How Age, Class, Sex, and Race Redefine Human Differences

Western European history directs us to perceive human variations in the form of simplistic opposition to each other. It conditions people to see their differences as good or bad, subordinate or dominant, up or down, and superior or inferior. In a world where the good is described based on profit instead of human necessity, there will always be some groups of individuals who, via systemized oppression, can be forced to feel redundant to substitute the dehumanized inferior position. Human groups comprise older people, Black, working-class people, women, and third-world people (Audre 115). In conventional American society, the oppressed group members are needed to stretch and narrow the gap between the realities of their lives and the oppressor’s consciousness. Sometimes for those oppressed in society to survive in America, they are forced to learn the language of the oppressor or even adopt the oppressors’ manners and tactics to get some protection. This implies that it is the role of the oppressed to tell the oppressors about their mistakes. This is the same educating teachers who dismiss the culture of children in school. The paper looks into how age, class, sex, and race redefine human differences.

            According to Western European culture and history, it is the third world’s responsibility and black people to teach the white people about the elements of humanity (117). Women are expected to teach men, and gay men and lesbians are expected to educate those living a heterosexual life. As a result, the oppressor is evading the consequences of their own actions. A continuous flow of energy might be applied in redefining ourselves and forming actual circumstances for changing the present and building the future. Institutionalized dismissal of difference is a critical requirement in a profit-centered economy that treats outsiders as surplus individuals. As members of this type of economy, all of us have been programmed to react to human variations between loathing and fear and to address this difference in one of the three common approaches; ignore it and it that cannot work, get assimilated into it if we think it is superior and dominant or demolish it if we think it is inferior and subordinate (118). There are no ultimate patterns to guide us past our differences and regard each one of us as equals. Consequentially, these differences have been misused and misnamed to make us feel more confused and divided.

            There are actual differences between us in sex, race, and age. However, none of these differences are responsible for our division. Our own refusal to identify those differences and examine the damage they are causing us, which originate from our misnaming them and their impacts on human expectation and behavior, is causing the separation. Racism has been used as the belief in an individual race’s inherent superiority against all others and hence the right to dominate others. Sexism is regarded as the inherent superiority of one sex against the other, leading to dominance. If things must change, it is our primary responsibility to pursue the distortions caused by these differences as we reclaim, recognize and define those variations that are imposed on us. This is fundamental because we have been brought up in a society where those damages were very endemic in our lifestyle (119). We often waste our energy needed for exploring and recognizing differences into pretending that such variations are insurmountable barricades or we maybe they do not exist at all. Consequentially, we create treacherous connections, voluntary isolations, and false beliefs. It is time to use human differences as the springboard for creative alterations. People need to stop speaking of human differences but human deviance.

            In any society where people are on the edge of consciousness, we refer to it as a mythical norm. This norm drives each one of us to develop the universal statement “it is not me.” In the United States of America, this norm is commonly described as financially secure, young, white, Christian, thin, heterosexual, and male. Power in society resides within this mythical norm. Therefore, for those who are not members of this power, we find one way of defining our differences. We believe that this is the main cause of oppression, overlooking other distortions surrounding our differences, many of which we are the perpetrators (120). In the modern women’s movement, white women direct their oppression as women and forget the difference in age, class, race, and sexual preferences. There is a false sense of homogeneity promoted by the phrase “sisterhood” that hardly exists. Recognized class differences rob women of each other’s creative thinking and energy.

            As we advance towards building a society within which everyone can flourish, ageism is another damage of associations that disrupt no vision. Ignoring the past is the same as encouraging the repeat of the mistakes of the said period. A repressive society is dependent on the generation gap. Suppose the youthful members of a particular community perceive the older members as excess or suspect or contemptible. In that case, they will never come together and assess the existing memories of the community or ask the very fundamental question, “why?” This results in historical amnesia that forces us to keep toiling to discover the wheel each time we have to get bread. Consequentially, we find ourselves making similar mistakes our mothers did because of our inability to learn and listen. Overlooking the differences of the race between women and its effects creates the most severe threats to the women’s joint power of mobilization (121). As white women forget their innate privilege of whiteness and describe women based on their experience, Black women become “other,” the outsider whose traditions and experiences are too strange to understand. Therefore, the biggest problem facing women is that they have refused to recognize the existing differences making it hard for them to see various problems and challenges facing them.

            It has been shown that women of color are the lowest-paid workers in America. Women are the main targets of sterilization misuse and abortion. In some parts of Africa, young girls are being sewed shut between their legs to be used as men’s pleasure and keep them inactive. This is referred to as female genital mutilation, and this is a crime against women of color. Differences among women are encouraging the continuity of this evil culture. For example, the fear of some women being lesbians or being accused has caused many women of color to testify against themselves (122). As a result, some of them have formed distorting alliances and others into isolation and despair.

Read also Evolving Notions of Gender and Sexuality            

In conclusion, change is equivalent to growth, and growth can be very painful. But as a society, we sharpen self-definition by joining hands in every struggle together with the people we define as different from ourselves. While we are different in many aspects, we share similar goals in one way or another. For white and black, lesbian and heterosexual, old and young, rich and poor alike, this can trigger significant development amongst ourselves and lead us on the path of survival.

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