Wednesday, July 23, 2008

ETHICS

Today we explored the boundaries of our morals and were presented with internal dilemma scenarios. Dean Kisa gave us different stories about kids whose consciences were being tested. The example that my group shared to the class was of a student who mistakenly received a better grade than she deserved as her semester grade. She debates on what to do. On one hand, she knows that she'll have a guilty conscience but on the other hand she is very aware of the competitiveness of college admissions. Our class debated our personal opinions and what we would do in that situation. For the most part, the class agreed that they would point the error out to the teacher and accept the lower grade rather than feel guilty for accepting a grade that they didn't deserve.

Mr. Ramsey asked me what I thought about the class being all female and he wondered what I thought would change in a mixed gender environment. I like having such an open place to voice my opinions. I'm usually always willing to answer questions in school but for this particular subject, “women in leadership,“ I think that if there were guys in the classroom, things would change without us even realizing that they were changing. Everyone in our class seems more open and honest about what they really think. We still have the quiet ones and the ones who like to take charge just like in any other classroom but the dynamics change in a class of all girls.

2 comments:

Charles Ramsey said...

I am glad that you shared your impressions and opinions on what you believe the environment would be like if guys were in the room. You are correct that you would feel more comfortable with only young women in the room. Sometimes guys feel more comfortable with only guys in the rooms. When I was in college I was on a dorm floor with just guys and I can tell you that we were the envy of the College. Every guy wanted to be on that floor because we knew that we could be guys.

However, society discourages monolitic behavior and rightfully so. We have to live in a world where we respect and value each other. This is the strength of this country, that we embrace differences and that we have a level of tolerance for a difference of opinion. I do believe that this class has tremendous value to shaping your thoughts and ideas, but I do want to caution all of you that men have a role in society and that many of us appreciate and respect women.

I live in a house where I am the only male and I feel that I give my family tremendous space and opportunity to express their feelings. I am hopeful that you will come to a school board meeting in the future and share with us what you have learned in this "Women and Leadership" class.

I also look forward to reading the post that will take us through your interview with Mr. Miranda. I hope that you give us some salient insight.

Otherwise glad that it was worth the two weeks to spend in Providence at Brown. It is something that you will remember for the rest of your life.

Take care.

Charles T. Ramsey
School Board Member
West Contra Costa
Unified School District

dongosney said...

Kiana⎯As always, I enjoy reading your posts and reading what you have to say. You have some good insights and express yourself very well. Thank you for sharing.

I suppose that it will always depend on the individual and how strong they are inside when it comes to the debate over whether a class like yours should be coed or not. Some people have strong feelings of equality for all and would welcome other genders but I can also see how some people, especially young people who are still tying to develop their own confidence and feelings of self worth, might feel intimidated by having the opposite gender in the class.

I don’t mean any of that as a sign of disrespect, Kiana. We all have our own weaknesses and strengths and we need to find the appropriate way to deal with them. I’ve always thought of myself as strong willed and without fear of most things. Put me in a room full of Al Qaida terrorists and I’ll take them on single handedly but put me in a room with a young single woman and my spine turns to Jello.

With most teens, they’re still struggling to find themselves and all too often peer pressure can control the actions of an individual. Even as Charles mentioned when recalling his dorm days in college, I wonder just how many of the guys would have acted like “guys” had the floor been coed.

I would love to participate in a class like yours not only to learn from the females in attendance but also to provide insight to them from the opposite gender. That, too, would be a part of the educational process.

It’s an interesting topic that surely won’t be resolved here and now.

The question of ethics can be a very tough one for most people. While most people are basically honest, I think we’d find that when presented with a small advantage like the one presented to your group, many would fold and stay silent.

It’s like when you shop and the clerk either rings up the wrong price or gives you too much change. Do you speak out or do you take the money and run? You have to ask yourself whether you came into that store with the intention of stealing from them. If not, then the answer is clear and you have to speak up and correct the error. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a big impersonal chain store or whether it’s a mom and pop bodega: stealing is wrong no matter what and either you see it that way or not. Even the grade thing is a form of stealing.

The question of ethics is a test of character, Kiana⎯a test that too many people fail. Even as little as I know about you, I can’t imagine you failing such a test.