Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability by Robert McRuer. New York: New York University Press, 2006
Contours of Ableism: The Production of Disability and Abledness by Fiona Kumari Campbell. New York: Palgrave-MacMillan Press, 2009.
Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability by Robert McRuer. New York: New York University Press, 2006
Contours of Ableism: The Production of Disability and Abledness by Fiona Kumari Campbell. New York: Palgrave-MacMillan Press, 2009.
Our group decided to focus on the Genocide of Rwanda. This is a well known world issue and that is part of the reason we wanted to focus on it. There is so much information to research because it affected so many people worldwide. We will give insight into the many ways of life effected, economically, politically and socially for not only the people of Rwanda but other bordering countries and countries trying to give foreign aid. We are choosing to also focus on Paul Rusesbagina and his efforts on saving thousands of lives and the impact he and many others had on the survivors of the genocide. We feel it is also important to develop more ideas of why men, women and children became so divided in power and look more depth into those people that tried to go against their forced role in the Genocide.
A recent editorial at MN Spokesman-Recorder, http://www.spokesman-recorder.com/?p=8514, had me questioning the racial barriers of Occupy Wall street. I was intrigued by the occupy movement gaining attention a few months ago because of the obvious message. In recent decades we have been examining the limitations, potentials, pitfalls, and social effects of capitalism. Capitalism and globalization are a new phenomenon that we don't really understand as of yet. Both concepts consist in many feedback loops that it's effects are nearly immeasurable. Although statistically, we have a hard time understanding it, capitalism has a direct effect on social issues. When the occupy movement geared up, it was almost embarrassing for members of oppressed groups. Members of oppressed groups have been dealing with unfair situations such as unemployment for decades. When the unfortunate situation turned into a "white problem", is when media/people payed attention.
The author of this editorial questions the beliefs behind why the Occupy MN movement has not seen a large percentage of black citizens included. One reason could be that Black citizens have come to terms with the system cannot create economic or racial justice, so why fight for it? Another could be that this movement was has white origins and that fact alone drives black citizens away. The author also suggests- "And too many others of us are just clueless or apathetic or have just given up. After all, exploitation is an everyday experience for some of us. So why should they get excited about some people calling out the immorality of it all? And at bottom that is what this is: immoral. A society is indeed immoral that allows some to collect millions in bonuses for having ripped off its fellow citizens and yet allows millions of others so go jobless, homeless and hopeless."
The author also believes that some black citizens feel as if they are not apart of the situation and were not effected. He believes otherwise and uses a supportive statement declaring that black citizens are just as equally effected by our dire situations.
According to Devonna Walker in an article written for alternet.org, "The single most crippling blow [to the Black middle class] has been the real estate and foreclosure crisis. It has stripped Black families of more wealth than any single event in U.S. history. Due entirely to subprime loans, Black borrowers are expected to lose between $71 billion and $92 billion."
I think it is alarming that an issue which effects the majority of the population only comes to light when it becomes a "white problem". However this issue does effect as all as whole. By acknowledging the oppression of citizens before, we can work together to make our country better. I do believe we must change the system, which I believe starts at the consciousness level of acknowledging our desire for material items. Understanding the media's infiltration into our daily lives, fueling the desire to consume is an important advantage. I know the think tank doesn't stop there, but I think it is a start.
Disabled people are quite often stereotyped by other people. A stereotype is an over
simplified mental picture of a person or group. Stereotypes of disabled people are various. But, most of them are negative feelings. They are such pitiful or sympathic feeling toward the inferior. No one actually has any right to judge people. But, sadly it's basic nature of human being to judge other people with one's own criteria.
I was very shocked to watch the news of a teacher and a assisstant bullying a student of the school. There are many tactics to fights with stereotype of disabled people. I think the education of school is quite critical. Teachers are supposed to promote an ethos in all classes where children feel able to talk about their lives and feelings, where the class are encouraged to support one another and work collectively. The effects of racism, including anti-semitism, disabilism, sexism, homophobia and prejudice, should be explained and discussed so the children develop empathy, are able to challenge discrimination and include those who may feel excluded, supporting them within and outside the classroom. Young children can be taught this by drawing on their great sense of fairness.
For the project, we decided to focus on Gabby Giffords, an American politician, who was a victim of a shooting as an attempt of assassination. With background on the shooting that resulted in her disability, we will describe what identity she has as a result.
Based on the idenitity, we will research what Giffords have going for/against her.
And we are going to investigate any abuse of human rights for her or her family because she became disabled or effect on her political status as Senator. Lastly, we will research the procedure of social transition from able to disabled, especially comparing the fact/effect in each case whether the disability was from a transition or a "by-birth".
Jay Lim, Samantha Alisankus, Aly Fenlon, Nicole Nottingham, Ashley Morschen
Our group decided to focus on the Structural Adjustment Programs (or SAPs) that have been implemented by Non-Governmental Organizations (or NGOs) in Africa. As we discussed in class, SAP's give out small loans to people in impoverished nations so that they can create a small business. While well intentioned in theory, these SAPs often create insurmountable debt for those they are given to and create a greater disparity between the rich and poor. We wish to focus on the effect that SAPs have on women in "developing" countries, like Africa, because they are disproportionately effected by them. It is important that we learn about Structural Adjustment Programs because they are a neoliberal policy that extends the unjust reach of Capitalism.
Our group decided to focus on mail order brides and the impact that the US is having on this industry. We are interested in researching the local and global sex trafficking markets that promote these types of lives for women. Searching the internet we have found many sites that are willing to "send exotic women over seas to start families with foreign men." And how this type of relation is literally created through the click of a button on a bride search engine website. We would like to focus on not only how people that promote and market these women play a role in trafficking, but also in the consumers of this market.
Group 6 consists of: Shannon Conroy, Anna Pereira, Connor Wright, Megan Harris, and Brenda Sokup
For our project we decided to further explore the race riots in Paris. This is a subject that we touched on in class, but never fully unpacked. We thought it would be interesting to dig deeper into the history of the environment that sparked the riots, as well as discovering what's been done since the article was written.
For our project we decided to further explore the race riots in Paris. This is a subject that we touched on in class, but never fully unpacked. One cause of the race riots was the police brutality, a form of state-sponsored violence, and the justice the police see in this. We also thought it would be interesting to dig deeper into the history of the environment that sparked the riots, as well as discovering what's been done since the article was written.
Obviously, the media plays a huge role in shaping the public's views and beliefs. It always has been and it will continue to do so. One area in which its role is rather significant is that of gender identity. For whatever reason, the media constructs gender as existing in two forms: "boy" or "girl." Our group will focus on specific cases in which this occurs, especially in New York, a city producing one of the largest amounts of media reports. We will explore the ways in which the media both explicitly and implicitly states what is and is not socially acceptable.
This is important because so often the media is biased in its reporting, and it is important for us, as members of a progressing society, to be aware of how skewed certain stories are. We cannot accept that everyone must fit into one of two categories; the world is too unique and the people are too diverse for two classifications to ever be sufficient. Making people choose between boy or girl is forcing them into the most generic and restricting stereotypes that can very easily limit their potential in life. It is important in this day and age, with so many people struggling to discover who they truly are, to take into consideration the traditional views of the media, and the ways in which that needs to change if we ever hope to live in an open and accepting society.
