Today in class, we learned that colour is only skin deep. In other words, we are all the same human beings, regardless of the skin colour we are born with. My professor decided to play a little game of characteristics that differentiate the racial types. The categories were American Indian, Asian, Black, Hispanic/Latino and White. The idea of the game was putting a bunch of pictures of people with different races into the right category, based on our assumption. At the end, I was very surprised by how much we had gotten wrong. I found it very difficult considering a majority of the people looked exactly the same, especially the Hispanic/Latino and White. Their anatomical (phenotype) looked similar, from the colour of the skin, hair texture, and facial shape. None of these traits alone can be used consistently to distinguish human groups.
The violence in the mock prison is beyond humiliation and rather disturbing. I think that this experiment is completely unethical and should have not began. Allowing these prisoners to endure in such a study is like throwing a cat into water. If this experiment had to continue for the complete 2 weeks, I think the person running the experiment should have ended it once witnessing a dramatic change within the behaviours of the prisoners. Although this was a mock, it did not feel so for the prisoners. Everyone had a role to play and they played it perfectly. The guards were rude, harsh, and above all, inhumane. Putting on the sunglasses and the outfit really did make them feel in control, while the prisoners were dressed in barely anything with bags over their heads. It really did affect me quite deeply once I saw the change in the prisoners behaviour. Even though it was an experiment, this repulsive and cruel actions really embedded within their minds. They felt as if they were truly in prison and all these actions were real. This experiment clearly portrayed how human beings changed once being thrown into a different socialization.
Bracketing is a key concept meaning holding ”off to the side.” It is the premise of all learning and growth of awareness. Bracketing allows new and different ideas to enter through truth, information, and knowledge. When one allows their mind to open up, it is also important to release the brackets in order for synthesis to happen. If one does not do this, you are constantly ”attacking and defending” as well as ”abandoning and replacing.” Moreover, it reveals the underlying thinking and values that people bring to bear in understanding the world and engaging in social action. This analysis then gives the researcher the information necessary to investigate the ordinary methods social members use to comprehend the social world and give it reality and concreteness.
In Sociology 1125, I have learned a handful of new terms, concepts, and themes. It is enough information to say that I have gained a whole new perspective on society. During the beginning of this course I was very narrow minded about all the topics brought forth to me, as I thought I had already grasped a strong meaning of the society I have been living in for the past 18 years. It turns out I was in for a long, bumpy ride. Bracketing allowed me to open up my eyes, ears, and brain to absorb all sorts of information– without jumping to conclusion.
A preconceived notion I had was about race and it being genetic. What I learned through bracketing was that race does not exist, but rather it is created by humans. Race is a concept invented by humans, thus can be defined as a grouping of human population characterized by socially selected physical traits. What we see and know as race is based on a small set of physical characteristics (eg: skin color, hair color and texture, facial features, etc.) which are superficial manifestations of eons and genetic mutations and gene-environment interactions. I have never been racist in my life, but prior to bracketing I did have prejudice thoughts and opinions about race, which made me feel slightly racist. I allowed stereotyping to define race, as well as thinking it was genetic and biological. Although, now I know that we are all genuinely equal. For example, during the video ”Race-The Power of an Illusion,” the students explored the biology of human variations. In the end, two people from completely different races shared almost the exact same DNA, showing that race is clearly not biological.
It truly is a gratifying feeling to have all the misconstrued information you have been relying on for the past years to be cleared up and transformed into more reliable, efficient information. I look forward to using bracketing within the rest of my studies, as it will encourage me to withhold my thoughts to the side until I inquire the correct truth. What I find most significant is having a multiple perspective within life, which will allow you to look at the big picture; to think big. A majority of people can be tunnel-minded and there is plenty of misguided information out there, yet it doesn’t seem to phase them in the least. It’s as if their thoughts and opinions are embedded deeply within them. We must let go of any previous ideas or assumptions that we had, even if it’s just temporarily, so that we are able to consume new information and truths.
Human beings are born to be dependant on others. The only reason one can become and stay socialized is if they rely on others, as it allows them to survive properly. If you were to wake up one day and find your whole town vanished, you would not be able to survive considering the fact there is nobody to aide you. Essentially, human beings rely on others for food, shelter, employment and all the other important necessities that allow us to function as a socialized community. Also, your change in behaviour would drastically change. We learn to control ourselves through the rules and perspective of society, thus making society possible. Through socialization, we develop symbols, self, and mind, qualities that make us both human and to some extent, free. Although sociologists find that we need to be depended on others, I find that being solitary is moderately fine. There are many individuals that are quite happy being non-conformists and I don’t think this behaviour disrupts the behaviour of the society. What would disrupt it is if human beings were being harmful and dangerous. In my opinion, I like being alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person. Also, it’s healthy to learn how to cooperate on your own, as it can allow a person to let go of possible distractions, problems, and stress. On the other hand, the downside is that constant isolation can have a bad impact on any mental health issues you may have, so it’s important to even out the social and solitude.
