A week ago we learned the concept of race in extensive details. We discussed and agreed to the fact that race is a social construct and not a biological concept. A very important thing I noticed was that race is a modern idea. In history, a ‘white’ man or a ‘black’ man never came out to label themselves as black or white. In fact, it was someone anonymous that eventually labeled someone by their unofficial skin color. What I mean by unofficial skin color is, a ‘black’ man does not even look like the color black, in fact a ‘black’ man is closer to the color brown. All along I thought the idea of biological race was based on a mistaken notion, and I was right. It was interesting to learn more about race as a social construct. The misconception of race in the modern world has created discomfort among nations. Problems like stereotyping, the oversimplified standardized image or idea of someone or something, and racism have emerged as a major concern in the modern world.
Sociology has significantly changed my overall perspective of the world. It has allowed me to see the world from different angles. In other words, this course has introduced me to a brand new world. As the product of society, this course has helped me gain more knowledge about our daily social interactions that take place in our daily lives. I have to agree I was a little ignorant before but sociology has helped me expand my ability to perceive the world through multiple perspectives. I have established the idea of thinking big and having a giraffe’s eye view of the world. To see the world through multiple perspectives, I had to let go of some pre-conceived notions.
Instead of being so self-absorbed, this class has encouraged me to debunk the obvious and dig deep for explanations of why society is the way it is. Of course, debunking was never a term in my vocabulary but now it is one of the most important concepts I have ever learned. Debunking simply means to explore beyond the obvious or the familiar in an attempt to find the less obvious or the unfamiliar. Maybe I was unaware or just lacked the desire to know about something but through debunking I aim to challenge any conventional truths and even reconstruct some facts. We have discussed many important matters in class and I have used the concept of debunking over and over again. For any sociologist to explore a concept or theory, they must debunk. For example, I had to let go of my previous notions about the “war on terror”, because I fell into the trap of the Bush Administration. Being totally biased, I believed that the government wouldn’t cheat or lie to it’s own people. I can almost say that the Bush Administration brainwashed my psychology. However, after reading Mr. Quist-Adade’s article about the Bush Administration’s horrendous governing; I quickly erased my surface-level beliefs about the government and in fact, accepted the fact that Bush is the real ‘war criminal’. Debunking examples like women as less intelligent then men, racial/ethnic minorities, and some political issues have also raised my awareness. Sociological Imagination, the understanding of ourselves and the social world, is also a very important concept. I think our sociological imagination matures as we continue to use the idea of debunking. Sociological imagination enables me to take a new and critical look of the world so I can participate more actively in society. Sociology is more than just the study of society, it is the total package of a powerful force that determines the lives of social beings in society itself.
Over the duration of this course, I learned that there is always more than one story and things are not always what they seem. This course has also changed the way I view other people especially because of the concept of sociological imagination and the idea of debunking. I believe that sociology has allowed me to grow academically as a person. I feel like I have already broadened my mind in certain aspects, and this is only my first Sociology course. Overall sociology has been a very beneficial course and I learned a lot from it, I look forward to take a few more related classes in the near future.
What question did the video raise?
Is race biological or socially constructed?
How did the video answer this question?
The video answered this question by criticizing the biological view of race. Instead, it focused more on race being a social concept. The idea of biological race is based on a mistaken notion of a genetically isolated human group, however within groups; similarities may be greater than differences. This video explains how race is a modern idea; because ancient societies did not divide people according to physical differences, but according to religion, status, class, and even language. Basically, race has no genetic basis. Not one characteristic, trait, or gene distinguishes all members of one ‘race’ from all members of another ‘race’. Most traits or characteristics are inherited independently of one another. “Skin color is only skin deep”.
How does the answer match our own ideas and experiences?
An important concept to keep in mind is, “the one drop rule” (hypodescent) of race. Hypodescent is the automatic assignment of young children of a mixed union or breeding between members of different socioeconomic groups or ethnic groups to the subordinate group. This concept explains the fact that race simply has no genetic basis; in fact it is a social construct. For example, President Obama is considered a mulatto (half-white and half-black), even though many consider him to be simply “black” because of his skin color.
