The BC met before Thanksgiving and when I shared with them past prompts that have been interesting, they chose this theme. BE SURE TO ADD YOUR POST TITLE TO THE COMMENTS OF THIS POST!
One view of American History is that the post war period was the shift from a politics of class and solidarity (FDR’s new deal and the activist liberalism of all Presidents until Reagan. NIXON created the EPA after all) to one of identity and rights. The civil rights movement for Black political rights created a template for the women’s movement, the
movement, Latino identity politics, disability rights and even I would argue “Smoker’s Rights” or other groups trying to use that social movement template. The coalition that elected Obama in 2008 and re-elected him 2012 is described by pundits as one of “minorities, women, and white liberals.” Never mind that those are not comparable groups. What are Black women in that formulation? Obama himself tries to position himself as both the realization of greater American equality and also as a figure who can bridge the “old wounds” of the past.
So, what do you think? Are we on the edge of a new era of society and politics around the typical categories or race and gender? Does class still matter?
Given that identity shifts over time and is both a social and a deeply personal topic, we invite everyone to reflect on identity. This prompt is actually deeply in sync with some class topics: firstly, to understand one’s own biography in the context of how the history of identity unfolds requires a healthy dose of sociological imagination; secondly, as we touched on social movements, we can see that they are essential to the creation of alternate or changing identities. (Side note: see how I use a colon and semi-colons in above. )
For this week’s blog post, we ask you describe an event or personal experience (one that you have direct knowledge of) that reflects the broader realities about identity in America, especially race and gender. (Or others such as sexual orientation, class, or religion if you prefer). That connection to a broader reality can reflect either “progress” towards more equality, or the persistence of “-isms,” or new wrinkles in the fabric of American culture (for example, the rise of inter-racial marriages).
A) Talk about a personal experience (of which you have direct knowledge of) and explain how this effected your perception of identity – whether it be having to do with gender, ethnicity, etc.
B) Americans talk about how everyone is too “PC” and how there isn’t really that much racism in America anymore. Or at least we’re taught that in high school. Is everything really OK? Is racism (or sexism, etc.) still a large part of American society? A medium-sized part?
Just to get the ball rolling, I could easily write about:
* Walking in the dark and having women who don’t know me walk faster.
* Being pulled over in Chicago while a Black friend was driving. (DWB- driving while black he quipped).
* Being asked if I am “Latino” or “Hispanic.”
* Having my PhD program at a Catholic university in Spain have a minor freak-out when someone saw my painted toe-nails.
* My personal distaste of the labels of “White” and “Black.”