Andrea Ayvazian "Interrupting the Cycle of Oppression: The Role of Allies as Agents of Change" and Fletcher A. Blanchard "Combatting Intentional Bigotry and Inadvertently Racist Acts"
Andrea Ayazian argues that allies are needed in our society to help fight oppression. In the paper she discussed who an ally is and how they can help. She provided various examples to show how diverse and interconnected an ally can be. One that that she was very hopeful towards was that it would help with violence in our society. According to her, "because members of the dominant group are conferred with considerable social power and privilege, they carry significant authority when confronting perpetrators of violence in their own group" (Ayvazian, 600). This seems logical but does it really work? There has been article that I have read in the past and one that I actually hyperlinked in one of my blogs discussing this topic; it mainly had to do with white people owning up to their privilege and starting to understand racism once they hear it from another white person. I remember reading that in a way they got to connect to the white person speaking of the oppression and how they are the oppressors then they actually look in the mirror. I guess in this way this is what she is getting at that they will "stop" and do better since it's coming from their "own" people. Overall this article was very hopeful in trying to change our society and making it a better place. Another thing she said that made sense and connects to her argument was, "it is hard for young people to grow up and fight racism if they have never met anyone who does". In this generation I have realized that most of us are afraid to fight for our rights and fight against racism. If it doesn't affect them directly they could care less, especially if people around them aren't either. It's sad but true in a sense. Allies could be a good thing and I have seen a couple great ones but I don't know if that's all it takes to fix our society.
Fletcher Blanchard argues the lack of knowledge in regards to racism and the illusion that racism on campus isn't as bad anymore now that it's being taken care of with school policies. This paper was written in 1992 but is still so relevant now just to show what he is arguing about. One study he had done on his college campus showed that when it comes to race people follow the "trend" whether good or bad; "After hearing someone else condemn racism, college students expressed anti-racist sentiments much more strongly than those who heard someone express equivocal views. However, students who first heard someone condone racism then voiced views that reflected strong acceptance of racism" (Blanchard 605). When it came to racism the students were completely oblivious. He talks about how many white students are inexperienced and aren't around black students or other people of color until college. This then leads to the people of color suffering and there not being sufficient consequences. One of the main problems with all of this is how people of color are underrepresented in colleges. We are then harassed and traumatized and feel alone with nowhere to go to discuss these problems and stabilize ourselves. I agree with his suggestion to conquer this problem, "until inexperienced students master the behaviors that reflect their egalitarian commitments. we must maintain havens for minority students that protect them from intentional harassment and naive disrespect, including cultural centers and organizations for particular minority groups" (Blanchard 608). The least the school can do is have a place where we can go and see people like us and feel like we belong.
How do you guys feel about allies? How can we help end racism on campus?