Today in class we learned about the term Incest Taboos. Prior to this lesson, I had already had a concept of the meaning, but after the lesson I was informed a whole lot more. Incest is a sexual relationship with a family member, like your mother, father, siblings, or relatives. The reason why such an act is forbidden in today’s society is because of two reasons. One being issues with purtinity and the other of competition. We need a clean and simple society without the added confusion as to who fathered the baby within the family. Another reason why incest is not a good idea is because your children born of close incestuous unions have a greatly increased risk of congenital disorders, death and disability at least in part due to genetic diseases caused by the inbreeding. I think why a majority of society frown upon the thought of incest is because it seems unnatural and morally wrong. For example, with polygamy, many find the idea of a man marrying multiple women unacceptable. People believe that marriage should be between two people, a man and a woman. I think incest and polygamy kind of tie in with each other because they are both unnatural ways of breeding, affection, and creating a ”healthy” family structure.
The Hawthorn Effect can be defined as changes in behaviour resulting from attention participants believe they are getting from researchers, and not the variable(s) manipulated by the researchers. I found this concept to be quite interesting because of many reasons. For one thing, it shows how human beings would change their behaviour due to the situation to meet expectations. Secondly, it portrays how human beings are similar to chameleons. When the chameleons camouflage themselves, they do so because they want to blend in with their surroundings and can hide from different predators. In a way, humans camouflage but with their behaviours. They match their behaviour to their surroundings or situation to gain the best outcome in themselves and for the observer. Sometimes, the observers can be obtrusive, which means noticeable or prominent in an unwelcome or intrusive way. Or they can be unobtrusive, which means not conspicuous or attracting attention. The reason observers do this is to identify whether a person is being completely honest when performing their duty. When the participants were aware of an obtrusive observer, their work habits and methods were greatly improved by behaving and performing more skilled, sophisticatedly and harder opposed to a participant that was unaware of an unobtrusive observer. I think the way this connects in today’s society is with undercover cops. A majority of the drivers will drive a lot more carefully, minding the speed limit, and remembering to put on their seatbelts when they see an obtrusive police car. But, when there happens to be an unobtrusive undercover police car, drivers are completely oblivious to the unsafe road habits they are committing on the road because the police cars aren’t evident.
- VIDEO: ”The Danger of a Single Story”
- Chimamanda Adichie
- Journal Method: Paraphrastic
During this presentation, Adichie discusses the danger of a single story. Growing up, Adichie started writing books at the age of seven. Her charachters consisted of being white with blue eyes, played in the snow, ate apples, and talked a lot about the weather; how lovely it was that the sun had come out. However, when Adichie lived in Nigeria, there was no snow, she ate mangoes, and there was no discussion of the weather simply because there was no need to. Moreover, her characters also drank ginger beer, although she had no clue what it was, but it was only because the books she had read drank it. This demonstrates how impressionable and vulnerable we are in the face of a story, particulary children. The reason Adichie’s books were based on such terms was because she only read foreign British books, which gave her the idea of how the whole world should be like. Adichie loved reading foreign books, as it stirred her imagination and opened new worlds for her. Two examples where Adichie had been bought into the single story was when she had gotten a new houseboy. All she had heard about him was that he was poor, until she found out that he was gifted in making beautiful baskets. The second example is the single story of Mexicans, and all she had heard from the media coverage was sneanking and being arrested at boards. This goes to show how Adichie couldn’t see anything but the poorness, anything but what the media played over and over in one’s mind until it had become an embedded thought. Adichie then goes to point out that the cause of the single story in Africa was due to Western literature, where an author writes that black people are beasts with no homes, people without heads and have their eyes and heads on their breasts. Negativity, difference, and the darkness are what empowers one’s vision. Furthermore, Adichie discusses that a single story robs people with dignity and all it emphasizes is how we are different, rather than similar. When we reject the single story, we regin a kind of paradise.
Five Sentence Segment:
”The year I turned eight, we got a new houseboy. The only thing my mother told us about him was that his family was very poor. My mother sent yams, rice, and our old clothes to his family. And when I didn’t finish my dinner my mother would say ”Finish your food, don’t you know people like Fedis family have nothing?” One Saturday, we went to his village to visit. His mother showed us a beautiful basket his brother had made. It had not occured to me that anyone in his family can make something. All I had heard was that they were poor, so it had become impossible for me to see them as anything as poor.” (3:18-4:08)
When Adiche turned eight, she had received a new houseboy. His name was Fedis, but unfortunately the only thing her mother told her about him was that he was poor. Whenever Adiche didn’t finish her food, her mother would constantly remind her with the feeling of pity that there are people out there that have nothing to eat. One day, Adiche had gone to visit Fedi’s family and was astounded to see that his family was capable of making a basket, because the only thing she viewed Fedis’ family as was poor, nothing else.
Why I selected this segment:
I selected this segment because it really proves how one’s thoughts of another have all to do with what you have learned from them. For instance, if the only thing you know about a person is that they’re Muslim, you will only think of them as a terrorist. This stereotype is not only bad, but incomplete because it makes a story the only story. From Adiche’s segment, I think that it was an unintentional thought to think of Fedis’ family as uncreative and uncapable of making something so beautiful. The media immensely brainwashes one by their constant portrayal of poor, black children in Africia, who are dying from aids and poverty. It’s quite hard to look beyond something when you are embedded with the thought that you’ve already posssessed. I think if people were less ignorant and wanted to learn more then the single story would not exist. People must not accept this and live life equally. After all, we are all similar.