Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Journal 15-There Is No Such Thing As "Normal"-George
I am surprised I have not heard of the term mythical norm before. However, once I learn about what the "norm" is from the reading, I realized that I have known this "mythical norm" all along. The idea that those in society who are “white, thin, male, young, heterosexual, Christian, and financially secure” are somehow superior to those who are not is a dangerous notion of injustice. Those who fall outside of this norm will internalize the fact that they are inferior. Worst, the mythical norm causes activists to be myopic in their cause. For instance, people tend to link the achievement gap due to racist education policy and practice. However, the achievement gap can be tied to many factors including but not limited to policy, poverty, cultural differences, geographic location, and availability of resources. As agents of change, we cannot afford to subscribe to the "mythical norm" when tackling social injustice. We have to think broad and deep and engage multiple stakeholders when possible.
I definitely don't fit into the so called mythical norm and it has been both a curse and a blessing. I feel that I am not as sheltered in society because my family is not financially secured or Caucasian. But at the same time, being who I am and my upbringing have given me unique perspectives and unique skill sets. For instance, I am more empathetic to students who work 10-20 hours a week to pay their tuition. Even though I am not part of the "norm," I am still proud of where I come from and how I get here. Yet, the "norm" affects all of us. What we can do is to be aware of this norm, constantly educate ourselves, and be above the "norm"--whatever that may mean. I don't think there is such a thing as "normal."