It has never occurred to me that gender could be a contributing factor to disability injustice. I read Amy T. Wilson's essay with a heavy heart; the places around the world where females are discriminated against not only because of their gender, but also for being disabled, is endless. Girls that grow up in developing countries are already at a disadvantage merely because they are not male, and when you factor in a perceived disability the prejudice only increases. But we talked in class about what it even means to be disabled, and I think Wilson included a great definition on what disability means: "Disability is caused by society as 'the limitations imposed on people with disabilities by attitudes, and social, cultural, economic, and physical barriers to their participation in society'." This is another global issue which has roots beginning many many years ago, and has become embedded within our society as values and norms which are still practiced today. A disability can be seen as a similar quality to race or gender in the context of global justice because people with these traits are often judged, stereotyped, categorized, and marginalized. In the context of Amy Wilson's essay, a focus is put on those "unfortunate" citizens worldwide that can be classified as female and disabled. I put the word unfortunate in quotation marks because the only reason these girls are considered unfortunate is because of the social expectations that are placed on children in cultures around the world. Like Amy Wilson said, many countries have the hopes of raising a son. When their wish is not granted, they receive a female. The female is then perhaps expected to do household chores or is expected to refrain from the things their male counterparts get to experience. When it is often not enough to even have girls that could be considered healthy and normal, factor in the child's disability and you have one pretty miserable situation. What I thought was interesting was how the rest of the community behaved toward the girl with a disability. According to Amy Wilson, people had to find an excuse for it, blaming the disability on bad luck, punishment from the gods, or magic spells. Therefore, negative attitudes toward disability have always been "the greatest barrier for people with disabilities."
I appreciated the many solutions that Amy Wilson shared with the reader. Some require hardly any work at all, such as just promoting the rights of women with disabilities. I am the type of person who loves volunteering and gets enthusiastic about fixing these types of issues, so I would like to someday travel to a developing country in order to help the girls with disabilities. I know that any bit helps, and it makes me happy to see that there are so many worldwide organizations that are dedicated to bettering the lives of females with disabilities in all types of cultures.
I recently came across this new article about the "Compulsory sterilization" of trans people in Western, seemingly progressive countries. This policy only allows reassignment surgeries to people who are willing to give up all possibibility of having a child that is biologically their's in the future. It's a policy in Sweden, France, Australia, the Netherlands, and some American states.
I found this article interesting because it demonstrated how the Western world isn't as progressive as we'd sometimes like to think. It also seems really surprising considering the fact that both Sweden and the Netherlands allow same-sex marriage, and in Sweden reassignment surgery is covered by the state's health care program. I think it's another example of homonormativity, where rights that make life more comfortable, like marriage, are given emphasis over more damaging ideas, like forced sterilization.
This topic is very interesting to me. It also really hits home because I worked for two years with children with disabilities. It is horrible that people with disabilities are mistreated, misjudged, and taken advantage of. During my two years, I worked with a woman named Sara. She was severely Autistic. She couldn't talk she just made noises. She needed to be fed, changed and helped with every single thing. She is currently 24 years old. I think the most horrible thing that I have seen happen is other staff members mistreating her. Since she couldn't speak, they would lie and say they fed or changed her just to get out of doing it. She couldn't let anyone know that she was still hungry or needed to be changed. I think that it is a horrible thing to use her weaknesses as an advantage. Every person in the world has a heart, and feelings. Every person in the world also has the right to be healthy and well taken care of. I never ever used Sara's weaknesses to my own advantage. I could never tell if the other staff member's were 'grossed out' by her, or just plain lazy. Either way it goes, that is a selfish choice to make and it is also an abusive one.
I came across this article/video clip while reviewing the Pepper Spraying incident at University of California Davis, involving the pepper spraying of 10 peaceful student protesters. I definitely appreciated seeing Judith Butler's view on the OWS movement, and found it refreshing to have yet another strong, educated voice occupying (pun intended) the movement. Butler's connection to the movement is fairly clear, as she is a theorist at the University of California Berkley, which has been a prime site for OWS demonstrations.
I really enjoyed our class discussion on ableism. I never really thought much in depth about how people who have a disability can suffer and be undermined in our society. I find it sad how society, groups those as disabled as not being able to contribute much of anything. I feel that the disabled should be given equal treatment as everybody else because we are all human beings. One part of the discussion I liked was how there are more programs in high schools were the disabled are able to interact with the able-bodies. This gives a chance where people are able to learn about others that they will typically not interact with. My high school has the Best Buddies program where we the disabled are given the same opportunities as the able-body. The program throws homecoming and prom parties which are some of the biggest events of the year.
The video clip shown in class about the disabled girl was an eye opener to me. I could not believe that teachers, who are supposed to help the girl learn, were mocking her and calling her stupid. I thought it was sad that nobody believed her until she had proof by tape recording the teachers. This shows how the disabled are still undermined in our society. I am happy that the teachers got exposed and hopefully more schools will supervise the teaching style of these specialists. Overall, I think that the general public needs to be more aware of the issues the disabled. I think there are common stereotypes of the disabled that are not commonly addressed.
I feel as though in giving "ableism" a definition one must first understand "disableism" or disability, much like to understand justice one must understand what opression is.
When asked in class what we first thought of when thinking of the word disability, I started writing things such as wheelchairs, special classes, and group homes. I then scratched that out and wrote this : disability- limitations either physically or mentally that restrict someone from societal normativity. In searching the internet for a definition I found this definition given by the World Health Organization:
"Disabilities is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations. Thus disability is a complex phenomenon, reflecting an interaction between features of a person's body and features of the society in which he or she lives."
As someone said in class, they felt "othered" while they were in a situation with the majority of participants being from the students with special needs program in their school. Similarly, I worked in a group home for three years with four clients that were all clinically diagnosed with having mental retardation. Being involved in this community was really a new world to me, I had never known about all of the opportunities that were available for the disabled population in our area. The activities and community outings that were specialized for this group of people was amazing and in this setting my clients were completely in their elements with their peers. I feel as though the WHO's definition of disability works for this example because it is a complex idea that is a reflection of interacting with others in the society in which one lives.
Disability is usually defined as "a loss or restriction of functional ability or activity as a result of body or mind". (Oxford English Dictionary) As a result of a definition like this disability is seen as a problem. It has been widely accepted that disabled people generally have fewer opportunities and a lower quality of life than non-disabled or able bodied people. After the discussion in class on Thursday on ableism I was able to see that there really are two main ideas on what causes the "disadvantages" that disabled people need to deal with and those are the medical idea of disability and then the social idea. There is the medical field that sees people with disabilities as having impairment when compared to able-bodied people and the social aspect sees disability as the social environment creating unequal outcomes for people with impairments. I think the negative definition as well as many people with negative attitudes causes people to have a internalized discrimination at times for people with disabilities. The main achievement for the disables was a public recognition that disability is a matter of discrimination not just of sympathy and care which was written into legislation: the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. Now sixteen years later, the same problems are still here day to day. Take my apartment building for example; there is no possible way for someone who has a physical impairment to live there. This is complete inaccessibility into my building because there are stairs to every entrance, no elevator system and there are not even any ramps. Class on Thursday totally brought to light how they aren't even a consideration to the owners of my apartment complex. The link I am posting is a video called "Talk". This is a video shows a society where able-bodied people are a pitied minority and where disabled people lead full lives. It is a super interesting watch.
