September 2011 Archives



Reading these chapters in our course pack and discussing them in class is something that I did not expect to talk about during this class. This topic is really not discussed at all in our society and these types of people are never shown justice. By justice in this matter, I mean they are never treated properly or felt empathy for. These people have extremely hard lives and choices to make throughout their lives and have practically no guidance throughout it all. Although I feel sympathy for these people, I am one of the few who thinks about the lives of these people who are faced with not a specific gender. The only reason, to be honest that I think about these people and their hard times is because of this class. If it weren't for this class, this topic would have never popped into my head, because I feel it makes people so uncomfortable to think about that they just avoid the subject of "in-between" genders completely. I will admit, it does make me uncomfortable, only because it is such a topic that remains uncovered.
Just because this topic is never discussed, we need to put ourselves into the shoes of these people and realize that they had no choice in this matter, and that they did not choose to become the way they are, whether they accept their bodies or not.

How Is America's Education System Helping Racial Injustice??

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A big problem that I had when talking about injustice is the lack of education about it that was available. I wrote about it in my 2nd blog, but i recently came across this article and thought that it added to my point.

Group 2 Discussion Points

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  • Gender as a social construction
The sex you are born with does not define your gender. Gender is formed by social norms and cultures throughout history. "...The surgery performed in order to create a 'normal-looking' body..." "Although a child should be given a sex assignment for the purposes of establishing a stable social identity, it does not follow that society should engage in coercive surgery to remake the body in the social image of that gender."
  • Gender Dimorphism
The behavior and physical differences between genders; masculine and feminine. "A continuum exists between male and female that suggests the arbitrariness and falsity of the gender dimorphism as a prerequisite of human development."
  • Intersexuality
Having the biological markers of two sexes and genders. "...Intersexed infants, that is, those born with mixed genital attributes, generally have a Y chromosome..." "The point is to try to imagine a world in which individuals with mixed genital attributes might be accepted and loved without having to transform them into a more socially coherent or normative version of gender."
  • Intelligibility/Unintelligibility
Intelligibility is how well you can understand or comprehend what someone's sexuality or gender is, while unintelligibility is when you cannot, or refuse, to recognize what they are. Society wants to define one's gender so where they stand is well-understood. "...It carries a certain theoretical urgency, precisely at those points where the human is encountered at the limits of intelligibility itself." "...What may well feel like the unrecognizability of one's gender, and hence, the unrecognizability of one's personhood."

Blog 2...What is Justice?

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Justice is intangible. It may not always be easily recognized, nor does it have one worldwide definition. I like to think of it as a road or a path: It may be paved instead of dirt if someone is white, it may be windy as opposed to straight if someone is gay. It may be filled with hills instead of flat land if you are a woman and not a man.Unfortunately, this road begins from the day we are born.
The concept of justice has been a topic that we have experimented with as children, which is when I think the journey of oppression, white supremacy, and domination also begins. Children bully, exclude, and "other" their peers. The problem is that if they practice these habits at a young age, it is likely their path of justice will remain relatively static through the course of their lifetime. A white child may grow up hating black people because one of their classmates of color budged in the lunch line. In these situations, nobody wins. They key is finding commonalities in each other, things that make us more similar than different. If children learn how to do this early on, how to accept differences as opposed to enforcing them, there will be plenty of time to change the course of their path
As of right now, I consider my own personal road to be paved, but full of small hills and potholes. It is paved because I feel as thought I have not experienced injustice on the same scale that others have. I am white, heterosexual, physically able, of the middle class, and non-religious. I have never been picked on in school because of my race, and no one has openly excluded or insulted me because of my heterosexuality. In other words, I have not experienced oppression in more ways than one. The one factor of oppression that I feel like I have experienced is gender oppression, because I am female and have not always felt like I am treated the same way males are. I can either choose to hate all males because of their unearned entitlements, or I can fight the standard and change the course of my own path.
Sometimes there will be a point in life where a road can be dramatically changed, such as when a previously heterosexual boy begins to realize that he has romantic feelings toward members of the same sex. To understand what justice is, we can compare each individual's path that was formed at birth. At first, this comparison might not appear to solve any problems by pointing out what those differences are. But if we point out what causes different people to be oppressed, we are acknowledging that it exists. Like we talked about in class, acknowledging oppression is the first step in overcoming it. If this is the case, if each of our paths are not static and unchanging throughout our lifetime, who's to say that one day we can't all be traveling on the same path? To achieve this, we must find things that we have in common with those we used to consider "different" from ourselves. If this happens, our small individual paths will gradually start connecting to form fewer individual ones. The goal of looking at justice this way is to eventually be rid of all forms of bullying and "othering". Kids are an open book in their early years of school, and we must teach them early on that everyone has something in common. No matter if the differences can be seen on the surface or not, we are all alike and we all need to work to acknowledge oppression and fight it so that one day we may all be traveling on the same path together.

Blog Two: What is Justice?

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What is justice? Until we started discussions in class, I didn't realize just how complex this question is. The U.S. Department of Justice has a mission statement that reads: "To enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law; to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic; to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans." But what we may consider to be "fair and impartial" can easily be criticized when taking into consideration recent events, namely the government ordered killings of Osama Bin Laden and Troy Davis. Both situations are obviously different in nature. While Bin Laden was most certainly guilty of terrorism, the charges against Davis come with much uncertainty and that brings into question whether death is a proper punishment in any situation. Consider some facts about the death penalty... According to Amnesty International's website, 130 people have been acquitted of crimes that landed them on death row. In most situations, those put to death were unable to afford proper representation and statistics show that the murder of a white victim is much more likely to lead to a death sentence than the murder of an African American citizen. Most startling, African Americans are three times more likely to be punished with the death penalty than white defendants, when the victim is white. In my home state of Wisconsin the death penalty is illegal, however, our old senator Russ Feingold made a statement about the blatant inequality: "We simply cannot say we live in a country that offers equal justice to all Americans when racial disparities plague the system by which our society imposes the ultimate punishment." Since 1976, 77% of homicides which ultimately result in the death penalty have been related to white victims, compared to only 15% African American, 6% Hispanic and 2% of other minority homicides. In most situations where the death penalty is imposed, the decision can be completely based on luck. For example, the jury, politics, and media attention of a crime can affect the outcome of a decision. Quite frequently, individuals charged with the exact same crime can be punished in two completely different ways. And while these statistics and this research are generalized, in the case of Troy Davis, even greater examples of injustice can be brought out. The lack of evidence and reports of perjury add to the questionable nature of the charge. So was justice really served? Is justice ever really served with the death penalty? What I find the most difficult about this situation is the systematic nature of the killing. It is difficult to understand what gives the government special permission to terminate the life of another. When I think of justice, I think of fair, equal, and most importantly, ethical treatment of all human beings. However, in our society, it can be difficult for someone to see justice as anything other than punishment for a crime. There is no real justice for the family of a victim. Their loved one will never return. So is it fair to impose the same fate on the family of a perpetrator? Justice reaches further than victim and criminal. The most difficult aspect of this view of justice is how to decide what is just. However, I believe that we must look at the effects our actions have on all people. For Troy Davis, justice was systematically prevented. It is unfair to assume that race played a role in the decision, but looking at the facts, it makes it seem much more likely. So while a small sect of society feels that justice has been served that leaves me with the thought, "an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind."

Interesting Perspective

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Found this article, and I thought it was an interesting perspective on the Troy Davis Case

What is Justice?

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What is Justice?

To me, justice establishes several things. Justice balances, promotes fairness, and amends. Justice wills to adjust the imbalances of an unwarranted offense upon another individual, group, country, etc. Justice conveys the truth, highlighting what is just and fair, and what is unjust and wrong. Justice amends, but I do not think that punishment should be strongly accentuated in its explanation. In its core, justice is not focused on punishment, though it has become in high correlation with punishment in society today. To me justice is found rather in the recovery [of the wronged] of their rights, of what had been taken from them.

Isabelle's story encompasses my view on justice. In this story, it was not another person that wronged her/ took something from her, but her own body. There are injustices that are not inflicted by other people. I don't like to stress on punishment, because I don't think it should be about any type of revenge. This girl regained her health back; she was amended. That is the true righteous aspect of justice.
This attempted definition of justice is lacking in the fact of how to deal with injustice. If focus is on the "redemption" aspect, how do we deal with a murder situation? A loved one cannot be brought back from the dead, and we are left with a dangerous offender. An important question comes into play- do we deal with an injustice with injustice? (obvious example: death penalty) We want to prevent further injustice to occur, but do we go one step farther from restraining from further action, to giving that person the injustice they inflicted? But then if we do this, if we kill the murderer, if we beat the person convicted of assault, etc, then what is to be done with the person who inflicts this punishment? It turns into an unending circle of injustice.
My race, privileges, and gender have all come into play in defining my scope of justice, but I do think that there are so many other things that also shape my view. These major factors will have a large impact because they are common focuses of injustice, but I think that all of the injustices we are faced with in our life come to shape our definition. I do think that the amount of injustice someone faces has a major impact on what you view to be justice.


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While others have defined justice outside of the court system, my definition of justice has to stay within. I believe that with justice, there is always punishment for your actions or in other words, I believe justice in the criminal sense. With justice there is always punishment. Punishment is to make the situation at hand fair to both the accuser and the accused.

Take for example Lawrence Russell Brewer, he was executed Wednesday for his involvement in the dragging death of a black man 13 years ago. Him and two others kidnapped a man and chained him to the back of a pick-up truck. They dragged him for three and a half miles until he was decapitated when he hit a culvert. In my opinion, justice was served. Lawrence deserved to be executed for his behavior. To have Lawrence executed would reassure the man's family that he would never commit such a crime again and not only that, he would not be eating up the taxpayer's money.

Punishment will always be involved in justice, just not always to the extent of execution. I believe that justice should be just like Newton's third law of motion: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Lawrence took the life of an innocent man, we take his. To keep him alive would have been a waste.


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It seems that justice is the virtue that majority of people are agree with.
It's not the rule or morals. One day I checked the news that Osama was assssinated by
US force in Parkistan. Sure. Bin Laden should have been expelled even long time ago for the promotion of peace as well as the public interests. Below is the new article about the assassination of Bin Laden and the meaning of public justice on the aspect of public interest.

However, I wanted to mention about innocent victims on the procedure of the deportation.
Many civilians became the sacrificial due to the enormous attack of US force on his regime.
And US government spelt out "Justice have done". However, by witnessing crying children who lost their parent and roaming around on the street, I wondered for whom this war proceed. Below is the article about the victims on the procedure of expulsion.

From the definition of dictionary, Justice is defined as a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, fairness, or equity, along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics. I think the justice should be stretched out to people fairly with the cosideration of moral justification. I wondering what has left after the long war has ended. Peace on the earth or wound of many of civilians. Should the life and death of minority be sacreficed for the good of majority? I don't know.

