conflict and privilege
For our last learning assignment of this class we are going to delve into a very powerful topic.
Conflict within a culture outside of our own.
The goal of this assignment is for you to step outside your comfort zone. Step outside of the world you live in and try stepping into someone elseâ€™s life. Or actually, someone elseâ€™s culture. More particularly, I want you to step into a culture that is less privileged than your own.
The Dictionary defines privilege as â€œa special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.â€ We are all privileged in various ways. Can you think of ways in which you are privileged?
I consider myself rather privileged. I grew up in a safe city and a safe neighborhood. My parents did divorce when I was young and I had to practically raise my little sister when I was 12 years old. But, Iâ€™m a heterosexual white female, who has good healthcare, and makes a decent salary. These come with many privileges.
Recently, I took one of those â€œHow Privileged am I?â€ quizzes online and as expected I scored fairly high. But, I was surprised that there were still so many areas of privilege NOT acknowledged on this quiz.
Where were the questions about health, like chronic illness, and chronic pain? As a transplant recipient, this is an area I am not privileged in. When most people get a stomach ache, they say, I must have eaten something that didnâ€™t sit well. When I get a stomach ache Iâ€™m afraid that my transplant is no longer holding and my Leukemia will come back.
Where were the questions about sight, and hearing? Some might say this was touched upon with the â€œphysical disabilityâ€ question. But, are those really physical disabilities? Iâ€™ve had many hearing and sight impaired students and most, if not all, would not consider themselves â€œdisabled.â€ In fact, referring to someone who is deaf as being disabled is offensive.
So, how about you do it. I want you to take one of the quizzes and letâ€™s see what you get. Please understand, there are many limitations to this quiz. There are many reasons I do not like it. This is not meant for anyone to feel sorry for people or evoke pity. This is meant for people to begin thinking about interpersonal conflict situations that others may face where we are privileged not to. Click on the image to start the quiz.
Do you think the quiz was complete? What score did you get? Were you able to identify areas you are privileged in? What do you think about recognizing how we are privileged?
Iâ€™m interested in your thoughts and answers to these questions and I expect a thoughtful discussion on this to be at the top of your entry!
But more specifically, this assignment is about recognizing issues that are particularly relevant (perhaps even unique) to a group, that might give rise to conflicts that are less likely to be experienced by people outside of that group. I know thatâ€™s a lot to take in. So, letâ€™s break it down.
After taking the quiz, I want you to identify a group that is less privileged than you. A group that may have less power than you or is underrepresented in the power structure of your culture (which means to stay in the United States). A group that has to think about finding accommodations for themselves in ways that you do not have to. You can use the quiz to help you think of one.
After you have identified that group.
Research your chosen group. You can interview someone from that population, search for news stories that involve members from that group, speak to a professional who routinely works with and supports people from that population, search academic literature, and you can certainly look for information online.
The question I hope you are asking yourself right now is â€œwhat am I researching for?â€ The answer to that is simple. As a result of your research you should have a good understanding of what areas of interpersonal conflict exist for members of this group. Your research needs to explore both historical and contemporary areas of interpersonal conflict.
Let me give you an example, it was several years ago when my first hearing impaired student enrolled in my class. Admittedly, I was nervous because it was my first experience and I wanted to make sure this student would have a positive experience in my class. I also realized at that time that I knew next to nothing of the hearing-impaired community. So, off to work I went researching. And thankfully, my student was open to all of my questions and generously helped me learn.
One of the most interesting parts of my education was gaining an understanding of the areas of interpersonal conflict hearing-impaired people have to deal with. These areas are also areas where I am privileged. And for me, it was incredibly important to be aware of these areas. This is where you will focus your research.
Here is an example of what I learned about the hearing-impaired community, areas where I am privileged in comparison, and issues that the deaf community must deal with that can and often due lead to areas of interpersonal conflict.
Four areas are required in your entry, (1) The discussion should begin with results and thoughts on the quiz. As well as answering the questions I asked in pink above.(2) Then introduce the culture you chose to research and why. (3) Include your research into two separate areas: a historical understanding and a current understanding. (4) Be sure to give specific examples of interpersonal conflict that people in this culture have to face that you are privileged not to. (5) Finally, include a bibliography of where you got your research. It should be in APA or MLA format. (3 sources minimum are required.)
After taking the “How Privileged Am I?” quiz I scored a 65. This number means I am quite privileged. When considering most of the cultures I am a part of, I would have to agree with these results. I understand the privilege that comes with being Caucasian in our country. I certainly am aware of the privileges that come with having a secure job and being able to afford necessities as well as conveniences. I am never questioned about my sexual orientation. It is not anything I’ve ever had to “reveal” or had questioned. The one area that I am less privileged in and have certainly had conflict in is being female. As a mother and a career woman I have received so many judgments. For example, I’ve had people tell me that I can either be a good mother or good at my job, but I cannot be both. Women cannot be both. I’ve had people I work with tell me that I could not get pregnant because of how it would affect them. I also have experienced the wage gap. I’ve been sexually harassed many many times where I’ve been told that the “men were just being men”. I could discuss more areas but you get the idea. I was disapointed that the quiz did not reference chronic health issues that are so prevelant today. It also did not include the sight or hearing-impaired communities. As a result I am going to focus my research on the hearing-impaired community.
