The Marginalized Speak: A Look at the Nov. 11 Forum

Homophily, the desire to connect with people like ourselves, causes us to create our own realities.

Our narratives are derived from a slanted perspective that leads us to feel our views are correct by amplifying them in our choice of friends and media consumption. This can be dangerous when it leads to filtering facts through personal opinions instead of allowing our beliefs to be modified by new facts. To counter the confirmation bias, an active mind looks for more than one reputable source to back up a story and checks for context and veracity, especially when the article seems advantageous to personal agenda or too shocking to be true. Critical thinking allows the possibility of reevaluating our beliefs when we encounter stories that don’t follow the trends we’ve established in our narratives. We must be willing to assume our roles as global citizens by staying informed, ready to discuss the world and local news and become the change we wish to see. The cultivation of an engaged mind is a lifelong process.

With that said, behaving in fear to the perceived liberal unity at the forum in the Chapel on November 11th was an inappropriate response to hearing the beliefs of people who were afraid of more than loss of face. It is fallacious to place conservative worries about ridicule from peers on the same level as the Muslim and LGBTQ community’s fear of hate crimes due to the rising white nationalist movement, which has been bolstered recently by the election of a man endorsed by the KKK. The fear of appearing ignorant in political matters is far removed from the fear that Donald Trump will deport your family, support laws that disproportionately imprison African Americans and remove what newly earned legal protections you have as an LGBTQ person.

It is also an insult to marginalized groups to claim that the fear of losing political and social rights began on November 8th. This statement erases the palpable terror echoing across American history. These justified fears existed when Native Americans were forced from their lands and slaughtered and reverberated into fears of the police violence and encroachment by the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock. These fears have been present since African slaves were brought to the colonies and have had to fight every step of the way to be considered as human as white people and as deserving of civil and political rights. For many, the fear isn’t that they will lose their rights, but that they’ll never fully have them. There still isn’t a federal law protecting transgender people from discrimination, racial profiling and police brutality still occur and LGBTQ youth are still subjected to conversion therapy. Each incident is part of a white Christian patriarchal system that dehumanizes people in order to maintain the current power dynamic.

In this hegemony lies the difference between being part of a minority group and being marginalized. For example, the wealthiest 1% of Americans are technically a minority, but this certainly doesn’t mean they’re inherently oppressed or removed from society. In this case, it means the opposite. It is important to refrain from using loaded terms like “minority,” which carries the societal connotation of injustice, in an attempt to strengthen a cause that simply has fewer people. It would be better to state that conservative millennials represent retaining portions of the current overarching power structures that a greater number of millennials want to change.

It is difficult to claim you are opposed to racism and sexism while supporting a presidential candidate who is racist and sexist. A vote is a sign of approval. There is no way to cast half a vote if you only agree with the candidate’s economic policy; it’s an all or nothing vote to give one candidate the power to fulfil the promises he or she made on their campaign. Therefore, the ballot rests on personal priority. “What do you value most?” amounts to asking, “Who do you think matters?” Forgive me if I can’t be close to someone who uses the political process to place the modern figurehead of white supremacists in the highest authoritative office and proceeds to distance themselves from the implications.

Finally, a rebuttal to the most commonly offered solution to racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. “Disregarding demographics” entails erasure of the extremely different roles that people of color, women and LGBTQ people have been historically forced to occupy in this county. When this phrase is applied to race, it is a plea to be “colorblind,” a problematic and ableist term for pretending everyone has had the same experiences and opportunities. Saying “people are all people” and “I don’t see color” functions on the premise that emphasizing our mutual interests and shared humanity automatically restores power to the oppressed by claiming you don’t think of them as oppressed. Or, to put it bluntly, you want to see everyone as white, void of the appearance and cultural history that systematically lowers them on America’s sociopolitical hierarchy.

I realize a single article does nothing on its own. 921 words cannot scratch the surface of the institutionalized oppression that has endured the passage of time in ever changing forms. I can’t remove misogyny, ableism, classism, racism, homophobia or Islamophobia with one piece in a student newspaper. However, I think we should try. We should be honest about the underlying systems at work in this country. And we should hold each other accountable for the consequences of our political and personal actions, regardless of intent.

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One thought on “The Marginalized Speak: A Look at the Nov. 11 Forum

  1. Here’s my thoughts of this response article:
    Lorraine’s first paragraph explores the definition of Homophily, as well as the solution to it. I agree with this paragraph as it is sound and well thought out. However I can’t help but think it seems to be an veiled attack on the author of the original piece. Accusing Ms. Maddison of living in a bubble.
    In the second paragraph the author states behaving in fear of “perceived liberal unity” is an innapropriate response. Yet then belittles the author by saying their fears are not legitimate and then writes:
    “Muslim and LGBTQ community’s fear of hate crimes due to the rising white nationalist movement, which has been bolstered recently by the election of a man endorsed by the KKK. The fear of appearing ignorant in political matters is far removed from the fear that Donald Trump will deport your family, support laws that disproportionately imprison African Americans and remove what newly earned legal protections you have as an LGBTQ person.”
    This is a discredited conspiracy theory and is as silly as people who believe in #pizzagate, false flag shootings, and that there are a secret cabel of people controlling the world. It is not true or accurate in any form outside of places such as Huffington Post, Salon, Raw Story, etc. which are known for catering to people who could be described with homophily.
    In the third paragraph the author goes off on a tangent over an unrelated issue (The DAPL) and compares the election to the wars against Native Americans in the 1800’s and African slavery. The author should be ashamed to try and, dare I use the pun, trump up fear and hatred by comparing an election to tragedies that cost thousands of lives and spanned over a century. The third article ends with:
    “Each incident is part of a white Christian patriarchal system that dehumanizes people in order to maintain the current power dynamic.”
    Again this is a conspiracy theory that only has places in circles that practice and thrive on homophily. Notice how this word keeps popping up.
    By the forth and fifth paragraph we get into the meat of the piece. Lorraine accuses Maddison of using a loaded term, which is “minority”. Again this word is only loaded IF you believe a certain way and have a rigid definition of the term. Again we are going back to homophily. We also see Lorraine accusing Trump of being a white supremacist as well as a figurehead of the said movement. She then says she refuses to be close to anyone who voted for Trump, admitting she refuses to hear the other side, instead labels them and isolates herself from them, already marked off as evil before even comin g into contact with them. Homophily. She then creates a loaded statement by suggesting that when someone voted on Nov. 8th they were actually voting for “social justice” or “white supremacy”.
    The rebuttal paragraph is wrong as that by labeling people you are dividing and labeling them which will cause more oppression rather than solve it, “united we stand, divided we fall”. By putting emphasis on labels and dividing people into races and genders you are setting up situations of superiority and inferiority as some groups will be larger and have more problems, some will be smaller and have less problems, none will be unified. This makes for a situation where there is constant distrust, accusations and infighting. Lorraine then accuses Madison of being racist, which is insulting and really hurts what respect I had for Lorraine and the people she associates with.
    The conclusion again mentions issues that only exist within an environment of group think. There are issues in the U.S. in regards to sexism, racism and homophobia, but Lorraine blows them way out of proportion and then tells readers that the cause is because of t he U.S. and its system of government and: “we should hold each other accountable for the consequences of our political and personal actions, regardless of intent.” This article starts off by describing Homophily, only to then ooze with evidence of the author fitting that very description. Someone has spoke up and held Lorraine and people like accountable for their views and it is clear they cannot stand it.

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