas the unprivileged will always be stigmatized by the bad choices of a few (Racism, White Denial & the Cost of Inequality).

Another very compelling point that Tim Wise points out with privilege is that it can be even used to hurt people that are “in the group.”  People with the ultimate power (for Tim Wise, white, wealthy, Christian males) will create a “privileged” group to create the status quo and prevent uprising.  Wise refers to the “advantages” and “privileges” all European descendants received in order to prevent the class warfare to ensue and to turn the warfare towards skin color.

This ignorance, for once, is not bliss as shown in the brief examples.  With this ignorance, people in the “privileged” group will still encounter unknown disadvantages because the power diverts the attention to other “issues.”  Also, with the ignorance, minorities will continue to have internalized –isms and have to fight for their rights; however, with the knowledge that you maybe privileged, this fight suddenly becomes much easier.  But how can privileged be used as a weapon to fight –isms?

By reading Tim Wise and other scholars in this area, you become more knowledgeable in the subject, which is the beginning in using privilege for good.  Once you know what privilege is, and you know that you are privileged, it is not invisible to you and you will not (hopefully) use it as an advantage over minority groups.  This is the first step, which is necessary, in order to eliminate privileges and change the status quo.

Once you become aware of privilege, accept it, and do not use it, you can then start to educate other people and ensure they do not use their privileges to undermine other people.  Also, by acknowledging that you are privileged, you can use that ‘status’ as a way to speak up for minorities.  Being privileged, unfortunately, allows you to have a voice that can be heard; therefore, use it to assist other groups.

Posted by: acecombat10 | July 22, 2010

Bus driver refuses to take a lady to Planned Parenthood

And now he’s suing the his former employer because he got fired for it.

I have two issues about this guy’s idea to not drop off the lady and to sue his former employer.  First, the transportation company is a district formed by nine county governments (found information here); therefore, it’s public transportation (if the government formed it and probably is paying for it).  From this point, a bus driver does not have the right to refuse to drop off anyone due to his or hers religious ideals (or for that matter, insanity).

Second, what makes this bus driver automatically assume the lady wanted an abortion.  Yes, Planned Parenthood does offer abortion services; however, it offers numerous other services, including birth control, general woman health, etc.

I hope this guy loses his lawsuit against his former employer.

Posted by: acecombat10 | July 8, 2010

Ha Climategate Gurus

Recently, two different panels (here and here for stories) have cleared the scientists and the report in the Climategate report.

Seriously, how hard is it to accept the facts that (a) the world is warming at an accelerated rate and that (b) humans are causing this unprecedented acceleration due to our affinity with fossil fuels.

Posted by: acecombat10 | June 13, 2010

Before I go into the science of climatic warming . . .

. . . I find it interesting that the gigantic oil spill (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, info here, here, and the satellite image here) is what may be the driving factor to change the way Americans consume energy.  SAY WHAT????  Yes, the oil spill is a devastating ecological disaster.  Yes, the Gulf of Mexico is probably going to be dead for years, if not decades.  Yes, this disaster will be a blight on the states’ economy, tourist industry, and way of life.

BUT . . . I would think, you know, warmer temperatures, causing the oceans to rise, which would put a slightly bigger damper on those states would be a bigger concern.  Or, you know, the warmer temperatures causing their usual economic crop to not grow, or the warmer temperature reintroducing certain diseases would cause more concern.  But hey, that’s me.  At least the United States is finally looking at curbing our infatuation with petroleum and CO2.  Yay!

. . .but many people do not have much understanding of . . . GLOBAL WARMING.

We all know the controversy behind this topic, but unfortunately, there really is not much controversy behind this topic.  There has always been global warming deniers, especially the enormous companies that would lose substantial revenue once America creates and enforces policies to subside the CO2 emissions, but after ClimateGate (the unfortunate website that has the ‘proof’ that scientists have been tampering data, and here’s a link to a more ‘credible source [scary when Wikipedia has been more credible]).

But what makes this topic, this science truly uncontroversial?  What are the arguments on both sides of the issues?  What arguments can you utilize in order to defend the science and the actuality of global warming?

I will be writing a series of blogs, with scientific references that I’ve recently read (since I’m an atmospheric chemist so I have to stay on top of these things), hoping to assist you either in your pursuit to (a) hear another point of view about global warming, (b) add new arsenal to your argument repertoire, and/or (c) learn about the science and the reality of global warming.

But on that note, I’ll leave with one of my favorite Family Guy clips.  Enjoy!

Posted by: acecombat10 | December 2, 2009

Once again, gay right advocates face defeat =(

Today, a bill to pass same-sex marriage in the state of New York faced a senate debate and vote, and unfortunately, the bill was not passed.  This is a very disappointing move from such a liberal state, considering that the term marriage is a religious term, and the lawmakers are considering the religious connotations instead of the governmental, everyone is equal connotations of marriage.