This video is about an inspiring African lady who explains how a single story represents stereotypes around the world, mainly in the United States. She starts off by introducing her African roots and how she started writing stories at a very young age. She was compelled by the books she read and basically every story she read consisted of white and blue-eyed characters. However, later in her life she moved to the U.S. to attend university and her stereotypical views of literature changed forever. She met an American roommate who had the wrong notions about the African people. She also read a novel where the author deliberately portrays Africans in a negative way. This specific novel was the work of western literature. She realized that one story about a race or a certain person that represents a race should not be judged for all. Basically, her point is to reject the “danger of a single story” and explore more to clarify the views of the world. The American roommate, the stereotypical western literature, and the newly introduced African literature made her realize the danger of a single story.
I FEEL that western literature has portrayed Africans and other ethnic groups in a stereotypical way. The representation of Africans or other ethnic groups, in western literature, is incomplete and leads to many misconceptions.
I THINK that many people of the western world have adopted incomplete notions of the outside world via western literature. The misconceptions have led to hate and discrimination among nations. I think that people of different ethnic groups are wrongfully judged by the westerners. For example, Chimamanda Adich explains how an American author represented Mexicans as immigrants in his novel. I also think that there are in fact more similarities than differences within and between human populations.
I BELIEVE that the danger of a single story can create false impressions of important issues. Many people of the western world are ignorant, which makes it easier for them to get attached to the danger of a single story.
I KNOW that we are born as biological beings with instincts, however we are reborn as social beings of society. It is our duty to explore the world through global sociological imagination. Letting go of any pre-conceived notions is the first step for allowing new ideas to enter. I know for a fact that we should always think outside the box and never let the danger of a single story destroy our beliefs.
This video is about how all jobs require skills but not necessarily all jobs can provide sufficient income. It becomes a struggle to keep up with the economy in America on a minimum wage. Some people depend on having two jobs as a means of survival, however jobs these days are hard to come by. In the United States, Wall Street doesn’t see the issues of inadequate jobs: they are simply not exposed to those living and working conditions of the poor. The video’s main message is that the struggle of the poor is usually ignored by the rich and the result of this problem is that, the rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer. The video presents the problem through a song; which shows the state of emergency that America is currently in and will continue to be in, unless the rich start paying more attention to the working conditions of the less fortunate. This video goes on to show the similar struggle to obtain employment in Canada as well.
The most important segment of the video:
“When someone works for less pay than she can live on — when, for example, she goes hungry so that you can eat more cheaply and conveniently — then she has made a great sacrifice for you, she has made you a gift of some part of her abilities, her health, and her life. The ‘working poor,’ as they are approvingly termed, are in fact the major philanthropists of our society. They neglect their own children so that the children of others will be cared for; they live in substandard housing so that other homes will be shiny and perfect; they endure privation so that inflation will be low and stock prices high. To be a member of the working poor is to be an anonymous donor, a nameless benefactor, to everyone else.”
― Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed (Video)
This segment is the most important because the author of Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich enlightens the issue of the working poor. She emphasizes the fact that the working poor works for less than it can live on. She also goes in details about the sacrifices the working poor have to make in order to simply survive. Some of the important sacrifices listed in the segment are: “They neglect their own children so that the children of others will be cared for; they live in substandard housing so that other homes will be shiny and perfect; they endure privation so that inflation will be low and stock prices high.” These sacrifices clearly state the struggle of the working poor and how the comfort of the rich depends on the abundance of the poor.
What question did the text/chapter raise?
What is the difference between “race” and “racism”.
How did the text answer this question?
