We arrived in the classroom on time, we were ready to go right to work. All of the students were assigned three assignments pertaining to self-awareness, oppression, privilege and most importantly, intersectionality. I read through the two articles and video, making sure to take as much notes as I can.
Today, we started class off with review and discussion for the links she provided us. Several students volunteered to share stories about what they’ve learned and how they could relate to it. There were several students that were women of color, and seemed to be more eager to share their own stories. I’ve thought about the fact that I’m a bigger minority because of my ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender. Despite this, I never knew about the definition of intersectionality until I read through the article.
I learned that there were seven types of prejudice, which were: racism, ageism, ableism, heterosexualism, classism, sexism, and religious oppression. Each one of these have come from the judgement of the majority. Society is often controlled by the dominant group, which controls and decides what is normal.
Most people don’t think about the intersections between several minority groups and prejudice, such as being a person of color and a woman. The first example the video gave, which we also discussed, were about African women suffering from police brutality. The big difference between African males and females enduring police brutality, though, was that the males gained more awareness and recognition compared to the female victims.
We gathered in our groups and had to list down the three most important prejudice we face as a society on one sheet of paper. I chose classism, sexism, and racism. Then, we had to exchange papers in our group and cross out one random prejudice we had. Our teacher asked us a question after each member crossed one item out. “If this type of prejudice didn’t exist anymore, what would you be like?”
My teammate, Tori, crossed out classism on my paper. When I tried to answer this, I found it very difficult to come up with a good response. I’ve always believed my social status always contributed with whatever happened in my life, so I thought I would definitely be a very different person than I am now.
Grace led us to the Congdon Street Baptist Church, which was the birthplace of African Union Meetings and the Schoolhouse Society. The next stop we went through was the Sarah Doyle Women’s Health Center, which was perceived as a safe spot for the female students of Brown.
When lunchtime ended, we headed to the Salomon 001 for a two hour presentation with Robin Rose. Rose was the founder of the leadership institute, who started the program hoping it would promote high school students to attend leadership classes over the summer. She gave us several tips on how to become a better listener, using her humor and outgoing personality to keep us engaged. She demonstrated several methods she talked about, and asked the students to do the same.
We returned to the Art Institute Building shortly after the presentation Robin Rose gave us. The workshop was hosted by Ashley and Imani, who were also our Women and Leadership TAs. They went over the NSEW Leadership compass, that had exaggerated traits that would represent different kinds of leaders. The one I identified with the most was the East side, which relied ideas and creativity. The East side may be great visionaries, but their weaknesses are losing commitment, focus, and lack of passion as time goes on.
One thing I noticed as we performed these activities was that our cohort all had a different side of the compass, which I believe complimented our cohesion as a group. Kelsey identified as North, Esmeralda was South, Zunarah was West, and I was East.
Our activities today has given me a better understanding of who I am, and how my leadership could be improved and worked upon. I've had such a huge amount of learning here within such a short time, I may not even realize how much I'll change by the time this program ends!