February is Black History Month, but remember Black History is American History.
Did you know the first black person to become a lawyer in America was John Mercer Langston. He passed the bar in Ohio in 1854. In 1855 he went on to be elected to the post of Town Clerk for Brownhelm, Ohio, and became one of the first African Americans ever elected to public office in America. Interesting fact: John Mercer Langston was also the great-uncle of Langston Hughes, famed poet and writer of the Harlem Renaissance.
Quote of the day
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better”.
Wildman & Davis (1995) explain that “the lives we lead affect what we are able to see and hear in the world around us.” As such, an important first step to understanding the concept of group-based privilege and how it can shape peoples’ perspectives, experiences, and interactions is to examine our own experience. We can be the beneficiary of privilege without recognizing or consciously perpetuating it. Learning to see one’s own privilege as well as that of groups and systems can create an important pathway to self-discovery. Some questions to consider are listed below.
- When was the last time you had to think about your ethnicity, race, gender identity, ability level, religion, and/or sexual orientation? What provoked you to think about it or acknowledge it?
- When watching TV or a movie, how likely are you to watch shows whose characters reflect your ethnicity, race, gender, ability level, religion, gender identity, and/or sexual orientation?
- When using social media, how diverse is your feed? How diverse are your friends and followers? How diverse are those that you follow?
- How do you respond when others make negative statements towards individuals of a different ethnicity, race, gender, ability level, religion, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity than yourself?
- How often do you go to social settings where the majority of individuals are of a different ethnicity, race, gender, ability level, religion, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity than yourself?
- How diverse is the community in which you live?
- How do you feel when you are in a community that is different than your neighborhood?
- How would you make your neighborhood more inclusive and sensitive?
- If you recognized your privilege, what did you do with this realization?