Professor Carlin Mackie
26 February 2012
Intersectional Privileges: A Matter of Perception
By Michael C. Rosa
My name is Michael and I have found the benefits of letting people believe what they will. People’s ignorance with small cultural and racial differences and even some prejudices have become useful to me throughout my life. In some people’s eyes this acceptance that I have developed may seem wrong and maybe even a hindrance to humanities global acceptance of social and racial differences. This is probably true but I don’t care. I leave the caring to the saints. I also believe that not only people’s prejudices and ignorance but also peoples need to be anti-prejudices, sexist, and their futile efforts to be politically correct have left them blind to events unfolding right before them and especially within their own minds. Perception is something that most people don’t really think about but has a major impact on how we all behave and interact with the people around us.
To show you what I mean I would like to start with a short experiment on perception: I was born in 1980 to a mother born and raised in her native country and a father born here in the states, Holyoke, Ma, to be exact. The cultural differences between an American born citizen and one born and raised in their native land can be immense. In the case of my parents the differences are black and white (the colors not the races). My father fits a certain negative stigma to a tee. Drug addict, criminal, thief period! Now With the knowledge of where he was born/raised and the social stigma I just described, can you make a conclusion about his ethnicity? But most importantly did you? In the case of my mother I will use another, this time a not so negative belief in American society, is more like on old Mexican women. If you think about the phrase” old Mexican women” a picture will start to form in your mind, whether you want it there or not. When I think of an old Mexican women I see a women that is hard working, a good mother, submissive and loyal to her husband, and oh yeah, short. That would be my mother only she is “not” a Mexican women. Can you figure out where she “is” from? Was your perception the same as mine? We must always remember that the images that develop within our minds is a direct result, and in fact produced by the society we live in. The following is a brief history of “my” environment and the society I grew up in.
Being a child of two opposing forces made it hard for me to truly understand who I was or better yet who I should be. I knew my parents heritage but had no idea of how I should act or behave. So I followed the lead of everything and everyone around me. Like my father I to was born and raised in Holyoke, Ma. As a teenager and young adult I was what you might call a juvenile delinquent. In and out of group homes and detention centers. Dropped out of school in the ninth grade. Got my GED when I was in jail at 17. Institutionalized and young I gave no regard for the people and things around. I lied cheated and stole for the addiction that controlled my life. The knowledge of being a poor minority in the US meant that chance after chance would be extended my way and they were. Looking back now I should have been locked up with the key thrown in the nearest receptacle. But luckily for me I was not, a privilege I do not regret having. Another privilege that has been detrimental in my life is one that was also granted to me for the same reasons. A free ride through the education system with no regard for education was and still is common practice in low income communities. I did not learn to read until I was