Allan G. Johnson, the author of the book, Power, Privilege, and Difference, provides vital information about the concept of the systems of power and privilege as applied in societies. In this book, Allan explores how the society preserves privilege, how it interacts with power, and how it can create a difference by interacting with the systems.
In chapter one, he identifies the common problem and posits that all people contribute towards them. I concur with him not only on this opinion, but also on others, as pointed out in chapters two and three.
Allan’s argument that all people are responsible for any problem facing the society is true and to the point. It holds that any change, constructive or destructive must originate from the people.
For instance, race-related problems, sex, and gender are the major problems encountered in every society. They have become part of our daily life such that we hardly realise our connections with them. Basing my argument on how people intermingle with these fields on a day-to-day manner, it stands out that any inconvenience affecting these among other areas must result from the people.
Though Allan focuses his views on the American society, I extend this by treating America as an illustration of a society. This comes from his implication of privilege and power in chapter two. He considers these two as the pillars upon which the entire societal conflicts are built because people have acquired title and given the mandate to handle things they have not worked for. This is true because these favour some on the expense of others.
Not all can be powerful neither can all be privileged. When one has one or both, the rest feel lower-ranked and begin yearning for equality. By so doing, troubles arise affecting the whole society. A way out of this quagmire is people’s cooperation regardless of ranks to influence their society for the better. Neglecting the negative implications of the two words as seen by the society, they ought to bring a change enjoyable by all members of the social system.
In chapter three, the issue of capitalism is brought forward. Every social organization has its own reliable resources, which ought to be distributed uniformly to all the members. Allan points out the problem that is born when this is not the case as capitalism. From my experience, this holds everywhere.
This brings his issue of difference. The society views it as imbalance and rejects it since it seems to be advantageous to some while it is an expense to others. According to it, all social units should be equal. The powerful should ensure that powers are not only felt by some but all in the society. Everyone needs not to treat himself or herself as favoured rather than similar to any other member.
From all the categories of problems faced by the society, man will always play a major part to cause them in as much as he/she lives. From my view, he acts as the force or power behind every activity that happens whether good or bad. He/she is also liable of changing the situation by participating in solving the problems since he/she is able to.
People only need to change their mindsets pertaining to the existence of privileges and power. They need to join hands in discussing these issues openly neglecting the shame-blame notions portrayed by many. To pose a suggestion, they need to look at the present state of the society, identify the prevailing problems, think of their relevant solutions, and then cooperate to implement them.
All these calls for people’s involvement and thus Allan’s opinion that people contribute towards a problem is true though it needs to be broadened to include them as part of the solution.