So I’ve been thinking a lot about inequality, as one does in grad school. And I can whine all I like about sexism. I’ve felt the expectations that I act, interact, and perform in certain ways. I’ve had experiences where men have said rude things about my ability, or I felt like I was considered less qualified than someone else because I’m a young woman. But really, in the long run, I have things pretty good. I’m white, heterosexual, educated, protestant, upper middle class (well, my parents are, I’m in grad school…). So I’m left with this question: what do you do when you are on the other side of the injustice? What am I to do as a young, relatively powerless, but clearly not as powerless as some people, intellectual?
I can’t speak for these underrepresented groups. That’s condescending. Not to mention that I have no expertise in what they want or need, or how to change things in a way that would make them happier. But I don’t see doing nothing as an option. I’m not in a position where I can really help the downtrodden move up in society, even on the individual level (at least not yet). So, what DO we do?
I think one thing is to listen. To stop talking all the time, but to ask good questions and to listen to people who don’t always get listened to. Perhaps it is our job to find the smart voices and amplify them. But I really think that people in powerful positions, or positions of privilege, never go wrong with listening more. So I guess my next job is to figure out what exactly it is that I should be listening for. But I think Barbara Ehrenreich has one good idea. I think politics is another way – to pay attention to whose interests politicians are acting in, and vote for further justice. Any ideas, oh faithful readers?