After our discussion on ableism it gave me a new perspective on things. I thought it was interesting when we were given the choice of putting a child in regular classes where they may not succeed or in special-need classes where they would feel marginalized but most likely succeed. I think it is a hard choice either way, but it almost seems better to place them in the special-need classes so they are able to succeed and learn and at the same time be in classes which would integrate them with other kids. But I think it really depends on the student and how they learn best
I also agree that society is simply tolerating disabled people and not actually accepting them in society. People do not recognize disabled people for who they are, but rather look at them through their disability. I found this video on YouTube which seemed to portray this point:
Throughout our discussion about disability and ableism, I kept thinking about the severe inequalities disabled individuals face in the United States. What I find very striking is the number of disabled veterans who face difficulties like poverty and homelessness because of an injury they sustained fighting for the country. According to the website wesoldieron.com, 1 in 5 homeless individuals in the U.S. are veterans. That means approximately 275,000 are sleeping on the streets every night. Their disabilities range from physical to mental impairments. Most predominate is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Such situations occasionally lead to "self-medicating." In other words, many of the homeless soldiers deal not only with PTSD, depression, and other mental illnesses, but also addictions to alcohol and/or drugs. While VA hospitals will provide soldiers with healthcare, there is essentially no program to help homeless soldiers. And while not all soldiers return to the U.S. with severe disabilities, those who do face even more barriers in finding employment. While the passing of the President's jobs bill will insure the hiring of soldiers by companies who, in return, are given tax credits, the idea that men and women who have fought so hard for our country are essentially abandoned upon return. It makes me step back and realize that when seeing the homeless and those living in severe poverty, it is important to recognize that they could be suffering from a disability, whether it be physical or mental. We must also recognize that the homeless and severely impoverished may not be veterans, but they may be suffering from disabilities all the same. In a country that prides itself in a strong army that is greatly supported by it's citizens, it is horrible to know that some of these men and women come back to nothing all because they have "lost" the "normal" abilities they once had.
"We're all mutants, only to us do we appear normal." - Dr. Walter Bishop (Fringe - TV Show)
Our class discussions on ableism has made me think about how "privileged" us able bodied people are and it made me think about my high school. There was this one instance when a special needs boy was in the lunch line and no one was bothering him until he started to push the guy in front of him. The in guy front realized that the boy was "different" so he tolerated it for quite a while, but after that he beat him up. Which brings me back to our class discussion, are we simply "tolerating" disabled or less abled people? If it had been an abled person, things most likely would have been different. The guy in front would not have tolerated that sort of behavior in the first place. In my opinion as much as we strive to incorporate lesser abled persons into our society, there is a point at which we must acknowledge that there are certain differences that need to be accounted for. Although I do believe that we need to account for those difference, we also still need to look past those differences and realize that we are all still homo sapiens.
I was on Facebook the other day and friend posted this as her status:
"Find the Gay person:
유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유 유
Can't do it? That's because they're humans too and we're all the same."
Our group has decided to investigate the issue of conflict metals as an example of globalization in the context of social justice. The phrase "conflict metals" refers to the exploitation and inhumane practices involved in mining certain metals used in many consumer electronics from nations like Congo. Here's an article explaining a bit more: http://blog.ipc.org/2010/05/14/reaching-consensus-on-conflict-metals/
This issue is important to be aware of so that we, as consumers, can avoid bolstering these unjust practices by making informed decisions when buying fancy new electronic gadgets. This topic relates to globalization in that, with today's advanced communications and transportation technology, it is exceedingly easy to manage and import these resources from formerly difficult places-- and though globalization is widely supported as the future of capitalism, its fallout leaves many people at a continuing disadvantage, thus perpetuating a neoliberal capitalist agenda. Mogadam Valentine mentions that as globalization continues it there will be more conflict/violence and this documents the reality behind neo-imperial practices in Africa that correlates to histories of exploitation in Africa by Western Powers.
I had seen this video a couple years ago, and the talks about disability have brought me to reexamine the main points of Aimee Mullins. She says in the beginning of her TED talk that her fear was that the adults would tell the children not to stare at her legs, that the curiosity in the difference turns into fear of the unknown. They learned for themselves that those with a disability are in the same way normal and human. The Ableist attitudes only present themselves with the social construction of fear of the unknown and different.
I love her comment about Pamela Anderson's amount of prosthetics in her body. "No one calls her disabled!" She challenges the conception of disabled.
We have the technologies to allow those who are disabled to live a happy, normal, even enhanced life. Aimee Mullins is a great example of this. She presents prostheses that are simple and affordable to rehabilitate those around the world. Unfortunately, the ableist attitudes permeate into the global culture and marginalize those who are different.
When we watched the clip in class Tuesday about the special needs girl who had suffered abuse from her teacher and her T.A. I was extremely upset. I couldn't understand how someone who went into the special needs field could say such horrible things and how a teacher could say those things as well. I then began to think about it further when I realized that at my school it wasn't that much different. There was an autistic kid that I will call Tyler that went to my high school all four years I was there. Everyday he would hide from kids in the hall or say inappropriate things to girls but instead of trying to help him kids made fun of him. Tyler and I had a special relationship through school because freshman year he had decided I was going to be his "queen." I always was nice to Tyler and had a close relationship with his T.A. because I would report to her if Tyler was being out of hand or being inappropriate at times she was not around. Tyler's T.A. was very accepting of him but other teachers at our school made fun of him behind his back and said snide rude comments that I can never understand. I will never forget the day between my sophomore year and junior year when Tyler messaged me on Facebook saying a girl from our class told him school didn't start until the week after it was supposed to. This girl was trying to make Tyler a week late for school and embarrass him. I was furious at this, I didn't think any 16 year old person would ever think this was okay and immediately reported it back to the T.A. So to bring it back, I've experienced the cutting down of "disabled" by the "abled" and I know I am by no means innocent. But just as society labels people that are gay as "other" or people that are not living up to all society's norms as "other" people label the disabled as well. Tyler was an extremely nice kid and all he wanted was for people to like him, he just didn't know how to go about doing that.
I blogged about David/Brenda way back and talked about how everyone likes to say that they would never have done that to their child and they would have been totally accepting. This is the same concept. Everyone likes to think they would never treat someone badly and never would make jokes about someone that is different, but if this was true we never would have been discussing this issue in the first place. We are society, and we are the ones that can make a change about how Tyler and every other person is treated.
After the reading and discussions, a point that keeps crossing my mind is how everyone has disabilities. When thinking about "disabled" people, my mind always shifted toward physically handicapped people. I realized then just how much I saw some people as "others" and so I decided to try and examine some of the reason I was thinking this way. I realized that a lot of it had to do with my schooling experience. I remember in elementary school everyone was in the same classroom, but then in middle school I didn't ever really get to see a few kids anymore. In high school you'd see those missing faces once in a while, but it was as if they were kind of sheltered. I feel like separation isn't bad so long as they aren't fully cut off from the rest of the people. Everyone needs to see and recognize difference to be able to accept it. Another thing that was enlightening was thinking about the fact that there are so many different disabilities, many of which that go unnoticed. There are so many different things that can hinder a person from functioning, so no one really needs to be labeled as "other." That in itself is a disability. I remember Alex mentioned ignorance as a disability in class. I think that's something we all struggle with. It's really funny though, since we think ignorance is such a bad thing but we instill it in our young minds every day. I think what needs to be dealt with is the fear that people have of the other. We don't realize that "other" things are what help our world develop and grow. Some of the craziest ideas and schemes turned out to be ground breaking and mind altering laws of nature. To really progress we need to move forward with open minds, not minds looking to fulfill some certain structure.
