Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Shifting: Chapter 2: The Pain of Gender Silence


[Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America]

In chapter 2 of Shifting, Charisse Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden discuss the ways black women are forced into silence on the subject of sexism. In fact, some black women have trouble identifying sexism when it occurs out of denial.

It is suggested that many black women run the risk of being considered disloyal when acknowledging the presence of sexism. The writers claim, “Black women learn that addressing other issues [like sexism] is a distraction, even disloyal to the race as a whole and to Black men in particular” (40).

What aspect of the coverage of sexism did you  have the strongest response or reaction? Why? Please provide a page number.

--Jeremiah Carter

30 comments:

Niagra Bee said...

The oddest thing to me was Celeste's regret after she called the police on Robert (p. 46). While police have been unnecessarily brutal to black people, that isn't her problem. It's Robert's fault. He put himself in the situation. If anything she should pity him for unintentionally representing black men in a negative way.

JaLeah M. said...

The passage within chapter 2 that stood out to me was Veronica's story the high-ranking Navy officer who was harassed by the white senior officer (pg 44). My father was in the military so I know that Veronica's story could be the story of many other women within the military too. I just think that it's sad that women who put themselves out there to be soldiers defending our country choose to be silent during times such as these. I feel like the silence might come from not only fear & gender sexism but a sense of self-worth a woman has for herself. I say this because I feel like I could never be silent if one of these circumstances occurred to me. JaLeah M.

Essence Reed said...

The portion of chapter two that stood out to me the most was the small passage about Adriana (page 43-44). Adriana was described as a thirty-something, tall, and bespectacled women. Adriana was abused as a teen by a Caucasian male craftsman. This craftsman was hired to do work on the house she resided in.

She was so traumatized by the experience that, she did not tell anyone about it nor did she deal with her own feelings about it. Adriana finally dealt with the trauma years (not specifically stated) later. This affected me and moved me greatly because I know many young women who have been abused and have kept silent about it. I myself have experienced a form of abuse that I kept to myself. Keeping secrets such as these can mentally ruin a person. People with secrets are usually unhappy and possess tormented minds.
McKayla W.

Taylor Morgan said...

The things mentioned in this chapter were all so disrespectful and it is sad that they are so believable. Regardless of the intensity of the individual's situation, sadly I could see it happening. The fact that these situation derive from gender and sexism keeps me fearful for the women in my family, my friends,other women around me (myself included). On page 52 Sandra says about her school's basketball team, "Oh that's just the basketball team messing with the girls again." They should not have a "pass" when it comes to harassing women. Another situation that upset me was when the female principle says ," I've been told by female parents of the students at my school that they [the parents] would prefer talking to the male administrator." on page 53. This makes is seem like women cannot do a job as well as a male would. Taylor M.

Anonymous said...

The passage that stood out to me the most in chapter two was the small portion about Adriana. Adriana is a black, thirty-something, bespectacled, and tall woman. Adriana was abused as a teen. She was sexually assaulted by a White craftsman(pages 43-44). This incident occurred in Adriana's early teen years. The White craftsman was at the home in which she resided to do some form of a contracted job.
This passage deeply moved me. I felt Adriana's pain and instantly wanted to consoled her. Adriana was so traumatized by the event that she, for years, did not tell a soul nor did she deal with her own feelings and seek help. Years later, the quantity is not specifically stated, she told someone and received the help that she craved. Her story, both tragic and triumphant, is the story of many young women I know. The women I know have hidden dark secrets such as these out of fear. this fear was caused by the predators themselves or the basic fear of not being believed. These women, and myself, have been physically, mentally, and verbally abused. Abuse at the hands of strangers, uncles, fathers, brother, grandfathers, and cousins. The keeping of such dark secrets can mess with the victim mentally. These mental issues include but are not limited to: diminishing of self-worth, lack of self-esteem, and in severe cases suicidal thoughts or actions. If abuse happens to anyone I highly recommend telling someone and seeking professional help.
McKayla W.

