In the world we live in today there are so many people and we tend to categorize them. We categorize them based on skin color, their speech, what they wear, and their ethnic background. Some of these people are seen as inferior for just being who they are. Stereotypes also help influence the way we see each other. Factors such as language, gender, and culture relate to power and in our society men are seen more powerful than women.
Women in our society on how they speak are seen as weak. The way a woman speaks also reflects the view of women’s behavior. In the article, “His Politeness Is Her Powerlessness,” by Deborah Tannen, Tannen states, “If a linguistic strategy is used by woman, it is seen as powerless; if done by a man, it is seen as powerful.”(Deborah, 120) This shows that we have set certain norms and expectations within our society. These norms favor men over women vividly showing men are seen as more powerful in our society.
I don’t think women in our generation largely follow these cultural expectations as much as before. I believe such expectations are changing in our society which is excellent. Woman shouldn’t feel less powerful than a man because we are all born with the same rights. The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”(US 1776) When it says men it shouldn’t be interpreted as just men, men means all humans, therefore, both women and men are created equal.
An expectation regarding gender is that women are weaker and have a lower status. In fact in the article, “His Politeness Is Her Powerlessness,” by Deborah Tannen, Tannen’s main claim was, “Granted, women have lower status than men in our society.”(Tannen, 120) In the same article, she gives an example of a conversation that is seen as a negative quality in women. “A man might ask a woman, ‘Will you please go to the store?’ where a woman might say, ‘Gee, I really need a few things from the store, but I’m so tired.'”(Tannen, 120) When a male is indirect it as seen as polite, but when a woman is direct it as seen as rude, which in the men’s perspective it shows her powerlessness.
I think it is possible to say that there’s a “right way” to speak. This right way to speak largely depends on both the individual and say a society. For example say an individual grows in a society hating a certain race. That individual will learn the same hateful principles brought upon by saying the family or even the school. Those same hateful principles will then spread society causing a “right way” to speak.
I know this to be true due to events in history. Not too long ago, a saw a video on Instagram where a male was showing hatred towards Spanish-speaking restaurant workers. In the article, “Angry racist booted from eatery: ‘I pay for their welfare!'” by Aaron Feis the man said,”Every person I listen to — he spoke Spanish, he spoke it, she’s speaking it — it’s America!”(Feis, 2) and “If they have the balls to come here and live off of my money — I pay for their welfare, I pay for their ability to be here — the least they can do is speak English.”(Feis, 6) I don’t know what made him be the way he is, but my guess it has something to do with how his ideals were shaped when he was younger. For this man, the “right way” to speak is with English only.
Racial discrimination is a recurring topic in the world we live in today. Racism ties with culture and I don’t believe it will end at least not soon. I say this because as long as we love there will be hatred just like if there is light there is also darkness. We live in a culturally diverse world which is good because we can group with people similar to ourselves to express who we are, but also bad because we get grouped and certain people will find to hate for whatever reason. It is this diversity that will help shape a better world because people will fight in a positive manner to cause change.
What’s even more depressing is the fact that racial profiling can occur within our own culture and nationality. Racism takes place almost everywhere from poor to rich societies. It is characterized by people who believe they are superior. They belittle whatever you may have such as culture, gender, and language. To combat racism people have stood up for their beliefs for a change.
For one person breaking the silence is the key to change. In the article, “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action,*” by Audre Lorde she discusses just that. In the article, she states, “Within this country where racial differences creates a constant, if unspoken, distortion of vision, black women have on one hand always been visible, and so on, on the other hand, have been rendered invisible through the depersonalization of racism. Even within the women’s movement, we have had to fight and still do, for that visibility which also renders us most vulnerable, our blackness.”(Lorde, 118) African-Americans are constantly noticed and treated as outcast. This to me makes me respect their diversity and gender as they are meant to be because despite everything they’ve been thrown at they still get up to fight and make change for them and generations to come.
As time goes on things change for better and worse. For some people society has gotten slightly better. Before some people were afraid to come out of the closet due to what could happen now people are more open about it. Certain cultures aren’t as hated as much as before in fact I believe people tied with certain cultures have earned respect and more women in the world have voiced themselves showing they are powerful. Regardless of language, gender, or culture I truly believe we are equal.