CGL 145 reflection

This class, oh this class. Probably one of my least favorite classes I’ve ever taken if I’m being serious. Going into the semester, I was pretty excited to see what this class would entail and how all of us leadership folk would learn from this experience. Well, I can honestly say I took nothing out of this class but the anger I felt from how everything was basically laid out. I should probably start with what I THOUGHT it would be about (was I wrong), I figured the class would be about all of the racial, sexual, religious, etc. issues we have now and had in the past. Trying to discover the root of the thinking and how upbringing caused us to be where we are today. In reality, I thought it would be a lot like a history class mixed with a philosophy class. Very similar to the history class I am in right now (HST 221) where we discuss the upbringing of children and learn about children of the past. This class was described to me by a group leader as “basically trying to make you feel bad”… okay? Um weird concept of teaching but whatever. Going in each day was so frustrating because personally, I don’t think that I should feel bad for being “white” “heterosexual” “Christian” “a majority” when I have done nothing wrong to make those such a negative stereotype. Personally, we all need to learn about our differences and accept that it is okay to be different; along with finding our similarities and strengthening those in order to bring us together. When I was asked, “how was race brought up in your family?” I shot my hand up to share what I thought was an ideal way that my parents taught me: I was always told “treat others with respect no matter if they are black, white, red, blue yellow, any color. Do not judge anyone on anything except for their character”; feeling proud of my parents and my upbringing I was told that it was sad that I never had to worry about race and that really showed my privilege. I’m sorry? It was said in such a negative manner that my group kind of just stared at our leader with the question, “so being a good person with morals is a negative thing just because I’m privileged?” UGH. There were also other things very similar that got under my skin in that class, one of them being when we talked about feminism and the treatment of women. IM SORRY but who are you to be telling me how I (should) feel as a woman when you are not me, you are not in my shoes?? The whole time I just felt as if I was being told how I needed to feel because other women feel/felt that way. I was just taken aback by the fact that for one, a man was telling me that I should be offended by a man opening a door for me (for instance) because it was a subtle way of him asserting his dominance over me (WHAT) or how back in the day sexism was at its peak when a woman’s only job was to work at home, not taking into account how many women WANTED the job of being a mom and a housewife acting like this is a negative thing. This was probably supposed to go more on the route of the expectations of women to stay at home was blatant sexism but the way everything in the class was portrayed just made me so mad and honestly resent the class. There was one time I really felt attacked by the lack of care when speaking on a very important topic: religion. Being the curious person I am, I was really excited to discuss this topic because personally, I feel religions, in general, are discriminated against, especially on social media. Growing up in a predominately Christian area but just cities away from a predominately Muslim area, I was interested in hearing the perspectives of others and share my own. I felt attacked when my leaders were talking about things in a manner that felt like they really had no knowledge on the topics such as why there are so many Christian churches, only one Mosque, and one Synagogue. Well if you think of it in the fact of population demographics, if there are 80% Christians in an area then you’d expect the majority of the places of worship to be churches, correct? When making that statement my leaders disagreed and called it “religious discrimination of our country” and they said that it was basically Islamophobia as the reason for this. What?! Why would we have more places of worship than there are people to worship that particular religion just to make it even. I am very confused still to this day when talking about it. All in all, I did take some things back from this class (a lot of “What not to do’s”) such as the difference between debate and dialogue. Learning about how to use dialogue was actually really helpful but really I think I developed a better understanding of how to approach situations in my debate class from freshman year, a better understanding on how people think and act the way they do from philosophy, and a better grasp as the history of racism/discrimination and how it came about and is still relevant in today’s society from my history classes growing up. But I think the main thing that really bothered me when we were talking about our privileges in that class was how the privilege of being “able-bodied” was never brought up; handicapped people are discriminated subconsciously and inadvertently by a lot of people and I think that is very prevalent in today’s society especially on our campus where some buildings and residence halls do not have wheelchair access. But yes, I still know that I am a good person, I still know how to treat people, I now know dialogue, I understand the subtlety of racism even when people don’t mean it, and now I understand and have a little bit more empathy for people now. I just personally and strongly believe that this class should not be part of the LAS protocol considering I really did not learn anything “leadershippy” (for lack of a better word) from this class. If it was a class based on learning the history of racism/discrimination, trying to see how it fits in today, and discuss what we can do as leaders to make a change or at least make others more aware would be a very beneficial class for LAS cohorts of the future. I truly feel like this class was a waste of my time and it still gets me pretty heated. I understand the LI was unaware of most of the discussion points in this class and that we were the first cohort to experience it but I truly believe that there is a better class for this. Perhaps one that the LI could create that also involved the MAC scholars because I thoroughly enjoyed having a mixed cohort class. If there was a class that discussed leadership theories, racism/discrimination in leadership and in our society, and how we can take action to promote change would be a very influential class. I would be interested in helping with anything of that sort but I feel like making people feel bad about things they cannot change is the wrong route especially in a classroom setting. Thank you for reading this very long, very repetitive post but I really felt like I needed to share.

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