More on Justice

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When justice crosses my mind, as it often does, the court system rarely enters into it. The system's broke. Not just because of corruptible cops and judges (though that's an issue too), but-- like most things in this country-- corporations have terrible amounts of power in this sphere too. When a company has a pack of lawyers on staff constantly rifling through law books, they practically have an incentive to sue people for trifles just to keep their members 'gainfully employed.'
Here's an example I found quick:
But the fact that an average person can't even afford a lawyer to fight for them against deadly teams of corporate barristers is a clear symptom of being broke.
No, justice is more of a moral code than a system in place. It's all about everyone getting what they deserve, whether good or bad-- the problem is, these terms are all very subjective and there's an endless debate over what one deserves for any given act. Ideally, an inborn sense of justice would keep people from wronging one another, but it's too late for that. Now we have to figure out what to do with ourselves.

Justice is...

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I would define justice as the reprecussions one faces that tries to make the situation fair or even for those affected. I used to be a huge believer that justice existed, but my view changed after the death of Osama Bin Laden. I found out about this event first over facebook, by the graphic and very explicit things that my friends had said and posted about the situation. I did not feel as though justice had been done. As we talked in class about this situation, I did not see how killing this man changed anything that had happened or how any one felt about the state of our country. By my meaning of justice, this death did not level the playing field and did not fix or undo what had happened.

In current news, Troy Davis, a death row inmate was put to death tonight. Although he maintained his innocence until the very end, in our country where one is "innocent until proven guilty," he was put to death by lethal injection tonight. This does not set a good example for the youth of our country. Especially when they are being told not to play certain video games because they are too violent and graphic, but when turning on the news they are told that killing a person that committed a crime is not an act of violence but rather an act of justice.

By the definition of justice I have provided above, the operative word is try. One can only try to make things fair for everyone because the reality is that no matter how hard one tries to create fairness, it may never actually exist. A benefit of this definition is that it does try to compensate for the wrong-doings of others, but a problem with this definition is that although it sounds promising it may not cause releif for those affected. I think that justice means something different to everyone. People of different race, gender, or class privilege will have a different meaning of justice because they have different foundations to base what constitutes fairness. For example, a white woman who works at a school would have a different vision of justice than an imigrant latina farmhand. The school worker could think justice meant an equal education for every one at the school and the farmhand could think justice was being payed an equal salary for the work being done. No matter the situation justice will always signifiy a return to fairness even if only for a very specific event or happening.


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Justice. I was very unsure as of where to start with this topic and where I even wanted to go with it or what to say. I decided to go ahead and see what the internet had to say about the topic. Here is what I found:
1. fairness: fairness or reasonableness, especially in the way people are treated or decisions are made
2. system or application of law: the legal system, or the act of applying or upholding the law
3. validity: validity in law
Synonyms: fairness, impartiality, righteousness, reasonableness, evenhandedness, fair dealing, honesty, integrity, uprightness, rightness, justness
After looking at what the internet was saying the most up-to-date definition of justice was, I had to take a moment to laugh. Yes, this is a great definition and list of examples, but does anyone really follow them anymore? We live in a society that is pretty much solely concerned with progress. I'm not saying that progress is a bad thing, but it is when people start stepping on others to achieve it. You see this behavior in business settings, schools, families, and easily, the legal system. I feel that people no longer act reasonably, deal fairly, or concern themselves with integrity. Who can honestly say they are anything close to righteous? Evenhandedness has clearly been thrown out the window. I mean, people hate other people for physical traits or personal preferences? What is that? I don't see why people take themselves so seriously as to think that they are even remotely better than ANYONE else in the world. A random twist in events or a minor detail of that past could both mean someone's existence being completely extinguished. I think that a big step to getting back on the road to real justice is to be able to be content. Humans need to realize that they are just one miniscule fleck in the fabric of time. We all come from the Homo genus and trying to set anyone apart from another is wildly unnecessary and slightly mad. Justice cannot and will not be what it is meant to be until the world learns to open its mind and arms to peace and gratitude.

What Is Justice??

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A couple of weeks ago I would have defined justice as getting what you deserve, mostly thinking about it as a punishment being served. After the first week of class I would have defined justice as equality, equality in both punishment and in opportunity. But now as I really think about justice and how it can be achieved all I can think about is awareness, knowledge and education. I have lived nineteen years thinking that I lived in a just world. Actually the thought of justice didn't really ever cross my mind; it was just taken for granted. The thing that struck me the most was white supremacy. In all my years of education, all the times that I have learned about racism, slavery, black rights movement etc. , I have never been taught about white supremacy. And it makes me sick. Sick that we live in a society where we are being taught that everything is ok. That since the Jim Crowe laws were abolished, that we celebrate MLK Jr. day, that we now have a black president, that Everything is ok. There is a good quote in the chapter we had to read "Racism of White Supremacy" that says i "the persistence of these advantages can even be ensured by cultural forces that discourage people from allowing themselves to become aware of these advantages" (pg. 12). To me, allowing this to happen is not justice. In fact I am seeing a lot of things that are NOT justice. Just recently I had the opportunity to hear Nuruddin Farah, a Somalia author who writes about conflicts and struggles going on in Somalia. To say the least I was truly touched by his story, but I was even more struck by the fact that I had no idea that all this stuff was happening around the world. He said something in particular that really stuck with me. When someone asked him why he doesn't write his books in Somali, he replied by saying that there is no market in Somalia for his books because if a Somali family has money to buy either a book or a gun, that family will buy a gun in order to protect themselves.
This is not justice. So what is justice? Is it fixing the unjust? Because of it is, than I believe that justice is more about education, awareness and the abolishment of the lies that make us believe we are living in a just world.


Justice..What is it?

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"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic to which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." What exactly does it mean when we claim to live in a land that provides justice for all? How can justice be defined in anything but a broad manner which leaves room for much interpretation, and thus sometimes tragic conflicts? Growing up in a fairly wealthy neighborhood that is predominantly white has made justice a vague faraway concept that is difficult to define. I have never really had to define justice, but after just a couple weeks of this class, I have really thought about what that word means. To me, it refers to the idea that each and every human being on this planet is entitled to live a life free of discrimination, hatred, and fear of unjust crimes, and should that be violated, there will be consequences. While it is a working definition that makes sense to me, I realize that "consequences" is rather vague. Honestly, I do not have a good idea for what adequate consequences would be because I think there is a fine line between punishment and revenge. While it is not fair to leave that decision up to someone else, I also think that throughout the entire world, justice is a progressing idea that is constantly developing and changing, so pinpointing an exact definition is nearly impossible.

This video is a compilation of what different people from different walks of life and what they understand justice to be.

As mentioned above, people interpret justice very differently, which is often a result of race, gender, and class privilege. I know for me, coming from a privileged family and being a white middle class female played a role in forming my understanding of what " justice" really means in our current world. Each person comes from a unique background that fosters certain specific biases that then shape his or her outlook on life. Because of the area in which I was raised, I faced very little racial hardship and lived a relatively privileged life for which I am very thankful. It did make the idea of justice seem very far removed from my life though. Knowing that I have been fortunate enough to live a good life, especially after the articles we read in class reinforced that message greatly, has helped me step back and really think about what it means to live in a just world and whether or not we actually do. Unfortunately, we live in a world that will never allow each of those factors to be completely absent when determining what justice is. They will always be there, lurking in the backs of our minds, dictating our decisions and thought processes.

Social Justice

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Coming into GWSS I had never really thought of justice in any other way than the court system. I have always thought of inequality in society but not as thoroughly as I have now. The definition of social justice to me is treating everyone equal regardless of their physical traits or thoughts. The picture I have posted below portrays that. The benefit of defining justice this way is that race, gender, sexuality, and social class don't matter. This kind of social justice does not take place and it is not realistic to think that it does even though a majority of people want it to. Although my definition of social justice has not changed throughout this class my understanding of it has. I never truly understood the injustice people in my community and all around the world suffer in their everyday life.
Being a white female who was born into a middle class family I have a very different understanding of justice than others. I grew up in a very diverse city and school so I did witness the injustice but I never personally experienced it. Before I took GWSS I never thought of the fact that families are disadvantaged from the start and that families suffer from being judged before people even meet them based on where they live, what color their skin is, and what religion they are. My family was always a family that looked past that so I thought I was above injustice or inequality. I was wrong because although I never participated in the discrimination, oppression or inequality I never did anything to stop it and I stood aside and let it happen. Justice isn't something that happens over night, it is a project that is progressing in our society but has much room for improvement. In order to reach the point where injustice is no longer present and justice/equality is, everyone in society much work to get there.

social injustice.gif

Justice #2

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"In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories..."

This monologue, heard at the beginning of every episode of Law & Order, sets the scene for the NYPD and Manhattan District Attorney's office to bring justice to those who've committed heinous crimes and to those who suffer at the hands of the aforementioned perpetrators. However, a question is raised when you consider if the justice meted out is appropriate retribution for the victim? Or, consider what happens in a rape-culture where only 25% of rapes reported lead to arrest. Also consider that 60% of rapes are never reported to the police which skew that original arrest number even further. Where and what is the justice for them?

Another problem facing the criminal justice system today is the disproportionate number of people of color in jail versus the population of whites. Consider these statistics which show, that among, Whites 409 per 100,000 people are incarcerated, that among Latinos the rate is 1,038 per 100,000, and for Blacks it is: 2,468 per 100,000. Clearly the system is failing the very people it claims to represent and dispense justice to.

So, now we have a system that has obvious cracks--imagine a pot, if you will, and continually fill it with water you're preparing to boil. Sure, a little water slips out here and there, but you just add more and more without giving much thought. Now the pot has to sustain the ever increasing amount of water which only pushes out more and more and expands the existing cracks. Still, we ignore the cracks. So they grow, and push, and expand, until the system is irrevocably destroyed and burning, boiling water spills everywhere.

This is our system, and this is our destruction. And the water spilling out manifests itself in the form of protests. For the system's failure to prevent and punish rape, we have the SlutWalks. For the system's obvious racism, we have race riots. These have occurred in the past and we've patched up the pot and continued on. We face these riots now, and must question what we do now. Do we keep the pot? After all, it is an heirloom passed down from our grandparent's to us with the intent that it serves us as it has in the past. Or do we throw it? Can we bear to look at our pride and see the faults we once hid? And while we ponder, water is still spilling and people are still crying out for justice.

Today, the SlutWalks continue. Starting in Toronto, Canada after a cop advised, "Women should avoid dressing like sluts" to prevent rape. Tired of their sexual assaults blamed on them and not the perpetrator, thousands took to the streets to speak out against the misogyny and victim-blaming entrenched in the system. This was last April, and now SlutWalks have cropped all over the United States and even the world as we seek to end the violence and gain the justice so promised to us.

