The Importance Of Understanding Privilege And Oppression

1571 Words 7 Pages
The importance of understanding privilege and oppression cannot be emphasized enough for those of us in the helping profession. There are so many factors to consider, especially if one plans to work with diverse populations. Author Ryde (2009) describes how "we might, at least for a time, transcend cultural difference [but it is also] important to keep in mind the different worlds we enter when the session ends" (p. 44). The therapist and client of different backgrounds will separate and go back to their lives, which are often very unalike. Perhaps the clients ' financial situations differ vastly from that therapist 's, or their racial identities offer far fewer opportunities than the practitioner 's racial identity offers her. Regardless, …show more content…
14) is probably the easiest way to recognize my cultural development and how I have come to this particular place of privilege and/or lack thereof. Beginning at the top center, I am twenty-two years old, a young graduate student. I face a significant amount of age discrimination as people discount me for the youth in my physical appearance as well as because of the associations they have with this age. Even fellow graduate students can be judgmental because I arrived at graduate school immediately following undergraduate school and may therefore be perceived as "less than," before I 've even spoken. Yet, I am also often associated with the able-bodied of youth, and this gives me a certain …show more content…
And I am personally guilty for all the things I get to have because of that--a great apartment in a safe neighborhood, financial support from my family, an education that less than 6% of the world 's population will have (2011). And whiteness is, if we are going to accept the very idea of race, my racial identity. As Johnson writes, "Race and all its categories have no significance outside systems of privilege and oppression in which they were created in the first place. This is what sociologists call the 'social construction ' of reality" (2006, p. 22). But Americans should not accept being white as the neutral. Though it is the "majority" of the population, it is not right to consider being white as being regular, and everything not white as "other." In the past I have been only concerned with my inner-world development, unaware of how white I even was, and how that affected me personally. My outer-world development went ignored most of the time. But, at this point, what is maybe more important is the recognition of what that means on a systemic

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