- Respond to at least two colleagues by selecting one of their examples to review further. Research and report on a situation in which that group experienced treatment on the other end of the spectrum of oppression or privilege, either in the present day or during an earlier historical period. Use at least one reference per response.
Colleague 1: Y
Despite freedom of religion and all men being equal being established as American principles at the nation’s founding, neither has proven to be completely true in America. Though the country has no official religion and touts a separation of church and state, Christians are still the dominant group here, and that comes with privilege, the condition that “exists when one group has something of value that is denied to others simply because of the groups they belong to, rather than because of anything they’ve done or failed to do” (Johnson, 2013, p. 16). An example of Christian privilege in America is Christmas Day being a federal holiday while no special days celebrated by Jewish, Muslim or other faiths are; therefore, a Christian already knows that they will have their holiday off from work, while a person of another faith may have to request time off for their holiday. Other Christian privileges in America include media, societal and historical visibility as well as being able to represent Christianity through clothing and accessories without fear of harassment (Schlosser, 2013).
Conversely, those whose faiths are in the minority must deal with oppression. They do not often see themselves positively or accurately represented in the media or historically, have to deal with many stereotypes and biases about their religion because it has been misrepresented or misunderstood, and are often the targets of violence when their attire, such as a Sikh’s turban, Muslim’s hijab or an Amish person’s simple clothing, makes their religious difference known (Joshi, 2013). According to the FBI’s (2015) most recently published hate crime statistics, 17% of victims were targets because of their religion, and, interestingly, almost 57% of those incidents were committed against Jewish people. This is surprising because in America’s current climate of islamophobia, one would think Muslims would be the biggest target, and because crimes against Jewish people are hardly ever mentioned in the media, a possible sign of their marginalization. Equally interesting is a study conducted by Gervais, Shariff and Norenzayan (2011) that found that atheists, an often invisible and silenced minority, were the most distrusted and disliked group by others. As social workers it is important to respect the religions- or lack thereof- of clients and to not let any personal biases further contribute to their oppression or marginalization.
Gervais, W. M., Shariff, A. F., & Norenzayan, A. (2011). Do you believe in atheists? Distrust is central to anti-atheist prejudice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,101(6), 1189-1206. doi:10.1037/a0025882
Johnson, A. G. (2013). The Social Construction of Difference. In M. Adams, W. J. Blumenfeld, C. Castaneda, H. W. Hackman, M. L. Peters, & X. Zuniga (Eds.), Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (3rd ed., pp. 26-34). New York, NY: Routledge.
Joshi, K. Y. (2013). Religious Oppression of Indian Americans in the Contemporary United States. In M. Adams, W. J. Blumenfeld, C. Castaneda, H. W. Hackman, M. L. Peters, & X. Zuniga (Eds.), Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (3rd ed., pp. 26-34). New York, NY: Routledge.
Schlosser, L. Z. (2013). Christian Privilege Breaking a Scared Taboo. In M. Adams, W. J. Blumenfeld, C. Castaneda, H. W. Hackman, M. L. Peters, & X. Zuniga (Eds.), Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (3rd ed., pp. 26-34). New York, NY: Routledge.
Victims. (2015). Retrieved from https://ucr.fbi.gov/hate-crime/2014/topic-pages/victims_final
Colleague 2: A
Discussion: Religion and Privilege
The Civil Rights Act, Title VII, of 1964 prohibits discrimination against protected characteristics such as religion and remains in full effect (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission EEOC, nd). Over time, the level of law suits against the legality of this law and religious discrimination has increased especially after the 9-11 attack by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda on the United States.
Other religious diversity include Christian protestant, Catholic, Pentecostal, and Adventist. We also have the Asian Hindu, and Buddhist (Adams et al, 2013), and those without a religion, the free thinkers. Social workers should be able to connect with these diversify groups of religion without prejudice and biased mind. Privileges to the majority Christian group in the United States has predominated our society especially with self-reflecting identity such as dress code, and names. According to Özdamar, & Akbaba, 2014), there has been a series of conflict due to religious privilege and discrimination in such a way that religious minority fear for persecution and reprimand from identity despite policies on against discrimination. An example of discrimination based on dressing is when a Muslim went for an interview with her head covered with her hair head covered with a veil, I doubt if she will be allowed for an interview not to talk of job offer.
Adams, M., Blumenfeld, W. J., Castaneda, C., Hackman, H. W., Peters, M. L., &
Zuniga, X. (Eds.). (2013).Readings for diversity and social justice. (3rd ed.). New
York, NY: Routledge Press.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), US. (nd.). Retrieved from
Özdamar, Ö. & Akbaba, Y. (2014). Religious Discrimination and International Crises:
International Effects of Domestic Inequality. Foreign Policy Analysis, 10(4), 413-
430. Retrieved from Walden Library Databases
Respond to a colleague’s post by offering an insight that may lead to further clarity about views of racial identity. Please use the Learning Resources to support your answer. Use at least one reference.
Colleague 1: A
As a child, I grew up in two towns that were predominantly White. I feel that both towns were very inclusive, and I never really paid attention to the fact that I was Black or that I was different. I moved to Woodstown, NJ when I was an adolescent. It is a very small town, and there were maybe 10 black students in a school that ranged from 5th grade to 12th grade. When I would visit my cousins, they would treat me differently. They felt that I “acted White” and that I “spoke differently”. This is when I became aware of the fact that I was Black and that there were expectations for me from my racial community. I always knew that my skin color was different from my friends, but I wasn’t aware of the differences between the two until it was pointed out by family members. This made me feel left out, and like I wasn’t really accepted by my family members. When I moved back to Glassboro, NJ, in 7th grade, my friends asked me how I was able to adapt from hanging with White people to hanging with Black people. I didn’t understand the question, or think that I was “adapting”. I felt that I was just being myself.
I became aware of the fact that color was an issue when my friend, who has a darker complexion than me, told me that I have a better life because I’m lighter. She told me that if we both walked into a room, people would automatically look at me because I’m lighter. I had no idea that anyone felt that way, and it made me feel sad. It made me aware of the fact that people internalize stereotypes, and it becomes real to them. When I went to college I became an Africana Studies minor, and that is when I learned more about the history of my race and became truly aware of what it meant to be Black. I realized that I didn’t pay attention to oppression and discrimination because I didn’t truly understand what that looked like. Once I became educated, I became aware and I made it my mission to try to help erase stereotypes and stand up for people who feel that they didn’t have a voice. I became the president of the Unified Black Students Society, and I sat on many committees so that I could have a voice on my campus.