Race riots, a unique yet parallel answer to the system that created these inequalities and the subsequent SlutWalks among other protests, have broken out across the United States, the UK, France, and virtually all other countries in the world. Responding to a system that unfairly targets and penalizes them for the color of their skin; they have seen their liberties of protest stripped away until the last course action that remained was rioting. In a world of bureaucracy, when one's voice is extinguished then how do you have your voice heard?

And in the end, where is the justice? Who has received it, who has dealt it, and did it answer or change anything? Do we keep the pot, call out the kettles--the disenfranchised minorities--on their riots, and move on? Do and can we change and will that finally be the justice we seek?


Blog 2: Justice

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When I think of justice, what comes to mind in a broken down sense is superhero. The picture of justice in my head, is someone being saved; whether it be a criminal going to jail for a crime committed, or possibly a person sticking up for someone. In the broad spectrum, the "real" definition of justice "is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, fairness, or equity, along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics." When talking about social justice, we defined it in class as "naming and challenging faces of oppression in every day life."

However, in my own words, I define justice as a right outcome that benefits those who were wronged. Benefits of my own interpretation of this word, for example, it includes many things from a rapist being put to jail to a person receiving aid from falling in a store. Limitations come from my definition because people have different takes on how a person is wronged; which we can tie into white supremacy. Some minds think it's okay to put people in nursing homes, whereas other persons object to this idea. Of course the person being wronged can understand where the application of "justice" should be performed. A black person may think "justice" was reached when Obama became president; a female may think "justice" occurred when abortion was declared legal. In a society where everything is divided into groups, and everyone is categorized, of course we all have a different view of what "justice" is.

This article of the Casey Anthony is an example of my definition of justice, or in this case it was unjust. The innocent verdict was not what people were expecting, in many people's minds Casey was guilty; justice was not done. A "murderer" was let back into society with none to little punishment. I feel like our society is big on punishment.


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Since justice is such a complex issue and is relative to each person it is hard for me to come up with a comprehensive definition of justice. As an African American and African Studies major I have been intrigued by broadening my horizons and stepping outside of my comfort zone with the subjects into which I divulge. Taking classes such as this one and approaching subjects that have been traditionally narrated through a white voice have begun to transform my understanding and ability to sympathize with those that did not grow up in situations similar to my own. Eurocentrism, oppression, and differences are major themes that flow through the currents of American educational systems and tend to cover narratives of people of color in our own history. Looking into the shadows of history, I can see that there are many facets that have yet to be illuminated.

Figuring out my ideal vision of justice, therefore takes on a specific task. Tolerance is a word that heavily influences my perspective of justice. But it must be tolerance fully enveloped in respect. Not just respecting differences, but respecting humanity for humanity's sake. It seems that, not only in American history but worldwide, justice needs to be synonymous with revenge. Or that because injustice and oppression have occurred against a specific group of people, those people then have a right to "get back at" the group that oppressed them. This understanding makes sense on a human level, but does not seem to uphold tolerance and respect for humankind. On the other hand, it should not be used as an excuse for the oppressors to get away with oppression, discrimination, or injustices.

Limitations are many with this simplistic ideal. Tolerance means that there is justification of specific beliefs that may be inherently oppressive. Now, this is not at all representative of justice that would be acceptable in any society. Tolerance must be an issue that in contended within society and culture without Eurocentrism, Afrocentrism, or any other -ism getting in the way. Morality seems to be a strong opponent of tolerance. Another limitation is that tolerance and respect do not seem to allow much room for repercussions regarding oppression and discrimination. Without consequences all sorts of injustices can occur and not be dealt with. The criminal justice system would essentially be obsolete.

An example of a current issue that magnifies my struggle with the complex issue at hand comes from the latest issue of The Economist (Sept. 17-23). Here is a link to the article:

The issue at hand in this article discusses the issue of free speech and/or hate speech in South Africa. There is a current similar to the American South at the turn of the 20th century in regards to racial violence. This article helps magnify the road to vengeance that many take in defense of their believed "rightness" or justice.

Defining such a concept is difficult, but I am committed to fighting against the grain and stepping up to confrontation. Finding a better way to learn justice for all worldwide should be something that all people seek.

Justice can mean punishment

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In class, we talked about how punishment is not justice. I disagree. It's obviously not the only form of punishment, but sometimes it's all someone can get. For example, if I was a mother, and someone killed my daughter, there's nothing in the world that will bring her back, but it might be comforting to know that the person who did it is serving time in prison. It would be nice to know that the person isn't walking around with no repercussions, or worse that they could do this again.

So, did we get justice for the families of those lost on 9/11? Maybe not the best type. But it seems implausible to have every American line up for a chance to punch Bin Laden in the face. Maybe the families of the 9/11 victims will sleep better knowing that the man who planned the attacks is dead.

Blog #2-Justice

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I define justice as someone having equality and fairness. I immediately think towards the criminal justice system because that’s where “justice” is used frequently. I think the main goal of lawyers, police officers, and social workers are to protect the equality of civilians. I think it would be a perfect world if there are no problems. I think all of these people have a good heart for helping out the community but there are still problems of mistreatment. For example, police officers may participate in racial profiling where they would instantly suspect somebody of doing something because of the color of their skin. Racial profiling is a limitation of justice because expands stereotypes of minorities because many people believe them. I think punishment and reward are other elements of fairness. Punishment plays a part in the system because people who committed a crime should go to jail. Reward plays a part in the system because people who are found not guilty get a second chance at life. Also people who have been wrongfully convicted also get money and apologies from high authorities. A limitation of the justice system is public opinion. Many people get mad when people they claim that are criminals get acquitted in a case or if they get convicted for not doing a crime. Some example cases include Casey Anthony, OJ Simpson, Rodney King, and Troy Davis.
Class privilege plays an important part of justice because people of the poor/working class are more likely arrested for a crime than those in the middle and upper class. Many of these people are minority groups such as Latino, African American, Asian, and etc. Also those who have a particular religious belief. I think that many Americans will think that people of these groups are guilty of these crimes because of the stereotypes. I think the media plays a big part of this situation because it is all you see on the news. I think the media doesn’t show the whole truth sometimes to portray a point. Gender plays a role in justice because the man is always the unfair one. Most people think that women are not capable of committing a crime because it is rarely seen in our society.

I choose this article because it just shows how our society plays into stereotypes of people who are religious and how there is no justice for these groups. This is an unfair treatment and the people have to be more educated on occurring issues affecting these people.

"Justice has been done"?

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In class last week we talked briefly about the killing of Osama bin Laden, and how in his speech announcing this development President Obama used the phrase "justice has been done," and how that's just a really odd thing to say. The whole line was, "And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda's terror, justice has been done." It's an awkward line, and overall not his most eloquent speech, but he has the excuse of not knowing for sure that bin Laden was dead until after it actually happened. (Unless presidents write these things ahead; maybe he has a drawer of speeches prepared for every occasion, which can be brought out and polished as need be, much like how newspapers have pre-written obituaries for people they think are going to die.)
In saying that "justice has been done," Obama used justice to refer to punishment. It was punishment he referred to in the same speech when he said that he "authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice."
However, this punitive form of justice doesn't encompass every nuance of the word. In many cases justice means fairness. It means that everyone gets the respect and resources that they deserve. An argument could be made that because bin Laden was a terrorist getting what he deserved meant being killed by Navy Seals. But for ordinary people, especially minoritized people, justice means being allowed access to resources they've been deprived of and respect they've been denied. It seems that it is this second, social meaning that we're exploring in class.
I don't know if America's killing of Osama bin Laden was just or not. I read a lot, but don't feel that I am informed enough about global politics to pass judgement. My feeling on bin Laden's death are well explained by political commenter Nate Fick (who's name you may recognize from the book turned HBO miniseries Generation Kill). Fick wrote that "His death allows the United States to focus on other core interests - restoring America's economic strength, developing and implementing more sensible energy policies, and reinvigorating America's relationships with emerging powers around the world." Now that bin Laden is no longer a direct concern maybe we could move further away from panic and conflict and refocus our attention on issues like education and the economy. Now that "justice has been done" for those hurt by 9/11 maybe now, a decade later the government can start serving up another kind of justice for the oppressed within America's borders.

Justice... What is it?

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I think that most people have their own individual ideas about what justice means... which leads me to think that what justice really could mean is that each and every person would have the right to express those individual ideas and feelings, and be respected. Humans have a great capacity to heal. We have all "trespassed" upon others and others have "trespassed" upon us. But what does anyone ever want when they feel they have been wronged? They want to feel acknowledged. The want to feel understood and that the other person/s are willing to hear them out and work towards making the "victim" feel better-whatever that might entail. We are not perfect people and even without issues of race/sexuality/gender/religion etc. we would still find ways to harm each other. The point is that we give the person/s justice in the sense that we recognize our errors and work to mend them. As far is race in concerned, there is much work to do. Deep, generational, institutional and perpetual wounds have been inflicted upon African Americans from this country's inception, and to acheive justice is and will be a daunting task. But beginning with listening, with learning to empathize, or at least sympathize and learn from those who have been trespassed upon, how to meet their definition of justice.

Blog #2

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Justice is a word that can be interpreted or defined differently with every person that you ask. Every person has a different idea of what justice is through their own personal environments and growths or how they may have experienced justice, or not experienced it for that matter, themselves. I don't believe that although, there is a definition in a dictionary that it can be universally applied in areas when justice is so broad. Does justice mean that every individual is treated the same and equally as the rest? Or is justice giving each individual what they deserve even if it may come with a price of inequality?

Personally, I believe justice means being fair, aiming to reach equality, and being punished if you've done something wrong. When justice comes to my mind, I automatically think about criminal justice above all else because I feel that is what I am most bombarded with. However, since starting this class, I have realized all the different types of justice there really are. We've been looking at social justice for the past couple weeks and it has been such an eye-opener. Am I glad we are bringing these topics to light? Yes. I think we all have an ingrained idea of what right and wrong is but we also learn from our environment and some ideas we have definitely need to be changed. Especially when it comes to the different privileges that are apparent in our everyday lives.

In the US, I think it is next to impossible to get away from all the different social classes along with wealth barriers from one group to the next. I believe if you are a white male, your perception of what justice is going to be very different from a Black or Latino male and it is going to be quite the shock if their definitions of justice would be similar. For example, Troy Davis will not have the idea of justice being a fair practice. He will ultimately face death due to the maltreatment of power during his time of arrest. It is hard for me to comprehend that in this day and age and especially how far we have come that we are still allowing these forms of injustice every day. It is really quite sad.
I believe that justice should also have the idea of forgiveness tied into it. I believe to be a just society we need to realize that mistakes happen and we need to work as a community to fix them. We cannot be just without forgiveness.

I read this article regarding the injustice occurring in Cairo and the protestors fighting to regain justice in their communities against the people who are to be serving their community, the police.

Social Justice

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social injustice.gif

I chose this picture because it shows exactly what I believe justice should be. Faceless, and only about your heart. Justice should be a change that everyone should be working for.

