It’s awkward. People don’t take you seriously when you mention race. Rather than saying, “My black friend asked me to hang out today”, normally I’d say, “my friend asked me to hang out today”. When I used the words “black, brown, yellow, and white”, people got uncomfortable. Maybe people are afraid of talking about race because it is such a sensitive subject. No one wants to be considered racist, so instead of talking about it and possibly coming off racist, people just don’t. Its the illusion that not talking about it gives off, ‘If we don’t talk about it, it doesn’t exist’. Although I don’t believe in labelling or describing people specifically on their skin colour, I also don’t believe it should be a matter of being afraid when it is being discussed. If we all embraced the obvious differences that we have, then our differences wouldn’t seem so ‘different’.
The sociological Imagination is the unique way in which sociologists see our world and can dissect the dynamic relationships between individuals and the larger social network in which we all live. Without a sociological imagination, one can be prone to ignorance and manipulation, It’s amazing the bubbles we can place around ourselves. Living life from one point of view, never taking the time to understand the world around us. Sometimes we get so blinded by that of which our capitalistic society has implemented upon us, that we forget the real roots of a quality life. “I’m self made.” “I don’t see colour”, are all statements I have made throughout my time within society, and all of these statements have been debunked though out this course. Sociology did for me everything I was expecting, and more. I was enlightened by the multiple perspectives our society has to offer, and the micro and macro effects that our local actions have on the world, globally. But most importantly I was given the gift to think with a sociological imagination. For example, rather than criticizing someone for being late to class, I can take the time to analyze the situation and think of the many reasons as to why this person might have been late. Instead of assuming that they are simply lazy, I can imagine that they are living life in a way I may not be. Maybe they work full time in order to go to school, and they only have ten minutes to get from their shift to class. Its quite possible that they have a child that kept them up all night, preventing them from getting enough sleep. Instead of assuming, the sociological imagination helps a person to develop an inter perspective personality, acquiring those who use it with the capabilities to interpret and understand situations accurately. Ignorance is dissolved and things are never taken at face value. It is understood that everything is contextual.
Globalization is the transnational, planetary process of expanding and intensifying economic, political, social and cultural links between nation-states and peoples. Globally, globalization allows people to have the opportunity to be enriched by foreign cultures and their way of life. It also allows people to enjoy products from foreign countries as they can be simply sent over, as well as our knowledge base can be increased through the internet by being able to share ideas with people all over the world., But it has negative effects as well. Locally, globalization has created growing inequalities within nations and its people. Wealth isn’t distributed evenly throughout our world, because with globalization, western corporations have been able to set up industries in developing countries, pay their workers insufficiently, and make incredible gains by marketing their products in their local communities for very high rates.
An example of a local event caused by globalization would be the purchasing of clothes. The global event which produces these clothes are the workers in developing countries sewing these clothes in sweat shops. When we buy clothing that is made in sweat shops, we are promoting these sweatshop workers to have to endure poor working conditions such as excessive and forced overtime, denial of social security rights and failure to provide employment contracts, as well as severe health risks. The beneficiaries are the corporations, and we consumers have made this possible along side the corporations. If we payed more attention to where our clothing is being made, we would be able to put these corporations out of business. Unfortunately, the inertia behind these corporation’s advertising has consumed far too many of us. This capitalistic nation that we live in has made us all believe that it is the brand name clothing that we need in order to fit into society.
It’s true, we can never be fully neutrally located. In other words, no matter how hard one tries to not be judgmental, biased, or racist, our standpoint began somewhere within our life experiences, making one inevitably biased. Ideology plays an important role in how we perceive the world around us. With all the “male stream science” surrounding our society, there is no question why the androcentric standpoint is so prevalent. Feminists want to break free from this. Rather than allowing one’s standpoint to be that of the prominent one in society, one must try to be as neutral as possible. To be able to do this one must take this formula into account: Objectivity = Subjectivity – Bias. When analyzing something or someone, address where you are coming from, let people know the possible biases that could be attached to your point of view. This is does not make one neutral, but it does make one objective.. which is the closest thing to neutral as the human being can be.
Prejudice is a branch off of ethnocentrism. It is an irrational response to generalize a group of people. Generalizing someone based on their ethnicity, gender, religion or anything else is hurtful and ignorant. It makes the person or group being generalized feel restricted and limited to a certain way of life. To say that there is such a thing as “positive prejudice” is extremely confusing. How can any sort of assumption be positive? It is not a positive thing to judge a book by its cover. That is ridiculous. Judging a book by its cover will literally leave you missing out on what the chapters inside it have to offer. For example, imagine someone looked at a book’s cover and said “Wow, this book looks amazing! Im going to write a review on how great it is!” and the book turns out to be horribly written and irrelevant. Just because the assumption was positive, it does not have a positive effect on society. It leads society to believe something that is untrue. How can believing something untrue, even if it isn’t negative, be positive? It just isn’t. There is no difference between negative and positive prejudice. Prejudice is prejudice, it is a lazy and poor way of thinking. The only positive way of viewing someone is getting to know them and understanding where they come from. Analyzing each and every person individually rather than labelling them a certain way. That is positive.