What’s even more sad is the quote from a Catholic bishop concerning the bill.  “While the Catholic Church rejects unjust discrimination against homosexual men and women, there is no question that marriage by its nature is the union of one man and one woman.”  More can be found here.

I’m sorry, but that quote does not sound like they reject unjust discrimination.  Sounds like we are going back to the ideology of ‘separate but equal,’ which I thought we determined can never, actually occur.  I guess that the LGBTQ community is the next community that must experience this injustice, and hopefully they will find the correct lawyers that snap into government officials heads that outlawing gay marriage is a violation of civil rights.

Posted by: acecombat10 | November 2, 2009

Hm

This makes me think anyone can find a way to twist something to do any type of research and receive money for it . . . . . not always a good thing, but still interesting.

NPR did a story about the science of zombies.  Te he.  Enjoy!

Posted by: acecombat10 | October 31, 2009

The Insight of the Century (or more correctly, of the minute)

Major Edit.  Hopefully it will make sense.

 

One of my greatest passions is learning about diversity and diversity related topics.  One of these topics includes the concept of privilege.  Peggy McIntosh wrote a great article, White Privilege:  Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, and this article can be found here.

In a nutshell, a social class that is in the top hierarchy of power will acknowledge the classes below them are disadvantage; however, the top class will not acknowledge that their class is advantaged.  The top class will ‘work’ to improve the lower classes disadvantages; nevertheless, the top class will never attempt to work on making their advantages so advantageous.

An example of this can be seen with the current gay rights debate about marriage, which in itself is another blog.  But to quickly give an example, which will better exemplify my insight.  Heterosexual couples, in particular conservative, Christian, heterosexual couples have the advantage of marriage, which includes numerous perks.  Same sex couples, in the majority of states, do not have these rights because their state denies them marriage and even civil unions.  Granted, some state have created laws for marriage or civil unions (unfortunately, most civil unions do not guarantee the same rights as marriage), which exemplifies a group acknowledging disadvantage, but not willing to relinquish their advantages.

So, why am I bring up this idea of privilege?   Now for the scary part.

Currently, I am in biochemistry, and many of the various cycles and enzymes we have discussed are highly conserved in multiple species, including the enzyme cytochrome c.  However, even with this blaring evidence of evolution, people will vehemently deny the concept, but instead resort to these dribble arguments of creationism or intelligent design (the most disgusting dribble coming from here).  I highly suggest not even going to the sight or the location, but if you are curious, look at this blog for an interesting perspective of this location.  The most annoying argument, of course, is that human beings are not descendants of any other form of life; that we were made in the eyes of a higher being.

So, now I bet you are wondering, how does this concept of privilege that I introduced at the beginning tie in with the annoying argument of religious people against evolution.  Hopefully, I can explain this better this time . . . . . .

Majority of human beings think that we have the advantage when it comes to biological functions, i.e., eyes, brains, nervous system, et cetera.  Due to this thought, humans believe that there has to be a higher being in order to create this complex of an organism.  There is no way that atoms reacted with other atoms to form molecules that formed the complex organism that we call Homo sapiens today.

But due to numerous macromolecules, including cytochrome c, there is evidence that we are descendants and evolved from other species.  So, how do you explain this human thought pattern that we must have been created by an all powerful being?

I believe that human beings, as a whole, are experiencing from human privilege.  What I am defining as human privilege is the lack of acknowledgment that other species that are living or have lived on earth are NOT disadvantaged compared to the human species.  We want to so badly believe that we ARE advantaged over everything else, that we are unique, and that it had to take a ‘guiding hand’ to create what we call life.  We do not want to say that anything has advantages over the human species, i.e., the more complex eye of the octopus, the more complex genes of corn, et cetera.

BUT GET OVER IT!  Physics, chemistry, and biology have proven time and again that the theories and natural laws work, that evolution exists and formed the planet the way it is today, and that we human are descendants of bacteria that are living in our intestines.

Posted by: acecombat10 | September 13, 2009

One Year!

One year and counting.  One year of what, you ask?  Well, for my two quasi-loyal readers, they know what it is:  one year of dating the most amazing girlfriend ever.  It has been the best year of my life.  I admit, I was really stupid for not dating her much sooner, but I live and learn and hey, we are together.

Now, you ask, how did we meet?  Why do I realize I was stupid for not dating her sooner?  Why am I asking questions when no one reads my blog . . . . . . ?  Well, I’ll answer them anyway :D.

