What I’ve Learned

The first step in making any change is learning about what you want to change. Essentially, education is the first step of anything. The main way I see myself using the readings of this course (and what I have continually been doing) is using them to educate others on topics at hand. I find myself in several conversations about topics such as the ones we have discussed in this class and I have been able to use course readings to share with others. On Wikipedia, I can use my new knowledge to add to articles and recognize any bias that I may have not noticed I had before. 

As for systems, I have learned that many need to be changed and restructured. There are many groups that are attempting to reconstruct these oppressive systems. If we work within these systems, we can essentially help change it from the inside. As an ally, people will be able to recognize the system they are apart of and the privilege they have and use that to help people who are not as privileged.

Disability Justice and Accessibility Laws

Disability justice is a movement that aids in the furtherance of the interests of people with disabilities and the intersections with it. Namely, this movement is one that fights for the addition and improvement of accessibility laws. Accessibility laws are extremely important to implement. When they are not implemented, it creates a divide between those who are able-bodied and those who are not. On top of this, the lack of accessibility can make people who have disabilities feel more alienated and abnormal when in reality they are equal. To me, the lack of accessibility laws is a way to shift the power dynamic in the way of the “majority”. They encourage the biases that form because people with disabilities are “different” from the “majority”. Instead of accepting this ‘other group’, they make them feel abnormal. 

In reading 105 in Readings for Diversity and Social Justice, Grasgreen speaks about the ignorance of universities and schools when it comes to DAS. I actually connected with their comments about students who could have DAS accommodations, but do not want to go through all of the hoops it takes. They speak about how medical documentation is required for accommodations which can be uncomfortable for students to share. Reading 115 speaks about how people can become allies to people with disabilities. Namely, allies need to recognize their privilege and use that privilege to aid people without it. 

According to “The Social Model of Disability”, the medical model and social model of disability are different in many ways. The medical model treats disability as a problem or disease of an individual person that needs to be cured. The social model, according to Shakespeare, is a “culturally and historically specific phenomenon”. They expand this by saying that the group with disabilities is oppressed while non-disabled people are the oppressors. This model is thought to bring people with disabilities together and connect directly to disability justice. They did comment on the downfalls of the social model: it neglects the actual impairment that comes with living as a person with disabilities. 


Adams, Maurianne, et al., editors. Readings for Diversity and Social Justice. 3 edition, Routledge, 2013. 105. Students with Disabilities Frustrated with Ignorance and Lack of Services (Allie Grasgreen)
Adams, Maurianne, et al., editors. Readings for Diversity and Social Justice. 3 edition, Routledge, 2013. 115. Recognizing Ableist Beliefs and Practices and Taking Action as an Ally” (Madeline Peters, et al.)

Shakespeare, Tom. “The Social Model of Disability”.  The Disability Studies Reader. Taylor & Francis, 2016. 

Violence in the Media

Unfortunately, there are several examples where violence against Black people and POC are represented in the media, used as a signifier, and seen as entertainment. The primary example that comes to mind is this violent representation in video games, namely, the Grand Theft Auto series. While this is not the sole video game or media representation that demonstrates this blatant disrespect towards POC, this is a great example to take a look at. 

Throughout the series’ long run, it seems to target characters who are POC unfairly. While these games attempt to demonstrate real-life issues that many inner-city POC have, it pretty much only allows for white people to satiate their curiosity about what it would be like to live in that situation. This game, like many others, are used to satiate middle to upper-class white folk for entertainment purposes only. 

For something like this to actually work for the (hopefully) intended purpose of educating people on what life is truly like for people living in areas like the ones depicted in GTA, there needs to be another educational aspect to it, not the allowance of constant police brutality because it is “fun”. 

A lot of these games may be triggering for people who have truly experienced the violence in this game, but people still play it anyways. The people who do play games like these are ignoring the fact that situations like these happen daily for others and disrespecting that fact. 

There is no doubt that this contemporary institutional violence against POC is connected to colonialism and transatlantic slavery. Those times were filled with rage, hate, and disrespect towards POC enough to the point that people thought owning another person was okay because of the way they looked and where they came from. This disrespect for POC has clearly carried over to today’s day and age because we still see the hate and lack of respect in so many more ways, especially through the media. While people do not perform violence against POC in the ways they did in the transatlantic slave era, violence can be observed in so many more ways.

Biased Media Feeding Biased People

In the history of the United States, there has never been a female president. During last election, we were able to see a glimpse into what that would be like with Clinton. Even during this election, we are seeing how gender plays into the process. For example, when talking about Elizabeth Warren, media sources are often stuck on how “likable” she will be in office. She also has to defend her policies, unlike other politicians who are getting by without sharing their plans. 

