One thing that has been an underlining issue I have had all semester in every class is this idea of working within the system to change the system. I just do not buy it. I find so many flaws in it. This is where I need everyone's ideas and thoughts on the issue. Here is my deal with it: Part of the problem (a lot of the problem) stems from the system itself. By system I mean SYSTEM... all capital letters. You know, the historical underpinning that makes this country so great (there is a hint of sarcasm here). Founded on christian morals, freedom for all, equality, hope, dreams, blah, blah, blah, blah.. The system that offers this for a certain select few and systematically disadvantages and oppress others. I digress, I wonder if this is why I like theory so much because it stays away from offering up answers or solutions to inequities. On the other hand, there are groups of people fighting to change the inequities that have been systematically put in place. Do not get me wrong, I think these groups are needed. I would be a fool to think otherwise but I have to believe there is another way possible for these groups to survive than to be a not for profit, non-government organizations or grant writing/grant funding groups. What got me thinking about this specifically, for this class was a reading in "Nobody Passes". In the chapter, 'Undermining Gender Regulation' Dean Spade talks about his interaction with the state and how he was pushed into the politics of it all. He is interested in examining how the gender hierarchies operate within government policies and practice (66). He works at Sylvia Rivera Law Project were they have provided legal services to over 800 trans, intersex, and gender-nonconforming people (70). Spade, from what I can gather, is trying to not only change policy but is try to shift paradigms. He wants to 'weed out' discrimination that is affecting those who are at the margins. Although he never explicitly says that policies changes are the way to go, it seems to be the only tangible thing he offered, other than analyzing how operations of gender regulation affect those on the margins the most. To me one of the biggest question that is left out is, who is invested in these operations of gender regulation? Who gains to profit from them? These are question that lead to paradigm shifts. When one is able to get to the root of regulations and oppressions and the possessive investment they offer to certain groups of people, it is then when those who stand to invest from it without knowing, find it appalling. Now, who knows if they will change anything about how they move in the world but it is worth a try.
Obviously the government stands to profit from it; along with pharmaceutical companies, the prison industrial complex, anti-immigrant policies and in turn white, middle-class, straight people profit too. So getting back to what I originally started out with, can one work within the system to change the system? I would find it very difficult to do so especially if the funding is coming directly from those who stand to profit from the very thing one is fighting against.
There is a need for those working in the system but then there needs to be those who try to defy the system and dismantle the system. A new way has to be possible. And I am not sure it is going to be found in a book or around a table in the halls of academia.