Deborrah Blackburn said...

One of the stories that stood out to me was about Julie and how she struggled to decide whether or not she should report her boss (pg 46-48). As she described the incidents between them it made me think about the other stories I had heard about in the news or seen on cop shows. It's sad that someone who you once dated or trusted begin to abuse their power and harass you. In situation like this one, I often wonder why we make it so hard for women, or men, to come forward about the abuse they may have experienced. Since everyone needs a job to support themselves, making sure they have a safe working environment should be considered a priority. Hopefully, someday this kind of harassment can be extinguished.
Deborrah B.

devinrules97 said...

The aspect of the coverage of sexism that stood out to me the most was the story about Celeste on page 45. This story stood out to me the most because of the choice that Celeste had to make. When she locked herself in her bedroom she contemplated on who's life she was going to save. "Celeste was debating with herself about whose life was more important-hers or his?" This line in particular stood out to me because even though Celeste was in danger, she still though about how this incident could affect Robert physically and how it could hurt his reputation, and hers as well. I was relieved that Celeste made the choice to protect herself, and not hold herself responsible for Roberts actions.
Devin S.

Jazmyn Maggitt said...

The passage that stood out the most to me was the part about 37-year-old Shelly (p.44). She talks about she lost a job during her teenage years after her boss attempted to rape her. It goes on further to say that since then Shelly has lost multiple other jobs because she wouldn't sleep with the man who was doing the hiring. The aspect of the passage that stood out the absolute most was when Shelly said,"I just think that for me sexism has never been a problem." I just don't understand how she can talk about how she's lost multiple jobs for being a woman who wouldn't sleep with the man in charge and then say sexism isn't an issue in her life. It's blatantly obvious that is, however part of me thinks that Shelly's denial of sexism in her life is her way of coping with the wrong doings that have happened to her.

Anonymous said...

The passage that stood out the most to me was the part about 37-year-old Shelly (p.44). She talks about she lost a job during her teenage years after her boss attempted to rape her. It goes on further to say that since then Shelly has lost multiple other jobs because she wouldn't sleep with the man who was doing the hiring. The aspect of the passage that stood out the absolute most was when Shelly said,"I just think that for me sexism has never been a problem." I just don't understand how she can talk about how she's lost multiple jobs for being a woman who wouldn't sleep with the man in charge and then say sexism isn't an issue in her life. It's blatantly obvious that is, however part of me thinks that Shelly's denial of sexism in her life is her way of coping with the wrong doings that have happened to her.
Jazmyn Maggitt

Aja J said...

Sandra’s story about sexual taunting (pg. 52) stood out the most in this chapter because it seems like it happens a lot in high schools all over, which is really sad. The fact that people can just brush off such downgrading comments is so disgraceful. Even though teenagers can be feeble-minded, there is no excuse. At a certain age, people definitely know what is acceptable to say and what is not acceptable to say.

It was also very disheartening to see that Sandra would question what she did to deserve all of the rude comments. I feel like many people of the younger generations are seeking validation from their peers and in turn are forgetting their true worth.

Kytela Medearis said...

Adrianas story 43-44 is definitely the part in the reading that touched me the most. She lived for so many years following the incident without telling a soul. I could never imagine going through something like that and living with the negative emotional effects. I feel as if now a days, women of color are criticized for ever speaking out. It's as if other people can't take us seriously and just treat us as if we are the ones in the wrong. Which in Adrianas case, I feel as if she though no one would care and that she was on her own to deal with the situation, which I find absolutely sickening that she had to deal with that. I am so glad that Adriana managed to find her voice and speak up and find help for her self. She definitely deserved that after all those years. I hope that other women who read the story and have gone through a similar situation won't hesitate to speak out against their abuser and get the help that they need.

Kellsey H said...

I had the strongest response to the passage on page 44 that described Veronica's experience in the military. She and the other women were excluded from things like bike rides, solely because they were not men. She also described how a man attempted to touch her inappropriately. It upsets me that men feel as though they are more powerful than women. Equality is an issue in our society when taking into consideration the gender of an individual.

