Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Personal Side of Prejudice, Bias, and Opression

It's week 6 of my class on Diversity, and we're reflecting back on what we've learned so far in the last few weeks as well as our own experiences with prejudice. I've had a few negative experiences so far, one concerning racism, but the rest included genderism.

It's really hard to be a female pastor sometimes. There have been plenty of times where people would come up to my husband and I in church and not only interact with him as if he were the pastor, but then be shocked when he diverted them back to me. There was also that one time that I showed up at a Catholic family's home because they couldn't find a pastor to come deliver last rites. Boy were they shocked when a pregnant female protestant pastor came instead. 

But the times that were the hardest were when I was at any large meeting without my husband. I always felt like I had leprosy or some other infectious disease that made anyone I tried to have a conversation with run away. One time in particular, after several hours of male pastors shortening our conversations, one of my colleagues (from my church) tried to offer me their seat at the table for lunch. I lost it! I was sick of being the girl in the group and didn't want to have to sit, while others stood, just because I was the girl, after everyone had been avoiding me all day. 

The reality of the situation was he was my friend, viewed me as a pastor, and was just trying to be nice. But after an entire day of feeling like I was under full on genderism microagression assault, it was the last straw for me. I felt like a complete outsider and I was crushed.

Looking back on the situation, I've learned a few things. I, first, need to not take everything personal (like my friend offering me the seat), that was not an attack on my gender. Secondly, I need to remember that not all male pastors are against female pastors. And lastly, I need to find those that are for us (and other female pastors) and stick to that group in those types of functions and not concern myself with the others.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Danielle,

    I'm glad that at the end you were able to learn from your experience instead of holding a grudge on how people treated you. I know I would have been as frustrated as you were! I really liked how you remarked at the end that not all male pastors are against female pastors, because that is true for everything else. Generalizations are not good, and they only lead to more trouble.

    Thanks for sharing your experience!!
    - Vilma