Chapter 1 Thinking Journal Topic:
Two positive things I was told as a kid was that I could be anything that I wanted to be, and that coming in second place did not mean that I was a loser. These messages have stayed with me through adulthood and are very present in my life today. I constantly hear these words that I can be anything I want to be; and I bask in the glow of that reassurance. When I feel down or low and feel things are getting overwhelming, I know that I can reflect on this reminder and I never give up. There have been tasks that I’ve worked on for work and school and they became overwhelming. I had to remember why I was in this field and the words of my mother. Her words made me work harder and believe in myself that much more. I knew that I would make my imprint in the world, whether personally or professionally, and that I had the encouragement and support since childhood.
When it came to losing, I was the worst. I was always a perfectionist and had a hard time losing at anything. I was a poor sport and was often inconsolable after a loss. My mother took me aside one day and gave me an important lesson that resonates with me today. She told me that it was okay not to win, and that losing built character. She said that it was easy to be a winner, with all of the praise and prestige that came along with it; but it took a strong person to lose, and to lose with honor and dignity. Of course my mother encouraged me to win, but that losing was not the end of the world. In life we will never be first at everything all of the time. We must be satisfied and content knowing that we tried and did our best.
Chapter Two Thinking Journal Topic:
It is important to think positively when dealing with diversity. Diversity means recognizing and appreciating everyone for who they are and what they represent. In order to positively embrace diversity, people need to value each other, learn about new cultures and get rid of preconceived notions about the person. It is very easy to stereotype an individual based on myths and unproven facts. Discrimination is wrong, whether it is against a particular race, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, disability or any other factors that makes us unique. When dealing with a diverse group of people, we have to think outside of the box. We cannot let our personal beliefs or prejudices influence our decisions or interactions with them.
Prejudice and stereotyping is a learned behavior, and as the reading says, we can also unlearn these behaviors. Positive thinking can go a long way in impacting how we think. If we automatically think negative thoughts or demeaning facts about a certain race or ethnicity of people, then our interactions with them will be negative as well. We have to remain positive and eliminate prejudicial barriers and concepts. We have to realize that the world is a melting pot, and is comprised of many different cultures, people, attitudes and beliefs. We as people have to learn how to appreciate the differences in people and find value in our differences; this is what makes us diverse. Once we get our attitudes to reflect positively, then we can learn how to accept and promote diversity.
Chapter Three Thinking Journal Topic:
If I was born as an intersexed person and my parents changed my gender as a child, I would leave it that way. I understand this is a controversial topic and a very sensitive issue, but I would remain in the assigned gender. Even though I might feel that I was in the wrong gender, I think it would be easier for me to remain in that gender, because I would already have an established life and friends that know me as that persona. I would not want to disappoint my parents or make them question their decision for choosing my gender. Even though I would feel I should have been the opposite sex, I would do what is best and easier for my family. It is not easy for any parent to be in a situation where they have to pick their child’s gender and I would live this way being assured that they made the best decision they could at the time; and I would honor their decision by remaining in that gender.
It would be a difficult process for me emotionally to go through the gender reassignment process; and I would not know if I could emotionally take the stigma or the politics surrounding a transgender person. I do not think with the laws the way are set up that there is enough protection for individuals going through gender reassignments. Many states have enacted laws that prohibit discrimination and transgender individuals, but only three states have law specifically protecting gender identity.
Chapter Four Thinking Journal Topic:
We should value our freedom and be thankful for the laws and protections afforded by the United States. I agree that we should be patriotic and support our troops, law enforcement officials and participate in the voting process. Many people have fought for our freedom and lost their lives to ensure that we live a free life in the United States. We should be loyal to our country and not support treason, spying or terrorism activities. We are supposed to work together as a nation for the betterment of our country.
Even though we must be supportive of our government and law enforcement officials, we still have a right to disagree with them. Disagreement with an authoritative official does not and should not make one unpatriotic. Sometimes authority figures must be questioned and held accountable for suspicious activities or actions. This is our right as American citizens and we are guaranteed free speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution. We are free to demonstrate, to protest laws and speak out against actions that we feel are unethical, unequal or unfair. We should be able to do this without being considered unpatriotic or a traitor to our country.
Chapter Five Thinking Journal Topic:
It is sad to see that in the twenty-first century there is still discrimination and inequality in the workplace. These inequalities are very evident regarding women and their professional status. Women in the workplace are not valued equally as men. Women are discriminated against based on myths and stereotypes. Women are believed to be not as committed as men, not as hard workers and not as smart as their male counterparts. Some might attribute this to women taking extended maternity leaves, calling out sick for a child or appointment, and for not working overtime like their male coworkers.
This does not mean that the woman is less educated or incapable of performing the job. Women are still seeking equal pay, equal treatment and overall fairness. They face harsh realities when trying to promote to executive and high level positions. In the twenty-first century, women are still facing barriers such as the glass ceiling, and women of color face an even starker concrete ceiling. These are positions that are unattainable, and the women are unable to break through to the executive level. For minority women it is even worse. They are faced with the concrete ceiling. They cannot attain the next level because they cannot even see it, or are not offered admittance to the next level. Women of color are discriminated against even more because they have to face sexism and racism. These barriers can be broken by focusing on better equality laws for women.