Shelby Washington said...

What stood out most to me was the shame and guilt that black women feel for speaking out against injustices and speaking up about their true, personal experience. It saddened me that Veronica (44-45) is made to feel like an outcast or traitor by people she should be comforted by. It is so astounding and even sickening that someone could be quiet about such horrific things.

We, as a black community, need to hold one another up and be support during tough times.

Tameah Foley said...

The aspect that I had to strongest response to was how the black women reacted when Isabelle tried to tell them about her issues with Charles (p. 58). It showed me that because someone is well liked, people will often take their side rather than being interested in the opposing party. Also, I'm glad she was able to find support in a faculty member, however, I feel that her "friends" should have been more supportive of her.

Peyton said...

While everything in this chapter was interesting, the part that stood out to me was the sexual harassment and abuse endured by black women and the way the community accepts it. On page 49, the survey taken indicated that forty percent of the black, female participants had been sexually abused prior to 18. On page 50, celebrities like Mike Tyson and R. Kelly commit crimes against black women and are still able to thrive in their careers. No one, regardless of race, should be able to commit a crime, especially one of sexual abuse or misconduct and be praised as if nothing happened. People need to open their eyes to the things around them and be more aware.

Dakarai P. said...

Marilyn's tale of being one of the few blacks in her school and being taunted and harassed by white boys(p.43)stood out the most to me in this chapter because it is very similar to my own high school experiences. I attended a high school with very little diversity so the white kids, especially the boys would harass me in the halls. Marilyn's story makes me realize that the struggles I faced going through school in a predominately white community didn't happen to just me.

Anonymous said...

The passage that really stood out for me was Marilyn's story about being one of the only few blacks in her school and how she had unfavorable encounters with the white boys (pg 43). I could relate to that in a sense, because I went to a predominantly white school, with a sprinkle of Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians. Although the harassment weren't physical, they sure were emotional and mental. The boys in my class would comment on my "black hair" or would mock or make fun of my African name, Afua, purposely butchering it. To some people, they wouldn't care, but me? I was a very sensitive child when I was young. I took to things more personal than I let on, and till this day, I still recount on those years.

Lindsey McCall said...

I had the strongest response to the subject of dueling, discussed on page 42. I agree that it can be difficult to decipher between the two. For instance the statement you're skinny for a black girl, the black community would look at that as a racist comment versus a sexist comment. This statement can also be looked at as sexist but due to the current state of society all we see is race in everything, thus clouding our view of everything else going on in society.

Alexandra Donaldson said...

I had the strongest reaction to the section about Nina, a 46 year old from Los Angeles County, who had been harassed by a White male correctional officer while she was working at a men's prison (p.44). It shocks me because she says she quit for her own safety. She never mentions filing a report so she can feel safe on the job, she just immediately quits her job. It goes to show that women fear for their safety because of the dominance males seem to posses over them even in an environment where they are supposedly equals.

Alexandra D.

Fiona H. said...

In this chapter, Adrianna's story (page 43-44) stood out to me the most. Adrianna was abused as a teen by a white man who was working on her house but kept quiet about it; she dealt with her feelings from the situation years later. This part of the chapter stood out to me the most because it was the most relatable to me personally being that I know people who was abused and have been abused and kept quiet about it myself. Being abused and feeling like you can't tell or talk to anyone is a traumatic experience because you feel hurt and alone.

Fiona H.

sierra lucas said...

The example of sexism that really stood out to me was Celeste story (pg. 45-49) and how she just allowed this man to sexually harass her just because she didn't want to embarrass him in front of his white co-workers. The fact that his status in corporate America mattered more than her safety was something that I could not get past because she stated that had it been a white man she would have instantly reported him but because he was black she was just going to let him get away with it. This was very sad and touching to me that she felt the need to put her safety on the back burner in order to continue to make our race look good. this just made me question our race and values all together and is sad because situations like this does nothing to help uplift our black community.
Sierra L.

