Early Childhood Studies – a Global Perspective

Exploring the concepts on early childhood studies through the lens of people across the globe

The Personal Side of Bias, Prejudice and Oppression

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When I think of bias, prejudice and oppression, I tend to look back at the historical beginnings of stratification and dominance, when slavery chains-19176_1280and colonialism are at their peak. Was it a case of not having a choice or choosing to follow to escape the consequence of counter action? Turner (2005) differentiates the standard view of power and the three-process theory of power where the former delves into the control of resources and interdependence; whereas the three-process theory denotes that “power is an emergent property of specific social and psychological relations between people and these relations shape the form it takes” (Turner, 2005). The latter perspective gives us hope in redefining the norms, beliefs, and practices that have been established over time as power can influence “people to act in line with one’s desires by persuading them that the desired judgment, decision, belief or action is correct, right, moral, appropriate” (Turner, 2005). Thus, the norms, beliefs and practices formed from long ago, can be shaped by the change in circumstances to ensure that it would be for the benefit of the people and not of those leading.

I say this in the hope that all the prejudices and biases that fabricated my poor self-image and those of others would eventually put to a stop. From economic to racial and gender slurs, I had them all. However, I will only focus now on the classism on poverty that I experienced in life. Being young, I hated to admit that my family belonged to the low-income group. This would mean that my friends at school would look down on me, would not treat me the same as they treat those who are in the high-income bracket. People who did not have money were judged with the way they dressed, talked and conducted themselves in public. There was such as a thing as “cheap talk” because people who are poor do not know any better. Thus, I vowed to myself that I would never admit that we did not have money as the economic status automatically comes with respect/disrespect from others. To get away from judgments, as soon as I walked out of school, I disassociated myself from peers and ventured into my safe world at home. As I moved to university, there was a thing called,“sub-urbanism”. I coined this word to describe a person like me who came from the city, but not the metropolis – a city that has its accent that stop-863665_1280was described as “provincial”. Interest and social groups in university were formed based on geographical locations, how smart you are based on the perception of others and one’s religious affiliation. Dormitories were tagged as “classy”, those occupied by the rich; “oldies”, those who are quite ‘old’ pursuing their masters and doctorates and “provincial”, those who come from outside the metropolis. Of course, I stayed at the one dubbed as “provincial” and only socialized with my kind as I seemed to be invisible when I walked past the “rich kids”. I came to pass the hallways pretending that I was walking through an empty space. As a young adult, I continued to face invisibility in social settings when my sister married a man who came from a well-off family. Each time I visited my sister, I would greet her in-laws and they would just walk past me as if nothing was heard. I cringe upon the memory of those moments when I felt invisible. Thus, I vowed to myself after graduation that I would never be poor. At 20, I worked for my independence. I worked at least 15 hours a day to do extra change-20272_1280teaching for more income. I had my child at 24 and worked even harder. By then, I was able to establish myself at work and was already being honed for a leadership role. I was relieved that I was no longer being scrutinized with how much or less money I have, but with the abilities that I have.

To this date, recounting all those experiences and realizing my feats at this time in my life, I am proud to be where I am. I knew I could not change these people by questioning their behavior towards me. However, showing them that I have gone miles apart from my beginnings, that I chess-316657_1280have gained more than what they had then, their perspectives have changed. As well, those others who have seen beyond what they see on the surface, my color, gender, and race have lifted me up from the invisible context. My abilities were honed and appreciated. I have become a respected individual. In this regard, I changed my predicament with the support of those who have “the power to influence people to act in line to what are correct and moral” (Turner, 2005). This is the power that we need to promote equity.

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Reference:

Turner, J. (2005). Explaining the nature of power: A three-process theory. European Journal of Social Psychology. 35 (1). Retrieved from         http://www.researchgate.net/publication/227724259_Explaining_the_Nature_of_Power_A_Three-Process_Theory

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Author: pamcee70

My name is Pam Castillo. I have been in the field of education for 24 years now. Although I have taught some levels in grade school, I have spent most of my years teaching children aged two to six years old. I am always amazed by the interactions I have every day with children. In an environment where children feel safe, they are confident to explore and make discoveries. These experiences prepare them for the bigger challenges in the future. I feel privileged to be a part of the learning journey of these young children especially if they still come to see me and reminisce the years we worked together.

5 thoughts on “The Personal Side of Bias, Prejudice and Oppression

  1. WOW!, Pam,
    I enjoyed your post, I don’t think anyone could have said it any better. You really captured the essence of your world of invisibleness at that time. You showed how you learned from it, embraced it, and let it shape you as it pushed you higher into the diamond you are today. I too was once invisible. I think we all have been and sometimes still are. Yeah, success erases failure all the time. So inspiring, no more chains of any kind! Our struggles tend to push us forward. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! You have really had your own true experience and the way you explained your life story had me captured. Thank you Pam, you have truly inspired me and many others who I am sure have had the same experiences as you. You go girl!!!!!!

    Like

  3. Pam,

    I enjoyed reading your post! The challenges in your life made you a stronger person! I too, grew up in a very low income family and vowed to never live that way again. I remember thinking that I will wait until I am established to start a family, and only have the amount of children that I could afford. I am now married with two children. We certainly are not well off, but we can provide for our children. I feel that if young adults are taught about family planning and financial implications of life choices that it would help others be more prepared for children. Do you agree with that?

    -Siera

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I too come from a low-income family and know how it feels to be looked down at and to also feel bad for oneself because people are looking at you as if they are better because they have more money. I did though, always knew I was just as smart as anybody I grew up with and ended up being the only one out of all my friends and family to get a college degree. It is the hard times growing up that’s makes us stronger when we are adults. Good Post…

    Like

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