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Invisible and Silent

To understand the text being read I was taught to circle or make note of words that are used repeatedly. While reading these stories and excerpts from different peoples personal experiences I began to see a trend in which almost all of the authors used the term silence or invisible. I believe that any person experiencing inequality has these types of feelings. Whether the issues have to deal with race, gender, class or sexuality any person feeling discriminated towards has the feeling that they are invisible or silenced by the negative attitudes that they encounter.
As it has been discussed in class we see that these issues of race, gender, class and sexuality have been both positively and negatively etched into our society, its institutions and our everyday life. Through out these stories each author has dealt with the feeling of invisibility. I think that many people who deal with any one of these issues have had this sensation at one point or another. Inevitably it is how each person chooses to respond to this inequality that makes them who they are. Whether these people choose to become activists or silent supporters each person has dealt with this feeling at some point throughout their life.
There were two issues of silence that were looked at through out these different stories. One issue is the silence of the people seeing this inequality without being directly involved. “White people know they do not want to be labeled racist; they become concerned with how to avoid that label, rather than worrying about systemic racism and how to change it�(Davis; Wildman, 617). Whether or not you are directly affected by racism people need to understand that being silent is not helping the problem, if you choose to ignore the situation you are being just as destructive. People of all colors, races and ethnicities need to not be so afraid of talking about this situation, because discussing the problem and can only help and educate. The second issue to silence is the people who are silenced by the discrimination no matter who the discriminator might be. “We didn’t spend much time in workshops conducted by the other third world people because of feeling un-welcomed at the conference and demoralized by having an invisible presence. What’s worse than being invisible among your own kind?�(Cameron, 669). As this quote suggests, discrimination doesn’t necessarily need to come from a certain group or creed, but can come from virtually anywhere or anyone.
As we see how people are affected by discrimination we need to be aware and not allow ourselves or others to become silent and invisible. With these reactions we allow these practices and beliefs to continue. To help create a more safe environment we need to help take a stance against those who do not realize that what makes people different is what makes them magnificent.

Comments

Here I am stating that it is important that we move beyond a generalized emphasis on marginalization and move toward an understanding that emphasizes the struggle with gender, race and class inequalities.

Your post brought up a lot of things that I agree with & ones that I did not ever think of.

I do believe that invisibility is a result of inequality & as a solution, silence becomes the way that people react. However, because of the social construction of society, silence is usually the result because society does not acknowledge that there are problems or else they try to provide solutions that eventually hinder progression. I also believe that people choose silence because every one experiences oppression in one or more ways, yet they hold some kind of power in others over another person. This goes to show how the cycle continues.

So, even with all of the statements that you made, what others have made, & what the readings have shown, what can be done to fix the issues? I believe that education is number one. But when it comes to fixing that system, another oppressive force steps in as an obstacle so it still leaves individuals trying to make a change wondering, what can really be done to change the world that society has made?

Your post brought up a lot of things that I agree with & ones that I did not ever think of.

I do believe that invisibility is a result of inequality & as a solution, silence becomes the way that people react. However, because of the social construction of society, silence is usually the result because society does not acknowledge that there are problems or else they try to provide solutions that eventually hinder progression. I also believe that people choose silence because every one experiences oppression in one or more ways, yet they hold some kind of power in others over another person. This goes to show how the cycle continues.

So, even with all of the statements that you made, what others have made, & what the readings have shown, what can be done to fix the issues? I believe that education is number one. But when it comes to fixing that system, another oppressive force steps in as an obstacle so it still leaves individuals trying to make a change wondering, what can really be done to change the world that society has made?

Silencing, as all of you have so aptly defined/described, is achieved through a variety of means stemming from social pressure (in my opinion)and that is the reason that most people remain silenced. As Iman pointed out, it is not common knowledge that the interconnections of race, class, gender, sexuality etc. produce perpetuating systems of inequality within society. What hasn't really been touched on is that the majority of the population does not realize that society is CONSTRUCTED and therefore can be deconstructed under enough social pressure. Most people see these unequal and unjust systems of discrimination as an inherent and unchangeable part of life...and therefore remain silent because they feel like they lack the capacity to make a difference. This reminds me of an old saying...EVERYONE REACH ONE, TEACH ONE.

I would just like to start my comment off with complimenting your blog posts (and other comments) Everyone is able to make their point in an interesting way.

Although I agree with the comments that being silent is often viewed as a silent supporter. I wondered if there was any gray area between choosing "to become activists or silent supporters". It is a fine line that many people feel uncomfortable with, or simply uneducated and thus do not speak their mind. I wonder if it is really better to say the wrong thing than say nothing at all. We have been taught if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. Has this propelled silence and invisibility in our society? (or am I stretching it too far?)

I agree with a lot of the remarks that you made. The first quote you used, from Davis, “White people know they do not want to be labeled racist; they become concerned with how to avoid that label, rather than worrying about systemic racism and how to change it�(Davis; Wildman, 617), also stood out to me in the readings. I think a lot of people remain silent in a conscious effort to make sure that a comment they may make is not misinterpreted. By staying silent they feel that they avoid any misunderstanding involving race, gender, class or sexuality. I also wanted to comment on one of the comments above. I think that is a really good point when Addie wrote that she uses silence as a way to not make men think any less of women. I know I resort to silence in a situation like this, and I think a lot of people choose silence as a way to avoid acting/ prooving on a stereotype that is linked with their race, class, gender or sexuality.

I thought your ideas of silence and invisibility were very insightful and interesting. While I agree that many people that step into the role of the oppressed choose to remain silent and comply to the assigned role of the system, I think that there are many others that are silent because they haven't found their voice yet.
It is difficult to decolonize our mind and go against the reinscribed ideas of race, class and gender when we haven't found our own agency. The one-dimensional vision of race politics prevents many to see the interconnectivity of race, class and gender and their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and domination. If one doesn't use education as the practice of freedom, it is easy to fall into the role of the silent witness. Many times a person that is not devoted to critical consciousness and awareness of oneself and society can become mute without realizing it.

In regards to your blog, I was also struck by the term "silence." I thought about myself, and my role in American society. As a white female, I stand on both sides of culture, dominant as being caucasian and secondary as being female. I experience silence in each role. In witnessing bigotry among other whites, I remain silent because I don't know how to handle the situation. I know it's wrong, but it's easier to remain silent. As a female, in situations around large groups of males, I'm invisible. I don't want to give any reason for men to think less of women. The fear of error keeps me quiet. I don't want to risk appearing inferior. It's safer to remain silent.