Tuesday, May 16, 2017
This past unit, we've explored American culture. Specifically, we have focused on cultural values. We've examined how you might be affected by American cultural values and how you might want to make changes or fight against certain values that your culture promotes. Though we may not notice it, living in the United States or anywhere else for that matter has a huge impact on who you are and what you promote. In class we examined a text called "The Values Americans Live By' by Kohl. Some values he talks about are time and its control, competition, individualism, and work. These four values I feel are very specific to the United States, and many other countries have values that are completely opposite from ours. For example, Americans value individualism. Independence is seen as a good thing and a positive quality to have, versus in other countries they value group welfare, working together, and dependence. Another value we have that differs from many different countries is time and its control. In America, being late is seen as a bad thing. People don't stop to talk to each other, because time is so crucial. In other counties, people value living in the moment and human interaction, and being 20 minutes late for work because you were in the middle of a conversation is not punishable. To relate American culture to my own life, I personally have fallen into the American trap of being materialistic. I value material things, such as a new iPhone, clothes, technology, and other things. In countries other than America, their values more fall along the lines of spiritualism and detachment. The material things don't matter as much to them, which I believe in return can lead you to a happier life. We also looked at a source called "Bemused in America" by Stefan Schirmer. He's a journalist from Munich, and he examined the differences between values in America versus where he's from. The things that are completely normal to us he thought we're weird, such as jogging in the morning, going to the supermarket, television, and more. Seeing people jogging in your neighborhood is completely normal for someone who lives here, but he was surprised. All in all, this unit I have realized how different each countries cultures and values are, especially America, and the influence that it has on your day to day life.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Through poms, I've been very fortunate to have been able to participate in so many community service actives. Specifically, the Riverside Valentines Day Dance. Every year, we host a dance for 40 or so residents from the Riverside foundation in Lincolnshire. The Riverside foundation is a home that provides residential support and developmental training services to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
This year, since I am a senior, I had more responsibilities at the dance than I did in previous years. I had to get there an hour early, at 6, to set up the tables, ice cream and soda bar, and decorate the facility. We hosted the dance this year in the wood commons. I also had to help the residents get from the drop off location at the point to the wood commons. I was nervous because I tend to be awkward around those that are different than me, and I was unsure how well I was going to be able to communicate with them. I wanted them to like me, so I went with the approach to be as nice as possible. After all of the residents got to the wood commons, we had a dance party. The residents had a blast jamming to music and dancing with us. It was so cool to see how much fun they had from just dancing around in a room to music. It made me have the same appreciation for the small things like that. After a long, tiring hour and a half of non-stop dancing, it was time for ice cream. I was in charge of walking around with the Hershey, caramel, and strawberry syrups and asking each of the residents what they wanted and how much. Some of the residents disabilities make it difficult for them to understand you, so I had to try multiple approaches in order to communicate with them. Interacting with the residents throughout the dance made me realize how much of a different outlook on the world I have than a lot of them. While I live in a world where everyone around me is locked into their phone, little to none of the residents own phones, and I realized how that effects their interpersonal interaction. Though I was nervous before the dance, it made me realize to take advantage of the little things in life because not everyone is able to enjoy them the way you and I do. Overall, the riverside dance made me realize how valuable life really is, and taught me lessons I will never forget.
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
This unit we have examined the concept of culture. We began by learning about how we react to different cultures with culture shock and ethnocentrism, or the evaluation of other cultures according to preconceptions originating in the standards and customs of ones own culture. We have learned different components of culture, including gestures, language, norms, and values. We have also learned that within cultures there are subcultures. A subculture is a cultural group within a larger culture, often having beliefs of interest different from those of the larger culture. For example, Stevenson is a subculture of all high schools. We have different language than other high schools, including "the patriot", "ILC", "Port Clinton", and more. If you were to use this language at a different high school, they would not be able to understand. We also have different norms at Stevenson, like not stepping on the patriot. To most people I know, my culture doesn't have any weird norms, but someone in a different culture than me could have a completely different perception of normal. As I read "The Values Americans Live By", nothing really comes to me with shock. After examining culture in class, though, I realize someone who is not American would be completely surprised by these values. After watching the video we have been watching in class, it surprises me how much our culture differs from other. Watching the men come to the United States not knowing how to use a toilet or shower, or how to make food further proves my point. I didn't realize how many people aren't used to what we believe is normal in America. I also now realize that those in different cultures probably think the same way about American culture, and am more aware of how different each culture truly is.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
In class this unit we've been talking about race. Contrary to popular belief, race is not biological; race is simply a social construction. Before taking this class, I, and I'm sure many other people, believed that race was biological and genetic. Now I know that it's not. There are no gene similarities common to people of the same race. There is no similar bone shape or DNA strand common to one race. Therefore, ones race or racial identity is fluid and can shift and change with time and experience. This social construct we call race has taken a toll on our society. We consider people of a different race different than us, and in result descriminate against them. Discrimination by definition is treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which the person or thing is perceived to belong rather than on induvidual attributes. Discrimination was a key role in slavery. Whites saw blacks as different, and treated them poorly based on the color of their skin. On the other hand, prejudice is a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. One can be prejudice without discriminating. In other words, you can think other races than you (those not in your Ingroup but in an Outgroup to you) are different, but you don't have to treat them in a different manner or poorly. For as long as we can remember, whites have always had a privilege over blacks. Though it's 2017, we can't deny that there still is prejudice in our society today. Whites tend to make more money, be more educated, and have a better chance of getting a job than not just blacks but Latinos as well. In class we were presented with a panel of students of all different races. We got to hear from each student and listen to their experiences being their specific race. I'm white so I never really had to think about what it means to be white, or how people will perceive me. Listening to the panel and learning about race in class has taught me that not everybody has had it as easy. It has made me realize that everyone is the same, regardless of our skin color.
