Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Getting the "Low" Down

So if the truth is told, I was caught off guard. Here I was sitting all alone at the Holmes Student Center attempting to complete my American Sign Language (ASL) homework. When all of a sudden, it struck me…..ALL of us have intersecting identities!!! (They may not always be a minority identity but their identities none the less).

I was researching individuals in Deaf culture who have made a significant impact on what is known as the hearing world (essentially everyone that is not Deaf or Hard of Hearing). I found Juliette Gordon Low, referenced as one of the influential figures that my assignment asked me to identify. Low may not sound like a household name, but amongst personal hardship and a life full of troubles (not only was she Deaf but she was divorced and ill with breast cancer toward the end of her life), she still found a way to make a difference in the lives of others.

What is significant about Juliette Gordon Low (in the center of the picture to the left) is that she founded what is known today as the Girl Scouts. Low, amidst personal struggles, gave girls in the United States (for the first time I may add) an outlet to help them realize their potential and their true ability in contributing to and shaping society. I applaud and thank Low, because it is the actions of individuals like her that make it possible for the advancement of ALL people.

With this in mind, I had several thoughts…..

First. are achievements of this magnitude occurring today? Are women and other minorities out doing now what Low did decades ago that would impact the future of the country? If I’m completely honest, I don’t see the type of achievements of women like Low in today’s society. I wonder if that’s because the media is not interested in highlighting the achievements of women or if we as a society have become so complacent with the status quo that we see no need for empowerment of women (in my opinion this is so NOT TRUE).

My second realization was that most people possess some sort of intersecting identities. Like Low, who was a minority by being Deaf and a woman, I too possess intersecting identities. I wonder if all people can, like Juliette Godron Low, reconcile their intersecting identities for the sake of advancing equality and strength for all.

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