Social Justice

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social injustice.gif

I chose this picture because it shows exactly what I believe justice should be. Faceless, and only about your heart. Justice should be a change that everyone should be working for.

Assignment 2, Justice

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Justice. My view of it is how people ought to be treated regardless of what might define them. I think justice is something that individuals can help control in their own sphere of influence but overwhelmingly it's society that creates (of refuses to create) justice for people.
What's difficult with the concept of justice is it's a double-sided issue of individual vs. societal actions. A person can feel simultaneously enlightened and superior to someone they consider sexist, raciest, homophobic, etc. all while not taking responsibility for the role society has in injustices. It's everyone's responsibility but the actions of an individual can't change society fully.

I read this devastating article today:

(you'll have to copy and paste it, it wouldn't let me make a hyperlink.)

I think it's a fitting example of what I'm talking about. This kid took action as an individual to do what he could to fix society by making an IGB video. Yet parts of society still allow and in some cases encourage bullying, particularly bulling based on sexual orientation, which drove him to take his own life.

what is justice?..


Well, justice took on a new meaning for me today, or perhaps it has no meaning at all. Today is September 21, 2011 and the Troy Davis case is the biggest story and debate in the media tonight.
Some simple background on the Troy Davis case is he is an African-American man who was convicted of capital murder for the death of a security guard. There was a reported parking lot scuffle between a couple men and when the guard tried to break it up he was killed. The incident occurred in Savannah, Georgia in 1989. There were nine "eye-witnesses" who came forth to testify against Troy Davis. And since those initial testimonies were made the vast majority of the nine witnesses have recanted or changed their testimonies.
The claim is that the "eye-witnesses" were coerced into making their claims against Troy Davis by the Georgia police department. However, despite that insurmountable proof of his innocence Troy Davis was scheduled to be executed on this day, September 21, 2011. The courts have said that the recanted testimonies of the witnesses are not sufficient proof of Troy Davis's innocence. I was watching the news coverage about an hour ago, and at that time the Supreme Court had put a hold on the execution, but had not cancelled it.
What is justice? To be totally honest I have no clue. We have been discussing social justice for two weeks now and still there is no clear understanding of justice. Police coercion? Is that justice? Perjury? Is that justice? Capital punishment? Is that justice? What is just? When people like Troy Davis's lives are ruined like this it makes me question any of the "progress" that America has made. What has really changed between 1940-2011 when an African-American man may be killed simply because the police wanted to find someone to blame for a crime, despite his undeniable innocence? What has really changed?
This case hurts my heart. Any African-American man or woman, or person of color could be Troy Davis. An easily targeted and easily incriminated person who is at the wrong place, at the wrong time. Being wrongly accused happens to people of color daily, whether the accusation be small or excessively large, it happens ALL the time.
Justice can defined anyway people see fit. There is no set answer for justice. Some people may think that Troy Davis being lethally injected is justice, and who is to tell them that they are wrong? Americans? The people who are sitting by and watching it happen? No.
Justice starts with the individual, but the moral code in the United States of America is easily forgotten or thrown by the wayside when it is convenient or popular. And this has been a recurring historical event.
So what is justice?

I am Troy smallest.jpg

Justice Blog #2

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When it comes down to it I have basically always just thought of justice as being "the right thing" or as "fairness" for all. Now as I am in a class that is titled around the word I have begun to think more deeply about what the word truly means. It is most commonly defined as equal opportunity for all, but I wanted the definition from the dictionary for the first week of class. The dictionary defined justice as " the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness." To me, moral rightness defines it best. I believe justice starts inside of people. A person must feel inside of themselves to treat someone right or to be fair. Once this has been molded in someones head, justice can be served.
As I mentioned justice is commonly known as equal opportunity for all but I am careful with that definition because I don't believe that justice means equality. Equality for all people will never occur (as much as I want it to) so justice and equality cannot mean the same thing, because unlike equality, justice can always be served. If we as a society can respect the differences of cultures, races, sexualities, gender and social classes then we can make something "just" or "right" for someone. Even though justice can occur after looking past these differences I don't believe that justice can be provided the same to all people because of all the differences we still look down upon. Justice in society today is making something right for a specific person or specific community, but it is hard to say justice can be defined the same as a universal thing. There are to many different lifestyles to make one word mean the same to everyone.
Opportunities and fairness provided to all people no matter what their life story is, is justice, and that justice is provided based on ones lifestyle.

This video I put a link to is from a gathering after a reggae singer known as Smiley Culture (Merlin Emmanuel) was killed by police in London. They talk about justice for the man killed and for their community because this was not the first killing by the police. It reminded me a lot of the Police Power and Race Riots article we read in class last week and stories about the police killing innocent people.

Blog #2 - Justice

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Justice can come in many forms. In one way, justice is the righteous behavior of people around the world towards others. Justice is equality and the feeling that no one is below anyone else. This obviously has not been achieved in the US because it seems inevitable to have social and wealth classes and people starting from different points trying to achieve a common goal. As we discussed in class, a person of color has a longer way to go to get to a certain point than most white Americans that grew up in a generally wealthy area. These starting points accurately describe a type of injustice that isn't intended to happen but still does. A person does not choose to be born in a middle class neighborhood with middle class friends; it is based upon their ancestors. This kind of injustice is once again inevitable. Many injustices are not inevitable and can be fixed. One example of this is the justice that many people want by just treating everyone equally. This also has not been achieved in the US because there is still racism and prejudice problems. Justice in this form can be achieved in a slow, and steady manner. It cannot just be fixed in one day because many people disagree with the fact that everyone deserves the same amount of respect. It has to be a slow process (which has already begun) of teaching that everyone should respect and accept everyone, no matter their race, religion, or ways of life.

Another form of justice is the punishment form of justice. This form of justice is used to avenge the person who was killed or the problems someone caused. Justice was served, according to some people, when Osama Bin Laden was killed. In my opinion, justice was not served because although many people think that now that he is dead, we feel better about people who have died, it still doesn't bring them back to life. In my opinion, justice cannot be served in those instances because whatever people do, it doesn't bring the dead back to life. Here are two articles that demonstrate this idea of locking someone up or killing them to serve justice. (the last line in the article) and

Social Justice (South Africa)

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Justice is commonly defined as equal opportunities for all, under the law. However, social justice encompasses justice in societies and between peoples, allowing everyone to have pride and dignity. It provides peace of mind to those of different races, genders, belief systems, cultures, and all other groups to live their life the way they see fit, without the burden of the dangers of violence, discrimination, and other forms of injustice. It is so much more than equal opportunities, it is equal quality of life.

I am a white girl from a well-off family, I have never had a job, and because of my grandparent's wealth and investments I have little worries about paying for college. I view justice from as an outsider, because I have never had to experience fighting for justice myself.

I traveled to South Africa last summer to visit my family friend's. They showed me around Johannesburg and I saw the way the upper and middle class lived; towering mansions seven-stories high with aquariums in the driveway, but armed guards were constantly patrolling the 15-foot high walls. My friend told me that it was the safest part of town, even her home had barbed wire along the iron fences, gates on every window, and a man guarding the gate in the day. It was to protect them against theft. The more rich the wealthy, the poorer the poor. Every time you park, there are people in the parking lot "watching over" your car, you tip them 5 Rand, less then a dollar, to sit there and make sure nothing happens while you go shopping. We drove through the slums of Johannesburg, people chased after us in our car begging for money. This is not social justice, this takes away from their dignity. They were never presented the opportunity for a good education, a safe home. They do not even have a decent free public education system. When given this little, you have so far to go before you can make a living for yourself. To them, social justice is still out of reach.

Blog 2 Justice

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Justice comes in many forms and appears to us in many costumes. One of the ways that I look at justice is as forgiveness. When we seek justice in the forms of law, we wish to seek retrubution agianst wrong doings. However, sometimes, and more often than not, this form of justice doesn't serve our human nature in positive ways. We end up feeling like there is something missing and that we haven't completed our closure. I fully believe in order to find this closure or form of healing we must need to forgive. Forgiveness is a much harder journey than revenge or hate, but if we do not forgive it will eat away at our soul. In my eyes justice can come in this form of forgiveness. When I think of justice, I think the law symbol - lady justice. Lady justice stands tall, blinded to the world, holding her balances in order to balance out the world. I feel as if the balance ultimately comes from forgiveness. Here is a video that I thought had a theme of forgiveness. lady justice.jpg">

What is social justice???

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My idea of social justice is everyone treating everyone else as equals. No matter what you skin color, your religion, your gender, your sexual preference, or even your occupation. The article we read on the race riots in France really struck home to me because of the police brutality. I am from Rusk County, WI and recently a newspaper article was published about how a mother and son got into a fight with the cops. It went on to explain how this young man fled from authorities on an ATV and was later found at the bar and the cops went to arrest him and he resisted and his mother got involved and a fight broke out. Now for the rest of the story. There are now being reports filed against these officers for brutality. Apparently the cops came into the bar and asked the man to have a talk with them outside. When the mother told the officers that he hadn't done anything wrong they pushed her and when the son turned to help her the police sprayed him. Then they got out their batons and began to beat him. They also hit a bar patron and the mother with their batons. Soon the young man was unconscious but that wasn't good enough. They continued to beat on his body laying on the ground. This cover up of the true story isn't the first and I'm sure won't be the last. The things we've talked about in class like gender, race, etc are all forms of injustice. So is this. Many people believe that because of their occupation that they're "better" than the rest of us. Police officers are a great example of this. An officer can go to a tech school for 2-4 years and be certified. They use this as a way to harass, torture, and humiliate people. Now I'm certainly not saying all police officers do this but it certainly does happen. Now think about this. A doctor goes to school for 8+ years and uses their education to help others and save lives. Generally speaking, I know there are some shady doctors out there too. The fact is that people use their occupations as power and authority over other people. Police brutality is something thats been around for a long time in many places around the world and is something that isn't going away anytime soon. Social justice is putting an end to police cover-ups making each other and the force look good. It's about being honest and standing up for what is right. No one person should be able to affect another's life just because they don't approve of something about them.

Justice- Blog #2

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According to Merriam- Webster dictionary, justice is "the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments." This definition mostly describes justice in its relation to law and politics but it does not uphold any relevant information towards social justice. Whenever I think of the word justice, I tend to think more in social terms and how inequalities are present everyday, yet these inequalities are not always looked at as injustices. This is in large part due to the fact that many people have different ideas of how social justice should be defined and handled. I have added a link to a you tube video created by the love alliance which really demonstrates how differently everyone thinks of social justice.

One of the most common descriptions of social justice is "equal opportunity for all people". Like we have touched on in class, it is a big issue to determine how to true make circumstances equal across the board for all Americans. Everyone is born into different situations and the question is, is it truly possibly to give every American the same opportunities. In every country there are different groups of people who are better off than others, and no one can control the family they are born into, nor can they help the history the comes along with the family. In American especially, there is a large gap between social classes and it is hard for the upper classes to give up some of their opportunities to provide an opportunity for someone who was not born with the same advantages. This in large part is due the American attitude that we have rights to everything. Almost every U.S. citizen is guilty of this false sense of entitlement by claiming "it is my right", when in reality it is not a right, it is a privilege. In order for this country to bridge some of the gaps and get rid of social injustices, we need to first leave this mentality that everything is our right and build from there.