Today in class, we discussed the pros and cons of the "Inclusion' philosophy and the 'segregation" philosophy of teaching children with special needs, and the I believe that the heart of the issue truly lies in the incapability to accept differences. We have trouble wrapping our minds around the fact that someone can be in a different classroom and learn a different way, while still being just as "human" as the people learning in the "common" classroom. Because we, as a society, have not yet been able to embrace difference and allow for its presence, we seek comfort in assimilating people into the what we view as "the norm", most often established by the able-bodied. I believe that the able-bodied use assimilation as a way in which to escape the more difficult task of accepting and embracing difference. It is so much easier to understand your life and to demand that the "other" conform to your way rather then you changing your way of life. As discussed in class, either option regarding the best way to handle "special education" students involves some form of stigmatization and marginalization. Either the child is othered by the presence of their T.A. or the child is othered because they are placed in a separate classroom. Both involve the act of othering based on difference, and therefore both reveal the able-bodied students coherence to the able-bodied norm.. I believe that the debate surrounding this topic (inclusion versus segregation) subjugates the disabled, as it makes them pawns to the comfort of the able-bodied. Due to the stigmatization attributed to the disabled, the able-bodied feel that in order to "rescue" the disabled from the stigmatization that they face, it is best to "bring the disabled up" to the norm of the able-bodied;to treat the disabled as though their disability does not exist, rather than acknowledging that it does exist, and learning to live with the difference that the disability creates. By placing the disabled in a classroom that feels less separated from the able-bodied norm, the able-bodied feel comforted that the disabled are now are part of the able world and are therefore less different. This subtraction of difference means that there is no difference to overcome, and without a difference to overcome, the able-bodied are alleviated from the obligation to reverse the stigmatization and marginalization created against the disabled. I believe that instead of trying to find ways to equalize everybody's physical and mental capabilities, we need to find ways to simply be comfortable with the fact that there are discrepancies between peoples abilities, rather than try to artificially adapt people to different ways of life. Inclusion versus segregation should have nothing to do with "which world will he/she fit better into" but should everything to do with where will he/she learn best.
I found this site to have a good inclusion versus segregation explanation, and was one of the few that I found that did not advocate for one or the other.
I was very interested in our discussion today when someone brought up the topic of what really is the "other" and who decided where to draw the line as the "other". I feel like a lot of times society misses the point that we are really the "others". None of us are the same and yes, maybe two people are "normal" because they both do not have a mental disability, but the lives of the two people are completely different on so many levels. No two people have the exact same capabilities and therefore every person is disabled in some way. It seems like society has just decided to marginalize people whose disabilities are either more extreme/noticeable or rare, which puts some people at a major disadvantage from birth. This marginalization not only puts people with disability at a disadvantage, but also society in general because in my opinion, they don't get to experience the joy and kindness many of the differently abled people bring to the world. For example, one girl at my school with a mental disability was the sweetest person in my high school, she just searched for ways to make people happy and smile. Luckily for some of my friends and me, we were able to experience her genuine heart and ability to make people laugh. Other people who categorized her as the "other" did not get to experience this or get to know her and they were missing out on a person who could make you smile no matter how bad your day was. She ended up winning the school superlative of "Day Brightener" and some people realized they really did wish they had gotten to know her. People need to realize that we all have disabilities and therefore should accept each other no matter how different we all are.
I was really intrigued by the article and discussion at Tuesdays class. I began to realize that in my head I automatically think disability relating to a obvious physical handicap or visible disease when in reality there is so much more going on with people that I don't see as that. This past summer I got to work with elementary students at a summer school program. There were a handful of kids who were in early stages of Autism or on track to be diagnosed soon. Many had severe cases of ADHD and many had various conditions that I had never heard of. However I didn't know this about the kids. I only saw the disabled ones as the ones who had a one on one helper with them. I then one day decided to look at the binder our supervisor had given us about special conditions that the kids had. I began to look through it and realized almost every kid I had been working with had some type of condition that I would have never guessed. This is what I thought of immediately when the point was brought up in class of how we often times only think of disabled or abled, not thinking about all the conditions in between on the spectrum. Society puts so much focus on the "norm" and anything outside of it is often times looked down upon. This experience I had working along side so many incredible kids helped me to see abilities in kids rather then think about their disabilities. It was an eye opening experience that has made me want to potentially become a special education teacher. It took me having to see conditions at a young level when kids are still around other kids (their peers) who don't know enough to judge them and so they do not feel they have to act different or separate themselves. At the most if a kid did something weird they were labeled as "weird" for about two minutes and then playing again with the same kids. This changes later in life I feel like when people think they can tell who is not "normal". The quote in the article, "However, disabled people often feel compelled to manufacture 'who' they are- to adopt aspects that are additional to self", further proved my thoughts of that. One of my favorite students had a severe case of autism but I could sit and talk with him for the entire lunch and recess period about what type of computer I should buy, or the anti-virus software that will be best for my computer, never the thought crossing my mind that he was different so I should pity him. Usually, their conditions didn't even cross my mind. Things like this made me realize how important it is that we don't focus on disability but we MUST focus on ability instead of placing people out of the norm into a category of special needs or handicapped, and how half the time we do focus on the ability without even realizing there ever was or is a disability.
Leela Fernandes' article lauds the value of non-violent activism as a means to achieve political change. I find this viewpoint invaluable in creating real change to societal norms that lead to oppression of all kinds. Here's an article about how well it worked in the civil rights movement of the 1960's when used by Martin Luther King Jr. to fight the unjust laws of segregation all around the United States: http://articles.cnn.com/2011-02-12/opinion/mills.egypt.selma_1_selma-march-march-route-jimmie-lee-jackson?_s=PM:OPINION
Using non-violent means (as opposed to passive resistance, which even Ghandi condemned as a "weapon of the weak") completely changes the paradigm of violence to fight violence that has been used since the dawn of human "civilization"--not only by fighting various injustices, but by way of example by fighting the very fabric of violence against people of color, women, and every other oppressed people all over the world. She supports this by philosophizing that there is a certain "spirituality" (defined as an unwillingness to inflict harm on others and in turn doing only what will support life and happiness) that is required to truly drive home the importance of human value when combating societal injustices. This is not to be confused with religion, which often leads its members to engage in unethical violent practices to convert people to its aims. She also uses the example of Russia's violent socialist revolution which, while intending to keep the good of the working people in mind, ended up just shifting the imbalance of wealth and power to another group. Historically, the ideology of non-violence is effective because of its practiced legitimacy.