The example of elections and gender demonstrates a symptom of the media influencing what is deemed correct and not. The media will comment on people’s outfits, what they are doing, their life decisions, etc. Depending on where you look, whatever people are commenting on is spun into a certain way. The media will say what is good and what is bad, what is ugly and what is pretty, what is acceptable and what is not. Whoever follows this media, with enough exposure, might fall victim to being influenced by these sources. This then gets spread online through social media sites. 

Social media was made to bring people together, but all it has done is breed hate and loneliness. Many people will attack others that they believe are different from them and social media allows this to happen with almost no repercussions. This has become the easiest way for people to anonymously share their hatred and contempt for those who do not necessarily fit the “norm”. The norm changes constantly because influencers, entertainers, and famous people say it should and people follow. These “in groups” in social media can aid in creating or aiding people’s biases towards people who are different from them. The biases of one aiding the biases of another can create more damage; it is like trying to put a fire out with another fire instead of using something different enough to challenge the fire and eventually putting it out. 

Essentially social media dictates the “rules” of how people are supposed to act online. These rules are not encouraging kind behavior or discouraging discriminatory acts. Instead, these are unspoken rules of how you are supposed to act based on who you are. For example, women are supposed to post sexy photos in order to be considered pretty, but not too much or they become a slut. There are other examples of this, but women have more unspoken rules to choose from.

Noble, Safiya Umoja, and Brendesha M. Tynes, editors. The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Class, and Culture Online. New edition, Peter Lang Inc., International Academic Publishers, 2016.

The Inclusion Process

Typically the internet is not something that is thought of as safe because of several issues such as cyber-bullying. This may be turning a new leaf on sites that attempt to create a safe space for people who may be marginalized for being who they are in some way. For example, Wikipedia has specific policies that implement being as gender-neutral as possible when describing a general scenario. 

Through these policies, it seems that Wikipedia is attempting to make its site one that is welcoming for all. The problem lately is that vocabulary is expanding for the way that people would like to be described as and some are slower to make that change. This makes people who do not necessarily fit the “standard” heteronormative, binary reality feel left out and possibly forgotten. Clearly, they are still human beings deserving of being included in broad statements that include human beings. 

Since policies were set in place like the one of Wikipedia, many more people feel comfortable to be on these sites. In Wikipedia’s sake, people may feel more inclined to edit articles and give back to the site that aided in their inclusion (that should already be there!!). Not only does it make women feel more comfortable because language isn’t assumed to be in the male gender, but it also makes people who do not fit the gender binary most likely feel included as well.

The Roundhouse and (Unfortunately) Forgotten Women

I think that  The Roundhouse is extremely important and topical for what is going on. Louise Erdrich comments on several issues that Indegenous people (indigenous women in particular) through the lens of Geraldine. She was sexually assaulted and it becomes apparent throughout the story that the location of where it happened matters. Apparently this matters because of the jurisdiction of each area. In different areas, there are different rights people have. This completely complicates things. Geraldine had to deal with reliving her trauma attempting to get this situation figured out. Not only is she dealing with the oppression coming from the criminal justice system, she is also facing oppression coming from the fact that she is a woman and indigenous. 

This is a real problem that indegenous women face. They are not fully supported by anyone and many of these women become forgotten instead of getting the justice they deserve. There is a current crisis surrounding missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. It is extremely unfortunate that these women become forgotten. Erdrich does a good job at showing that laws are a huge part of the oppressive problem. Many laws and rights are shaped to benefit one part of the population and not others which becomes apparent in this story. 

Clearly something needs to change. It is not okay for anyone to be forgotten like this because of reasons like legislation, laws, jurisdiction, etc. These are human lives (like our own) and need to be treated as such. The oppressive system of the justice system needs to change in order to support all people, not solely benefit one type of person. 

The states that have legislation and legislated investigations into the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indegenous Women and Girls are Arizona, California, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, and Washington.

Goforth-Ward, Meg. “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Legislation.” Urban Indian Health Institute (blog), May 17, 2019. https://www.uihi.org/missing-and-murdered-indigenous-women-and-girls-legislation/ “MMIW Crisis,” September 13, 2019. https://www.doi.gov/ocl/mmiw-crisis

Knowledge Gaps About Feminism

Fourth-wave feminism is extremely interesting because it is all about not having a “central definition”. Even the Wikipedia site had a roundabout way to describe what feminism in the current day means to everyone. Essentially, it said that feminism is becoming individualistic as opposed to the previous forms of it being a political group. It also stated that this current wave is all about the usage of social media and media in general to get the feminist point across. 

The Wikipedia site describes the history of this type of feminism and how it originated in countries outside of the United States. It was extremely interesting to find that fourth-wave feminism began as early as the ‘90s in some areas through the use of news outlets and television.

