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Application: Living in an “-ism” World

This week you have been learning to recognize patterns which transform personal bias and prejudice into “isms,” which are more or less obvious societal conditions that afford privileges to some and disadvantages to others. These disadvantages can manifest themselves in harmful ways such as individual disenfranchisement and experiences of inequity, as with oppression.

Did any of the “isms” you examined—racism, classism, ableism, and religion-ism—strike a familiar chord in you, and if so, for what reasons? With which were you unfamiliar and/or uncomfortable, and do you know the source of these feelings?

For this assignment:

  • Review the website “Test Yourself for Hidden Bias” and the articles about various “isms” in the resources for this week
  • Consider the significance of each “ism” in your professional and personal life,
  • Also, consider what you learned about yourself with regard to the online “tests” you took
  • Write a reflective essay, at least 3 pages in length, in which you:
    • Summarize your understanding of the patterns which transform personal bias and prejudice into “isms” (Be sure to cite the resources to substantiate your thinking)
    • Respond to the following questions:

1. Racism

  • What is the most salient experience in my life directly related to my race?
  • What have I learned about my comfort/discomfort and biases/prejudices with regard to race?
  • What new insights, professional and/or personal, about racism did I gain from the article, “Inverting Racism’s Distortions”?

2. Classism

  • What did I learn about my assumptions with regard to other people’s race, gender, education and/or personal dispositions when I learn that they are wealthy? When I learn that they are poor?
  • What do I identify as the main reason why some people are financially secure and others are not?
  • What new insights did I gain, professionally and personally, from the two articles about classism, “The Question of Class” and “The Myth of the ‘Culture of Poverty.’’

3. Ableism

  • With regard to varying abilities, what is one of my cognitive, physical, and/or emotional strengths and one of my limitations—and in what ways do they influence my life?
  • Given that emotional challenges are neither “visible” nor easily put into categories: What specific advantages/disadvantages do I think exist for emotionally challenged people?
  • What new insights, professionally and personally, did I gain from the articles about ableism, “Disability Images and the Art of Theorizing Normality,” “Disability Angst,” and “It’s Not Just About Racism, But Ableism.”

4. Religion-ism

  • Can I or can I not assume that I will not have to work or attend school on my significant religious holidays—and what are the implications of the answer to this question?
  • How safe (i.e., without fear of violence or mockery) do I feel if I decide to pray in public according to my religious beliefs?
  • What new insights, professionally and personally, did I gain from the article “Understanding Christian Privilege”?

Assignment length: at least 3 pages

Submit this assignment by Sunday of this week.

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