Category Archives: Stereotypes

Assimilation

An amnesiac process through which I forsake my own tradition to subscribe to another condition

 

Segregating me and my ideology although it is not just intellectual, it is the physical separation of two groups of people based on workplace, residence, and my social calendar forever imposed by the dominant group

 

Stereotype everything about me based on what you see from everything and everyone else BUT me, the individual breathing in front of you

 

Immigration was our family’s blessing but now it might as well be the curse although we have traveled far to get away from what our homeland failed to promise

 

Maybe we will never be like them; it is not as easy when you look this way

 

Intricacies that made us unique will fade away as we add color to new tapestries; ones that we did not sew though our blood will trickle in ruby splashes on the silk

 

Last week they spit in my face instead of at the spackled concrete of blackened gum and cigarette butts because the language was not there

 

American is what I want to sound like

 

Tolerance will simply not be enough because you need acceptance; acceptance of who I am, where I came from, what I speak, how I think, and how I feel.

 

In dreams I am another star in your constellation, we are needed to compose an astrological shape; a mythology that coexists fingertip to fingertip, heart to heart, synapse to synapse with beautiful embellishments

 

Oh how I seek the vision in the sandman’s hymns of sapphire tears nourishing gardens, ruby floods settling into scars, emerald waltzes dancing in time

 

Never forgetting to lend a thought that we all came from somewhere and that somewhere must never be severed

— Alek

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Cultural Capital

According to sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, cultural capital is our tastes, knowledge, attitudes, language, and ways of thinking that we exchange in interaction with others. We adapt to our certain cultural capital when we become a part of certain social classes and cultural groups. Almost everything that a person does is because of their cultural capital. What we wear, how we talk, where we live, what grocery stores we shop at, what we consider to be entertainment, are all a part of our cultural capital.

This concept of cultural capital relates heavily to our social classes. People of the upper class have different lifestyles and tastes than people of working or lower class. For example, people of the upper class are more likely to consider the opera or “black-tie parties” as entertainment than people of the working or lower class, who may enjoy NASCAR on television. Another example of this takes place in high schools. In high schools all over the United States, there are different social classes within each of them. For some schools, most of the students belong to the same social class, usually when the school is private or in a well-off area. But in most schools there is a little bit of everything. When there are different social classes in one school, there will be groups, or “cliques” that stick together because they share the same cultural capital. There may be a group of students that all hang out together because they live in the nice part of town, shop at expensive places and have nice cars. At the same time, there will be groups of students that hang out together because they all live in the poor area of town, they get their clothes from the same stores like Good Will, and don’t have cars but ride the bus together. People tend to associate and stick together with people in their social class because they share the same cultural capital and it makes it easier for them to interact sharing the same interests and hobbies.

Often times when dealing with cultural capital, stereotypes are involved. Stereotypes are unreliable generalizations about all members of a group that do not recognize individual differences within that group. It is very common for people to stereotype social classes other than their own. For example, people of the upper class often stereotype the lower class as being lazy, talking with uneducated slang, and being obese. Stereotypes cause problems between social classes and forces a bigger gap between them with negative thoughts on each other. People of certain social classes sometimes don’t do things only because they don’t want to be judged by their peers as someone of another social class. An example would be if someone of the upper class wanted to partake in an activity called “mudding” (people drive their trucks through the mud and get stuck) but didn’t because they would be judged as someone from the lower class by their friends and feel this would be negative due to stereotypes. This is the problem that comes along with cultural capital.

There are also some problems with cultural capital when social mobility occurs. Social mobility is when someone moves from one social class to another. The problem with this is that when someone joins a new social class, the cultural capital that they had with their old class now changes and they adopt new cultural capital. If someone originally from the working class gradually becomes a part of the upper class, they no longer have the lifestyle they once had. Often times, people struggle with the new change because they feel they don’t belong or are not accepted by the people in their new social class. For example, in the movie “People Like Us,” there was a woman who felt uncomfortable going to the upper class social gatherings because she was new to that lifestyle and wasn’t used to the etiquette rules and things like that. Although the people around her in the video seemed to be accepting of her, often times that is not the case. Also when social mobility occurs, the people who are a part of the social class that the person left behind often times feel betrayed because they “forget where they came from”. The person making the change feels unaccepted in either social class.

— Mackenzie

Witt, Jon. Soc 2014. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2014. Print.

Social Inequality

Unequal World

Social Inequality occurs when resources are distributed unequally; this including Wealth, Prestige, and Power. The presence of social inequality in the United States makes for men to earn more than women, the power elite to keep their authority, networking, and knowledge, and allows for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer.

An example of social inequality in our society occurs with different paying jobs in the United States. Fast food working employees for example, are demanding higher wages and respect for entry level jobs. People don’t want to take the time and effort to get a higher education that would make for a better job. People at the bottom want what the people at the top have, they just aren’t willing to put fourth effort to earn what their successors have earned. Inequality occurs because some people are willing to work hard to be successful and some aren’t.

In the United States Women make 77 cents to the Men’s dollar, but why is this? If a manager has an opportunity to offer a promotion to a man or woman, they are most likey going to give the offer to the man soley because of the stereotypes women have attained from being in the workplace: Men are seen as being more stable, less emotional, and more reliable than women. I believe this scenario is beginning to change and women are starting be recognized as equals, but the transition isn’t happening fast enough.

