My understandings of sociology and the social world has changed throughout the term in that, I was not aware of all that is entailed by the word, sociology. I found that sociology means understanding and researching all phases of life. I didn’t realize that there were categories to describe groups of people. I am now aware of the many categories of groups of people. These groups have labels so we can identify them and the basic function of each group.  I had no idea that in-groups and out-groups are descriptions of a power group, and a stigmatized or less powerful group. In high school we used to call the in-groups “popular” and the out-groups “nerds”.  Reference groups help us to understand or make sense of our position in society relative to other groups, such as in high school (159).

When I first began this class I thought I was quite up on social views and the topics going on in this world. As this course unfolded, I have become more aware of social society and the issues that are faced daily by certain groups; in work places, in school, within industry, and in any phase of social interactions. I see all of what I have learned as a network, or flowchart of life. Even though there are many suggested answers to the problems faced by many groups or individuals, there is hardly ever a workable answer. It seems that there are two categories of people in all categories of social society:  those who dominate, and those who constantly strive to cope with the social pressures of the domineering groups, by banding together with peers of their likeness. And though there are people and groups who change circumstances to some point, it seems the upstream currant takes most of the other unwanted debris, downstream.

As I began to read our text by Dalton Conley, You May Ask Yourself, I began to see that I truly didn’t realize the complexity of the issues that face many people in daily life. Everyone has personal struggles and is victims of circumstances in many cases, far beyond what the media superficially tells us. The very things that I thought I had knowledge about, were only surface. The struggles of people in everyday life are much more detailed than I understood.

Somehow I feel more aware and more matured in my views and understanding for all classes of people, all groups of people, and all situations of people in society today. I used to think that the media greatly influenced the way I think. But now I believe that common knowledge and first hand information has not so much influenced me, as it has informed me.

After I read, Dude You’re a Fag, by C.L. Pascoe, it gave me a deeper look into gender struggles, transgender struggles, male and female struggles, and the superficial way people view masculinity, and the way this word does not only apply to men. I’ve learned that the term masculinity holds a different meaning to different people, and no one seems to agree which is right or wrong answer. Masculinity is an opinion, as is femininity, and it seems that no one agrees which is right or wrong answer. But those who are affected and daily living the life of either of these two extremes, can say which is right and which is wrong.

I was most disturbed by learning about gender discrimination. It just saddened me to know that individuals who are gay can’t even be who they are in their schools. And if one who is gay, becomes popular by standards, and if one is a masculine female, she can be accepted, but the famine guys face torment and harassment and even physical abuse. Today where this style of living is accepted mostly, there should be no persecution from the students or the teachers.

I found it a bit difficult to see the different struggles in life for those who are less fortunate. But the film that I reviewed Mardi Gras, was an eye opener to me. I’ve learned what goes on behind the scenes of something seeming so innocent, like Mardi Gras beads. Where on one hand the people who love to buy them and use them for twisted sort of reasons, the people who make the beads, hate them and think Americans are crazy to be so obsessed by them. I’ve learned that the same one particular thing can have extremely different meanings to two different people, or even to a group of people. There are people who have to fight daily for what they believe is right. And there are people who fight daily to destroy the dreams of others. I was able to see how capitalism differs in other countries. Capitalism in our country can make people prosperous and benefit the workers. But in china, capitalism is oppressive to the workers of the companies. I gained a new appreciation for the freedoms in our country for laws that protect the working man and woman. We have; wage labor, salary, even civil service salary. These are all sources of payments given to the workers in different form (pg 376). But in China, there was only one way of being paid and that was by the number pieces of work that they accomplish in the course of a day.

I think I was enlightened most of all by Dalton Conley’s book, Honky. I think his book is a set of rules that we can all follow as an example of how to live our lives among those we have no tolerance for. Dalton didn’t have the option to tolerate or not. He was stuck in the middle of where he was placed without a choice. Our natural instinct is to fight to get out of or away from what we will not tolerate. We don’t bother to learn the “language” or try to fit in by displaying what we know or don’t know.

I was able to get an insight of what it would be like to live in a society where I would be the minority. And he gave an insight of how someone would cope with these circumstances, even at a very young age. He showed that many times one has to compromise in order to get along with a group or certain class of people, when faced with a circumstance beyond one’s own control. Dalton also showed in his book that no matter if you are white or black; there is no guarantee that you will find favor in the eyes of certain authorities. There are privileges in being a certain race, depending where you are, and what type of category it falls under. In fact, different classes of people have different privileges. The upper class people have great privileges for the reason that they do have money, and businesses want their investments, so they cater to them. People who are of lower class, who want to be popular or rich, want to interact with them hoping they will bring them into their group to reap the benefits. Dalton Conley talked about how he was able to work within, and be accepted by, the different races and classes of his friends by speaking their language or slangs. He would talk lower class slang with his project friends, and has a higher vocabulary for his upper class village friends. And in all cases he was accepted for the most part. But he also found himself separating himself from the old ways of childhood as he matured and began to realize that poor was not acceptable over upper class, and he became discontent to be so. This caused him to resent his position in life as lower class and actually began to steal to get the small luxuries that he was not afforded by his parents. I think it works this way in life. When the lower class or poor class of people begins to feel the pressure of lack, they will sometimes steal to obtain what they lack. It’s a vicious cycle. At one point, his very best friend, Jerome (because of his popularity), had raised him to a higher level of acceptance, even to be tolerated by his “enemies”. But Dalton disregarded the value of the friendship at one point when he had an opportunity to receive a bit of glory at the expense of a tragic event that had taken place in his best friend’s life. He did this by being able to tell the story of knowing first had about his friend being shot. His peers ogled at his privilege of being the first to know. And he then said, he felt only small pangs of guilt from time to time as he continued to tell the story day after day, but not enough to be convicted. I feel this holds true in society today. People will betray their friends for just a small bit of glory.

But still, the media plays a big role in my life and my family’s life because we depend on the media to provide the information that we need for our daily lives, from news to local market and retail sales. World news is a big part of our daily lives considering how much goes on with our government and the wars which we are involved in other countries.

People are portrayed by those who they daily make contact with in their communities, by whom they know, and by what they do. I feel it’s a good thing to have groups categorized by names. This gives others a place, person or thing, to identify with to meet their needs. This is called Social Capital. This function of extending through facilitating by networking is needed because there are so many different categories of people, and it is also a form of organization and can give answers to what is a rather complex society in general.

The challenges I face is the declining population and stagnation in the area in which I live. Since the large Corporations have moved out of the area, retail and medical fields are the two areas of profession for the job force. Many people have moved south to find employment and to make a living. This is one thing I am considering to do after I finish college and receive my degree.


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