Cycle of Socialization – A Series of Haikus


Born into the world,
innocence upon entry;
established system.

Dominant/agent:
privileged, lucky, and the norm.
Part of me belongs.

Subordinate group:
unlucky, minority.
Part of me belongs.

First Socialization
Those closest to us,
father, mother, family;
unconsciously formed.

Follow roles and rules;
intrapersonally, I
think about myself.

I think I am smart.
I write stories and doodle;
imagination.

Relate to others;
interpersonally, what
others think about.

“Your daughter is cute.”
“She is a great learner.”
“She is very nice.”

I view others now.
I see their lives and I learn
these are role models.

Cartoons and adults,
around me every day,
influencing me.

School, church, home, and friends:
reinforce and contradict
what I learned at home.

Some kids are not nice.
Teachers make mistakes.
Listen to others.

Boys and girls, jocks, nerds;
we all know the hierarchy;
you are out of line.

In the media:
reinforce stereotypes.
Always there to see.

I don’t look like her.
He has more money than me.
Our lives are polar.

As I grow up with
messages of division,
they are justified

Contradict the norm,
thinking independently,
then you pay the price.

Conform to the norm,
consciously/unconsciously,
receive benefits.

“Not brought up this way.”
“Just sit still and look pretty.”
“Do not raise your voice.”

If you do obey,
you will be greatly rewarded:
whatever you want.

Your reward includes:
privilege, safety, comfort,
access, approval.

If you don’t obey,
breaking invisible rules,
you will be punished.

Punishment entails:
vulnerability and
discrimination.

Our learned helplessness,
internalized oppression,
comes from within us.

We reinforce the
stereotypes against us;
they have the power.

Sometimes I may feel
guilt, fear, ignorance, stress
because of agents.

Perpetuate the
cycle through identity
in an agent group.

Causes of problems:
isms that society
is built on; produces.

Keep the oppression
by failing to interrupt
the cycle; alive.

What should I do next?
I would like to do nothing,
but no change can come.

“Do not rock the boat.”
“Old system, change is useless.”
Silence is consent.

Cycle has a life,
centrifugal force propels,
not interrupted.

Resign to destruct,
hurts too much to fight cycle,
need allies and help.

Why am I still here?
What has kept me in cycle?
How long have I been?

Core of the cycle:
fear, ignorance, confusion,
insecurity.

Discrimination.
“Don’t be a trouble-maker.”
“Do not take that risk.”

Might lose privilege
if we interrupt cycle;
pay back and target.

Lack understanding,
need to educate ourselves;
blind to connections.

Complex confusion.
How do we break the cycle?
Prevents an action.

We are unprepared.
How do you fight the unknown?
Feeling insecure.

Part of many groups:
some are targets, some are not.
I am in both sides.

I am a woman.
I am a minority.
I am not the same.

I am middle-class.
I am Christian, “church-goer.”
I am capable.

I grew up with whites,
raised in a Dutch community;
not very diverse.

Good student in class,
obeyed the authority.
Respectful. Quiet.

Etiquette changed
when I went to friends houses;
rules are different.

I looked different:
I was not white or blonde-haired,
a Disney princess.

People assume things:
my language, my family,
American girl?

International,
Chinese, oriental girl;
not from around here.

How do I respond?
Perpetuating by not
doing anything.

Want to be able
to promote and educate,
to raise awareness.

Most of us contain
multiple identities;
often conflicting.

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