The social class we attain can impact our access to outside resources and opportunities, mostly because of the respect that comes with which class you belong to. Someone living in the lower class with lower class jobs isn’t going to get the respect that someone belonging to the upper class has. Someone with an entry level job isn’t going to be offered a promotion before someone higher up than them is offered the job first, primarily because the higher up most likely belongs to a higher class. The barrier between social classes exist because higher classes are entitled to more success than the others, which allows for them to have more money, more respect, and more power than the lower classes.

With the United States having an open class system, social mobility is encouraged which makes it possible for one to climb from the bottom to the top of that social ladder; it is more difficult for someone from the bottom to make strides towards the top than someone who has been born towards the top or born close to the top of the social ladder, but never impossible. Social mobility takes place frequently, but it very rarely makes that big of an impact on the person’s treatment by society which barely changes the treatment of people and allows for inequality to stick around.

I think the problem with social inequality is that when someone wants to improve their class status, the upper classes make it very difficult for them to do so. The stereotypes and lack of respect that people get when belonging to the lower classes can be very discouraging. This applies to both males and females in the workplace; it is a challenging task to climb the social ladder when someone is constantly bringing you down and treating you poorly due to your class status. With that being said, social class doesn’t define a person or mean that they are any less important, yet for some reason people connect class status to someone’s well being. If people start looking past labels and stereotypes there wouldn’t be class barriers and prejudices that apply to certain statuses.

— Anna

Citations

Witt, Jon. “Social Class.” Soc. Third ed. Mcgraw-Hill, 2014. 238-247. Print.

 

 

 

 

DEVIANCE

We have all seen them, “gangsters” walking around with saggy pants and baggy sweatshirts known for causing trouble and committing crime, or Goth’s with gaged ears and all black attire, known for being emotionally unstable and violent. These people are said to be deviant, with norms and values that differ from those of the greater society. These subcultures create their own norms and values that others see to be different, or deviant.

Norms are an established standard of behavior maintained by a society.  Norms can be formal, informal, folkways or mores. Formal norms are those that generally have been written down and specify strict punishment if violated. Laws are an example of formal norms. Informal norms are those that are understood but not necessarily recorded. Examples of informal norms include how one behaves in a college level classroom. Folkways are norms that govern everyday behavior but do not result in much concern if violated. Wearing acceptable clothing is an example of a folkway. Lastly, mores are norms that are seen as necessary to the welfare of society, and are based on what is right and wrong. Religious doctrines are an example of mores. Defying any of these norms can result in an individual being perceived as deviant. For an individual to conform is for him or her to go along with peers, acting in a similar manner. Just as one can conform to society, that is following social norms, one can also conform to a deviant group, acting in a way that is different from the rest of society.

Perhaps the most recognized deviant groups in society are criminals. Criminals can be individuals who commit crimes such as murder or assault, or small crimes such as income tax evasion or misinterpretation of advertisement. Whether the crime was a violent crime resulting in extreme punishment, or a small senseless one with little recognition, every move we make as humans has a sanction. Sanctions are tactics used by society to penalize or reward individuals for their behavior. Negative sanctions used for criminal activity, for example, include jail or prison sentencing, fines and community service. These sanctions are largely responsible for the “good behavior” of society, as individuals stray from behavior that could result in these negative sanctions. Positive sanctions are also part of keeping society under control, so to speak. These sanctions include praise or rewards for good behavior, such as a student being on the honor roll, or getting certificates for perfect attendance. Sanctions are a means of encouraging conformity to the standards of society, while also preventing individuals from becoming deviant.

All types of sanctions are a part of social control.  “We create norms to provide social order . . . we enforce them through social control – the techniques and strategies for preventing deviant human behavior in any society” (Witt 130). Social control can be exercised in families, by parents, in colleges, by teachers, or in government by the police or legislature. One example of social control in schools is the hidden curriculum. Just as sanctions teach individuals what is socially acceptable throughout life, the hidden curriculum is used in schools to teach children what behaviors are acceptable. For example, students learn to speak only when they are called on, and are taught how to socialize with authority figures in an acceptable way. These lessons are ones that will be critical throughout life, to conform to society.

Teachers are likely to have a life-long effect on their students. Not only do teachers demonstrate socially acceptable behavior to students, but they often label students as well. Labeling can both help and hurt a child while growing up. For example, if the teacher labels a student as dishonest at a young age, that child is likely to keep that label throughout his or her education. Labeling can also be seen as a sort of stereotyping. African Americans have been labeled as delinquents, bad kids or criminals for years. Labeling a group of people as bad, in this case, puts them at a disadvantage because they are more likely to accept that label.

Norms are more important in everyday life than most people know. Without norms, we would not know how to work together, how to work individually, or how to function as an entire community. Although there are disadvantages of having norms, such as having deviant individuals, norms are an absolute necessity of society.

 

Works Cited

Lunchcountersitin, . “Incarceration Rate per 100,000 Residents.” Chart. Bureau of Justice Statistics (2009). Web.

Maricopa CountyJail. Web. 23 Feb. 2013. <http://maricopacountyjail.net/&gt;.

Sackermann, Joern. Germany, Gothic People. Lightstalkers, Cologne. Web. 23 Feb. 2013.

Stylephotographs, . African Student Raising her Hand in University Class. 123RF. Web. 23 Feb. 2013.

Witt, Jon. SOC. 2012th ed. N.p.: McGraw Hill, 2012. Print.