Today, while reading for a class, I found the articulation for the internal dilemma I have felt since beginning my graduate program. It is the question of power. There is a definite code of behavior and language used among those in power. As an advocate for oppressed people and a woman of color have felt that I would need to learn this code and language in order to bring change. However, can I really do this? Can I change who I am in order to climb the ladder of power?
This quote rocked me this morning and brought more questions to mind:
One of the basic principles of the new racism is that when nonwhites or women manage to "win" on the basis of existing rules, then the rules must be changed (Chan & Wang, 1991, p. 63).
Am I trying to fight the system by "winning" with the rules that the people in power have already laid out for me? Is learning to fight power with power going to be a major waste of time, because the power rules change? Or should I work on changing the rules of the game, before the powerful people do? Or are the rules in society going to be in place to keep some people on the bottom?
Do I need to become more fluent in the language of power even if it means changing who I am or do I stay me and fight to change what the language of power sounds like?
I don't have an answer yet...