Historically, the hearing impaired community has been very oppressed. For decades sign language was forbidden, only speaking was allowed, and Deaf people were thought as being less than hearing people. Students struggled to learn and certainly to interact within their communities. There was a lot of discussion about people using the bible to support how Deaf people could not be â€œsavedâ€. While this has changed a great deal in The United States, there are still many countries that oppress the Deaf community. So, in the past the hearing-impaired experienced conflict at the most fundamental level just trying to be accepted as equal. They had to fight to be allowed to receive an education and use a language that opened up the world to them. If a deaf person was accepted, many were sent off to special schools and were unable to stay with their families.
It was in the early 1900’s when some things began to change. In 1950, the first behind the ear hearing aides were invented which allowed many hearing impaired people to move into the mainstream culture more successfully. Between 1960 and 1965 ASL was being accepted as a legitimate language. In 1984 the Cochlear Implant was pioneered and would change the deaf culture dramatically. In 1997 the World Federation for the Deaf and Blind was founded. It was not until 2003 that the British government recognized British sign language as a legitimate language.
As mentioned, much has changed for the deaf community, but there is still a long way to go. However, what is most important to understand for this assignment is to recognize areas where the deaf community will uniquely experience interpersonal conflict today. Letâ€™s begin with communication. Getting the attention of deaf people in large groups requires visually grabbing their attention and many venues do not have the lights or props needed to do this. As many people in the hearing community are uncomfortable with eye contact, adversely in the deaf community eye contact is particularly important. Breaking eye contact communicates the conversation is being interrupted. These differences can create conflict interpersonally, in the workplace, in education, and throughout many environments.
Additionally, since the eyes are used constantly in communication lighting is an important issue. Communication cannot happen in the dark. Dim lighting can cause barriers in communication as well. All of these are issues unique to the deaf community to think about and can generate moments of conflict when environments do not allow two people to communicate effectively. Whereas in the hearing community these are areas we do not think much about.
Moreover, there are many situations where members of the deaf community are reliant upon interpreters. When sign language interpreters are aware of an issue taking place in the hearing world, or choose to stay silent on issues in order to reduce conflict, they are inadvertently choosing the hearing majority over the deaf community. Members of the deaf community lose individual rights. This can create many areas of conflict unique to the deaf community.
I was particularly interested in learning about how there is a divide within the Deaf culture itself between those who get the cochlear implant and those who do not. A former student taught me that when a Deaf person gets the cochlear implant they are no longer really considered a part of the Deaf community. But that often those who receive the implant disagree. This illustrates interpersonal conflict within the culture itself.
The final issue I discovered through my research is that of cultural identity. As we learned in the culture chapter of our class there are individualistic and collectivistic cultures. America is predominantly an individualistic culture. However, the deaf culture is predominantly a collectivistic culture, As a result there are many differences between the two cultures making the deaf culture communicate and behave differently than the mainstream American culture. The possibilities of interpersonal conflict that can develop as a result, are limitless.
As you can see the dominant hearing community experiences many privileges to everyday situations that the deaf community must think about. As a result, all of these are areas that are likely to bring conflict for those in the deaf community.
Anonymous, personal communication, March, 2014
Deaf Culture â€¢ DOOR International. (2017). Retrieved January 25, 2018, from https://doorinternational.org/
Murray, J. J. (2014, September 23). History of the deaf. Retrieved January 25, 2018, from https://www.britannica.com/science/history-of-the-…
Vincent, M. (2015, December 1). Equipping interpreters with resources that educate, inspire, and make sign language interpreting better for everyone. Retrieved January 25, 2018, from https://streetleverage.com/
Siple, L., Greer, L., & Holcomb, B. (2003). Southern State Community College, Deaf Culture DEAF CULTURE. Retrieved January 25, 2018, from http://www.bing.com/cr?IG=60FAB6CA43584F1B967F30BF…
So, what did you think? Had you thought of all of these areas that could generate conflict within the hearing-impaired community? I sure hadn’t until I put a little time and thought into it. I’m very interested in reading about all the less privileged groups that you learn about.
Be sure to read and respond to two classmates’ entries during the peer review time that will begin directly after the due date for this passes. You’ll have 48 hours. I am giving you extra time on this. So, I expect it to receive the attention it deserves. PAY ATTENTION TO THE DUE DATE!!!!!!!!