Blog #2

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Whenever I hear the word justice, immediately I think of someone committing a crime. Justice in my mind is punishing people for their wrongdoings and making them take responsibility for their actions. Because everyone views justice differently, they all have different opinions on what is proper punishment for wrongdoings, this is a downside of describing justice as punishment. Unconsciously we have different standards for different races and genders so we may view the type of justice they receive differently. For example, due to white supremacy, white people believe they should receive different justice for the same crime compared to a person of color. People of different races are also treated differently in the criminal justice system. Latinos, Blacks and other people of color are looked at in a more negative way when they commit a crime than a white person. We talked about in class how a black and white man have committed the same felony and how employers always tend to hire the white man over the man of color.

A good example of injustice in the criminal system is racial profiling. Racial profiling is where police tend to pull over or stopping people based on the skin color or race. This highlights how race is a major factor in criminal justice and how we target those of color more then we do white people. This article is very interesting about the social injustice of racial profiling.

Who am I

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Engaging Justice Intro Lectures/Racial Justice

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Hannah Reichenbach, white privelage & justice

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This post is regarding our discussion about white privelage. I was one of the people who during class began to feel quite uncomfortable as the conversation went on, and found myself becoming quite upset actually. I felt as if my viewpoints and everything my parents had taught me was being crushed. My parents have always taught me to work hard in everything I do, and so I work hard in everything I do. My parents have worked hard their entire lives and I have seen how they manage their money appropriately, which got them to where they are today. They are still working to this day and I feel that telling my family, who studied and worked hard and taught their children appropriate values that they don't struggle is not exactly what I want to hear. Everyone has their struggles, and everyone has to work to get where they want to be. Doctors go through years of schooling to get where they are. There are only a select few people who get their lives handed to them, and I feel that every white person unless they are on food stamps gets grouped with those.
Next, justice was never really a subject I thought about before my sophomore year of high school. I took an AP Politics class revolving around the court system, generally. We learned about the working of the justice system but also the stereotyping of specific races and some sexual assult, which link to this class. I am interested to see what the rest of this class holds in reference to the justice system and social, racial and economic classes.

The definition of justice

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I have never before had any reason to define the word justice, or really try to understand it. To me, justice has always just been punishing those who are wrong and helping those who are good... or something like that. The problem with such a "definition" is that it is subjective as to what is wrong and what is good. Everyone has their own understanding of these words, and I feel as if that is one of the main reasons injustice is so prominent; if you do not (or cannot) have a universal definition of right and wrong, good and bad, then you cannot really have a definition of justice.


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I wanted to continue the discussion of marginalization that we started in class but couldn't finish because of our time constraint. I was very surprised that no one brought of the incredible marginalization of the gay community. Off the top of my head, I'm not allowed to visit my dying partner in the hospital and I can be fired in over half the United States for my sexual identity. Gay sex is also still illegal in many straights, not to mention the obvious illegality of gay marriage. There are over 1000 rights that gay people are denied along with the right to be married, several of which I have listed. The marginalization of the gay community is different than discrimination of other minority groups because sexual identity isn't visibly marked like race or gender. However, many people dress in a way that marks their sexuality as non-normative which immediately makes them subject to discrimination and harassment, which I've experienced firsthand.

Social Justice as Defined by Sammi

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Until taking this class I had never really differentiated between "Contract Justice" and "Social Justice". Having grown up in a family of law I was quite familiar with the idea of "Contract Justice". My family, however, has also always been a partaker in what I believe to be "Social Justice". To me, social justice is treating every individual fairly. Synonymous to the ideal of contract justice I believe that it is most important to treat every individual blindly; blind justice. Like an ideal court case, I believe that every individual has the right to stand before a group of people and have that group of people know nothing about them but still treat the individual unbiasedly and in a nondiscriminatory fashion. I

5 Faces of Oppression Discussion

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I definitely agree with everything said during the "Five Faces of Oppression" discussion but I do feel there is a lot more to add. For one, I do believe that people of color are the ones who most experience this oppression but I think that people are forgetting about the many other types of people that are discriminated against. The author did mention a few times other groups that have been discriminated and oppressed but we never really discussed them in class. From a personal stand point I believe that many of the experiences people of color have, other minorities have as well. I am well aware of the fact that many people are prejudice towards Jews.

Forfeiting White Privilege

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This article is a great eye-opener to the unfair advantage given to white americans through their interactions with other white americans, who have systematically rooted themselves into a dominant position in politics, finance, media, etc. This makes it much easier for any white americans to move freely and do what they please without confronting any kind of racial barriers. Leveling these barriers, according to the author, requires those with said privileges to forfeit them. I just wonder how exactly that can be done.

#2: And then it hit me...


Two years ago I spent two weeks in Costa Rica and Panama on a medical mission trip with my pre-med group on campus. During this trip I helped set up two free clinics in which we saw local patients that couldn't afford to go to their local doctors. In total I think we helped over forty different people and at the time it felt really good to help others in need.

What I didn't realize until today was how unethical our "good doings" actually were. One of my friend's that went with me on this trip was told not to talk about exactly what we did on the trip because it WAS unethical, but I didn't fully understand that until I was sitting in class at 12:27 today and it hit me like a ton of bricks. White privilege.

blog #2: "what is justice"

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I most closely align my definition of justice with that of social justice rather than normative ideas of justice. I think justice means- finding empathy & commonality, if only as a fellow being, in the stories of others and their lives, oppression and successes. Aligning ourselves with others makes us more committed to fighting for and standing in solidarity with their needs and rights.
A key part of how I define justice includes the understanding that we are all interconnected, and oppression of the few negatively impacts the whole of society in every way. Including race, gender, and class into the discussion or definition of justice reinforces the reality that although our lived experiences are disparate, our multiple facets connect us in a social network that needs to be maintained in the interest of all people

Post Regarding White Privilege

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In regard to our class conversation today, wrapping up our discussion on White Privilege- I had some thoughts about how to think about white dominance.
I know that there were several people in the class who were rather uncomfortable or upset about the acknowledgement of white privilege and what that means. Like anything, realizing something is other than what you initially believed it to be, is a trying and maybe even earth-shattering experience.
For those people in class who are just now confronting their privileges as a white people for the first time, it should not be taken as offensive or as a undue racist label, but as an opportunity to change the society in which we all live and to change one's own life. I think learning to reevaluate the world, specifically our country, through a lens of racial justice helps those of us who dominate, be more appreciative of what we have not earned, and see the necessity of allowing others all of the human rights which we claim for ourselves. Challenging one's paradigm and reality needs to happen everyday; it is easy to fall back into line in our society while others bear the weight of inequity.
So, rather than be upset for too long, I think it is a rare opportunity to change one's ideals, reality, as well as the world around us and make room for our fellow people who have too long been ignored.
It is not racist or hateful to be unaware. However, once an alternative narrative or reality has been told, not acting or not listening is the same as compliance with the institutions of dominance that exist.

Addition Reading for Sept. 20

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Dear Students,
I came across this fascinating new article published in 2011 by Cathy Lisa Schneider called, "Police Power and Race Riots in Paris." Please read this in addition to Kevin Graham's essay, "Racism or White Supremacy" for Sept. 20. We will discuss both articles next Tuesday. Also be sure to put this article into conversation with the recent riots that took place in the UK a few weeks ago.
Happy Reading!

Police Power and Race Riots in Paris

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Hannah Hill, assignment 1

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Hey everybody! =] I am Hannah, a second year student here at the U! I am from Ham Lake, a small town near Blaine which is a half hour north of the twin cities. I am an architecture major but I wanted to take this class because it not only fulfills a lib ed, but I have also always been super duper passionate about women's rights and feminism. I have a fairly well-rounded background on the subject already since my mom would talk about her own beliefs and values ever since I can remember, and therefore I acquired many of the same opinions. Since we share such a strong passion for girl power, we volunteer together at the Alexandra House in Blaine every summer. It is a shelter for victims of domestic or sexual violence and I work in the childcare unit while the mothers take special classes or group therapy sessions. Even though I learned quite a bit about certain themes in feminism through my mom and the Alexandra House training, I am thrilled to learn even more while taking this class! Also, I miss my dog Mickey and cat Jack Jack more than anything else from home!


While reading this chapter from Justice and the Politics of Difference it is obvious to see the relation that this article has with the article last discussed in class about white privilege. For instance, both articles conclude that much of the oppression facing minorities comes from unintentional, "normal" everyday interactions that people have with each other and the world around them "its causes are embedded in unquestioned norms, habits, and symbols" (Young, 41) and each day that these "norms" go unquestioned they install themselves further into the fabric of society. For instance, Native American culture is often left out of textbooks throughout K-12 schooling. Although this discrepancy becomes obvious to aging students it has become universally expected that the knowledge of Native American culture is "frivolous" as it does not appear in ACT testing or in other comprehensive secondary school testing. The mere fact that this type of information is excluded in these types of common knowledge tests only proves that the culture of these peoples are considered to be of little to no importance, and because it has been deemed such it generates the idea that to teach this type of information would be useless. This is a self-perpetuating situation as the tests inform the teachers what is "of value" to teach, and the teachers inform the students what is "of value" to learn. The students, therefore, are somewhat sheltered to the glass pane of oppression; an oppression in which people of all kinds see the world through without actually being able to see the oppression for its own relevance.
One topic that Young dwells upon is the relevance of groups in society, and how these groups come to define people whether chosen by the defined individual or simply thrust upon them by matter of opposing force. This idea is complex in that it is difficult to distinguish how much the group is defined by its people, versus how much of the people are defined by their group. Young seems to straddle the line separating the idea as to whether groups are detrimental or beneficial to the people of which they represent. For example, a person may be defined as a homosexual and therefore be put into a group labeling them as such. The placement of this person into this group comes with the stigmatization associated with other members of this group. This can be detrimental to the individual as it can misguidedly label them with concepts of homosexuality that perhaps they do not entirely identify. However, this same group may offer a kind of definition to the individual that is categorized as such. Groups can be a form of describing a person, and not necessarily in a derogatory manner. Without groups, some visible form of definition, there is little way to tangibly describe an individual. It is synonymous to the idea of a word without other words to describe it. A definition in the dictionary with no other relatable words. I concede with Young that groups are dangerous because of the stigmatism that they often evoke; however I dawdle on both side of the line that separates groups as strictly bad and strictly good. A group is innocent until it is wrongly viewed and defined. A group is innocent until it looks in the mirror and sees behind it five faces.

white privilege response..