It started our freshman year of college at Purdue (flashback noise effect).  We were brother/sister floor and in the same learning community.  For people that don’t know what brother/sister floors are, these are floors that are the same number floor and/or relatively same location floors, and they have opposite sexes living in the floors.  But anyways, we met through a mutual friend, which many people know as the Blag Hag.  Well, we, as in the girlfriend that was only a friend at the moment, and I started hanging out with each other during the spring semester, where we first officially met at the random hat party.

Our sophomore year, she moved to a different residence hall; however, we were a) in the same organic chemistry class, which equates to much studying together and b) hanging out with each other every Friday and/or Saturday night playing video games or watching movies with our mutual friends.  Well, numerous events happened to us this school year that brought us closer together.  Then and there I should have realized she was an amazing person and girlfriend material with everything she did for me, but I was stupid at the time :(.

At this time, too, I was gaining a huge crush on her.  I was thinking that it will pass and it was a test of my faithfulness, but now I realize it was me yearning for something better, something special, something wonderful.  I thought during the summer after sophomore year, this crush would pass.  But before the summer, I remember this one time, the time that we said good-bye to each other for the summer.  I walked her out to her car after our organic chem final, and we were by ourselves, under a starry, beautiful night.  I so badly wanted to lean and kiss her, and apparently, she wanted the same thing . . . . . sigh.

Well, we met up during the summer and before classes started, and of course, my feelings did not pass but instead intensified.  Well, certain events during the first month of classes our junior year led to me realizing that this person was the person that I should be with, leading to us starting to date on this date one year ago.

Since then, we’ve had amazing time together with amazing adventures, including Turkey Run, tailgating, breakfast clubbing, spending two days at Indy visiting the zoo and seeing Wicked, and our upcoming camping adventure.

I’m so madly and deeply in love with her, and it has been the best decision of my life.  I don’t know where I’d be without her in my life, and I’m counting down the days until something special . . . . .

Here’s to one great year and more to come!

Posted by: acecombat10 | June 12, 2009

Socialism? Or Government Doing What is Right?

President Obama, a person with numerous descriptions and opinions by the public, depending who you talk to, has successfully initiated an overhaul of the government.  Is this a good thing or a bad thing?  Is our government turning into that most unholy of words, socialist?  Will our children feel the repercussions, or even our grandchildren?  Will the US dissolve as a country as we know it?  Will I know where I am eating for lunch today (oh, crap, off subject)

Let’s count the ways that President Obama has improved (or destroyed, depending on your point of view) our government and nation.  First, he pushed for the overhaul, revamp, and change in banking and the auto industry.  Is this such a bad thing, though?  If he hadn’t pushed the Congress to look and fix this two areas, I believe that our nation would be in much worse shape than it is right now.  Everyone has said that President Obama and our Congress have stood by while our nation has spiraled downwards, whereas they have been very proactive fixing the areas of weakness in our economy.  Fixing these areas, the banks and auto industry will survive and become even stronger, with new jobs, credits, and less dependence on foreign aid.  Now, that is not so bad.

Housing market.  Isn’t this what initiated the recession, or depression (in about twenty years, you know an economist’s thesis will declare this a depression; might as well admit it now)?  This goes hand in hand with the banking repairs.  Yes, Democrats, as well as Republicans (I may be liberal, but I am willing to criticize all partys equally), screwed up with the bill that made banks create loans so that everyone could buy houses when their credit was worse than a tuna salad sandwich that has been sitting outside for a month (gosh, that’s pretty bad/stinky).  I’m glad that President Obama and Congress reconsidered this plight in our housing and banking and has attempted to fix this issue so that we don’t have, hopefully, another meltdown.

Tobacco Industry.  Hm, how deep do I want to go into this . . .  ?  Well, I’ll start off with saying basically ninety percent of my living family smokes.  Also, there is a strong correlation with two deaths in my family and smoking cigarettes.  Thus, I do not like cigarettes (yes, I smoke hookah once in a great great great while, but I am not addicted; ok, maybe I’m a slight hypocrit, but I wouldn’t cry or be disappointed if hookahs were eliminated in America).  Anyways, Obama and Congress have pushed more regulations of the tobacco industry, including elimination of adolescent propoganda for novel smokers and FDA approval of new products.  wOOt!

The next areas in his ‘socialist’ movement:  health care, and probably, eventually, education.  Govenment health care and better education (maybe like the cost of EU or Canada).  Dang, that sounds like a terrible thing, so that Americans all have affordable health care and education and we can become competitors in the world.

Socialism sounds like such a terrible, scary thing, doesn’t it?  Personally, I feel that President Obama and Congress are doing wonderful things, moving our nation forward and in the correct direction after years of stagnant, terrible policies.  For a progressive, competitive nation, we need to be able to blend capitalism and socialism, and be a happy country =D.

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