Most people who experience social inequities are primarily responsible for the inequities they experience.

Home Forums Clamoring for Change Most people who experience social inequities are primarily responsible for the inequities they experience.

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    • #10377
      Guy NaveGuy Nave

      As a way of provoking curiosity and pushing participants to evaluate their position on particular topics, all forum discussions are designed with a “provocative statement” as the basis for the discussion.

      Participants should respond to the forum statement with strongly agree, somewhat agree, unsure, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree and then in their comments explain why.

    • #11225
      Elizabeth EdlundElizabeth Edlund

      Strongly disagree. I disagree with this statement because it is difficult for me to see social inequity from outside a sociological perspective. From this perspective, I see social inequities as the results of systematic historical oppression of certain groups. This makes me think of Shore’s article on sex trafficking. Throughout history, people in power have justified the oppression of women involved in prostitution because it was their “choice” to make money in such a way. However, these women tend to have less agency than it first appears. They are manipulated by pimps, abused by johns, and targeted by law enforcement. Choosing to escape such a situation is not as simple as quitting a job. The other examples in this series highlight how race is also a point of institutional oppression, where people of color lack opportunities for “mobility” because of the legal, geographical, and social barriers ingrained US social institutions.

      As a person interested in public health, I cannot help but think of this statement in the context of health disparities. Often, certain conditions have stigmas relating to poverty and deviance. To connect to the sex trafficking post, many people associate HIV with prostitution. To be a prostitute with HIV is to be dirty and deviant. However, the contraction of HIV is often the result of the abuse of the john. Furthermore, these women are not likely to receive proper healthcare for such a condition due to the poverty they experience. Ultimately, society blames prostitutes for spreading HIV and other diseases, rather than the men that buy sex. Therefore, I believe that women and girls in such situations should not be stigmatized and blamed for the inequity that they experience. Such a patriarchal view of prostitution is an example of how social inequities are reinforced by the system, rather than the individual.

    • #11255
      Eddy GalstadEddy Galstad
        Strongly disagree. Liza makes some excellent points, especially regarding inequalities being the result of historical oppression. Throughout history, more specifically American history, those in power (mostly white men) have not experienced the disadvantages associated with social inequalities. Since many of these figures have narry experienced severe inequity, it is hard for them to understand the realities of oppression. Often, oppression is based upon an uncontrollable physical trait, like race or gender. It has been this way for centuries. But it is erroneous to hold people of color accountable for racial inequities in this country. It is erroneous to hold women accountable for gender inequality in this country. The powerful white men in throughout American history are responsible. They were, and in some ways are still, the ones implementing policies and calling the shots in our nation. The 4,400 black people who were lynched between 1877 and 1960 are not responsible for the biased legal system of the era, those who controlled the system were responsible. It is not the fault of women that they could not vote until 1921, it was the fault of the men who refused to give women this right. Those who hold power tend to want to retain that power. By giving equal rights to those who are oppressed, those in power feel threatened. They perceive such progression to be an infringement of their own power. Thus, they suppress others to maintain their influence. The majority in power determines who gets oppressed through societal norms and policies. A perfect example of this is the practice of redlining in the mid twentieth century. Black families were denied housing in certain areas or charged ridiculously high fees to be in neighborhoods where white families lived. The government at the time was made of mostly white males. They were in charge of implementing oppressive practices to ensure racial segregation, and thus inequity. Those who experience such inequities could not be responsible for such injustice, because they have absolutely no control over the actions of those in power.

    • #11275
      Holly DeSeranoHolly DeSerano

      I somewhat disagree with this. Everyone is born into a different situation, a different region, and with different characteristics. For example, an individual who is born into a wealthy family starts out with an advantage over someone who is born into a family considered to be in poverty. This can be applied to race, gender, disabilities, or the economical or safety standard of where they live. Those who grow up in more difficult situations can’t always help the inequities they experience as they haven’t been given the same opportunities as everyone else.
      The reason I don’t totally disagree is I believe that everyone is still given a choice. Everyone is handed difficult situations, and every individual has to decide how to handle them. Some situations are more discouraging and harder to escape, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. I think Eddy makes very real points, and I agree with them. However, like she mentioned, those who haven’t experienced oppression don’t understand the severity and reality of it. Unfortunately, that puts more responsibility on those experiencing social inequities to bring it to attention. There’s a choice that has to be made whether to stand up and fight against these social inequalities, or to stand on the sidelines and continue to allow them to happen. While everyone should be noticing these, not just those experiencing it, it is their stories that are going to have the real impact. By not making the decision to fight against their social inequities, they take on some of the responsibility for them.

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