It has been four days since our class discussion about Peggy McIntosh's article "White Privilege", and after taking some time to step back and think more about the topic at hand I realized white privilege will not fade. This whole idea that "If it ain't White, it ain't right" is here to stay. And while that may seem like a grim outlook on society's progression, it is fact, white privilege is a staple in American society. It is the basis of American society. There are too many aspects of life in America that give its white citizens an unfair advantage over all other ethnic groups. And I firmly believe that while Peggy McIntosh is an exception to the rule, White Americans will not forfeit the privileges that have been embedded within.

Who I Am

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Hi everyone,
My name is Alyssa McCoy. I'm a freshman at the U. I'm majoring in Pre Med and hope to become a surgeon some day, but for now I'm just glad to be here, and I am so stoked to be in the big city. I come from a super small town of less than 3,000 people; Watertown, MN is this tiny "hick town." I definitely consider myself a city girl; I'm in love with Minneapolis. I've lived in Minnesota for approximately seven years, growing up I was an army brat. It wasn't until I moved to Watertown that I realized I was considered a minority. I'm half Filipino and half Caucasian, but I take after my mom in the looks department, and my filipino features outshine the rest. All throughout middle school and high school I was 1 out of 5 students of color; To say the least, I'm definitely excited about the diversity at the university.


This is my sister, my mini me. I love her more than anything. She means so much to me; she turns four in a few months, and I can't wait to show her this world. I want her to know she's special and beautiful no matter what people tell her. I'm glad I'll be able to teach her to be proud of who she is.

Emily Daggett


Hello everyone! My name is Emily Daggett. I have lived in Minnesota my whole life and I love the Twin Cities. I am very happy to be at the U of M and hope that I can make the most out of these next four years. I have not decided on my major yet so I tried to take a variety of classes. Gwss 1005 being one of them. But honestly I am very excited to be here. There is a lot of injustice in the world and not enough education about it. I myself grew up in an environment where a lot of issues are not brought up or talked about. So I am very excited for what i will learn and how I will develop during this semeste


This is a photo of a quote that was given to me by my basketball coach three years ago. I had it on my wall right by my bed and would look at it everyday. I now have it in my dorm by my desk with hopes that it will motivate me to do my school work.

Who we are... :)


Hi everyone, my name is Megan Harris. I am a Freshman from Andover, Minnesota. I'm in CSE and hope to study Biomedical Engineering! I discovered my passion for biomedical engineering when I joined a group called the Medtronic Explore Post. In the post I was vice-president and helped with the meetings where we learned from employees from Medtronic. I found it super interesting because they would talk about their work in pacemakers, stents and defibrillators. Hopefully one day I will be able to join their work and help save lives :).

I also enjoy playing music! I used to play Alto Saxophone all through middle school and my freshman year of high school, but then I switched to Bassoon the middle of 9th grade. Our class did not have any bassoon players so a friend and I decided to try it out. I am very glad I switched to bassoon because it has been the most rewarding and fun experience. Bassoons are pretty rare and not many people know about them but this is what one looks like:

Laurie Hanson.


Hello, all!

I'm Laurie and I'm from Pasadena, California. I'm a transfer and returning student. I went to college for 3 years right after high school but didn't enjoy the school I was at, so I took 3 years off to fulfill a lifelong dream of traveling the world. During that time I really explored passions of mine that now mark my life in positive ways. I worked at a coffee shop and then moved to Boston for a year. I loved the weather and the bustle of living in the city. I came back home and really discovered the path I wanted for my life on a trip to visit a friend in Tanzania. She encouraged me to go back to school and is the main motivation for my return to academia. Two years of academic success while attending community college at home finally granted me the courage to transfer, so here I am!

During my years of self-exploration I found that I have a sensitivity for human rights and social justice. I am also very mindful of the political implications of activism and pacifism. As an African-American and African Studies major and GWSS minor I am seeking out many more opportunities to broaden my knowledge and perspective, hence my enrollment in this course. I am very much interested in the discussion and interpersonal communication that will arise throughout this semester.


This picture is from a moment that I will cherish for the rest of my life. It is the Indian Ocean from the northern coast of Zanzibar - a small island off the coast of Tanzania. My trip to Africa changed my life for the better and will always be near and dear to my heart. This is the final sunset on that epic trip and represents so much more to me than beauty. It presents itself as the marriage of my passions and self-fulfillment.

I very much look forward to getting to know you all better. Thank you, Professor Isoke for allowing us the freedom to present ourselves and encouraging community!

Essays by Audre Lorde

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Dear all,
Additional orders of "Confronting Gender Justice" has been ordered. The books should be available by Wednesday of next week.


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Coursepack Available at Coffman Bookstore by Monday Sept. 12.

White Privilege Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

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Five Faces of Oppression

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Marisa Eigen

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Hello, my name is Marisa Eigen.
I was adopted from Ascuncion, Paraguay in South America, but have lived in Alexandria, Minnesota since. I am the youngest of two children and own two dogs.
I decided to go to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities because I really love the campus and the opportunities a big university can offer an individual. I am majoring in psychology and considering taking on another major such as Anthropology or GWSS. I wanted to take this class, because I thought it would be interesting. I really believe in equality and respect, and thought it awesome how this class will take a look at both those things.
Other things I enjoy doing are listening to music, longboarding, playing soccer, exercising, dreaming, exploring, and thinking.
I'm very excited to get to know everyone in and throughout this class,
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Assignment #1 Stephanie Nwaudo

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Hello everybody! My name is Stephanie and I am from Eagan, MN. The city is a suburb of St. Paul so I am somewhat familiar with the Twin Cities. I am a freshman at the U and majoring in political science. I am really excited about this class because I want to learn about what women have done in societies and form a personal connection with that. I am also interested in the political aspect of the social justice concerning women and I feel that this would help me with my major in the future. One of things that I am really passionate about is community, since a mission trip I took to New York in 2009. I love volunteering and have participated in Salvation Army, Feed My Starving Children, local food groups, and senior homes. I feel that volunteering is good because I get to connect with others and learn something new about myself each time. One of my main hobbies is dancing. I have been performing since 9 and love being on the stage. I like being able to express myself through movement and provide joy to the audience. Some other interests I have are running, watching movies, reading, cooking, and hanging out with friends.


I choose this picture because it shows that anybody can volunteer and it doesn't matter who you are. The picture also depicts that if everyone works together then we could make the word a better place.

Assignment #1


Hi, my name is Simar. I am from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, which really isn't as far as it seems but as cold as you might be thinking (our weather is similar, except colder in the winter). It's a great place and Minneapolis reminds me of it...just a whole lot bigger. I am an avid reader, volunteer, and enjoy fishing on my off time. My parents are from India so I have a strong cultural background and very involved in it. I am currently trying to work towards my FSoS major but found this class and it's description sounded very interesting. After doing our first reading, I can see we are going to be up for some great readings, some good discussions, and a lot to think about.

Gonu's Wedding 037.JPG

This is a picture of myself and my parents at a wedding. My parents are my life. They have made me who I am and I wouldn't be where I am today without them. It was a difficult choice to move away from them as our relationship is very tight knit. My mom and I are in our traditional Indian Clothes. Being an East Indian mixed in with Western culture is hard at times but I am very glad that my parents kept my siblings and I very involved.

Assignment 1

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Hi My name is Jenny Randall. I'm from Maple Grove, MN. It's about 25 minutes northwest from here. We have a windmill, an outdoor shopping mall and a terrible football team. I'm planning on becoming an English Major. I'm thinking about minoring in GWSS. I almost went to St. Catherine's based on their Women's studies program but ultimately decided on the U, and I'm thrilled with my choice.

Assignment #1 Alison Berkas

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Hi my name is Alison Berkas. I am from Roseville Minnesota just up the road from the U. I didn't really want to stay this close to home but I thought that the University of Minnesota was to good of an opportunity to pass up even though it was close, and so far I am extremely happy with my decision. I was born in the Middle East in a small country named Oman, located right below Saudi Arabia. I moved back to the States in the 4th grade but I still remember just about everything. I am so thankful my parents raised me over seas because it has truly made me the person I am today. I got to travel all around the world while living there and it taught me so much about culture. I have made a promise to myself that I will live abroad with my family one day.
I am in CLA and am undecided for my major at this time. I really have a strong interest in people and society so I am exploring different careers that I could be working with people rather than in an office all day. I worked all summer in a Day Care type program with elementary students and loved it.
I took this class because I wanted to explore different areas of study. I hope that this class, along with all my other classes this semester, will help guide me in the right direction towards a major.


Yesterday was my birthday.

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Seriously, September 6th, our first day of classes, was also been my 19th birthday. It was interesting.

My name is Bessie Rose Browne. I'm a freshman. I've lived in Minneapolis my entire life. I'm probably going to be an English major, but I could change my mind. It might be History, or GWSS, or some other humanity. It will not involve math or science. Knowing that I'm a probable English major it probably isn't a surprise that I like to read, but I really like to read. I love science fiction and fantasy, especially things that could fall into the categories of New Wave or New Weird. I am sort of epically geeky. I was just called "an oral geek Wikipedia," and have decided that being described as a slightly unreliable source of geek knowledge is both accurate and complimentary.


The picture I chose is a drawing of two of my favorite X-People. (X-People is the uncommonly used gender neutral word for X-Men, plus they aren't actually X-Men, and I can't say mutants because, well, it's a long story. Comics are complicated.) They are Shatterstar (with the swords) Rictor (with the earthquakes). Both characters were created in the 90's and suffered through some really terrible art. Then Peter David rescued them in X-Factor, which is awesome, and one of the first comics I started reading. I love them for a lot of different reasons, but one that tangentially relates to the class is because I love queer characters in comic books because they're generally so macho, and also because it makes fanboys upset.

Assignment 1: Shannon Conroy

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My name is Shannon Conroy. I am from Mahtomedi, MN and went to a Catholic High School in St. Paul. I am a freshman looking to major in either Philosophy or Sociology while also on a pre-med track. Early on in high school i was simply classified by the sport I was involved in 24/7- hockey. It wasn't until the fall of my junior year until I took steps forward in figuring out who I was. I made the varsity hockey team that fall, and quit the next day. I joined theater, continued playing lacrosse, and joined other clubs such as Amnesty and Peer Listening. My service learning teacher asked me to come to an Amnesty International meeting, and I became heavily involved. I was asked to lead the club my senior year, and I became very passionate about the work that we did. I do not regret ever quitting hockey, because I realized I never even liked it, I only played it because that was what was expected of me from friends, family, and teachers. 185866_10150162233906337_725816336_7901505_6801161_n.jpg This is a picture of me with some other students that were on a panel for a suicide prevention organization in Minnesota. The picture represents the different pathway my life took when I began to push my social boundaries by joining groups that were not in sync with the status quo. The article by Peggy McIntosh was new to me and provided a different perspective on what defines privileges, and that there can be different connotations to one's viewpoints on various forms and usages of priveleges. I found the reference to McIntosh's colleague to be very insightful in regards to the statement explaining how whites think of their lives as "ideal". Also that there are so many privileges that are woven into the normalcy of people's lives which go unrecognized as privileges at all, but merely as the conventional standards and expected aspects of life. Along with race, these indoctrinated expectations can be found beyond within gender and sexuality.

