Thursday, March 3, 2011

Yes We Can?

In the spirit of reform week or reform literature and since we go to GW, we can never escape politics. President Obama was elected due to many reasons some but not all include 1) economic downturn 2) President Bush being a Republican 3) young 4) charismatic 5) lest not we forget CHANGE.
Don't get me wrong, Obama has tried hard time and time again to reform Washington (good luck with that) and yet time and time again people aren't buying into it. This got me thinking about William Apess and his calls for change. Have we really changed since he wrote An Indian's Looking Glass for the White Man? Whether we like it or not we are still a racist as well as a sexist society. (Woman make 75% of what men make) Can we call ourselves a democracy? Native Americans are still a disenfranchised group. I guess the ultimate question in all this is:

Why is change hard? And more importantly:

Why do we call for change and yet we oppose it?


  1. Again, I feel like this is one of those conversations that all of you should have openly, without my influence. However, I would urge you to be rigorous in the way that you think about history. Yes, some things have remained the same, but plantation model slavery, for one, does not exist any more. So things are not precisely the same.

    Let me throw some links in here. First, a link from Crooked Timber about the relationship between Obama and the Internet. It's about change.

    Next, check this archived comment about race. You should also read the article in the proper post. You should also realize how cutting edge this scholarly blog has become!

  2. Within feminism there is an argument that true equality can't exist within a democracy because that type of society is not motivated only by freedom but also by power. Real change can't happen as long as someone (aka the privileged majority) benefits from keeping others in subordination. I believe that socialism is extreme, but a collective society would stop people from focusing on power and money and eliminate patriarchy.

  3. Good question, Paul! Professor Fisher, I had some problems with that second article from the New York Times. Just because our President isn't 100% white doesn't mean that racism won't exist anymore. I don't know if anyone's ever seen the movie Crash, but I strongly encourage watching it. I don't want to give anything away, but Ryan Phillippe's character and what he does in the end of the movie illustrates my belief that we can never truly escape from racism and that we are all somewhat inherently biased, even those of us who think we aren't (I know that sounds harsh). That's why I have trouble fully believing that race and gender are social constructs. As a Psychology minor, I took Implicit Association Tests ( that have proven this, at least to me.

    I think we can still call ourselves a democracy despite this. Democracy isn't perfect, and it's not supposed to be. Racism and sexism have been apparent in our society for so long, and not just in American society, so I think it's kind of ingrained in our psyche now. I don't think that makes us less of a democratic nation, though.

    And in response to Bryanne's comment, I agree that socialism is extreme, and I wouldn't advocate for a collective society in America. Our nation was built and founded upon the concepts of independence, personal freedom, capitalism, and the like. That's what our nation symbolizes to ourselves and to the rest of the world. Can we really change these foundations and still be America? Maybe I'm just too old school. I mean, I know I don't like change.

    Backtracking in time, I found this article ( yesterday, and it made me think of Apess and this blog post for some reason. It makes me wonder: why are we still affected to this day by the notion that Washington had slaves and Lincoln wasn't as much of a radical abolitionist as our high school textbooks claim him to be, when that was the norm during their time period?

  4. I just read the old post Professor Fisher linked us to and I have to argue that things are changing. Are we in a post-racial society? Absolutely not. It would be naive to say otherwise, as examples of racism and inequality are obviously apparent anywhere we go.

    But...we are changing. I truly believe that we are moving closer and closer to a world of equality.

    The evidence is everywhere. Every new generation grows with less prejudice and more acceptance. Women continue to close the gender gap in the workplace and schools. We elected Barack Obama as the leader of our free world. It doesn't matter what race he actually is because he was/is perceived as African-American by the general public and made history in their eyes. I know we have a lot farther to go, but volunteerism and nonprofit work are also growing in popularity, which can only lead to positive effects. Things are so different in America now than they were 50 years ago. If we can continue our progress and change just as much in the next 50 years, we will achieve equality.