I believe that there are many reasons that people may feel uncomfortable discussing sensitive topics, and that for each person those reasons are different.
I find myself having trouble discussing issues related to sexual orientation, and also abortion. I have trouble with these issues because I am not sure what the right decision is, and I do not feel comfortable claiming to have an answer. I am afraid of making people angry, and also that I do not have enough information to make a judgment on the subject.
There are many ways that supervisors and educators can help ease the trouble of talking about difficult subjects. One of the most important ways to help is to first create a vocabulary that is not offensive to either side of the discussion. That way, people know what terms are being deemed "politically correct" by both sides, and do not have to worry about being caught up in semantics. It is also important to make sure that everyone has a chance to be involved in the conversation. If some students are shy, allow questions or comments to be emailed or put in a box, so they can discuss the ideas without feeling embarrassed to ask questions. Supervisors and educators should also recognize that they may have a bias, and work to remain open and understanding to both sides.
While educators and supervisors need to set up the conversation, they must also be willing to be a part of the conversation. Supervisors can be a strong influence on students and workers by showing how talk about sensitive subjects without flaming or overly argumentative.
The most important thing for a leader to understand is that while discussion is vital to coming to an understanding, argument only separates people further.
Week 7 Discussion: Answers
1-What factors have promoted greater gender stratification in North America Which historical factors have promoted greater equality between the sexes (Kottak, chp.9)
There are many reasons for gender stratification in North America. In early America, studies showed again and again that men were smarter, stronger, and overall better than women. These studies were used to explain why women should not work, and needed to stay in the home. Women were considered objects, and were owned by men, having no more rights then children, and sometimes less than male children. One of the primary beliefs was that women should not be overly educated, because it will limit their ability to procreate, which is what women are for. While many of these myths have been overturned, they continue to carry strength, because of the long length of time they were believed.
Equality comes from the feminist movement. While the first move was for suffrage, women had to work hard for more chances. It was during World War II that women were really able to step out of the home, to fill places in factories that were left empty by the men. Women (and men) learned that women could work successfully, and raise a family at the same time. When the men returned, women were kicked back into the home, but they no longer felt at home. Now that women knew what they were capable of, they were more able to fight for equality.
2-Discuss the historical causes and contemporary manifestations of the political organization of sexual orientation What rights are being sought