Damned if you do, really damned if you don’t

This week, we have been encouraged to think about the role in which our race effects the service learning that we will be doing this semester. I am a white female and upon reading 6 articles about “whiteness” and the importance of knowing what that means in terms of the rest of the world is something that I don’t think I have been ready to do yet. This is probably because, as I read in the articles, there are certain privileges that come with being a part of the “white” category and I cannot speak for an entire race but it definitely makes me uncomfortable to think about the implications of these unearned perks. Whether it is making a certain goal more attainable for myself or more difficult for someone of a different race, acknowledging this difference in opportunity is something I must do to take steps toward helping a cause greater than any one race. In order to have racial equality, individuals must determine inequalities in everyday life. It was said in one of the readings that this is difficult because race is not the only discriminatory feature of an individual but religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity and socioeconomic status also present their own road blocks if one does not fit the cultural ideal.

Many solutions offered were then proven to reinforce current power structures leaving me a little lost as to what direction I am supposed to be approaching this project from.  Although I was born as a white female and have profited from many of the privileges identified in our readings, that does not mean I should be deterred from helping people who are not the same skin color as I am. I need to acknowledge these opportunities and when we go to Phoenix, talk to the Lost Boys about the challenges they face and become a citizen to is working toward leveling the playing field. I know I am only one person so this will probably mean focusing on one area in which there is a serious gap and work to close it. If my class mates do the same, we may make a little progress in one area of one privilege difference between two specific cultural groups but it’s progress. Something to hope for.

-Caroline

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