What Difference Does a Difference Make?
Societal Privilege, Disadvantage, and Discord in Human Relationships
Discrepancies in social power may be understood as representations of social privilege and social disadvantage. It is the need to deny the existence and meaning of those power differentials that is often a key ingredient in the discord observed between many individuals and groups who differ along the dimensions discussed in this book. While most human services professionals agree in principle that exploring and understanding the role of culture, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, race, class, age, and other variables is important in a range of arenas, in practice, people often report that they experience great discomfort when confronted with the need to discuss these issues and even greater discomfort when the discussion leads to an examination of the social inequities that are associated with membership of certain groups, essentially, an examination of social injustice. It is important to consider the discomfort often present when addressing these differences and its origins. This chapter discusses general problems brought about by the discordant structure of interactions.
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