The problems associated with oppression and privileges are present in today’s society and it is up to the society as a whole to acknowledge the social issues in the society (Johnston 125). The art of silence in social issues allow these types of oppressions to continue among people. For example racism, sexism, homosexuality among other things is some of the things the society minimizes through silence. Johnston makes crucial and relevant points regarding the society because we have been socialized to believe that our merit relies on how hard we work (Johnston 118). This may be true but given the social stratification in the society where sexual orientation, one’s phenotype, and gender measures one’s success in the community. In America, most of the upper class people are the white. This it is important, because it shows that they are the most dominant and have power in our society thereby, instigating institutionalized racism. In the long run, people of color tend to be below the hierarchy because the system is controlled by the people with power. Thus, it is important for the society as a whole to come together as a way of dealing with these social issues. Johnston makes a valid point by claiming that certain people enjoy privilege because of their power in the society (Johnston 138). This is compelling because it illustrates that we live in a hierarchical society where inequality has been justified through people’s unearned privileges.
Johnson discusses the matrix of denial, resistance, and minimization to explain some of the social stratification that the society has adapted to (Johnston 117). People have been socialized to adapt in the idea of meritocracy that arranges the society in a hierarchical way. Denial encompasses the idea that there is no racism, sexism, classism, and that the American dream can be achieved by everyone. This notion does not take into account that there are those that are privileged and unprivileged in the society. For example, in America the people of color are disadvantaged because of their phenotype whereas the white people have the luxury of enjoying the unearned privileged based on their color of skin. This indicates that there is a hierarchy that has already been embedded in the society such that people of a certain phenotype enjoy a larger piece of the society’s pie in terms of employment, high standards of living among others.
The book also identifies the act of resistance where people blame the victim because of their status in the community by claiming that they are not privileged but their rank is based on meritocracy (Johnston 118-9). Given we live in a patriarchic world such that men are favored by the system than women, women tend to be neglected ad oppressed. For example, men have a higher pay than women in the US. This indicates that men are privileged in the society compared to women based on their gender. On the other side, Johnston discusses how people tend to be passive in matters that do not affect them in any way. For example, homosexuals have been marginalized in the community and tend to be judged because of their sexual orientation. People tend to disconnect themselves from the issues affecting the community as a way of getting off the hook (Johnston 123). It is important for people to understand that we have been socialized follow the norms of the society that have been set by the dominant group because they have the most power in the society. Thus, one should ever justify a situation that oppresses the other through blaming the victim in a given situation.
Johnston, Allan. Power, privilege, and prestige: occupations in Australia. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006. Print.