Monday, October 18, 2010

Diversity and Oppression

Okay.. so... I don't want to be one of those people where ALL they do is talk about their beliefs and how they feel about things, BUT, I need to complain about a few things that have been happening lately in order to just get this stuff off my chest.

I am so tired of talking about homosexuals in class. I don't mean to say that I think they're not worth talking about. I know that they're struggling to find their place in society, but must every conversation in class be about gays?
So today we were talking about homosexuality (again) and talking about how oppressed they are (again). Then I was forced to watch a video that was trying to make me feel bad for being a heterosexual. It wasn't even a credible video. It was off YouTube.

Then we went through a discussion about how if we wanted to, we could easily be bisexuals if we made the choice to experiment.
Then we watched one of those videos "It Gets Better" videos, which I think are great. I don't know if you know what they are, but they're there to help prevent gay teens from committing suicide. Unfortunately, this video mentioned the LDS church, which should've been great, except that it was talking about how the Mormons say that gays are an abomination to God and that God doesn't love them. I was so angry from this that I couldn't even pay attention to the rest of the video. I was fuming! All of the LDS kids in class got rowdy because they didn't agree with that part of the video. As soon as the video was over and the professor asked for comments, I immediately raised my hand. I couldn't even process my thoughts, my words just came out. I'd love to say that I did it out of duty for LDS members everywhere, but I didn't. I did it out of anger. I wanted to set the record straight that the LDS church does not believe that God hates gays and that the church wants gays to know that they are loved by their Heavenly Father.

From there, class became a discussion of how religion oppresses gays and just how horrible religion is in general. I thought my professor would teach the class objectively, but it was obvious what his stance is. We were supposed to have a safe environment where everyone could feel like they had a fair say. This was not the case.

Last week I was upset and down because of the reality of the world. Now, I'm angry. I am so frustrated. I am tired of people trying to make me feel guilty for being Christian, for having morals, and for being LDS. When did having standards become a bad thing?

I know I am supposed to leave my values at the door in order to assume the culturally competent social worker role, but why do I have to let go of my own cultural beliefs in order to help others?
I honestly feel like being LDS is a culture all on its own. It is so much a part of me that I honestly do not know how to separate it and well.. I don't feel like I should have to.
I find it ironic that in my diversity and oppression class, I was oppressed for being different. Classic.


  1. Amen! (And I seriously mean that...I'm not trying to make fun of you.) I feel the same in so many classes as well! So many times I'm thinking to myself, "OK so I need to be accepting of your lifestyle but you don't accept mine?! You automatically assume that because I'm white and heterosexual that I have hate towards you. What?! Give me a break! At least get to know me first!" UGH! Drives me cRaZy! Plus I'm so sick of that discussion...I mean c'mon people...we can think of some other forms of oppression to use as an example. They're beating a dead horse! Man it feels good to get that out! Lol!

  2. I'm sorry that happened. I bet it's very frustrating. You shouldn't have to check your religion at the door when you walk in to a class. You're a compassionate person, Jenny. The reason why you are this way is because of your experiences through life, including religion. Some people just want to knock on being LDS. If your teacher is talking about oppression, bring up the pilgrims, or even the LDS students in his class (to a degree). Maybe he can practice what he teaches (I'm assuming), and not be so prejudiced. Social work, in my opinion, should be about listening and empathizing with all different types of people in all different circumstances, and trying to help and make a difference in their life. It's so weird to me that the professors teaching are the ones pointing fingers in your direction.

  3. Proud of you. Keep it up.
    (see people do read your blog)

  4. I was blog-hopping and stumbled across your blog. I have some really unrelated things to say that I hope don't come off as 'advice'.
    1. Did you know there is a town in Washington named Moses Lake? Maybe there are a few around the country... I just thought it was interesting.
    2. your prof is way out of line, particularly if this is a class meant to teach social work students how to see across cultural barriers. The prof did exactly what the class is trying to teach others not to do. I think it is awesome that you spoke your mind.
    3. I am not LDS, but I when trying to increase the tolerance in my own school (I am a high school teacher) I did my research. You were right to inform your prof of the LDS position on homosexuality. In fact, I think it is one of the most tolerant religions out there and it would do a prof good to understand that. And yes, there are many religions who do promote oppression.
    4. the oppression of gays is very real and it is a timely discussion. You wouldn't think to use a racially charged word but people use gay as an accusatory adjective so often that we don't bat an eye. Hopefully by encouraging tolerance of ALL (race, creed, class, religion, sex and orientation) we can put this discussion to rest. Until then, I am afraid it is one we will have to keep at.

    Best of luck in the work of therapy. It is not an easy field, but very rewarding. :)

  5. Mimi,
    You don't know how excited I was to receive your comment. I have often wondered if anybody reads this thing besides maybe a handful of people. I really appreciated your comment and I totally agree with you on all points.
    I actually did know that there's a Moses Lake in Washington. My husband and I knew that once I switched my last name to my middle name, that I would be hearing that for the rest of my life. It was a sacrifice I made in order to keep my maiden name, but I hear Washington is beautiful so I am happy to represent the state.
    I really appreciate that you feel that the LDS religion is so tolerant because, unfortunately, this opinion is not often felt in society by those who are not affiliated with the church.
    I have to admit, I used to be one of those that would say, "That's so gay" when speaking of something being lame or upsetting, but I really learned to hate that phrase when I realized how hurtful it can be. Life can be hard as it is, why make it harder for others?

    I really wish you luck in your profession. That is a job that I am just not cut out to do. It takes a strong person to teach, especially high schoolers. I commend you for that.


I would love to hear your feedback. Leave a comment, please :)