Deconstructing Jennifer Juhler ( 9 50 ) From The Mirrors Of Privilege : Making Whiteness Visible Video

Deconstructing Jennifer Juhler ( 9 50 ) From The Mirrors Of Privilege : Making Whiteness Visible Video

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In this critical analysis paper I will be deconstructing Jennifer Juhler (9:50) from the Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible video. Juhler describes an instance from her childhood where her best friend, a Chinese-American girl, is tormented and embarrassed by a theater teacher. In the scene Juhler’s friend, amongst others, is cast as a Pacific Islander extra. The teacher then asks her to say her lines in an accent; however, when the teacher shows her how she wants her to speak, she does so in a way that mocks her and makes her sound uneducated and silly. When Juhler is describing this encounter, she is in the stage described by Janet Helms as “disintegration”. This scene also exemplifies the concepts of stereotyping and master status.
Janet Helms’s stage of disintegration is characterized by an encounter and/or specific events in which cause white people to see the reality of racism. These events often cause the white person to feel angry, confused, and disturbed. This encounter between the teacher and her Chinese-American friend causes Juhler to really see a true instance of racism. Even as an adolescent, Juhler knows enough to feel angry about this situation and knows that what she’s seeing is wrong. The fact that Juhler is a close friend to the girl who is being tormented by the teacher I think causes her experience of the disintegration stage to be even more powerful. She feels a strong sense of loyalty and protectiveness towards her friend. As she is watching her friend being subjected to this embarrassment from across the auditorium she describes wanting to “stop it all magically.” It is easy to question Juhler’s response and think, “well, why didn’t you say something to try and stop it.” But the disintegration s...

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...t like everyone else—has a complex background and specific experience unique to only her. The theater teacher failed to honor this and chose to only pay attention to one part of her identity. Furthermore, this teacher made an ugly assumption due to a pre-exposed idea that all Asian-Pacific Americans speak with an accent. This scenario is an exact example of ignorance, oppression, and microagressions working together to perpetuate racist stereotypes. This dynamic then creates the opportunity for colorblind ideologies to live and breathe: taking away pieces of identity by simultaneously labeling a person as other, ignoring that racism still exists, and ultimately hiding white privilege. All of these concepts work together to benefit a narrow social group whose ideas are based on hypocrisy, ignorance, and exclusion and only serves to maintain their false social power.

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