Natalie Miller

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My name is Natalie Miller and I am a transfer student from UW-Madison. I am from Northfield, MN and have lived in Minnesota my whole life! I am a global studies major and considering a minor in GWSS. I am passionate about social justice issues, especially those that relate to international development and poverty. I travel to Haiti about once a year and hope to spend more time there after I graduate. I look forward to taking this class and getting to know all of you better!

Assignment #1 - Yeondoo Jung

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Hello, My name is Yeondoo Jung and I am an international transfer student at Fall 2011. I admitted as a sophomore and I am from South Korea. My major is Economics. My career objective is to become a Chief Management Officer, or CMO of a company. It will be necessary to obtain a wide range of knowledge in my major field as well as extensive and interactive relationships among people in the institution in which those opportunities are more likely to occur frequently. Especially, I would like to continue my study at a large college that provides a variety of curriculum in business and economics so that I can enhance my knowledge profoundly on both practical and academic ways.
I want to get involved in this class well.18669_1347142725697_1445187520_30946755_7495355_n.jpg

Hi all! This is from Yesong Choe


Hello, everyone!

My name is Yesong Choe, a junior transfer student from Boston. My major is undeclared at this point, but I am thinking Mathematics or Business Management.
I am from South Korea, not North Korea! (many people asked me about North Korea. I might know about North Korea much more than any other countries' people, but I have never been there!)
I have studied in the U.S. since 2008. I came to the U.S. right after I graduated from my high school. I studied art for 3 years (during my high school), as I graduated from one of art high schools in South Korea. At that period, I enjoyed drawing, painting and creating my own style of pictures. I drew and painted pictures with my all passions and enthusiasms. I also got lots of awards and many my art instructors said to me i have some special talent in art, so I thought art is my life. I could never imagine doing other things in my future. However, one day I thought I am only good at drawing and painting. Only art, but nothing else. It made me disappointed in myself. I also failed to enter the best art college in my country. Despite of my art skills, my Korean SAT grades was too bad to enter the college. For those reasons, I decided to challenge to change my life and also to learn various things, so I came to the U.S. to study, where there is a mutlicutural country.
I started with studying in a ESL (English as a Second Language) program in Boston. It was hard for me to be a fully matriculated student in U.S. college because of my English ability. But, I succeeded though my english is not very good still. I hope I will be fluent like a native speaker, which is my goal too. (Maybe you've already found some grammarical errors already)
I still like art (fine art).I love the impressionists, especially Vincent Van Gogh. My favorite paint is "Café Terrace, Place du Forum, Arles," which is very famous. The reason because I like the picture is that he used the complementary colors, yellow and blue, which is his favorite colors the same as mine. And no matter how many times I see the picture, I never get bored of the picture, but make me comfortable and ease.

To sum up, I am an international transfer student from South Korea, who still tries to learn english, and am very willing to adapt and adjust various things.

I think thats about it.
Thanks for reading my post.

This is my wall painting, which is in my high school. I painted this about 5 years ago.

GWSS Hannah Reichenbach

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Hi everyone, my name is Hannah Reichenbach. I am from Greendale, which is a suburb near Milwaukee Wisconsin and I came to the U for a few reasons..I wanted to go somewhat away from home yet not too far, so Minnesota was the perfect location! I plan on majoring in French, and am in CLA for the moment. I am in this class because my mom has always stressed the importance of being a woman and standing up for what is right so I decided to take this class to see for myself and to form an opinion of my own on issues of gender inequality in the world.!.jpg&imgrefurl=!.jpg&h=1294&w=1000&sz=2101&tbnid=Vr3Nx-79N-VDYM:&tbnh=91&tbnw=70&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dwe%2Bcan%2Bdo%2Bit%2Bwoman%2Bpicture%26tbm%3Disch%26tbo%3Du&zoom=1&q=we+can+do+it+woman+picture&docid=GQBRRPs4meQrmM&sa=X&ei=NwloTqmWNOnJsQKjoNWTDg&ved=0CBoQ9QEwAA&dur=265

Kelly McConnell

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Hey everyone! I'm Kelly from Glenview, Il, which is a suburb just north of Chicago. I don't really like it there, but I absolutely love going downtown. I decided to come to Minnesota for quite a few different reasons, but mainly because the first time I visited I completely fell in love with the campus and the cities. Growing up, I was constantly playing sports, but the only one that really stuck was soccer. I played for thirteen years, and for about the past five years I have been a full time goalie. Social justice has always been something I find very interesting, but I was so busy in high school that I never had the opportunity to get involved to the extent I wanted, and I hope this class will really provide me with a unique lens with which I can view issues we currently face. I am really excited for this class and to get to know everyone better. :)
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Assignment One: Who am I?

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Tag (German for hello, not a game)! My name is Ashley but I also go by Eike (which is my German name) because I don't generally respond to Ashley since there are so many people named Ashley and there are at least three of them in one given place at the same time! I am from Saint Paul Park (SPP, not SP) which is a small suburb between Cottage Grove and Newport; all of which are just off of highway 61, on your way to Hastings. I am a freshman, however I did PSEO while I was in high school so I have enough credits to be a sophomore, or something like that. I chose this class because I still have a few lib ed credits to fulfill for my major and this is one of the few possibilities that actually sounded interesting... which means it won't be a mental struggle to complete. (: My intended major is Computer Engineering, which is different from Computer Science. I also intend to minor in German, which I have been told is very difficult, however I feel it will be enjoyable. I chose the U because out of all the colleges I applied to, it was the only one we were able to afford. In all honesty, I really wanted to go to Purdue but their tuition is about 40k and with the scholarship they offered me it would have been about 30k, which is still much more than the U. I am not complaining, however, I think I will learn to love it here! I enjoy video games, movies, reading, and other "strange" things. As you may (or may not) remember, I am abstract so I am generally the person no one is comfortable approaching or talking to. I don't mind though, I'm not the largest people person. I need to be surrounded by intelligent people; it bothers me when people can barely tell you what 2+2 is or need to know how to spell "orange". Really, I can't tell you who I am or describe myself to you. Any attempt to do so would be an absolute waste of time. If you want that information, you will have to get to know me. :3

This is a photograph I took on my trip to Germany, Austria and Switzerland. I think it is beautiful and I love Germany (probably even more than the U.S.) so it is rather good at describing me.
Swiss Alps

Cassara Harmelink

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Hello! My name is Cassara Harmelink and I am a Freshman here at the U. I was raised in Rogers, Minnesota but spent the last seven years in Phoenix, Arizona. I decided to return home because of the lovely people, the cold weather, and all of the incredible opportunities the U of M has to offer.

I'm currently majoring in biology but that could easily change to microbiology. I hope to eventually be a physician's assistant to be the patient's advocate at a clinic; I take a particular interest in women's health and how they are treated in healthcare. I also dream of returning to Africa to educate women on sexual health, healthy relationships, and to stop the abuses of women.
This is in South Africa at the Monte Casino Bird Gardens.

Assignment #1


Hey everyone,
I am McKenzie Purtell and I am from Oshkosh Wisconsin. I came to Minnesota because of the gorgeous campus and all the opportunities Minnesota has to offer. I took this class in order to fulfill credits and because it was the most interesting one I could find. I do not have a decided major currently although I am very interested in Psychology. I am really excited to take this class so that I can expand my knowledge and hopefully get a better view on some of the injustice in the World!


Nicole Nottingham

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Hello! My name is Nicole and I am currently in my last year at the University of Minnesota (hopefully). I am majoring in Gender, Women, and Sexaulity Studies and have really enjoyed the learning process. I was born and raised in New York, about 20 min outside Manhattan. I moved to Minneapolis when I was 15 and have also lived in Colorado. For my senior thesis project, I produced a short documentary on gender roles and the societal norms of gendering. slut.jpg

Brenda Sokup

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Hey everybody!
My name is Brenda Sokup, I'm from a very small town called Arcadia, Wisconsin that has a population of about 2,800 people. I am double majoring in Physiology and Spanish and with that combination I want to go to medical school and work with an under served Hispanic population.

An interesting fact about me is that I like to run, and am running the twin cities marathon in October! Come join me!!

I am excited to take this class because I have been wanting to take a political science class and a women's study class, but with not much time in my schedule I couldn't take both. Luckily, this class seems like perfect for the combination of both!


This is a picture of Toledo, Spain. I studied abroad here for a semester in 2009 and I miss it tons. If I have one word of advice for anyone during college it is to study abroad. If anyone ever wants to get together to speak Spanish or find some tapas, let me know :).

Hey Everyone!

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Hi my name is Jessica Sieg! I'm a freshman here at the U. I'm originally from Ladysmith, Wisconsin. I am currently undecided about my major. Possibly looking into double-majoring in political science and business with the hope of going to Law school. I come from a very old fashioned small town where women are seen not heard. I think that everyone should have a voice and be treated as equals. My best friend is gay and people look at him differently. He's still my best friend and I don't think it's right how he gets treated. I am thrilled to be in this class so I can help make a difference and help give everyone a voice.


Alex Moore

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Hello, all. I'm Alex Moore. My majors are economics and Chinese literature. I just recently finished four years in everyone's favourite military, which is about 20% women. This immersion in such an off-balance gender realm has me quite ready for some feminism. I'm also looking forward to checking out justice from a different angle.vetcard1.JPG


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Hi guys. My name is Ellen Ferencek. I'm a freshman in CLA and thus far my major is undeclared. I'm considering political science and potentially a double or a minor in Theater. But at this point who knows...
I'm from Madison, Wisconsin and my views have been shaped recently by our governor's budget bill and the protests against it. Here's a picture:


My classmates and I, as well as the majority of our teachers, spent days at our capitol protesting the governors uncompromising bill and its attack on the working people of Wisconsin.
My idea as represented by this picture relates less to the events of February and March, but more to my objections to Scott Walker's attitude towards cooperation. I don't believe any side's ideological truth can be the full and honest truth and I think when one side pushes their truth onto another side without regard for the counter view-point and with no room for compromise nothing good can happen.

Assignment #1 - Aly Fenlon

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Hey Everyone! I'm Aly from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I'm a freshman at the U and very excited for this class. I'm currently majoring in child psychology but I'm considering becoming a psychology and GWSS major. I really became interested in Women's Studies after Rachel Simmons came to speak at my high school this spring. I'm incredibly excited about finding volunteer opportunities at the Women's Center and with the Aurora Center. I'm passionate about women's justice topics and working to end violence against women. However, I'm also very interested in race and gender relations. And that's why I chose Milwaukee as my image.
Milwaukee is known for being a highly segregated city and tension has unfortunately increased over the last few months. My mom has lived in Milwaukee her whole life, so I've had the benefit of always being aware of this segregation and the beauty that's hidden because of it. This awareness has sparked an interest in me. I want to see the intense separations between citizens cease. I actually live in a suburb of Milwaukee. Most of my neighbors rarely venture into the city, but I've always enjoyed experiencing the varying cultures of downtown. But when I'm not in the city, I love horseback riding and taking my dog for walks. I have a horse named Tanner who I share with my aunt. I used to show competitively but over the last few years I've just been way too busy over the summer (and saving money for college...). One of the hardest parts of this transition and being 5 hours away from home is leaving my family and my dog, Maizy, behind. I'm excited about getting to know all of you this semester!

