Any form of self-reflection is hard, but to be critical of yourself is even harder, so here goes my attempt at it. Before beginning this class, I was semi-familiar with the concept of societal hierarchies and their role in limiting certain peoples. However, my encounters with these social hierarchies in previous classes had always been in the study of the past. When looking back at these past hierarchies and the limitations they imposed on certain peoples, it becomes very easy to display a hindsight bias towards them: there always seems to be a defined right and wrong with an obvious solution as of how to fix them to improve society. I’m definitely very guilty of thinking this way, however this class has provided me with much more insight into the complexities the hierarchies that are still continuously functioning in our society to this day.
This was one of the first classes in which I was able to actually address more contemporary social hierarchies, most notably in relation to gender and race. Through both our reading and in-class discussions, it has become far more apparent that the way in which these societal hierarchies operate is highly complex. While there are still many awful products that result from these established hierarchies, there are just no simple solutions to repair them. It is very hard to view repairing these hierarchies in an objective manner, as there are many aspects and people who must be taken into account to truly better society. I guess ultimately what I’m getting at is that the primary thing I’ve taken away from this class is a deeper understanding of how these hierarchies continue to operate in our society today as well as an understanding of not necessarily viewing them in such an objective manner. There is no clear solution to solving these systemically ingrained problems that date back to the very beginnings of human society, but I remain hopeful that change will still continue. Humans have already made massive amounts of change and progress for the betterment of society in their short time on Earth, and I’m certain that there is still plenty more to come.