Thursday, February 2, 2012

Who is in your society?

It has been quite some time since I posted a blog about anything I find significant and personal. I have kept my blogs to be about current events or a book review. So, actually, this may just be a first. I'm not sure this is the direction I want to take my blog, but I also think it's important for my reader(s) to have a little insight to who I actually am and what I actually think about other parts of life. So, now that I've rationalized it, I'm just going to throw it out there.
Every now and then something happens and it makes you question everything that you think you know. Everything that you've based your life on, you take a step back from it, and question it. I'm not saying I have doubts about my existence or questioning my faith or lack thereof. What I am saying, is, I guess, something happened and it just sort of changed my perspective...or something...I'm having a hard time grasping the actual word to describe what it is that has happened that has made me asking questions with no answers.
Well, some background, I met someone. Our life experiences are quite different and the conversations that we've had, leave me with a perspective of a life that is not my own, that I've never experienced, and to a certain extent, will never understand. Maybe that's one thing that has my mind boggled, an acknowledgment of my own ignorance. Which leaves me with a feeling of quiet sadness, I odd sort of discontent.
When One says society, or thinks about society, it describes a whole, it's inclusive of everyone. And yet, I kind of feel, that this "society" is not the same for everyone. The society that One talks about and thinks about is only the part of the population that person chooses to acknowledge. My latest interactions with my friend, has led me to ponder things like this.
I grew up in a practically all white, very religious, traditional, and mostly mid-class environment. I do think I consider myself to be quite lucky to have had the home that I've had, but on a more global scale-my society was really quite small. I was just plain unaware, sheltered I suppose, of so much other stuff; other lifestyles, political views, religions, foods...Oh! just so much! I went to college and watched some documentary about facing prejudices. It's main message was, there are differences between people, if there is going to be any peace or progress in the world, we all need to be able to, at the very least, tolerate the differences. This doesn't mean liking the differences or even agreeing, but we must tolerate them. This actually was, a little life changing for me. Since that movie, I've viewed many aspects of general life differently, reject almost everything my hometown prides itself on, and have come across a number of people who would benefit from watching this movie! I digress...
Knowing what I do know about my society and what I've been taught to identify with, and the experiences of my friend's society, I feel there is a huge disconnect. They are like the last two puzzle pieces in the puzzle and they just don't fit together.
Supposedly, we are connected in the UNITED states, we promote progress, priviledge, and freedom of choice-all wonderful things and certaintly significantly better than in other countries,but it wasn't until recently that I guess I feel like it's all a facade. Now, I feel like we promote progress, privilege, and freedom of choice for most of us...maybe. We, the U.S., has a look, but look closer. Look at the individuals that make up the U.S. and their lives. Look at the trees in the forest, don't look at the forest.
Some of these issues are maybe more prevalent because I'm not in a large city that is booming with diversity-and therefore, everyday needs for some are more limited and difficult to come by here, but the fact remains, I have never thought about or had to deal with the following:
1. Finding a hair stylist that knows how to cut, style, and care for the texture, length, thickness, and/or curl of my hair.
2. Be used as an affirmative action tool/or be concerned with this element of life...
3. Not being represented on TV, in movies, in stores-positively.
4. Only being able to shop certain sections of a store based on my lifestyle choices, health concerns, or basic health/beauty/toiletry needs.
5. Allow myself to be treated unfairly or spoken down to on a fairly regular basis, in public settings, just to keep the peace or because I don't know how to speak the language. (I think there are more perpetrators more often behind closed doors, as well as more victims of said abuse.)
There are a million more things, I'm sure-but these are the ones that stand out to me right now. And I just kind of feel like asking, "Why?" "Why are all these things true?" "Why do people feel this way here?" and "What?" "What society is the government addressing?"
In my opinion, society is not inclusive of everyone. I have mine and you have yours. I guess because my friend's seems so different from mine, that it has me reflecting on my own life experiences in my society. Knowing some of my friend's experiences in their society and knowing that our societies are supposed to be the same, but they're not, I feel kind of empty-handed, I guess.
I am left just kind of wondering, perhaps awestruck. How can we have lived in basically the same place but my friend has had to overcome so many obstacles and have fewer choices and opportunities simply because they aren't the predominate part of the population. And beyond that, the opportunities they have had, and their current occupation-I think-they've had to prove themselves in a way that doesn't have anything to do with the job. They've had to gain respect for being who they inherently are first and then respect for being able to do the job and do the job well. How many other people have had to do this? Why do people have to do this? What country is this?
Being anything other than a WASP should not be a curse, in the United States. And yet, I wonder, if our non-white, non-Angle Saxon, non-Protestant Americans or Immigrants sometimes feel like it is. That is so wrong! No one should feel that way, in the United States, in 2012-that's at least what my society has taught me but I'm reasonably certain they don't actually implement anything to ensure people don't feel that way.
Where have I been? How could I have been so close minded to not see this before? How could I have taken my EASY life for granted for so long? How could I have not realized that I've been catered to for so long-just because my society is the predominate one?
Who are we trying to kid? Lets face facts as a real society, take off the mask, and say, Look, here we are-we really don't treat everyone equal. You can come here, legally, if you want but you better develop a thick skin and be resourceful because we cater to the white mass and unless you're that-you've got your work cut out for you.
*Disclaimer* Also, you can come here and have a somewhat easier time of it if you're outstandingly beautiful and/or talented so we can in some way exploit you. We won't actually care who you are or appreciate anything about where you come from, we just want to take pictures of you and pretend we appreciate your differences when, in fact, we don't.
That is what MY society does-I think. They won't tell me.


  1. Upon reflection of this post after reading it about ten more times and allowing some time to pass...I feel it necessary to include that I'm not sure my friend actually has had less opportunities offered to him. I think he has had his fair share like anyone else. Moreover-he's bullheaded enough to walk away from a situation that has the door closed, and prove them wrong. That's the kind of belligerent, adamant, ambition person they are. They don't take No for an answer and will do whatever they can to prove that you are, in fact, an idiot for telling them, "No" in the first place. But keep in mind that not everyone is like my friend and when told, "No" would accept it as such. Hence, why, I feel, so many people get stuck in the "stereotypical" jobs, call it a self-fulfilling prophency, I'm going to call it the predominate society not wanting to share.

  2. Another reflection-perhaps I'm getting a group of people one identifies with confused with society. Perhaps in my mind, group and society are being thought of interchangeably, or at least have a common thread that links the two to be somewhat similar and "together." And I guess I'm irritated by the fact that I don't see that link between groups and the recognition that all groups make up this society. I feel that groups/parts of society refuse to acknowledge and respect other groups/parts of society therefore leaving the society-the whole society-broken and detached from one another-leaving some groups at the top with more respect and recognition and other groups toward the bottom with very little respect and recognition, if any at all.