Naomi Thompson said...

The section that surprised me the most was the story of Julie. I couldn't understand how she would let anyone sexually assault her in that way, but the fact she did it to protect a black man surprised me even more. She even says, "'If he had been White I would've moved forward and I know that...'" (pg. 49). With the knowledge that he has a wife and baby on the way and is such an awful person, I would have moved forward with the information as soon as possible. By not moving forward, she is allowing for another woman to be assaulted. I would understand if she didn't say anything because she didn't want to lose her job that she needed at the time, but she didn't come forward because he was black. This story was on pages 46-49.

Breanna B. said...

Veronica's story starting on page 44 really made me uneasy. As a part of the Navy, with high standing, and being harassed due to gender and race is crazy to me. Even crazier is the silence that followed. Women, if all races, often lie dormant in the war that is conflict. I do believe society has pushed the opinion of a woman into a corner, told it to be quite, and not to move. It's disheartening to know so many women don't feel their fight is worth fighting because of this mindset.

Sydney J said...

The passage that stood out to me the most was on page 44 when she talks about the fear of women coming out about their mistreatment especially from black men. I don't think black women should live in fear of being rejected and hated for turning in their abuser. If anything these women should be receiving love and support for their strength in speaking out.
Sydney J

YaQkeha Witherspoon said...

The passage that got me the most was on page 44, when Shelly recalled her boss trying to rape her, and several other incidents where she did not get a job because she refused to sleep with the person hiring her. But then, turned around and said that sexism is not a problem for her. That is the problem right there. That some women do not know or understand what sexism is, so they cannot recognize it when it is happening to them or the people around them. Or it becomes so normal to women, that they no longer recognize when it happens. Women have to be able to identify it, and realize that it is not okay.

Ashley Murray said...

I had the strongest response to the sexism displayed on page 43. The statistics of the white women v. the African American women in relation to sexual harassment in the workforce really raised an eyebrow. The way you can be categorized and ultimately abused because of your gender and race is appalling. It was especially important to me as a young African American woman seeing that I am told by these numbers that I am more likely to be a victim of this crime. It also made me think about why these numbers won't change when Shelly "dismissed" the crime when it happened to her on page 44. As a whole I feel if women took it as serious as it really is more predators would be penalized.

Jamesha M. said...

I had the strongest response to the fact that so many women are oblivious to sexism, or simply don't acknowledge it for fear of hurting someone else. The stories of Celeste(p.46), Julie(p.48), and Karen(p.50) don't make since to me; Why would they endure this treatment? Is his life more important than theirs'? How is it so engraved into Black women's minds that they should just endure?

And at the same time with these thoughts, I know there are women in my life that would endure the same treatments and say/do nothing about it.

sierra lucas said...

The part that I felt strongly about was when the female principle "I've been told by female parents of the students at my school that they would prefer talking to the male administrator" on page 53. This really made me feel some type of way because it makes it seem like women are not capable of doing a job better than a man and for women to say this means that they are not trying to help uplift the women in the work place which is sad. Sierra L.

Maya said...

The part that stood out the most to me was about the principle because even though she had the same qualifications as a principle and worked just as hard people still thought that a man would be better at her job than she is. This stood out because there are lots of women, including me, who work hard through college to get a degree in a professional field and although we work hard there are still people who doubt our abilities just because we are women. I think this can also happen with men who are nurses or work in child care, a predominately women field. No one should judge someone's qualifications to do their job just because of their gender.

Shardai J-H. said...

The story about the officer being harassed by her superior officer. It is sad that to keep a job or keep respect, you have to lose some. She was put in a position of choosing her job or her self respect. She did chose well in avoiding him, but she still shouldn't have to be uncomfortable in a place she worked so hard to get to. She chose her job in the end for this reason. She did not want to lose everything just for speaking out, which should not be a reality.