The Ideal Vs. the Reality

While all of the readings in this class have been interesting to say the least—the writing that sticks with me most is Audre Lorde’s “Age, Race, Sex and Class.” Out of all the authors, Lorde’s background is the one I identify with most. She covered a lot of topics in this publication and criticized society for things I am guilty myself of. Specifically, I am referring to the part of her essay where she suggests that those who are outsiders, typically harbor resentment towards individuals who fall outside of the “mythical norm” in opposite ways. This message stands out to me, and I see this type of behavior throughout the day in life and extensively on social media. From the impoverished people who don’t like gays to the immigrant who says racists things, or the gay guy who looks down on those who are uneducated.  This behavior is unsettling, and as Lorde put it, those who have been oppressed will not escape their status by demeaning other groups of oppressed people.

There as so few people who fit perfectly into these ideal standards—young, straight, educated, white, attractive, financially secure, Christian male. Yet, at some point in everyone’s life it is so tempting to try to align his or herself with them.  While the few individuals who do fit perfectly, or almost perfectly, into these categories he or she is not inherently bad or evil. Still as history has shown us, people who benefit from the oppression of others will do everything in their power to continue to reap the rewards. Truly the oppressors have won by turning minorities against each other—they taught us to hate ourselves and to hate our differences.  The solution to this dilemma is to accept everyone, and together minorities can create an unstoppable force against inequality. As simple as this sounds, I could not imagine in a thousand years that such a thing could ever occur.  Hate is immensely powerful and it’s everywhere, as so is fear and insecurity.  In small groups people can get along, but we have yet to find a way to do so on a large scale.

As pessimistic as I may sound, this is my perspective of society. From incidents I’ve witnessed, and experiences I’ve lived through, and  from reading Audre Lorde’s take on this thirty years ago and realizing how much it still applies to our world now.

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7 thoughts on “The Ideal Vs. the Reality

  1. I really connected with Lorde’s essay as well. You bring up major points that I agree with and think are extremely important. Lorde wrote this essay thirty years ago and her concerns then are still strong concerns today, in 2017. I don’t think that you’re being pessimistic; you’re being extremely realistic. Instead of leaving things at “I hope one day that there will be no more stereotypes etc.” you’re leaving things at what they are and what we, as individuals in this society need to do…help change the mindset of the whole in fixing this oppressed system. And Lorde brings up the point, the oppressors are important in stopping this, they just need the proper education and with them using their privilege to help, that’s when it will change. Just need time and energy and passion.

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  2. In our society it is very hard to come from the bottom up. Without money, and a powerful race and gender it is near impossible to rise above those with power. This just explains the structure seen around the world because it this day and age someone will always be at the top and you cannot have a truly equal world. This is even seen between countries, for example Haiti is a less wealthy, smaller and less powerful country than us, but in this situation our power is used for good as we help Haiti through volunteer work and donations. Yes, there is more to it than just donating and volunteering in the works and dynamics of the way our world works for power but if it was so simple to just help bring those from the bottom up to the top, we would live in a happier and more peaceful world. I agree with the point you made about Lorde talking about oppressors and how they are a piece of the puzzle in our society. Using one’s privilege to help should be a common notion even though those in power do not always use their power to help others.

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  3. It would be nice if we could all get along and just stop looking at each other through the color of one’s skin or education level but you’re right it’ll probably never change. As much as our generation and younger generations are learning to be more accepting, I still see the hatred growing inside people. For instance, I always seem to get an uneasy feeling when I’m in high class areas around me. It never seems to fail that I feel like I’m being looked down (either because of the way I dress or act or because I’m like a half a shade darker than them) on and I can tell the way they talk to me is just a little bit different compared to the people that are the same as them. It’s sad really but our world was built on hate and I don’t think these things are going to change any time soon. Especially with these crazy new ideals being spread of how we should keep immigrants out with a big grand wall. As if that’s going to solve everything.

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  4. When reading your post, I completely agree when talking about how people out of the norm are judgmental to other people who are also out of the norm. I find it very ironic because most people would think that if someone is out of what we consider “norm,” that they would be more accepting towards other people who are considered out of the norm as well. People should be less judgmental and more accepting to people especially if they know how it feels to be different. People feel out of the norm because of people who judge others for being different. If we all learned to accept people there wouldn’t be such thing as “out of the norm.”

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  5. I think the majority sometimes fails to see why minorities act the way they do in certain context. The minority has dealt with oppression and are justified in the way they act. I do not think it is too unrealistic to say that these seterotypes must halt. I really connected with Lorde’s essay as well and how she touches on the difference between feminism and white feminism. Like you said, majority of people these days don’t fit into the “norm” so we as a socitiety need to demolish this idea of a norm, and stop being afraid of the changes that need to be made.

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  6. I agree with this on so many levels. I think its such crap that people feel such a necessity to conform to societies expectation. I don’t think people should be ashamed that they don’t fit the “norm”. I honestly think the idea that there even is a norm. I feel like people feeling ashamed to be who they really are is just not ok. you don’t see the LGBT community ragging on people who are straight or fit into the “norm”. I don’t see why people worry about what others do so much. like ok we get it someone doesnt agree with you boo hoo hoo get over it and move on. Like lets be real here if everyone was the same we’d hate our lives because it would all always be the same crap. we just need to accept people for who they are and move on!.

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