CR #4 Why Our Sunday Morning Routines Matter

The idea of oppression is often thought as “the exercise of tyranny by a ruling group”(Young,1). But according to Iris Marion Young and Ada Isasi-Diaz, the concept of oppression is not as simple as people may think, there are many types of oppression and deeply affects everyone in our society. Oppression can happen to any individual or group in more ways than one. In the piece Five Faces of Oppression by Iris Marion Young, she also sees oppression as “the result of a few people’s choices or policies that cause embedded unquestioned norms, habits, and symbols. These societal rules can become an restrictive structure of forces and barriers that immobilize and reduce a group or category of people” (Young,1). According to Young, there are “five faces” to oppression: violence, exploitations, marginalization, powerlessness, and cultural imperialism. According to Young and Isasi-Diaz the five faces of oppression are all equally harmful. Ada Isasi-Diaz writes “All of them are interconnected, created institutions, organizations, laws, and customs that reinforce one another and create structural oppression. The dominant group, that group that has power, considers oppressed people as having now value or significance”(Diaz,46). It doesn’t matter what type of oppression people experience, with Young and Isasi-Diaz agree that “oppression is when people make other people less human. This could mean treating them in a dehumanizing manner. But, it could also mean denying people language, education, and other opportunities that might make them become fully human in both mind and body”(Young,1).

In Ada Isasi-Diaz’s writing Decolonizing Epistemologies, she identifies herself as oppressed and impoverished. Meaning that “ ‘the impoverished’ because I am a middle- class Latina and though I have suffered economic exploitation, being middle class can easily lead me to ignore poverty”(Diaz,46). It can be related to previous readings such as Beverly Tatum’s multi- identity piece, The Complexity of Identity: “Who Am?” One quality of her identity may be ridiculed by larger society while another aspect of her identity is part of the dominant part of society. What Isasi-Diaz means by being oppressed and impoverished is that her ‘reality’ is the root cause of why she is experiencing oppression. Being part of a certain oppressed community is based on her identities and whether the larger society considers it a dominant or subordinate identity.

Ada Isasi-Diaz states that lo cotidianos is our relationships with reality and how it affects our experiences in the world. Based on our identities, oppression, or privileges, “Lo cotidiano has to do with the practices and beliefs that we have inherited, and with those habitual judgements that are part of our “facing life”, of how we face and what we do with our reality” (48). For example Isasi-Diaz, reflects on her Sunday routine and compares it to the disheveled lady’s Sunday morning. She writes “The decisions I had taken on that Sunday morning were so trivial that I do not remember a single one of them. It was different for this woman. This woman probably made half a dozen decisions that impacter her values, her commitments, her responsibilities, and her obligations”(54). In this example, Isasi-Diaz who is a middle-class woman, did not have to worry about how to get breakfast or her bus fare like the ladyhad to. Unlike that lady, she did not have to think about survival on that Sunday morning. While volunteering at my community partnership, I wonder how different my life is compared to the students. I am able to have a higher education and live in San Rafael because my parents help me with tuition and rent. Even though I still have to worry about expenses and doing well in school, I am able to live comfortably due to the fact that I am not fully supporting myself. But that may be different for the community partner’s students and families. Tasks as ‘simple’ as paying rent or buying groceries, our definitions of budgeting can be completely different. Like Ada, there are routines that I take for granted, I don’t have to worry about surviving 24–7. Other people may have to think about how they get to school, if they can do homework at home, or if they will get dinner that night. In my case, I can safely walk to school, have a good environment to study in, and I know I’ll have some sort of food waiting for me at home.The significance of our lo cotidiano experiences is the fact that our day-to-day routines are tied to our own state of being oppressed and impoverished. We adapt to the situations that are given to us on a short or long term basis because of the circumstances that are presented to us in society.

There are a couple ways that I can begin to observe lo cotidiano when I spend time with my community partner population. Cultural practices and beliefs is one aspect of lo cotidiano. The cultural practices and beliefs are inherited from our family and friends and we often make choices from what we know. Also lo cotidiano is related to an individual or groups physical and emotional strengths and weaknesses, hopes, and frustrations. Interacting with the members from the community partner is one way to observe lo cotidiano experiences. When you interact and build relationships with them, that is when patterns of lo cotidiano are noticeable. Once the patterns or experiences are identified, it is easier to find them as you grow with the community partner.