When discussing the ableism article yesterday in class, I began to realize a few things, and the most significant being the treatment or process that our culture is willing to take to return back to the normal "able body". Our society truly cripples and limits the abilities of many, for many simple reasons or setbacks. When thinking of a disability, the first thing I thought of was a wheelchair. When thinking about disabilities, I also thought of people who were looked down up, automatically categorized (and marginalized), I felt as if they were a group of people whose voices were taken away, and also people who were pitied and sympathized because people regarded them as "sad, pathetic, and helpless". When we were told to discuss with a partner, me and Al began to discuss things we thought of when we heard disability, mentioning also mental disabilities. Once people, especially children are diagnosed with a mental disability or learning disability, they are automatically placed in special classes with others who are "like them", and it is then embedded into our society that people with mental disabilities are not normative, and they should be separated from the rest of us. What really made me think, was the little things people will do the be totally normal. Little things, even acne, people will go to the doctor for to return them to be totally acceptable to society. People go to the doctor to get creams for rashes and hair loss. This is excluding the more serious crippling things which people go to the doctor for, for example a transgender person having surgeries to return them to the normative body. Our society needs to be more accepting of how people are born, allowing everyone to embrace and celebrate who they are, not hide it.
I really related to the ablelism article, as well as the class discussion today.
I have always thought of disability on a spectrum, yet I feel I am often grouped into the category of "disabled" despite not identifying as such. I am lucky, I can "pass" as a completely healthy, abled-bodied person. Like the reading discussed, I am often hesitant to disclose to others- specifically teachers, and peers that I am nearly blind in one eye, I struggle with severe anxiety disorder & I have a disease that has & will forever limit my functioning as a "normal" person. Once I tell people, they often treat me differently, question my ability to succeed, or look at me in amazement because I look "normal" & they "never would have guessed there was anything wrong with me". I dont consider there to be anything wrong with me, most people with my disease are profoundly disabled both intellectually and physically- and I do not feel limited significantly in daily life.
One quote in the reading that I really connected with is when the testimony that discussed how people were always saying how he/she had flourished despite their disability/ disease. The speaker said he/she was who she/he was BECAUSE of their body, not despite it. Although I am not profoundly limited in movement or intellectually, I relate deeply to that comment. I have accepted that I have some mild brain tissue damage that has made me pretty bad at math & spacial conception, I have reoriented my long-term goals because I cannot travel abroad to all the places I want to see,as it too risky, and it is a possibility that I cannot have children as it will have serious implications for my health and well-being. That is NOT a reason to pity, or feel bad for anyone. People are strengthened because of challenges/difference, it is not a reason to feel shame or self-doubt. It is a reality just as real and substantial as anyone's.
My reality is different, I cannot live the typical teenage/young adult life or typical middle class future, and in the future I could (and very well may) lose my vision in both of my eyes & have other complication. But I am not sure anymore that I would trade my life for someone who is healthy. Not only do I not self-define as disabled or diseased (despite what formal establishments may say) I feel connected to life and my appreciation of life/health/mobility is deeper than a "normal" person- I know I could have been far more inhibited, but I am not. Life is fragile, & not something to be taken for granted.
VIDEO watch it!:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lujfjhQXLfk
I came across these articles & I think it relates nicely to a variety of forms of state sponsored terror that Chomsky discussed. Moreover, it is hard to imagine an exsistence outside the reliance on the State, it is possible, but what it will look like is ever changing. The State rarely works for those who really represent the people and have attempted to isolate and divide us through various tactics including racial divison & control over those deemed "the other".
Concrete examples in these articles:
Although the test is over, I thought these were good examples/different examples of what a variety of our readings discussed.
I am immediately struck by the title, because as i see it, it is a reference to the incredible choice that people have to make that are forced into sex slavery. I'm also interested as to how in the introduction, the author states that not all sex workers are "victims," implying that they perhaps have some agency.
I appreciate the critique of U.S. policies that condemn all forms of prostitution, something that I disagree with. I think if sex workers were allowed to unionize and work in healthy conditions, with fair wages, and without a "pimp," I think that sex workers could benefit in a productive way. I have trouble believing that prostitution will ever simply be eradicated, so why not legalize it in order to regulate and contain it? I feel similarly about marijuana, but that's another story. The demand for prostitution will never be null, as much as we wish that were true.
The article critiques the idea that all blame is placed onto the sex workers, and not the greater systems of power that are in place that cause them to either be forced into sex work or see no other options than sex work.
The article juxtaposes Christianity's omnipresent condemnation of prostitution with Buddhism's relative tolerance. I think that Christianity's condemnation of prostitution stems from the puritanical clues surrounding sex and extramarital relationships.
I think that slavery is something we, as a culture, like to dissociate from. We like to think that slavery ended hundreds of years ago and that it is purely a thing of the past. In reality, and upon reading this photographic essay, we know that that is very much not the case. Although the slave trade has changed from our perhaps other notion of slavery, it is very much alive today.
The article comments on the fact that headlines regarding trafficking are often ignored or pushed to the side. I wonder if this is because we simply refuse to acknowledge the fact that slavery still exists, or that we simply don't care. I use we to represent society as a whole, certainly not "we" in the context of this class.
I appreciate that the article suggests ways to aid the victims of sex trafficking, even after its abolishment, if such a thing were possible. I feel that oftentimes, human rights causes suggest ways to eradicate something but offer no continuing aid to the victims which leaves them stranded and helpless after being victim to a traumatic event. The essay suggests therapy and even job training so that they can survive in a capitalist economy, (which as we know, is a whole other conversation in and of itself!)
As with any social issue/plague, there are multiple aspects and layers that prevent easy solutions. Human trafficking is an international issue (as it historically has been) which means that differing viewpoints on sexuality, human (especially women's & children's) rights, law and economics complicate theoretically "positive" changes in any given country. As Lucinda Peach illustrated, efforts to target trafficking in other countries is also further convoluted by cultural ideas concerning sex work itself.
However, out of these reasons listed, I'd like to point out economics as being the most crucial factor in actually examining the problem on a larger scale. Where there is poverty, there is desperation, and where there is desperation, people are forced to do whatever it takes to survive, including selling their own children into slavery. The fact that trafficking overwhelmingly affects women and children is not a surprise, as they have historically been the hardest hit by the effects of poverty. Much like all of the other issues we have examined in this class, from racism to genocidal rape, this is an issue of subjugation. Another example of the human selfishness that abounds in all societies. The poverty that we see in Africa, Asia, Latin America and wherever else some dinky western European nation was able to colonize, is often times due to the manipulation and exploitation of these colonizers that continues on to this day. The idea of "raids" and efforts of NGOs to run in to India or Vietnam and "rescue" these women and children is ironic (especially considering the makeup of the trafficked clientele) and ineffective. This is a systemic problem, not something that we as U.S. citizens can go in and slap a band-aid on just to feel the "warm-fuzzies."
If we really want to do something about this problem, we should refer back to the idea of white supremacy; someone has to take a step back so that others can take a step forward. We need to stop exploiting the rest of the world for its goods and human labor and stop putting puppet regimes into place or at least help get people like Kim Jong Il out of office so that North Koreans aren't forced to do anything (such as sell themselves or family members) to escape (and then let the people vote for their own leader). (Sorry about that added rant I just watched an Amnesty Int'l special on Kim Jong Il). We're not going to be able to even being to address the issue of human rights in any real sense until we have people that are fed, clothed and housed and have a government that works in its people's best interest. Then we can talk about human rights. Then we can talk about gender equality. Then we can talk about sex worker's rights, etc. etc.