The Wikipedia article was packed with historical information, but it was lacking in the one area that mattered the most: intersectionality. Intersectionality had its own section, but there were around three small, two sentence paragraphs in the section. Clearly, this section did not matter as much to the authors because it was not pertinent in their minds. 

bell hooks comments on this in Readings for Diversity and Social Justice when they condemn the current usage of the term feminism to describe a non-political white feminist movement. They also demonstrates how the overarching definition that exists now can push people away from the movement. The definition of “being equal to men” does not make sense because it does not include the fact that not all men are equal. The current movement centers around white feminism and needs to adjust according to intersectional issues including race and class. 

I believe that the lack of specificity in the definition of feminism is one of the causes for the knowledge gap on the “Fourth-wave Feminism” Wikipedia page. Many people have access to the internet where some people with a low socioeconomic status may not. This causes for a rift in information because the people who are privileged enough to have access will report on these websites. This leaves room for people’s opinions, thoughts, and perspectives to not be heard.

Through bulking up the “Intersectionality” section in the Wikipedia article, this would add a whole new perspective to current feminism. It speaks to the importance of including all groups to fight together in order to change the system that oppresses them. It will not work just to change one aspect of the system — it has to be confronted at all angles. Through adding to this section, we are introducing the important idea of intersectionality to people who may not have known it existed and why it is so important.


bell hooks. “Feminism: A Movement to End Sexist Oppression.” Readings for Diversity and Social Justice, by Maurianne Adams, Routledge, 2018, pp. 359-362.

Fourth-wave feminism, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth-wave_feminism

The ‘Unbiased’ Internet Strikes Again

Despite what popular culture will tell people, the internet is not always accessible to everyone. This leads to several groups being left out of the digital conversation. The group with the most presence will be the most heard, in turn giving the illusion that this is the full truth. Since there is a lack of this left out voice, there may be many content gaps throughout the entire internet leading to the spread of misinformation. 

The people who seem to be the most heard on the internet are the ones who come from the ‘majority’ group: cis, white people. For example, in The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Class and Culture Online Jessie Daniels speaks about a white feminist, Sheryl Sandberg, who became popular after the release of her book and TED talk surrounding what she believes as feminism. (Daniels, 2016). This popularized form of feminism only allowed room for people who were in the ‘majority’ in essentially every other category of their life except for gender. The entire idea of intersectionality was abandoned as well as the populations that believe that intersectionality is an essential part of feminism (which it is). Like it says in the book, Sandberg basically said that it was the woman’s job to change for the system, not the system’s job to change to be equal and equitable for everyone.

In doing this and popularizing this idea of feminism, Sandberg essentially committed lateral violence to every woman who was not mentioned. She taught women that they need to “choose the right man” and speak up at work, but what about those who are not able to find time to date because they have three children at home and a full time job or those who are not able to get a job because they did not go to college. This is a classic example of how those who are able to access the internet may deal damage to populations they are attempting to help because they do not understand nor care about the full picture because it may not be a part of their identity. 


Daniels, Jessie . “The Trouble With White Feminism: Whiteness, Digital Feminism, and the Intersectional Internet.” The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Class, and Culture Online. New edition edition, Peter Lang Inc., International Academic Publishers, 2016.

Summary- Identities and Social Locations: Who am I? Who are my People?

In the story Identities and Social Locations: Who Am I? Who Are My People?, Kirk and Okazawa-Rey talk about how people’s identities are formed. There are several levels on which people establish their identities, the first being at the individual level.

Internally, people are able to identify who they are. This level is the most easy to attain and understand because this comes directly from the individual. Above all, they are able to say, with confidence, exactly which “category” they feel they fit into. This is not stagnant, though. With every new life event comes a possibility of completely changing who we feel we are inside and out.

Outside of the individual, there are several levels that feed into our identity. The next level up, the meso level, is where people attempt to figure out if they are in the same “group” as you or not. Questions are asked to identify what makes you similar or different to them. This is the first level that makes identifying ourselves so much more difficult. This level is about identifying with certain groups of people that are similar to you.

Similarly, at a macro scale, there are groups that people are identified to be a part of. This time, people do not get to choose if they want to be in the group or not. There is a clear classification system in the world and it pits “us against them”. There are several ways in which this happens including stereotyping and cultural appropriation.

While there is an obvious problem of inequality caused by this, there is an underlying issue: many people have to choose one identity over the other in certain contexts. There may be a person who is a part of the “in group” in certain aspects of their life, but not others. At this point, context is key.

Adams, M., Blumenfeld, W. J., Castaneda, R., Hackman, H. W., Peters, M. L., & Zuniga, X. (2000). Readings for Diversity and Social Justice. Psychology Press.