Swamped with your writing assignments? Take the weight off your shoulder!
One of my goals for this course is to empower you with tools and resources to overcome barriers and roadblocks you may have faced or will face along your educational and career journey. I encourage your contribution to our campus community in seeking effective change, social justice and anti-racism thinking and behavior. Cuyamaca College is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. You have also read my “no hate” policy in the syllabusLinks to an external site..
In addition to overcoming many symptoms (i.e. anxiety, fear, illness) and barriers in the pandemic, we continue to struggle with the concept of appreciating diversity. Discrimination and prejudice still exist in many forms. For example, you may have felt discrimination because of your ethnic group, religion, height, weight, gender, disability, or even academic skills. I want to define two terms.
This is a term used for brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative attitudes toward stigmatized or culturally marginalized groups.
This is one that has established its own norms, values, and preferences as the standard for an entire group of people. Preferences and norms are imposed regardless of whether they contradict what is usual for other members of the group.
I’ll start with some examples:
I am half Mexican, however, I don’t look it. I have spent my entire life living with subliminal racism in my own family, one side against the other side. And, because I look “white”, I witnessed more subtle racism and microaggressions. In addition to surviving the microaggressions of my “white” family side, my Mexican family side hid their Mexican heritage so that they could assimilate with “Dominant Culture” values. My Mexican side lost their Spanish language because they were not allowed to speak in schools or public – this was passed down to my father and then to me and my generation of my Mexican family. I spent a lifetime hiding my own identity and trying to identify with the white, biased side of my family whom are subliminally racist. This was quite a barrier to overcome! The first step for me is to build an awareness of these attitudes and behaviors of individuals in my family system and the community around me.
As a female, I have also witnessed discrimination and microaggressive behaviors toward girls and women. While I was in high school, I was interested in architecture and so I enrolled in a drafting class at my high school. The entire class was full of boys. I was intimidated by the lack of female role models. This caused me to lose interest in any male-dominated career and I no longer wanted to pursue architecture. Although this was not a microagressive behavior of the group, it represents that our Dominant Culture expects certain career and educational choices for men and others for women. My idea in overcoming this barrier is to look for role models and mentors in the careers and educational journeys we pursue. Building role models helps make everyone feel included.
At Cuyamaca College, we have many Chaldean students who are Christians and have emigrated from Iraq to avoid religious persecution. Since the attacks of 9-11, this group has faced discrimination at our college and in our community. Whenever there is anything about terrorism in the news, many students who are from the Middle East suffer discrimination even though they have nothing to do with terrorism.
In the current pandemic, we are witnessing more violence and racism with black and brown communities being hit the hardest with COVID-19 and racial and social inequities.