Had it not been for a social justice project in high school, I would never have known the human trafficking industry was so active in the United States. The whole idea of a person being sold for a fixed price is horribly frightening. The following video shows the trafficking industry today and a few facts:
A very shocking statistic I've heard in recent discussions is the fact that there are more slaves in the world today than at any time in history. But what shocks me the most about human trafficking in the United States is how little it is discussed. In Lucinda Peach's article about human trafficking, she discusses how prostitution is illegal in the United States mostly due to the moral standards of maintaining human integrity. I've heard a lot about prostitution in recent years on the news; mostly about women being arrested for participating in the act, but in most cases, the media portrays these women as criminals. I've learned that in reality, many prostitutes are forced into selling their bodies through the process of human trafficking. So I seek to understand why the United States chooses to essentially cover up the issue of trafficking. The U.S and the media should be prompted to increase the coverage of trafficking. I for one know that ignorance about this situation is plentiful. If more people become aware of trafficking and that individuals are being forced, or coerced, into slave and sex labor, the problem could eventually become eradicated. Unfortunately, most situations of human trafficking occur in plain sight. But with so many people unaware of the situation, it becomes impossible to see.
In my opinion, Human trafficking is a horrible thing. Well at least it is horrible to force someone into it. There are advantages and disadvantages to making it legal and not negatively or postively judging people for their own choice to take part in it. Obviously in the places thaty it is legal, the reasoning for that is to better the economy. The money that is made off of human trafficking is effective and making it illegal wouldn't completely stop it from happening. This helps to lower the rate of people being forced into this. But, by even having it be an option for people to take a part in human trafficking is hurting the society. Even if a person isn't physically forced to do it, if they are bad enough off money wise, they may be financially forced into it. It would benefit the society more to have better options for making ends meet when things are rough for families. I don't know if i can think of many cases where someone would truly WANT to take part in this for fun. To me that means that whether it is legal or not, and whether people are physically forced or not, there is no enjoyment or positive reasons for this except for making money. People should not be judged on the way in which they want to make money, especially if they understand all apects and are old enough to consent to it. So this topic is touchy and difficult to take an opinion on.
Understanding that women are significantly represented in human trafficking helps to transcend some of the issues that are related to gender. There is so much more than what are traditionally women's issues represented with the concept of human trafficking. Since there is little to no distinction made between hose that are forced into sexual situations and those that willingly choose to participate as sex workers. In Shelley's article she discusses how the condition of those that are forced into sexual situations are passed on through the generations. Women that give birth when in servitude under those that have taken over their livelihood begin to then possess those of the children. Many times women are forced to have abortions and work incredibly grueling hours in the sex trade. This seems to be similar to those that have be enslaved in history. The offspring inherits the condition of the mother. The humanity of these women is taken away and some women have expressed that they feel as though they will never get it back. Stripping someone of their basic feelings allows for the maintenance of power over other people. Women are also involved in the act of moving women into realms of sexual service. They usually contact women through social constructs and utilize social contacts as a form of reference. On the flip side, women are also creating NGOs that provide opportunities for women to escape their violators. I really enjoyed Shelley's article and the points she brought up surrounding human trafficking.
The article that Laura Sjoberg wrote about genocidal rape was a serious eye-opener. I mean yes, I know that women do engage in acts of violence against one another, yet to read in detail about historical rape practices was a lot to take in.
Human agency is a very important factor when considering criminal acts. Women should not be given a pass or a reduced penalty for their parts in genocidal rape or any other criminal acts. Sjoberg's article gave detailed accounts of how women have been vital participants in torturing women, a primary method being rape. Nazi wives hit a nerve for me.
The separation of the roles of the women was another interesting part of the essay. The distinctions between the mother, the monster, and the whore made it seem as though women had to fit into those three categories. These categories are a scapegoat for their behavior. Rather than fully embrace and accept the human agency that women have when committing these crimes, Sjoberg, and perhaps all people, prefer to label them and categorize them. As if a woman cannot simply rape another woman because she wants to, she has got to be a mother, a monster, or a whore. This bothers me. It bothers me that genocidal rape occurs at all, but what bothers me more is that women are still not treated equally to their male counterparts. A man would be held completely responsible were he to commit a crime, yet a women has categories? That is ridiculous because at the end of the day a woman has human agency, she knows what she is doing when she does it. Just like any man who commits a crime against women or men.
Women rape women because they believe that their actions are just and because they want to, there is no need for sub-categories to define and rationalize such behavior(s).
This is Ilse Koch, and she raped and tortured Jewish women and others because she wanted to do so, nothing more and nothing less.
Human trafficking is one those very inhumane issues that aren't really recognized like other issues such as war or acts of torture. Perhaps this is the case because it really isn't highlighted in our media sources like so many other issues like the political elections or who's sleeping with whom on TMZ. Either way, it's really a serious issue that really does need some attention. In Kay Chernush's "Human Traffickng: A Photographic Essay", we are shown pictures of women who are forced into a sex industry against their will in Thailand and brothels in India. I personally believe that human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery. There is nothing right or proper about this type of trade. These slaves, as we have seen in the pictures, are usually women and children. I, unfortunately, have seen both of these cases in person. In 2006, I went to India and spoke firsthand with some of these women. They were girls who came from small villages that were lured out of their homes with the prospect of jobs in the cities by these "pimps". Many of these girls hadn't even hit puberty when they were forced into this business then starved and beaten. What I also learned while I was there was that India is not only a country that is exploiting their own people but they are sending them to other countries as well. I was in Thailand in 2009 and saw how many women were out in the streets of Bangkok selling themselves to men from other countries. I cannot explain how many Western men were there picking up these women in the few hours that we would be strolling or touring at all times of the day. To me, slavery is still prevalent today as it was years ago through this trade. This is a modern day tragedy.
This is a link to a story about child prostitution in India. It is about the kidnapping and prostitution of young girls: http://www.youtube.com/watchv=eaXUs05asCs&feature=related
Human trafficking is very interesting to me. It seems like different places have different cultural rules about the matter, which are influenced heavily by religion. In Lucinda Peach's article, she talks about views on sex-trafficking in the United States, Thailand, and India. The U.S. is very against the matter and I don't think it is coincidental that the main religion of this country tells you that sex-trafficking is wrong. In Thailand, sexual trafficking is legal and rampant. This makes me thing about whether people are forced unwillingly into it or turn to it to make money, in order to survive. Personally, I think it is horrible when people are kidnapped and stolen and then forced to be a sexual worker. In my eyes, it is just slavery. It deeply bothers me how women are disrespected and turned into such objects of rape and torture. I also can't believe how they would use children as servants, workers, and soldiers. It really shows just how devalued the human life is to people. All of this makes me wonder why it is legal, but then I realize that it is legal because it helps the economy. People make money off of this and that it is why it is such a huge business. Peach's article says that the main religion in Thailand, Buddhism, doesn't not condone prostitution or condemn it. Basically, this tells me that prostitution is way more socially acceptable in Thailand. Then when the article takes a look at India, it says how views on the matter have changed due to influences of British Colonialism, but that the country's history showed a society more accepting of it. I just think it is very interesting that Americans tend to think sex trafficking is extremely horrible, but people in India may not all think quite the same on it. I'm sure it is also a scary thing for a lot of Indian people, especially women and children, but it also is probably just something they learn to live with and avoid. I just think it is quite interesting how different cultures can drastically change the way people view different issues and how those perceptions alter the way people behave.