Chapter Six Thinking Journal Topic:
I have strong feelings about organizations using Native American mascots to represent their schools, and professional sport organizations. This practice is wrong and culturally insensitive. The organizations try to justify their use of mascots by saying that they are paying homage to the Native Americans, but it is really an insult to their race and is politically incorrect. The faces of Native Americans should not be plastered over schools and sports teams across the country. One of the most demeaning names is the Redskins. This name along with the mascot of a dark red colored Native American is totally inappropriate. Native Americans used to be referred to as “Redmen”, and to continue to use this name to reference the color of someone’s unethical and ridiculous. I could not imagine a team called the White skins, Black skins or Brown skins, there would be an outrage. There are some teams that use names such as the Chiefs, the Apaches and the Seminoles and they may say that this is a tribute to the Native Americans.
The problem is not so much with the name, but with the mascots that are being used. These images are always portrayed as hunters, with swords, feathers, bright colors and very red skin. This is not an accurate depiction of all Native Americans, and can lead to them being stereotyped, and discriminated against. This practice should be reviewed and reevaluated in order to catch up to modern times. With the US trying to become a politically correct nation, it is disheartening to see that the Native Americans who are being exploited based on their culture.
Chapter Seven Thinking Journal Topic:
I think it is an amazing and often overlooked fact that Blacks and Whites united during slavery. There were White abolitionists who risked their reputations, and their lives in order to assist Blacks escape from slavery. There were poor Whites that worked as indentured servants and wanted to earn their freedom. They joined forces with the Black slaves and started small revolutions. It is interesting that more of these stories are not told in the history books, and taught in schools. It is also not wide known that Whites helped Blacks learn to read, and gave them refuge from their slave masters.
Looking aside from the facts of slavery, it is notable that two races could come together at such an extreme time in history and unite. This also showed that all White people were not evil or bad, and all of the Whites did not think the same. Even today, people still stereotype White people and say that they are prejudice and racist, citing slavery as an example. Whites as well as Blacks fought for a better world and equal treatment for everyone. Although they were small in numbers, they were still present and assisted with the struggle that Blacks faced. These two ethnic groups worked together and came together as one for a common goal and that alone is commendable and worth recognition.
Chapter Eight Thinking Journal Topic:
Some of the early laws of the United States banned equal opportunity and directly discriminated against certain ethnic groups. The Naturalization Law of 1790 stated that only Whites could be considered naturalized citizens. This law was passed in response to the large Chinese immigrant population. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 prohibited Chinese from entering the United States. The Draconian Cable Act of 1922 punished American women for marrying Chinese men, and threatened them to revoke their American citizenship. The Alien Act of 1913 stated that non-citizens could not own property. This act was passed after Japanese immigrants were purchasing large lots of land in the United States. The Filipinos were not allowed to vote, they could not own land or become a U.S. citizen.
It’s really sad to see that there was so much prejudice against these groups of people, and how the US wanted to limit immigration among non-whites. Even today, immigration laws do not favor minorities. Mexican immigrants are not treated poorly and they work long hours in the fields picking fruits and vegetables. Many of them do not speak English, and have no rights since they are not citizens. They cannot vote or own property, because of their status. If they are found working illegally in the U.S., they are usually deported back to Mexico.
Chapter Nine Thinking Journal Topic:
Religious freedom in the United States gives each individual the right to practice whatever religion they choose, without fear of prosecution, discrimination or the like. In countries all over the world, people are prosecuted, sentenced to lengthy prison terms and killed for their religious beliefs. Religious freedom in the United States workplace allows for employers to reasonably accommodate employees based on their religious needs. If an employee needs a special accommodation based on their religion, they must make the request to the employer indicating why the accommodation is needed. The key word here is “reasonable” accommodation. The employer must still ensure that the employees request will not jeopardize the safety or integrity of their business.
For example, if the Food company policy states that each employee must maintain a beard at a certain length, an employee cannot claim religious accommodation because having a beard longer than the specified length could be a health hazard to the customers. The employer could still accommodate the employee by assigning the employee to another department, or another assignment within the same department. Many employers try to accommodate the employee in order to prevent law suits or claims of discrimination. It is important for the employer and employee to work together when requesting religious accommodations. A compromise might be necessary for everyone to be satisfied.
Chapter Ten Thinking Journal Topic:
If I just learned that I had HIV, I would still expect fair and equal treatment at work and school. I would expect my supervisor, colleagues and peers to respect me as a person and not discriminate against me because of the disease. Because there are many stigmas surrounding HIV many people might not know how to interact with me or may no longer want any interaction. Of course this is their decision, but as long as they respect me I would be fine. People need to learn to treat the disease and not discriminate against anyone for it. There are various ways someone could get the virus and that is not for anyone to be a judge of that.
I would make it my goal to become an HIV activist and inform people about the virus. I’m sure people will have many questions and concerns. I would let them know how HIV is contracted and also steps they can take to protect themselves. I would not want people to look at me as a walking disease; and I would let them know that I am the same person that they knew before finding out my HIV status. Once some of these stigmas are eliminated, people will need to be educated about this disease. This is one of the first steps in accepting people with the virus and treating them with value and respect.