If you’re reading this article, you are probably thinking and have been for a while: how in the hell did discrimination become such a normalized practice in our country? People have stated that our country is at an all time low, I disagree. We’ve been at a continuum of lows and have always had to rebel to rise against things like the patriarchy and normalized practices that have oppressed our social identities. We’ve continually had to educate those in power who benefit from the privileges of Whiteness, maleness, christianity, heterosexuality, etc. If you look at the demographic identities of our lawmakers historically and currently this is who is creating the laws and systems that oppress the “other.” I will spare you the entire history lesson, especially as we live in a time where facts can be considered fake news, and ignorance is so bliss. Instead, let me just give you some bullet points to support my case:
- African slaves had to fight for their freedom and were not given the federal right until the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.
- Women and minorities (people of the Global Majority) had to fight for the right to vote and it was not until the 19th amendment that this became federal law.
- It wasn’t until 3 years ago that the US Supreme court shut down all bans on same sex marriage and this became legalized.
There are many other examples of how rebellion has lead to federal action (on paper) and laws have been written (but not always practiced) to support change. Unfortunately, even after laws have been created there are centuries of norms that were allowed prior to these laws that are ingrained in our systems including the operations of our minds. Hence, the perpetuation of all things -ism that lead to unlawful ignorant acts like hate crimes and multiple other forms of exclusion. The absence of the normality of equity and equality has created a foundation for hate fueled by prejudice, bigotry, and pure gotdamn evil.
Think about our ancestors, elders, and even youth who have lived in times of discriminatory norms. Our children are witnessing and understanding what is happening in or country. Even if laws change over night, people and systems don’t.
Think about it like this, one norm that we have trained ourselves to practice is our dominant handedness. Even though both of our hands are fully functional, we have grown accustomed to only either using the right or the left. Therefore creating practices where we default to utilizing that hand. In order for us to begin to depend predominantly on the other hand we’d need to practice using it consistently and train our minds to grow accustomed to this practice. Our bodies might be confused, scared, and maybe even the other dominant hand might grow a little resentful (just kidding…or am I?). This is how the functions of discrimination in our society work.
People don’t like change, they fear it, especially if there is a shift in power. This is currently how normalized identities like the intersections of Whiteness, richness, and maleness are working. The population of the world is shifting and growing and they are fighting to hold on to power and privilege by creating systems to oppress those who do not share in those identities.
We have to continue to work to provide tools for those who are coming into their consciousness and are willing to change. People who are fighting for equity and equality for us all and not save the supremacy of their identities. Right now, it seems as if change is not going to happen anytime soon and things are getting worse, this is a tactic of how fear impacts the inability of change and we must resist!
Resistance can and should show up in the following ways:
- Changing policies and practices for equality and equity in the following places:
- Our government (legal system)
- Our workplaces (HR, management and leadership, and the C-suite)
- Our educational institutions (Early Childhood-Higher Education)
- Our households (Our social circles)
- Redefining and supporting the sustainability of equity in equality in the following areas of practice:
- Education (Professional development and curriculum)Your GOTDAMN BRAIN!!!! (Yeah I said it!)
- Metrics and Outcomes
- The everyday treatment of human beings
- Implementing technical systems that change the way we collect demographic data in relation to trends of inclusion and utilize the data to promote change.
Now this is not the end all be all of how we change. However, I do think it is important to provide a blueprint for where we begin. Let’s all get our asses to work!