Human trafficking is not something that would have ever crossed my mind if I were to think of injustices going on in the world. I knew it existed and was going on but not to the extent of what I have recently learned. I was shocked to see the numbers and the amount of trafficking that was going on. After reading Chernush's essay I was inspired to research the topic more and I found many interesting articles
One of the articles that I found online talked about how the U.S. is debating on whether or not to cut funding for the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). The TVPA provides money that works to decrease the amount of human trafficking and increase awareness. One of the organizations that receive a lot of funding from the TVPA is the UN Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP). UNIAP is an organization that does a lot of work in the surveillance of human trafficking in multiple countries. The surveillance done by UNIAP has lead to many arrests and has made a substantial impact on human trafficking. The group also does a lot of research and projects. The U.S. is currently spending 191 million on fighting human trafficking but it is in threat of being cut down to 130 million. The article does a good job in pointing out that the U.S. currently spends 15 billion to help combat the global drug trade going on. Compared to this, the amount of money spent on combating human trafficking is tiny.
I thought I already knew plenty of information on the topic of human trafficking thanks to books, TV shows, and other classes, but the piece called "Human trafficking: Why is it such an important women's issue?" by Louise Shelley touched on many more issues that I had not previously considered. For example, I had no idea about the extreme economical aspects of sexual slavery. I always knew that the women that served customers received some sort of compensation, but never did I realize how many other people profit off of their activities. Even the families would sometimes promote their own brothel businesses by recruiting other female family members. Another heartbreaking situation is when families feel obligated or forced to give up their daughters and send them away to work for a trafficker in order to repay some sort of debt. It is scary to think that a mother is willing to hand over her child as an object that can be bartered or sold.
The fact that women are often perpetrators of human trafficking is not something many people (including myself I'll admit) seem to comprehend. People often think that only men are capable of committing terrible and violent crimes. This goes back to our discussion last week on terrorism and gender roles within war settings, and more specifically the torture that both men AND women engaged in at Abu Ghraib. The idea that women are incapable of engaging in torturous or exploitative acts is ridiculous, because we realize that this is indeed false. The media does a fine job of hiding the truth sometimes, and I think that trafficking, terrorism, and torture is misrepresented in the way that males are constantly being portrayed as the only perpetrators. Yes, it is shocking and disgusting to think that women are owners of brothels and participate in sexually exploiting other young women. But how do we look beyond the initial shock to more deeply analyze the situation? Are these types of behaviors allowing women to take a step forward in regards to gender equality or does it condemn gender justice on a larger scale? I would argue that it not only gives a bad name to femininity, but to the human race as a whole. What good can result from women committing the same acts of terror and trafficking that men do? Sure, it appears at first that women are finally equal to men in regards to violence, but is that something females should even be proud of?
Wanting to learn a little bit more about human trafficking than what we had read about I found a very interesting City Pages article that discussed some mistaken assumptions about trafficking and underage prostitutes. It looks at child explotion inside America, while our readings have were focused abroad. It served as a good reminder that this is happening at home as well as far away in less affluent countries.
A few years ago Professors in New York City, tired of working from unreliable estimates decided to go out on the streets and survey the youth themselves. Their findings, called the John Jay Report challenged a lot of what had been believed. They found that only 90% didn't have pimps, meaning that they haven't been coherced and are instead participating in "survival sex." It also found that almost half were boys.
These finds strongly contradicts the stereotype of the vulnerable pimped young girl who needs rescuing. Advocacy for protecting children from sex work is focused on girls.
funding isn't used effectively. Our readings almost exclusively about the trafficking of girls and women, which makes sense in context of the class, but it's important to remember that both sexes are impacted. Government services wanted to hear about girls, but the issue they were supposed to be addressing was "child exploitation," and boys are children too. The article showed how don't really know much the population they're supposed to be protecting, including not knowing how best to protect them. It also seems that funding is not being used in the most useful manner.
It was a very compelling article, which adressed the topic instead of just sensationalizing it.
I just got back from the Women and War conference that we heard about class and I had some very interesting things to bring back. Although this is off topic from what we are talking about in class I still thought it was relevant to what we have gone through and very eye opening. One of the speakers was a man from Iraq that was a photojournalist. The man started out by warning us that the pictures represent a war so there would be blood and death. When he said this I was kind of hoping he wasn't serious but he was very serious. One of the first pictures he showed us was of a woman crying because he husband had been shot by an American soldier for being out after curfew. Curfew was 6pm-6am every day in Iraq and this man was shot for driving his car after this time. This man had no chance to defend himself for being late, nothing. I was disgusted with this fact that Americans could shoot a man for being out past SIX pm in their own country! The next thing that the speaker said really upset me more than anything, he said that every day before he went for curfew he would go to a spot in town where all the bodies were and pray and every morning he would go to funerals so he would start his day with death and end it with death. The speaker also went on to say that Americans know there is a war going on but they have no idea what this war means. This is such an accurate statement. I have family members that have gone to Iraq but I still have no idea what the war is and was really like.
The speaker went on with many more pictures and many more stories. I want to share one more that was heart breaking. The speaker was traveling with his friend, Jack, when they stopped at a gas station. The speaker, I cannot recall his name, told his friend Jack not to speak to anyone because he was one of the minorities and the soldiers would be able to tell by his accent. A soldier approached the vehicle while the speaker was in side and Jack ended up being pulled out and shot. The speaker even showed us a picture of Jack shot on the streets. There were two things that made me even more upset about this story. One was that the people passing by did not even look twice at the body and the other was that the speaker could not even claim the body because he could not be associated with Jack. It is so upsetting that Americans know we are in a war but have no idea what is going on overseas.
Although this doesn't cover what we are discussing in class I thought it would be something worth sharing to open eyes up about what was and is happening over seas.
Sex trafficking is something that our society forgets about because although we aren't touched with this topic everyday, there are people that are. When asked where does human trafficking occur, one can easily name countries in Asia, Africa and Europe where this occurs. When questioned about our own country, many people do not know or understand the amount of trafficking occuring. I was one of those people before reading the articles and doing online research about this topic.
An article I found online that I feel hits home for me is about Enslaved in America: Sex Trafficking in the United States.
"ECPAT USA (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes)', an Anti-Trafficking agency, states that the average age of entry into street prostitution is between 12 and 14 years old, though there have been cases of girls as young as 9 years old."
Thinking back to when you were twelve years old, what was your life like? For me, it was a lot of playing basketball with my friends and going through those awkward middle school years. For some girls, such as in the photographic essay we read, there life consisted of slavery. Thinking back to when I was nine years old, I was in third grade, my life consisted of kick ball. The thought of boys had crossed my mind, but the thought of even holding a boys hand terrified me. Imagining the thought of a nine year old being a prostitute, blows my mind, and disgusts me completely.
