The Most Appealing Ideas
In Readings for Diversity and Social Justice, the authors focus on the exploration of a number of social justice issues such as racism, sexism, antisemitism, ableism, classism, and heterosexism. The ideas discussed in the book are very important in the contemporary society that faces increasing diversity rates. In a globalized society filled with representatives of different cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds, and social groups, clashes between people are rather common.
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This tendency occurs due to the differing perspectives on diverse phenomena, groups, and individuals. It is appealing that the authors of this book recognized the persisting problems almost two decades ago when the book was written and decided to address them by means of targeting large groups of readers.
One of the most interesting ideas expressed by the authors is the recognition of differences between such social justice problems as ageism, ableism, sexism, and heterosexism in terms of diverse ethnicities. In other words, the authors specified that the experiences of these problems differ significantly for white individuals and people of color. In that way, the authors noted that racial and ethnic differences tend to produce impact on lives of communities in the entirety of their aspects, and thus can aggravate other social justice issues.
Another idea that I found appealing is that due to the variety of divisions and a high level of fragmentation in the modern multicultural and multinational societies, every single person can be seen as privileged in one way, as well as targeted in another way. As a result, the fight against prejudice and for equal opportunities is something to which everyone can relate. This is a common fight, so no one should exclude themselves from it.
The Implications of Ideas in the Book for Me as an Educator
As educators living and working in one of the most multinational countries of the world, we have to face diversity every day. Interestingly, the issues of diversity and inequalities started to be widely discussed only a few years ago even though the United States has been a melting pot of versatile cultural and social groups for centuries. This book signifies that it is finally the time to discuss openly the issues of diversity and controversies it brings.
The authors encourage every reader to reflect on their inner biases, track back their histories, roots, and causes, and follow the kinds of outcomes they could produce. Practically, this is one of the main implications of the ideas expressed in the book. The authors call for their readers’ critical thinking skills that can help carry out self-analysis aimed at the identification of possible stereotypes that can cripple their personal and professional lives. This is the case for educators in particular because the knowledge we share in classrooms stays in children’s heads and can make an impact. A prejudiced teacher can hurt students who belong to vulnerable groups or empower the others to hurt them.
In that way, for educators, the ideas of the authors imply that many of the current social justice problems may stem from childhoods of modern adults as the time when they failed to receive appropriate education from their teachers and parents, and thus grew up to carry around and apply harmful stereotypes damaging to some groups. Knowing about these issues today, we, as educators, can start implementing necessary changes in order to promote ethically effective moral values that can free our society from damaging biases and hurtful stereotypes.
The Ideas That I Challenge
The authors of the book under review raise a variety of very important and pressing questions in order to address some of the persisting issues in the contemporary society – the issues of social justice. I believe that the provision of equal opportunities is a necessity that is complicated by the process of globalization that boosted diversity and increased the level of fragmentation in the populations of most modern countries.
I agree that some groups and individuals are deprived of equal opportunities in different ways, and this tendency needs to be reversed and resolved in order to establish the structures in which superficial characteristics of people would not be major aspects impacting their ability of inability to succeed in personal and professional lives.
At the same time, there is one idea presented and discussed by the authors that I would like to challenge. In particular, the authors noted that, according to their perception, the term “oppression” is the most suitable one to use in reference to the deprivation of equal opportunities in the modern diverse societies. In my opinion, this term is rather harsh and does not reflect the realities precisely. However, I believe that this term was chosen as an attention-grabber that would not likely to become ignored.
Yet, alongside this quality, this term also tends to exaggerate the problems by means of associating minor issues with actual crimes against human rights. For example, it is commonly states that the contemporary women in the United States are oppressed by male domination. It can be noticed that this expression does not only exaggerate the issues faced by American women but also diminishes the problems experienced by women in developing countries who are actually oppressed, deprived or rights, and physically abused.