The difference between race and racism is that the concept of racism is evident and a very powerful reality. Whereas, race is just the indefinite representation of a word, race. The term race can consist of so many things, and it translates differently from culture to culture depending on how they view things. Many people define race solely based off skin colour. “Our differences are only skin deep” and “we all belong to the human race”. This is why race is considered to be something that truly does not exist, because it is just a labeling of a human’s formation. Racism, however, is evident in every day life. There is a definite prejudice towards people of unfamiliar skin colours. “The white children, are the first victims of racism”, because the “white” skin colour is believed to be the “ultimate race” or “white supremacy”. Racism can occur in many different forms, whether it be physical violent discrimination or verbal racial abuse. Even though race and racism are two different viewpoints, they both seem to feed upon each other.
How does the answer match our own ideas and experiences?
Personally, I’ve never in my life contributed to an act of racism . However, I’ve seen racism take place not only globally but locally as well – disgusting hate crimes, racial verbal abuse and even some physical violence in Surrey against people of a minority group. Even people around me misinterpret the term “race” for something like skin colour. With a global sociological imagination, it is easy to let go of pre conceived notions about the term “race” and develop a new understanding about what it actually means. Applying the global sociological imagination allows an individual to see the effects of racism worldwide. Almost every day somewhere in the world someone is experiencing acts of racism. Some racist circumstances are ignored, some are supported, and some are dealt with. The problem of racism is too big to be ignored. Countries surrounding each other take on the roles of others, whether it be ignoring moral values and increasing racism, or following one another to a unity of anti-racism. To minimize racism people need to debunk the idea if ethnocentrism and learn how to be diverse and share cultures. I’m proud to be from Vancouver, Canada because this city allows me to mix my cultural traits with others to create a wonderful diverse society. By knowing my city is multicultural, I know racism could occur; but the city and its officials have done a great job with things like enabling equal rights and opportunities for all to minimize racism. Thank God times like before are long gone, where black people had to sit in the back of the bus, or how black kids had to drink from water fountains labeled “Coloured people”. Nevertheless, racism still exists but its not wide open, instead, its subliminal.
This article is about the insanity being displayed at its finest by the Bush Administration. By insanity, I mean the excessive spending on war and in trying to find one man, Saddam Hussein. Bush seems to possess reverse psychology, because he contemplates that “if we want peace we must prepare for war, no matter the cost.” Billions of dollars have been spent on useless attempts to finding Saddam and defeating “international terrorism”. Many people in the world are ignorant and disregard to see that the amount of money the American government is spending on revenge packed attacks could be put to a better use like health care or food for an extremely large portion of the world’s population. The fact that Iraq has a large quantity of oil only aids the American government in wanting their troops and power there. American would not waste its time in a non-oil producing country like Liberia.
I FEEL that the “Bush doctrine” teaches the opposite of morality and the importance of revenge. I feel that the Orwellian world is blinded and sees nothing wrong with this situation because Bush teaches them that Iraq represents “terrorism” and must be demolished. I also feel that the American government is unreliable due to many previous unintelligent decisions made.
I THINK that the price of peace is worth much more than the price of war. The outcome of war only created a nationalist hatred. The selfish decisions made by the Bush Administration created the stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims. These stereotypes of Muslims have been presented in various forms by the mass media in western culture and American culture. I also think that the image of Nelson Mandela and his African National Congress was wrecked when the Americans and Western countries labeled them “terrorists”. However, Nelson Mandela is now considered an “international icon”. It seems that Americans failed to prove their point by labeling Nelson Mandela a terrorist, because Nelson Mandela proved them wrong.
I BELIEVE the Bush Administration is the real enemy. Preaching peace and justice won’t count for nothing because it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the problem. The problem is the American government and their greedy ways of handling situations. I believe that Bush is a war criminal and is no different from Adolf Hitler. Both so-called leaders had similar visions that favored their own interests and both advocated the eye for an eye law.
I KNOW that the US government wasted billions of dollars and numerous precious human lives to end “global terrorism”. Its simple to see what the Bush Administration wants, which is more oil. Millions of people have lost their lives around the world due to complicity of the Bush era and because of Bush senior’s unfinished business. I know that sending more troops overseas is no solution to the problem and without evidence, the American government fails to impress me.