The most impactful moment for me while taking this class has to have been the day I saw my ignorance and its hateful consequences thrust before my eyes. We had just finished watching the film The Aggressives and were discussing it afterwards. At one point during the talk I became confused as to Marquise's (I believe) gender. I thought argued that he was not transgender, but merely denying societal gender roles and norms as a female. Throughout the remainder of class I was stuck in that rut of a mindset; I justified it as ignorance on his part that he didn't know the proper terms that I (apparently) knew. I argued that not only was Marquise female, but that I was justified in determining his label since I was the "educated" one. I kept this belief throughout the day--partly out of belief that I was right, but mostly out of fear admitting I was wrong and had committed the same ignorant subordination that I believed against.
It wasn't until later in the day that I realized how wrong I was. I had spent the walk home constantly questioning myself whether I was right or not, but still a bit desperate wanting to believe I was. It wasn't until I returned to the dorm and struck up conversation about the topic that I began to really understand my error. I was so convinced that I had to put a label on each person so as to understand them, that I completely neglected the purpose of labels and the right of individuals to choose them. Labels do not define a person; rather, they offer some explanation to the life of the person who chooses them.
This whole situation was a bit of a shock to me; after all, I knew that I was more than just my labels and would speak out against those who would work to only see me as my labels and the believed definitive traits that come along with that label. So here I am assuming the role of the majority and assigning superficial traits to the minority based off my own ignorance and the subsequent fear of that ignorance. Because at that time I thought that if I could label them, I could understand them. And understanding means sympathy, right? Not when it comes through the denial of one's rights to self-autonomy.
Though I have learned many things in this class that have taught me about the injustices in the world, the one that remains the most potent comes from recognizing my own parochialism and the subsequent attitudes used to maintain it. In this world there are innumerable differences in each individual and each day an opportunity to go beyond the selectively viewed traits and see the real life in each other. And ultimately that's what justice is to me.