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Social Health and Diversity Tue 5:30 Brenda Pierce

Reflection Paper Disciplinary Awareness I took this class Social Health and Diversity as a requirement towards a degree. It is not one I would have chosen on my own. I am an older student so my life experience is broader than the typical student. Although the concepts oppression, discrimination and diversity are not new to me, I did learn new vocabulary; such as, hegemony, eugenics, etc . I have volunteered and served on boards of many non-profit agencies, as follows: Board member and mentor of single mothers into the workplace for People Helping People; Founding Executive Director and contributor to Murray Greenhouse Foundation -School for the handicapped to work in a greenhouse and learn life skills; Current Treasurer, Zonta-an international organization for the betterment of women and children. I have also sold employment practices liability and presented classes on the coverage. As a top executive in the business world, I have experienced the inequities suffered by women in the workforce. The awareness that came to me is that my experience in advocacy has mostly been done as an individual. The class presented that coalitions and inter-connectedness are potentially more beneficial to change social environments. However, there are pros and cons to the group process. If one is extremely busy with life, it is difficult to spend the time organizing and meeting. Sometimes, just dealing with what you confront in your daily life is all you can do. I have also learned to be careful when advocating for other people. They may not want to rock the boat. Make sure you do not jeopardize their position or their comfort level. The service project I initially planned was to go to the prison and enroll inmates with drug offenses, who were on the verge of release, into the Affordable Care coverage. The premise is that if they have access to mental health treatment, they will be able to stay out of prison and become contributing members of society. This project evolved into doing outreach for Obama Care in the SLCC schools. It turned out to be a timely project as the deadline was coming up within a month. I learned that most the people, who were interested, would have qualified for the expanded Medicaid coverage that the State of Utah declined to accept. These people are single people who make less than $5,000 per year. I also found that they are so busy trying to avail themselves of daily survival needs, they do not know how to take advantage of services, or why they are denied services. One person said to me, I thought Obama Care was supposed to take care of everyone. I was able to inform him of the politics that excluded him from the opportunity.

My belief is that healthcare is a safety net to help people in poverty to start the journey to climb the ladder and realize the American dream that seems to only be available to those born into privilege. The study of classism was especially interesting to me as I understand that if we dont help everyone achieve the dream, the dream is not worth it to any of us. We need to create a middle class of consumers to provide revenue streams to corporations who sell products in order for the upper management to get their bonuses. This is pure economics and greedy people dont realize they are shooting themselves in the foot. Interdisciplinary Awareness My most favorite subjects are economics and healthcare. I call them my hobbies. I try to focus all of my learning around these subjects. Economics plays a role in almost every facet of life, including the diversity of human beings. US Economic History covers many of the civil laws that encompass all of the elements of discrimination against diversity from religion, immigrants, classism, disabled, people of color, etc. This provides an understanding of how immigrants struggled through oppression by not having access to support systems and how they were marginalized by police powers due to their lack of power and standing in the community. It helps us understand why laws were created to protect the civil liberties of all human beings. The law courses I have taken were also beneficial in elevating my perspective on the constitution, and understanding the protected classes of employment law. Many of the books I have read in my neighborhood book club have also raised awareness regarding history that is not in the school books. We have read the Orphan Train; although fiction, it describes the reality of street children in New York who were sent west to find families. They became indentured labor and suffered multiply abuses. It talked about the racist treatment of the Irish immigrants. We also read, The good old days, they werent so good and Collapse by my favorite author, Jared Diamond. He is a scientist and anthropologist who studies societies and how the relationship interactions with others are a partial reason these societies no longer exist. Interdisciplinary Comparison The difference between the current study of social justice and diversity versus my other studies is that this course deals with current discrimination and oppression that is still seeking change all these years later. The comparison does give reference to how far we have come from the past, but there is still more work to be done. Social change is the emergent outcome from the inequities of the past. Laws are made to insure social justice.

Transfer of knowledge and skills Reflection is an emotional process of analyzing evolvement of the human journey through life. After reflecting on this course, I found that although I came from a very sheltered environment on the farm, I have strived to broaden my life experiences. Through this process I have had a plethora of experience with all kinds of people. I have gay friends, women friends, black friends, male friends, older friends, younger friends, handicapped friends, eastern Indian friends. The look back at the journey is humbling as you realize the obstacles you have overcome in an effort to make life better for those who follow in your footsteps. It was interesting to put my life through the cycle of socialization we learned about in Section 1 of the text book. I was born on a farm to young parents without an education. My mother went from her family home straight to the marriage to my dad, who did spend time in the Korean War, but mostly with other men from his hometown. Then he went directly back to the farm. Everyone in our town was white and of only one religion that is particularly patriarchal. I was the oldest of three girls. I think it was a life-defining moment that I did not have brothers. I had to help my dad on the farm. I feel that I was socialized differently than other girls. I had expectations for myself that were outside the norm of other women and girls. I just couldnt settle for less than the advantages I saw men receive. (Even when it came to the amount of food the boys got in the lunch line!) I remember feeling frustrated climbing the ladder in the mens corporate world. I was a pain in the neck to them because I was fearless in not accepting the womens station in the hierarchy. I became branch manager when my male manager left the company to start a competing company and took the qualified staff with him. The district manager wanted to make me acting branch manager while they looked for a suitable man for the job. I indicated that if they wanted to save the branch, they better give me the job or I would leave also. I know if they had a choice, I would not have had the 18 year, successful career as branch manager. After surviving through three Presidents, I remember having a review and I told the president that I wanted the salary that was consistent with the men in my position. Strangely, I got a 25% raise. That told me I had been underpaid for years compared to my male counterparts. And I had one of the most profitable branches. I have also stood up in church and asked the parishioners to respect the journey of gay people and not to judge them. These small individual acts are uncomfortable for the people on the receiving end. If you are going to make a stand, there is a price to be paid. People do become afraid of you. Being popular or one of the crowd is not where you will find yourself, but the price is worth it. Only when the pain of remaining the same becomes greater than the fear of change, will people step up and do the right thing.