Monday, April 3, 2017
For this unit, we've examined the dynamics of social class in the United States. We watched a movie called The Line, and were taken through the life of a man living in poverty. He had to get his food from a food pantry, couldn't pay his bills, and had trouble finding a job. We came to the conclusion that social class determines pretty much everything about you- your income, power, life chances, and more. The lower your social class, the less prestigious of a job you hold, the less you get paid, the less power you have, and the less likely you are to live. As your social class rises, so do all of these things. Personally my neighborhood and school are of a high social class. This meaning the more likely we all are to attend college, get a degree, a well paying job, and more. We talked a lot in class about how the higher you are in the social class system, the higher your parents education is. This is true for most households but not mine. Neither of my parents graduated from college; my dad didn't graduate and my mom didn't attend, but my dad still has a high paying and I'm considered wealthy. Though, I'm aware this isn't the case for most people. Social class determines what you eat, what you wear, where you work, and more. Overall, your social class determines who you are.
Thursday, March 16, 2017
This unit, we have examined the concept of deviance. Deviance is defined as repeatedly or seriously violating society's norms, and is relative to time and place. In our society today, people are so quick to judge when someone does something the slightest bit different from what is considered "normal." Deviance labels people by making society believe they are different or weird. In the worksheet we filled out on the first day of this unit, some behaviors that were commonly labeled deviant within the class were a man wearing a dress, continuously talking to oneself in public, and balancing groceries on your head in public. Though, since deviance is relative to place, balancing groceries on your head in a different country may be considered normal. In Saints and Roughnecks, the saints thought the roughnecks were deviant, and the roughnecks thought the saints were deviant. The actions that were considered deviant by the saints weren't the actions considered deviant by the roughnecks, because these two groups had a different perception of what is acceptable and normal. Delinquency by the roughnecks was normal, but delinquency by the saints was deviant. Going to college for the saints was normal, but deviant to the roughnecks. A few years ago, if I was in public and I saw two men kissing, I would believe they were deviant or different. Though, if I saw two men kissing today, I would think it's completely normal. This proves that deviant is relevant to time. Personally, I like to go to bed around 9 pm. My friends who like to go to bed around 1, 2 am think I'm deviant, because I'm different than them and I probably violate the norm of a high school student going to bed really late. Deviance is repeatedly present in our society, but we shouldn't always be so quick to judge.
Monday, March 6, 2017
Recently, we have explored how socialization affects males and females and how something like gender can be so taken-for-granted. Our society tends to push people towards one end of the spectrum. Masculinity and femininity are factors of social construction. Our society pushes men to be "masculine", or strong, muscular, not sensitive, unemotional, and more. Boys feel pressured to fit this standard, so when they don't, much bigger problems occur. One of those problems being resorting to violence to prove masculinity. In class we read the article by Kimmel and Mahler, and this showed us that the main factor in shootings is gender, specifically men. We learned that when men feel that their masculinity is taken away from them, some resort to guns to prove their manliness. We also focused on femininity, and the pressures on girls from society. Through multiple videos in class including Killing us Softly, we explored how society pressures girls to be perfect-thin with long hair, flawless skin, bright eyes, and more, even though the women we see in ads are far from real. Ads use photoshop to enhance these models, making girls believe they must fit this idea, even though these photos are fake. As as result, women strive to fit this fake image of perfection, even though it's unattainable because it is not real. This is prevalent in my life whenever I watch tv or go to the mall. I see commercial after commercial and ad after ad advertising for hair products or skin products using a model that has been photoshopped. All in all, society puts unrealistic pressures on each gender, leading to consequences and problems that aren't worth it.