I felt like I was taking a big step when I signed up for a sociology course. Many people have told me that it does change your perspective on how you view others in the world and how you view the world yourself and it ends up being no ordinary class or voyage. Sociology is the study of the social part of us, the pattern of interaction with each other which is fundamental to our very existence. Sociology has been described as ‘the scientific study of human behavior’ and ‘the application of scientific methods of research to the confusion of social life.’ We all participate in a number of social groups, which sometimes overlap. Sociologists study how and why these groups interact with each other and how these interactions affect their members. These analyses help to make a clearer understanding of society, but also allow sociologists to see both the causes and the possible solutions for our social problems.
Sociology takes a look at the world as we have created it and how we grow together to create it. It is important for us to understand how our society became what it is today, thus understanding how we interact with each other and what affect an individual’s social class status has on their life chances, employment, social interaction and other key factors that will affect their life. One theme that can be correlated with all of this is Global Sociological Imagination that was coined by Professor Charles Quist-Adade. And what it means is that our actions and inactions can have consequences not only to ourselves on the land that we live on, Canada, but also to people on the other side of the world. These consequences may be positive or negative ones; they may worsen your daily life or hopefully make it better. There are multiple examples of this with Canada and the US. If US makes a shifts in the economy then so does Canada. It has been like that for years and years and will only change if Canada makes new connections to more countries around the world.
What I have learned with Global Sociological Imagination and in this class is that whatever differences you try to make whether it be at home acting out a protest in front of the parliament against government actions that you as a citizen to not approve of OR flying over to New York for occupy Wall Street because you know that whatever changes occur there will affect you at home in Canada. It makes a difference. Whether it is just one voice heard or millions if you get your message across to the people, your idea will grow and become what it was more than what you thought it would be.
When you have this sociological beginner’s mind for the people you meet, the ideas you undergo, and the circumstances that you find yourself, you will feel a greater connection and concern for these people you meet, you will experience a greater openness and awareness for these ideas you encounter, and you will have much more excitement and enthusiasm for the situations in which you find yourself. If you can get to the point where you always have a sociological beginner’s mind, your possibilities will truly be endless.
Chimamanda Adichie, an african woman who participated in a popular conventions called Ted. She uses her personal stories to explain how the media makes a community or a group make a definite definition about them that the rest of the world will begin to believe that there is only one definition of that community or group and that definition is the one that the media has given. But she explains that we need to find all the stories of the assumptions that we make towards people. She goes on to explain how it robs people of dignity and emphasized how we are different instead of how we are similar. There is never a single story about any place and when we find out more about the assumption that we have made it just opens up an entire new door for us, one that we did not know was there before and one that we want to explore now that we have found it. This has a big part to do with the multi-perspective issue and gossiping! When people gossip they tend to stick to one persons story of what happened in a situation and begin to take that persons side and not even consider the other side of the situation. Making one person look bad and not the other.
This can also be related to the example that Dr. Charles Quist-Adade gave about when he was in Windsor, Ontario. He came into contact with two Tiberian men to help him with his magazine. The first he met was really nice and helpful so when he met the other Tiberian Dr. Charles Quist-Adade assumed that this Tiberian man would also be same when instead when he was helping to raise money for the magazine, the Tiberian man ran away with the $4000! I can also relate this to a personal example, my best friend is from Pakistan. And there is actually quite a large amount of people Pakistani’s in Surrey. So I’ve known my best friend for almost 6 years now. So when I meet other Pakistani girls who are also similar ages to us, they are really different to my best friend, these girls seem to be more snobby and stuck up, they do not just act like that towards me but also towards my best friend.
Here is the video that I was talking about earlier:
This video was very intersting to watch with how humans react in persuasive siuations. Especially watching the three children fighting for the icecream, that was cute. There were alot of socialogical aspects that conjured up in the scenes. Like conformity, meaning others try to fit in so they dont stand out. Conformity can fit in with the museum example, the contestants were agreeing with that the worker saw in the painting because they did not want to feel left out. The museum example can also fit in with the power of suggestion, which means if everyone is suggesting one thing than everyone else would agree even if they had a different opinion or idea.
Peer pressure does not have to be pressured through words it can also be persuaded through action. Which shows you how much power one human can have, let alone a group of people. This ties in with the elevator example in the movie, a group of people walk in and face the back the of elevator and the one single contestant who has no idea what is going on and sees the others, then he or she begins to do the same thing and turn around and also look at the back of the elevator. The contestant was pressured into changing his actions so that they fit the actions of the others surrounding him.
Threatening is another form of pressure in society and also starts at a young age. The scene with the two girls sitting on either side of the boy were threatening to break their friendship if the boy doesnt share his icecream. This is also group pressure, both of the girls on either side of him persuaded him to share his icecream. Since both the girls had the same idea of threatening the boy, it made him cave in and share the icecream.
To see young children being pursuaded by each other actually worries me. All you need is one “bad bean” in the group and even with just that, the rest of the group can be pushed into doing something they do not want too. This just shows parents that they should watch out for their children in school and who they make friends with. And just think what if the children in that icecream scene were a bit older and instead given something else instead of icecream How would you think that plays out?
