Monday, November 28, 2011

Alternative Break Session 5: 11/19

Icebreaker Activity about Identity

Purpose of the activity: What have we learned about ourselves and the other people around us?

The trouble around diversity, then, isn’t just that people differ from one another. The trouble is produced by a world organized in ways that encourage people to use difference to include or exclude, reward or punish, credit or discredit, elevate or oppress, value or devalue, leave alone or harass (Privilege, Power, and Difference, 2001, by Allen G. Johnson)

Social Identity: race, class, gender, ability, age, religion, sexual orientation, language

Experiences privileges: Middle-aged white men, middle class (?), women and men, Christian - where?, Jewish, middle-aged people in traditional occupations, technology occupations - youth, heterosexuals, English (American)

Experiences oppression: Latino/Hispanic, Asian, Black community, middle class (?), women and men, transgender, non-gender confirming, mental/learning disability, Muslim, outwardly religious people, senior citizens, non-heterosexuals, non English speakers, accents

Definition of an ally: “An individual who experiences privilege and rejects the dominant ideology; taking action against oppression out of a belief that eliminating oppression is mutually beneficial to both people who experience privilege and people who experience oppression.”

Characteristics of an ally:

1. Comfortable with/proud of their own identity

2. Takes responsibility for their own education

3. Acknowledges unearned privileges

4. Recognizes unlearning racism, etc. as a lifelong process

5. Willing to take risks; try new behavior

6. Acts against social injustice in belief their own self interest

7. Uses privilege to work against oppression

Article #1: BBC News - Suu Kyi’s NLD democracy party to rejoin Burma politics

Article #2: Burma law to allow labour unions and strikes

- Positive press regarding Burma lately

- Is the change cosmetic?

- More press could be an impetus for the Burmese government to change; more governments could hold them accountable

- Burma has a chair in ASEAN

- Schedule prisoner was released this upcoming Monday

- Can Aung San Suu Kyi’s involvement in government help?

- How would ethnic minorities feel about the move?

- Aung San Suu Kyi is a Burman (majority) representing the minority groups

Cultural Presentation #1 by Erin Q: Thai language phrases - Erin will send us links online.

Cultural Presentation #2 by Erin O: Thai Do’s and Don’ts when traveling, courtesy of Erin’s Thai friend (advice given for her boyfriend from Ohio). Feet are considered dirty! Do not point your feet, and try your best not to cross your legs. Don’t wear a lot of jewelry. You may get robbed. *Please refer to the handout

CBO/NGO #1: Monk Chat - University program that provides an opportunity for foreigners to chat with monks informally on general topics that include the monk’s way of living, Thai culture, Buddhism, etc. *Please see handout

CBO/NGO #2: Democratic Voice of Burma - Norwegian non-profit organization run by Burmese expatriates that has four primary goals:

1. The provision of “accurate and unbiased news to the people of Burma”

2. To “promote understanding and cooperation” among Burma’s religious and ethnic populations

3. To “encourage and sustain independent public opinion” and to provide for “social and political debate”

4. To “impart the ideals of democracy and human rights” to the Burmese people

Travel tips:

1. Do not travel by yourself. Use the buddy system!

2. Do not mention the BBL because the Burmese immigrants’ livelihoods in Thailand will be endangered because they are illegal. Just say that you are a tourist.

3. Be responsible with your passport and money. *We will exchange our money there

4. Beware of tuk-tuks that approach you. You must approach them. The same rule applies to taxi drivers. Taxi drivers must turn the meter on. Use the pink taxis. They are reliable in Bangkok.

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