Transgender people especially have a difficult time in regard to the way they are perceived by others and face discrimination just as any other minority group faces.
In the workplace, transgender people experience high levels of discrimination and are often overlooked for employment.
Over 52% of transgender people have experienced discrimination at their jobs. I would not be surprised if race minorities and women face the same level of discrimination but also consider the fact that there are far less transgender men and women than there are of other groups. They can at least lean on each other. A black man might be able to find another black man and they have an understanding of each other. Women may be able to reach out to another woman at the work place and talk about their problems. For the transgender person, it is extremely lonely in the work environment.
Jeez, don’t be so sensitive. It’s only a joke! This article from Vice details a long line of sexist comments from economist, Stephen Moore who is nominated to serve as Governor of the Federal Board by President Trump. Moore was also an adviser on Trump’s campaign and previously in the wildly successful Herman Cain campaign in 2012.
The marginalization of women has set our society back incredibly. I hope that we are moving forward in our attitudes about women. I believe that the more women are able to communicate without fear and the more strong female leaders that we have in our country, the stronger women as a whole will be and our world will benefit as a result.
From Scratching the Surface: Some Notes on barriers to Women and Loving by Audrey Lorde’s “Sister Outsider”.
Racism: The belief in the internet superiority of one race over all others and thereby the right to dominance.
Sexism: The belief in the inherent superiority of one sex and thereby the right to dominance.
Heterosexism: The belief in the inherent superiority of one pattern of loving and thereby its right to dominance.
Homophobia: The fear of feelings of love for members of one’s own sex and therefore the hatred of those feelings in others.
Lorde’s essay that follows is brilliant and I’ve mentioned before that her voice is an excellent one to hear. I really like these definitions she lays out for us and want to talk about defining things.
My previous post is essentially about dissecting what racism means so that people cannot avoid the thought that they are racist. If the dissection is forced, then they will will less able to avoid the conscious thought that they are racist individuals. So what I think that it can stand that the forms of sexism and homophobia can be dissected down just like racism is.
Eventually, if people are educated about what racism, sexism, homophobia really are and all the ways that they seep through our society then perhaps one day we can finally simplify them down to what they really are which is hatred.
Lorde writes in her essay “The Uses Of Anger: Women Responding To Racism”, that “Women responding to racism means women responding to anger; the anger of exclusion, of unquestioned privilege, of racial distortions, of silence, ill-use, stereotyping, defensiveness, misnaming, betrayal, and co-optation.”
This is an important quote from Lorde. Racism is important to understand and it’s not easy to dissect it down to all of what it entails. Without dissection, it is easier for people to dismiss racism and be able to easily (although wrongly) reject any idea that they are racist. When racism is only described by it’s own term, people will think of whatever they think the worst is. Ku Klux Klan, pure and unrelenting hatred, slavery, and so forth. They are left to continue thinking of themselves as right and good because they aren’t burning crosses in someone’s yard and can continue sticking to what their own view of racism is. When racism is discussed in a general sense, many of those people can disregard their unquestioned privilege.
In part of her essay, “Eye To Eye”, Audrey Lorde writes about her experiences as a young Black child. In one example, she has undergone a fairly invasive eye examination for a three-year-old. She is hurting, tired, scared, and she wants her mother.
Lorde recalls a voice that she heard as a result of her “peculiar” eyes being examined. “From the looks of her, she is probably simple too.” The doctors all laugh. One pats her on the cheek and sends her out.
Lorde states in her essay, “I am grateful for the absence of harshness.”
I imagine that just about anyone who has a feature about them that can be perceived by others as a problem can relate to this. The feelings of not being accepted, not being loved, condescended upon, and merely tolerated is a powerful oppression that occurs. I think this oppression is sometimes intentional but sometimes it is not.
I think that unintentional oppression comes from a place of miseducation and ignorance. It’s easy to look at the person walking across the bridge at 11:30 in the morning and say “That person ought to go get a job.” It’s easy to give them $5 and send them on their way. But what if we began to understand them? What if we learned they have a disability. Perhaps that disability comes from a traumatic life that others can’t imagine in their own worst nightmares? We tolerate people getting off the bus who are talking to themselves wearing headphones but we certainly don’t go out of our way to engage them.
We do not help them, we simply spare them the harshness.
There are many problems of double consciousness as DuBois describes but the nature of it largely entails the requirement of looking at your life through the eyes of others. The elements of our lives that make us different, special, unique are often viewed as problems for others and we in turn train ourselves to believe “I am a problem.”
Often when we think of social problems that exist, we think of homophobia, racism, sexism, and other things that can easily be seen. We are certain that every Black person has experienced discrimination in several forms in their lives.
Many people have disabilities or other problems that aren’t able to be seen. I focus a lot on mental health but this can also be physical problems as well. A large overweight person gets laughed at or thought less of because someone may think they are lazy and eat too much but perhaps that’s not the case for them. There could be perhaps a thyroid problem slowing down their metabolism making it easy for them to put on too much weight.
A person walking down the street in the middle of the day may have other people looking down on him or her simply because they look disheveled or aren’t at a workplace earning a living. Again, laziness is likely to blame in the view of many people. (Because I love irony, I have to point out that lazy as a default blame is indeed lazy. – J)
There are many examples of this and problems that people with invisible problems face and I look forward to exploring this topic more.
One of the things I have spent a lot of time thinking about lately is high functioning adults who struggle with mental illness. They may or may not have a therapist that they go see (I am a staunch advocate of a person working with a therapist) but they have feelings inside that they don’t quite understand the importance of or they can’t admit too. Men might get angry easily or maybe a woman has a hard time mustering up the strength to get out of bed in the morning scared of what the day may bring . Some of the problems that we encounter compound over time and create pressure like a boiling pot with the lid down.
When these problems compound, there are several ways it boils over. Resentments toward others, self-doubt, self-loathing, and it results into hopelessness and helplessness. In my own personal story, the hopelessness and helplessness came after I realized that I was the one with problems; not the people around me.
Being able to function but not being emotionally well is a problem that affects many people but we don’t know how many. We don’t talk about it. I think we tend to look at all the things we have in our lives. A job, a couple of cars in the driveway, children being raised well, and a marriage that is still together and we don’t stop and think “Am I happy?” We don’t really talk about it much and we go through our days. A person close to me recently said that she has lived on autopilot for years, going through her routine and never stopping to think about herself and what her state currently is. I think this is common in women. Men go through their lives under the expectations of providing, protecting, and being strong. They don’t want to show weakness let alone ask for help. The pressure is very high in this boiling pot.
How does this affect each of us? We have a nation with so much but yet so many people are not truly happy with their daily lives. This takes a toll on us all and because it affects such a large amount of people, it’s a social problem that needs to be addressed.
Sometimes, we write people off for being “fake” or pretending to be something that they’re not. In fact, I think many would describe inauthenticity as one of the least attractive features that a person can have. Some inauthenticity can be sensed when you talk with someone or perhaps even just by looking at a picture of them. The tinge of self-consciousness behind a smile or facaded positivity can show through.
In the article I’ve linked below, the author describes her (I’m assuming a woman) battle with PTSD and the problems she has faced from it. In the very beginning she discusses that others thought her life was perfect. Smart, beautiful, working towards a modeling career but the effects of her trauma could no longer be coped with on her own. Her veneer was breaking down and the shields are harder to hold up as we progress through life.
I wonder if her her life ever appeared to be as perfect to others as she seems to think. Perhaps it did to some and perhaps those people are similar to her in some ways. The laws of attraction happen on subconscious levels that we don’t quite understand.