Power, Privilege and Visions of Justice: A Tool of Oppression

Today I am going to simply describe events as they unfolded last night endeavoring to be objective. Wish me luck.
My local LGBT Center was sponsoring a class entitled “Power, Privilege and Visions of Justice.” I was intrigued, so I sent an email saying I’d like to attend and asking that the instructor be told a blind person would be in the class.
Two weeks later, I attend the first class. As we are waiting for things to start, people are handed something in print. I am given nothing and told nothing. Class starts and a clipboard is circulated. I never receive it.
Going around the room, we introduce ourselves. I know when to speak because I know the person sitting directly next to me and can cue off of her.
Next, we engage in an activity in which we are to raise our hand if we agree with this or that statement. At the appropriate points, I dutifully raise my hand without any notion of what my fellow classmates are doing.
Asked to give examples of oppression, I mention that The Center’s prostate support group was listed as a “gay men’s” group and point out bisexuals aren’t included. I am told we will not be discussing such things in this class.
After being directed to read part of our syllabus silently, we are asked a series of questions as feedback so the instructor can decide about certain aspects of the course. Then we are told our assigned reading will be at the center’s desk beginning the following morning. The expectation is that we will come back to pick it up.
At the end of class, I wait until the room is empty before approaching the instructor. First, I make sure he was told I would be in class and when I learn he knew, I tell him all the aspects of class that bothered me. It was as if he had never considered any of it. His only thought was that he might have to read the materials aloud to me. Or, well, the parts he thinks are important.
I’m thinking about not returning to this class.

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About Jen

After acquiring a degree from Vassar College in psychology, I moved to Western Mass where I ran a peer mentoring network for disabled college students as well as activism and organizing around disability issues. I also conducted research on disabled women’s body image. An Upstate New York native, I eventually followed my heliotropic nature to the sun of Southern California. I divide my time between writing (disability fiction and essays) along with moderating San Diego Bisexual Forum which is one of the oldest groups of its kind in the country. In my off hours I can often be found in my neighborhood live music venue enjoying our local talent.

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