Social construction is very interesting. It surrounds us in almost every way possible in today’s modern society. Without social construction I wouldn’t be able to blog this response. According to social construction I am writing these words and every english speaking person agrees upon what I am posting. These lines displayed in certain variation and order mean different things because we all agree that they do. We could agree that they mean something else, but the power and inertia behind the social construction in language that exists right now is so strong that it will probably never change. Foods have also been socially reconstructed. For example, in the US and Canada, when a person sees a plate of toast, bacon, eggs and hash browns, one automatically thinks of breakfast. Although we eat bread, pork, eggs and potato at other times of the day, this combination of food has been made to represent breakfast. As well as the American flag, which represents the US, even though it doesn’t say “America” on it, we see it and automatically think of what we all agree that it means. These foods and symbols are recognized nationally. Globally some foods and gestures can look similar, but mean different things…sometimes the exact opposite. Giving someone the “thumbs up” to say good job in North America, means “screw you” in Iraq. This can become very confusing and consequential to those that are not aware of the different meanings. It is important to understand these social constructs to avoid ignorance of other cultures and to understand why things are the way they are. Being aware of these social constructs gives one the ability to see where the power lies, and then in turn, contest it.
In reading this article I found myself imagining a researcher from a foreign land analyzing our modern society’s day to day activities or “rituals”. Coming from an alien society in which they would know nothing about our society’s “norms”, they would too find our everyday lives strange. Putting aside our ethnocentrism, I believe that our modern day society is quite similar to that of the Nacirema’s and we shouldn’t be too quick to judge this tribe as masochistic and sadistic, unless of course you believe the same for yourself. Throughout the article, Professor Linton describes the Nacirema Tribe as spending most of their time and energy on either economic pursuits, or the appearance of their body.. sound familiar? These people spend a considerable portion of their days in a secluded room (shrines), applying what seems to be the equivalent of cosmetics (potions) to their bodies for physical appeal. These secluded rooms tend to be nicer and in abundance in wealthier homes… maybe theres an ensuite to the master bedroom? Beyond these shrines, we have the medicine man. This medicine man reminds me of the cosmetic and makeup counters we find at the mall, offering us “potions”… but for a price. Women in the the Nacirema Tribe spend hours baking their heads inside tiny ovens, while i admit I find this odd, the women of the Nacerima tribe must find the women of our society even stranger being that we bake our whole bodies in Ultra Violet rays…otherwise known as tanning beds. While the Nacirema’s obsession with the mouth seems to be excessive, let us not forget the lengths that the people in our society will go to make themselves feel that they have an adequate body. EX: Plastic surgery, botox, liposuction, jaw surgery, waxing of the eye brows, armpits, legs, and pubic area, fasting, and much more. Linton also mentions a similarity in the idea of masculinity and femininity in that men are allowed to scrutinize, manipulate and prod the bodies of women because they believe they are objects. It is also possible for women with large breasts to make a living off of allowing men to stare at their bodies for money, which is the equivalent to prostitution and strip clubs in our society. This article enlightened me in that although people in different societies do what appears to be strange, it is not so far from the norm. Our ignorance must not cloud our judgement on people we do not understand because most often we behave differently, but do it for the same reasons.
For years I’ve been characterized as confrontational and annoying. Asking questions although I already knew the answer, or not accepting the first answer someone would provide me. People around me grew impatient and tired of my endless curiosity and desire to question and understand the concept of…why? Feeling discouraged and out of place, I began to withhold my appetite for questions, until I was briefed on Sociology. The excitement that becomes me when someone questions my moral standards, or political views is most certainly idiosyncratic. To be mentally pushed to understand beyond the status quo, and furthermore, beyond a single perspective is truly one of the greatest forms of education. In studying Sociology I hope to discover an environment in which I can enlighten, be enlightened, take part in discussions and debate subjects that I feel strongly effect society. I’ve been questioning myself lately as to what I should zone in on as a major, for I’m just beginning my post secondary career with a major in General Studies. I recently graduated this past summer from secondary school and my experience there had absolutely no positive effect on my ambition to lengthen my schooling, but it was clear that I had to continue and explore my options. Being a first year student in university, I haven’t yet even had a taste of what Sociology, let alone what the rest of the educational world has to offer… but I am unquestionably craving a bite.