The idea of race is that the external differences are related to the internal differences of a human being. There is no way on earth that we can undo race since we humans created it. Some believe that race is a part of our genes and some how it is biologically related to how you act. When students in the video, who took their own blood samples and checked to see what genes they would match most with the other students. One student who is african american, she assumed that she would have similar genes to another student who is also african american in the class. But when they checked, they actually had the least amount of similarities and even more similarities with other students in the class that are not african american. This shows that race has nothing to do with how you act or look it is a demon that society has created and will never be able to kill.
There is not much variation, I mean it is just skin color but the thing that makes me wonder is who decides? Who decides which race is labelled with these names? I think under the skin we really are the same, it’s just the skin color that seems to get us. Well that is obvious because that is generally the first thing we notice if we were to view someone from up close. I think it will always be embezzled into people’s minds of how they view someone first because that is just how society works. We judge on the persons outside features, their hair, facial features, clothes and speech, basically judging a book by its cover.
Some believe that Africans are fast runners because they have an extra muscle that helps them. When really they go through the same practices as the other runners and there is no such thing as an extra muscle that helps them run faster. I think at that time, people might not have wanted to believe that ‘blacks’ could run faster than ‘whites’, well that’s just my opinion.
Moving on to what is going on happening today about race, well it obviously still occurs and will always live in society. It is just something that every human being has to deal with for the rest of their life. How your eyes are shaped, how your hair looks, your nose, your skin color and sometimes even your height. The reality is that humans are just so accustomed to viewing someone elses outer features and appearances that they limit themselves to making friends with others just by how they look from the outside. Making an assumption of others before you even get to know the person, is an aspect of society that needs to change.
The one-drop rule or can be referred to as Hypodescent means that a person who has one relative/ancestor that is african, makes that person also an african under the US. And from then on when the government is dealing with that person, they are refered to as n african. I actually think that is unfair because even though that person should not be ashamed of where they come from, they might not want to be known as an african throughout their life. This person might have white skin color but they could be african because of the one drop rule. A great example is the president of the united states, Barak Obama. His mother is white and his father is black. When he was voted as president it was made a big deal because he was the first black president voted into the white house even though he is only 50% black. This one drop rule should not signify as to what you want to be known as when it comes to race. I think that whether you have african, white, indian, or asian in your decent you should be able to choose what decent you want to be known as.
I participated in the Race excercise online with the professor. As a class we put people’s faces into the groups of races that we assumed would go in. And the result was that the class only got 3 correct! Which was extremely surprising because yes, we did use our stereotypical sense to put the people into the groups. What I learned from this was that whenever I meet someone new I should never assume where they are from. And that is something I usually do. And then I also participated in the group discussions and explained to the professor that my entire group origin is from India. Now that is something that I did assume, considering I’ve grown to know those two girls that were in my group discussion. But after the excercise as a class I learned that assumption is something that does not help in your social understandings of someone else.
What I will be relating this post too is the video that was shown in class, that is called The Life and Fate of African Russians video made by Dr. Charles Quist-Adade. This is not a video blog but I will just be referencing the video to help with this illustration post that is on “race”. For those of you who do not know what race is, it is a socially constructed by society.
The video was about how many Africans go to Russia for education and while African males are there, they develop relationships with other non-African females. These relationships have led to marriage which have then led to biological children. But when they have these children, for most of the women of these relationships have the intention of going to Africa with their husbands and living there with their children. But the father/husband did not want his wife and child to come along. And then when wives try to reconnect with their husbands some of them have moved on and married other women in Africa and also have children with them. But there are also husbands who try to come back to Russia to reunite with their families even for just a visit, but the authorities of the government just make it extremely hard for them to do so. With lots of paper work and interviews and fees. Everything for the family becomes difficult and frustration grows so eventually they give up, which is the aim for the authorities to begin with. Now what does Race have to do with this? The authorities know that this man from Africa and men from Africa are seen as “black” through the eyes of the government.
The relationships between the couples are also deathly for the couples themselves and for their children. The children are also discriminated against in so many ways, like trying to find a day care centre, the African children would be blamed for disruption of what the other “white” children did. The mothers who try to fit into the society are also discriminated against and called sluts for having a dark-colored child and their neighbors claim that these women have AIDS because of their children. If the child is smart and is exceeding to higher learning he/she would be discriminated and instead forced to step down, like a sports team, the coach would say they only want whites. Others would hear things like “you’re not one of us” or “parasitic aliens”. Many died by racists by being beat by neighbors or classmates or even police officers
Even Dr. Charles Quist-Adade has faced some gruesome racist with his dorm catching on fire and being hit hard on the head with the result of a bleeding head. And when trying to call for a taxi many drivers did not see the dripping head of blood but the black skin color and drove away.
As Dr. Charles Quist-Adade moved away from Russia to further finish his studies in Ontario, he was so traumatized from what he dealt with in Russia that it took him 2 years to settle in Ontario.
So with all these experiences that Dr. Charles Quist-Adade and these women in Russia and their children faced (or still facing) is a great example to show how “race” is socially constructed. The growing number of people going against mixed marriages is the driving point. If the majority of the society is having a similar idea that African men should not marry “White” Russian women. Then not only will the idea travel to people far and wide but the hatred against the idea grows into fury. and that is why these women and children were beaten because the people of Russia believed or still believes that the act of mix-marriage is wrong.
This also points out the generalization of Africans. Most of these Russians believe that African men all have HIV/AIDS and that “black” people are nothing like the “white” people of their society and so we should have nothing to do with them.
I think that if they were notified that Africans have more than 90% of their DNA and that skin color is only skin deep. Then they might have changed their view of “black” people.