Sunday, February 27, 2011

Single-Handedly Ending Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Within school systems around the world, discrimination between students, solely based on sexual orientation, is very prevalent. I can still remember how frequently such discrimination would occur in my own high school.  Kids segregating other kids, singling them out and calling them names.  Even if it the verbal assaults weren't directly aimed at the individuals who took the offense, these such words and terms were used often and could easily make certain students uncomfortable.  Words such as "faggot" and "gay", were always used on a daily basis within the halls, classrooms, and the cafeteria.  Most students don't realize, but after using these terms, those students who happen to be gay themselves feel awful and unwanted.  This could become so intense, that the gay/lesbian student may feel afraid to even step foot into the school, which is an awful thing.  Students who are constantly afraid during the school day are unable to focus on anything except their consuming fear, which casts aside their schoolwork and learning.  Many teachers feel personally responsible when a student is performing poorly within the classroom, however sometimes the problem that is really occuring is beyond their control.  In order to end any of these problems from further happening, all students and faculty alike need to become aware of the negative affects of sexual orientation discrimination.  Within many schools, there are presentations and seminars that involve this exact subject matter.  Attempting to end the discrimination, and spread awareness of it's seriousness.  Even so, many students within the school systems of today are unable to seer the seriousness of the problem and will continue with the discrimination.  I feel as if no matter what there will always be a level of discrimination against sexual orientation within schools, but organizations such as GLSEN are doing a great job of reducing the number of victims within schools.
The organization was started in 1990 by a group of seventy gay/lesbian teachers who sought to spread awareness of sexual discrimination amongst students.  They hope to create a school environment in which individuality is respected, and no one group is segregated against, no matter what/who they are.  GLSEN focuses on seeing people for who they are as individuals, and the ability to respect one and all.  Over the years, they have successfully changed the minds of many students who never realized how serious the issue had become.  Targeted mainly towards children/students, adults are also included during seminars to expand the message further, so that incorporation outside the classroom can be achieved as well.  The group officially sponsors the "day of silence", which took place annually in my high school.  this is a day where people take a vow of silence to commemorate those gays/lesbians/transgendered peoples who have died as a result of discrimination.  The event is taken very seriously, and an overwhelming amount of students become involved.  GLSEN has grown significantly since the time of it's founding, and continues to spread the message that they began the organization with.  I really like that this organization exists, and I feel that it's existence is very neccessary, especially now in time.  As I said before, I don't think this issue will ever be fully ended, but GLSEN will help towards preventing future generations from practicing such hateful discrimination, specifically within the classrooms of our world.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

White Privilage: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

In this writing, Peggy Mcintosh (a professor of Women's Studies) describes the privilages within our society today that come along with being white.  She refers to them as an invisible knapsack that people fill up throughout their life as a white person, but only a subconcious level, never actually realizing that they've built up the knapsack.  McIntosh describes a list of several instances within our world today in which white people are given an advantage based on skin.  Although several of these examples are bad ones, like the one where she says that she can walk into a music store and be sure that her race is represented there, she does bring up some very interesting points on the topic.  Overall the piece brings about the fact that white people don't really fully interpret their dominance over other races within certain situations, until you look back and focus deeply on the issue.  By doing so, McIntosh was able to come up with this large list of examples, which in turn will help many others just as herself to also realize these invisible privileges.  In turn, McIntosh hopes that this will help to rebuild our race basis/power systems that are in affect today.

All About Me

My name Is H. Michael Gauthier, which makes my first name H. but everyone just calls me mike.  I am a sophomore who lives on campus at RIC in New Hall.  I am a History Secondary Education major, I work at Women & Infants Hospital in CPD where we sterilize and setup instrument trays for surgeries.  In my spare time i love to listen to music, as well as play drums with my band.  I love horror movies and books by Stephen King.  That in a nutshell is pretty much me.