Me. Sammi.

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My name is Sammi Alisankus and I am from Evansville, Wisconsin. I am a vegetarian and loose vegan and I am very interested in ethics of all kinds; animals and humans. I am a political guru and I spent much of my time this past winter/spring at the the protests at the Madison capital. I enjoy spending my time running and biking as well as horseback riding. My family owns a rescue ranch where we rescue 1-2 horse each year, rehabilitate them and find them new homes in the summer. I am very dedicated to my studies and look forward to exploring a class in which I have limited knowledge of the subject matter. Although I intend to major in nutrition, I would really like to go on to law school. I would love to have classes such as this as a supplement to my law education as I believe that justice spans far beyond the legal definition. I consider myself to be a highly empathetic person I would like to find ways to connect and understand people of all types.Sammi P is for Piglet Smaller.jpg

Assignment #1 - An An Hua

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Hi there! My name is An An Hua. I'm from Lahaina, Hawaii. For those of you who don't know, Lahaina is located on Maui, a small island of about 140,000 people. I don't surf, I don't dance hula/tahitian, and I rarely ever went to the beach. I'm not your stereotypical island girl, sorry! But I did love to go free-diving. Anyway, I'm a Freshman and I am planning on majoring in geology which is why I chose the photo below.

Brooks Mountain Range, Alaska.jpg
I love being outdoors and mountains, the sea, natural disasters fascinate me. And as odd as it is, I can't imagine doing anything else with my life, but then again, I'm only a Freshman, what do I know?

Oh and I'm really excited for the winter!

Assignment #1 -- Connor Wright

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My name is Connor Wright and I am a freshman at the U of MN-Twin Cities. I'm orignially from a small town in North Dakota called Valley City and then moved to West Fargo at the start of 8th grade. Fascinating stuff, right? I'm undeclared at this point, but I'll probably end up studying Political Science or GWSS and with a LGBT minor. I hope to one day end up as an advocate for a national organization that works to further equality by policy changes and other forms of activism. Basically, I have little more than a vague dream, but if it works for Disney, then I can only hope it works for me!

I've just skimmed the surface of feminist theory, but I'm eager to learn more about gender, race, class, sexual identity, and other factors I may not even know about, and how they all intersect.

Unfortunately, aside from an undying love for animation and various tidbits about films, I don't have a ton of skills that sound interesting on paper. I may not even have skills that sound interesting in person, but I'm hoping self-deprecation swings a few votes my way.

And this image probably sums up the vast majority of my beliefs and interests:

I'm a big fan of frank and open discussion in order to have greater understanding and acceptance of ourselves and others.

who i am..

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Hello All,

My name is Aria Weatherspoon. I am a Sophomore transfer student. I was a student at Howard University my Freshman year, yet I quickly realized that scholastically Howard was not the place for me. I chose Engaging Justice because one, it was one of the only GWSS classes that was still open, and two I am very passionate about Gender Studies and Human Sexuality, thus the class interested me. I am no feminist, yet I have my beliefs and stances on many injustices that have plagued the female community for years. I am a Sociology major and I am hoping to double major in Human Sexuality, but we shall see how that all works out (*crosses fingers). By nature I am an opinionated and forthright young woman but I find pleasure in forcing myself to listen to others and hear as many viewpoints and different opinions as possible. It is challenging most times but nonetheless rewarding. I am looking forward to this semester with you all very much. :)))


This is a photo of my sister and I. Her name is Benel315555_10150763924165635_870225634_20230401_6491205_n.jpgl Weatherspoon. She is a Nursing student at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. And she is the love of my life. There have been times when all we had was each other and we both are making it. We both are going down our own respective paths to success, and we still have one another. She is my ace.

Assignement #1- Rebecca Mahoney

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HI! My name is Rebecca Mahoney, but most people call me Reba. I am from Green Bay, and I just transferred to the University of Minnesota from the University of Wisconsin Madison. I am a junior and my major is genetics cell biology and development. I plan on going to medical school to become a genetic doctor. I really enjoy doing scientific research, and I hope to involve it in my career. This is a mostly male dominated field, which is one of the reasons that I am interested in the dynamics of this course. My absolute favorite activity is dancing. I have been dancing and competing my entire life and through it I have been able to find myself and make all of my close friends. I also love to travel; my favorite place that I have visited is Paris, which is why I choose to add a picture of the Eiffel Tower.

Thumbnail image for Eiffel_Tower_Paris_06.jpg

Assignment 1 - Anna Pereira

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Hi! I'm Anna Pereira and I am from a Northwest suburb of Chicago called Lake Zurich. I am now a freshman here at the U. I have 2 sisters and a brother; my sisters are 20 years old and 11 years old and my brother is 13 years old. I love dogs and have three back at home. I played lacrosse in high school and have danced my whole life. I plan on majoring in genetics and would like to continue to Physician Assistant school to become a neonatal Physician Assistant. 13365_186520881565_734586565_3482447_3121148_n.jpg
The image I attached is of me dancing. It is my favorite thing to do and helps me relieve stress and be happy :) I have danced since I was 2 and hope to continue dancing in the future. I was on a competitive team until eighth grade then joined a company that performed for nursing homes and charity events as well as my school dance team.

Hi! I'm Abby :)

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Hi my name is Abby Schanfield, I am from Minneapolis and I am a political science major & a double minor in GWSS and Social Justice. Currently, I am in my Junior year here at the University of Minnesota.

The image that I attached is of an olive tree. Olive trees take generations to grow and bear fruit. However, they can be destroyed or heavily damaged and still regenerate as long as their intricate root system is kept in tact. I also especially like how these trees have twisted trunks.
I have a special connection to olive trees as they are very important to Jewish and Muslim biblical and cultural backgrounds. My family and community instilled in me a desire for social change and social justice. The olive tree reflects the inter connectivity of issues of justice as well as identities, people and communities. No social justice issue or person is an island unto itself. To deal with one issue, one has to recognize and try to understand others despite the appearance of being unrelated. We are all impacted by the choices or suffering of others.

Assignment #1, Gabe Hilden-Reid

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My name is Gabe Hilden-Reid and I am a GWSS major and I am a junior. I'm interested in the intersections between race, gender, and sexual orientation and the way that gender is performed and dictated by different minority groups. I was born in Minneapolis and I am an aerialist with Circus Juventas in St. Paul.

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My picture is a literal representation of me while performing this summer in my show. This picture also represents my desire to break gender barriers in a very traditional profession. The act that I am performing is historically an all female act that I was originally denied access to because of my maleness. I eventually was able to start training the act and pushed the very strict gender boundaries that the extremely heternormative circus held in place.

I was thrilled to see that we were reading Peggy McIntosh's article on White Privilege because it is one of my favorites! While reading the article, I really responded to the idea that white (and male) privilege is something that we are conditioned not to notice or acknowledge, but I kept asking myself why this was. McIntosh answered my question in the end of the article when she says that it is in order to uphold the "myth of meritocracy," that everyone has an equal chance and people succeed as much as they do based on their own accord.

Assignment #1

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Everyone is required to upload a photo image representing you or your ideas. Introduce yourself by describing your classification, major, interests, and hometown. Also feel free to include any other tidbits of information you may want other to know about you or think about. You might even consider responding to "Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" by Peggy McIntosh.


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Writing Clause
Success in GWSS requires that students be able to read and write across the humanities and social sciences. Writing about race, class, gender and other social identities requires that you be comfortable reading first person narratives, novels, and prose, as well as dense theoretical essays and fact-based studies. The contributors of our textbooks write as sociologists, political scientists, historians and geographers. Some refuse to write from any disciplinary standing at all--they write simply as people.

Your writing assignments will take the form of an exploratory essay on justice and an argumentative essay on social justice. In your papers, you are expected to make connections between the readings, as well as develop an informed and sensible perspective of your own. By the end of the semester, you will have produced approximately ten pages of polished writing.

Midterm Exam: Multiple Choice, 40 Questions (20%), Nov. 3

Final Exam: Multiple Choice, 30 Question and 3 Short Essays (20%), Dec. 13

Current Events Blog (20%) You are required to respond to five blogs, and to create two blog entries on our course website. You may choose to free-write about a particular social justice issue being covered in the mainstream media. You should connect this event to a particular reading, or you may link it to an important and/or controversial point made in class. On occasion, you will be asked to respond to a direct prompt assigned by the instructor. Each blog should be one to two fully developed, concise (heavy-hitting) paragraphs in length. Each blog entry must be presented orally before the class, and student must answer questions about sources of the information blogged about in class. Feel free to upload images, videos and other media to clarify your ideas and spark discussion.

Due Dates: Sept 13, Sept. 22, Oct. 6, Oct. 18, Nov. 1, Nov. 18, Dec. 6

Discussion Papers (20%) Students are required to write two formal essays responding to an essay prompt assigned by the instructor. These papers should be between three to four pages in length, typed, double spaced, and submitted in class on the due date. Please see the "Guidelines for Discussion Papers" on page 9 of the syllabus.

Due Dates: Oct. 18, Dec. 1

Group Case Study Project (20%) Your group is required to do a research project and multimedia presentation on the specific social problem that is presented in your assigned case study. Your group must work together to identify the key issues, the injustices featured in the case, and proposed solution to the problem. Your presentation should be about 7-10 minutes long.

Due: Dec. 8

Engaging Justice

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In this introductory course, we explore the various ways that women have expressed their voices in order to participate in civic life and society in the U.S. and abroad. We consider how feminists have theorized justice and politics in their writings, activisms, and social movements, emphasizing the strategies that women deploy to challenge inequality, violence, and marginality. In this course we explore answers these baseline questions: What is justice? What are the injustices that women have sought to challenge in their activisms? What is social justice?

As we learn to think about justice, we will also think about how identity, social location, and citizenship status inform our understandings of justice, social equality and fairness. Key to this discussion is understanding the relationship between power, domination, and identity by considering the concrete ways that justice been attained by people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people, poor people, and disabled people. In this course, we illuminate alternative forms of justice that vulnerable communities have used to confront serious and entrenched social problems like poverty, rape, sex trafficking, homophobia, racism and sexism. We also consider the solutions that feminists have proposed to social problems including the ethics of care, the politics of reconciliation, and recognition, forgiveness, the redistribution of wealth, and reparations.

Speaking out on justice and peace at the Women's Court.

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