As Louise Shelley stated in her essay Human Trafficking, "once women and girls have been trafficked, their future opportunities in life are often very limited. Trafficked children are deprived of the opportunity of an education at a crucial age."
Not only are the girls being trafficked being treated as slaves and raped during these years of their lives. But their lives will for ever be affected by this emotionally, mentally, physically, educationally, and socially.
Thanks to groups like Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities in Thailand, hopefully one day these women and girls will be able to be freed and be able to regain their position in society and within themselves.
The recent focus on human trafficking, specifically Louise Shelly's article "Human Trafficking" has seemed to connect with me much more than others. While I've known about human trafficking and the violence associated with it for quite a while now, what really caught me off guard was the focus on how girls being sold into prostitution is seen as a greater issue than many other forms of trafficking. The articles claim that it was the movement of women activists to prevent sexual slavery that brought the institutional attention to the issue. However, it appears that this is only because this crime is viewed as more violent and inhumane than other forms of trafficking. For example, children forced to become child soldiers are traumatized by the violence they see, and girls married off to situations of domestic abuse were not the main focus of publicity and human rights activists. The literature and photographic essays were centered on prostitution and sexual violence.
I see a connection between the outrage of sexual violence in trafficking and the genocidal rape of women, by women. The action of sexual violence reverberates as an atrocity, rather than a crime. Is this because of the violation of the intimacy of sex, or is there a cultural stigma to prostitution?
A picture is worth a thousand words; and although the pictures of the women in Thailand were highly disturbing, the stories that were told were just as gruesome. My friend recently went to Thailand over this past summer, and she explained to me these horrible events that happen there with sex trafficking and prostitution. She told me about "Ping Pong Tournaments;" the women are drugged and are forced to shove ping pong balls in their genitalia, which was the basis of the "tournament." Trafficking in general in these countries is highly disturbing; the women and children go home with as little as fifty cents after their dues are paid. Fifty cents can't buy anybody anything, let alone food or shelter. Concerns of disease, like HIV and AIDS, is a high probability in these third world countries, and it is sad. Why aren't we as americans doing anything to stop this and help these people? Kay Chernush wrote something that stood out to me in the essay "Human trafficking: a photographic essay," she went on to say "Rescue is not enough. In order to heal and rebuild their lives, survivors of trafficking generally require legal interventions, housing, social services, psychological counseling, real economic opportunity, and job training." These women and children need so much just to make their lives better, and it is depressing that there is so many of them, and so little aid.
It is crazy to think how prevalent human trafficking is in our world today. We like to think we live in a progressing world that is leaving slavery and archaic practices behind, but the truth is, we are not. People are traded and sold every single day, and we know almost nothing about it. Because it is not directly affecting us and the media does not deem it to be of the utmost importance, it plays a minimal role in our lives. The first time I actually came to realize the severity of human trafficking was when I was watching a documentary with my sister. It followed people who went undercover to try to help rescue girls from brothels. It was heart-wrenching. Some girls did leave and successfully return to their families, but an unfairly large percentage ended up returning to the brothels or their pimps because they were either too addicted to drugs to survive without them or they felt they were a burden on their family and better served them back in the brothels doing work they knew. What I do not understand is why so many people seem so afraid to help, even just indirectly. My sister hopes to eventually become a social worker, dealing with either human trafficking victims or refugees. Most people she tells this to call her crazy for wanting to deal with such heavy and emotional cases. I applaud here. I think we need more people willing to step up to the plate, willing to make sacrifices in order to help save these poor people who are still treated with little to no dignity. The more people that stand up and fight increases our chances of at least significantly decreasing the number of victims. Pimps and brothel owners will not be able to withstand large forces intervening. It is just a matter of placing a greater emphasis on the importance of this issue.
This video is compilation of various clips, including some from the documentary Call and Response, and puts the issue into perspective with some very hard-hitting statistics (it is a little long but definitely worth watching). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZTN0TbsRYA
After reading the Kay Chernush's article as well as Lousie Shelley's article (by accident) on human trafficking, it angered me. I know of people who travel to Asia to find these types of girls and only now have I given enough thought to know how unjust this is. Many are forced into it, they do no choose it by will.
But my main question after reading these articles was how did women become the passive one in a relationship? Why is that we became the ones people look upon as sexual slaves? What if the role was reversed? Even back before homo sapiens, were male Neanderthals dominate over female Neanderthals?
Although the articles talked about international human trafficking, I think in order to help eradicate sexual human trafficking, we need to address the problem at home. I stumbled across this video while scrolling through CNN, it made me aware of how unmentioned and hidden sexual trafficking is.
It's quite hard realize that such acts of horror happen even at home. So in order to help eradicate human trafficking, we need to go deep into the minds and thoughts of these "pimps" at home and eradicate them before going aboard.
I know I have often ignored articles and talks about sexual trafficking because I thought it was of no concern of mine, however after reading these articles, I realized that although doesn't affect me directly, it does affect me another way. It makes me appreciate the freedom I have by getting an education and being able make something of my life. These articles are prompting greater awareness to people like me and I feel like as I become I need to help fight against this terror.
In the photographic essay by Kay Chernush, I was surprised by the different examples of trafficking she used from various countries. Before reading this, I had always thought of human trafficking in terms of sexual slaves and all of the violence associated with that, but I never thought of child labor as a source of human trafficking. I have not been well educated on the subject, so I looked up broad definitions and found that human trafficking is any form of sale, transport or profit from Humans who are forced to work for others, as modern day slaves, primarily in the form of sexual exploitation. I think that Louise Shelley does a very good job of analyzing the cause of human trafficking in one of opening statements when she says that "human trafficking results from fundamental economic, political, and social problems in the contemporary world." There is a lot of information that can be dissected from this, and I'm interested in hearing everyone's opinions on the topic.
I also thought that Chernush made a great point when she said that the internet, travel and globalization of today make trafficking more widespread, but these advances could also be used to end trafficking. I completely agree with this point, the only problem is getting various nations to agree on a solution on how to use these elements to stop human trafficking globally.
I was really shocked when I read the article “Sexual Violence as a Tool of Genocide” by Andrea Smith. I did not know about the things of the different ways of how women of color were being victims of a male dominance especially those who were Native American. I thought this article was informative because it shed light on the culture of the Native Americans during colonization. This was helpful in understanding why the women felt no “bodily integrity” (Smith 10). I thought it was sad that the women were considered dirty and this made them rapable and it was not a crime. This also stemmed from the colonizers being able to take over the land and so that included the woman’s body as well. I find it interesting that this was done through patriarchal gender violence. “This is the process by which colonizers inscribe hierarchy and domination on the bodies of the colonized” (Smith 23). Women who refuted the patriarchal practices were punished. This was commonly the English women who had an absence of male dominance which included the widows, healers, and single women. These people were accused of witch hunts and put to death.
Overall, I am still amazed to learn about ways how humans treat one other. The discussion in class helped me realized that society still has their flaws and possibly some of these acts are still being committed. I was really mad when we discussed that men can get impunity for raping a women on Native land. I think that is one thing that needs to change because this makes Native women an easy target. I think that is really horrible and nobody should feel like that because it is not considered that important. I feel that sexual violence against women of color should be portrayed more in the media and given a chance in the courts. All rape cases should be taken seriously and should not be based on race.
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