Category Archives: Values


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. <;.

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.



Why did people move to America? To have freedom.  People would say that is and will always be our biggest value in America.  In our class’s sociology book, Values are defined as “collective conceptions of what is considered good desirable, and proper – or bad, undesirable and improper, in a culture” (Witt).  Early in the 18th century people moved to America for two reasons, for religious freedom and to start a new life in the “New World.”  In the United States, people can say anything, be anything they want and go anywhere with no limits.  But is that true?

Many Americans believe they do have freedom to make decisions.  But with the growth in technology and media people don’t realize they are involved in conformity.  Conformity means “the act of going along with peers-individuals of our own status who have no special to direct our behavior.”  Another big Value for Americans is trying to save money because our economy is not the greatest.  With the influence of the media advertising products that have no beneficial factor other than wanting a person to buy it makes it difficult to save money.  For example while I was watching television one morning I saw a commercial selling a “Pillow Pet” I began to ask myself what is the benefit of having this product, but then as the commercial went on, I realized it was intended for children.  If I were a child and saw that commercial I would assume that every child had one and would beg my parents to order me one so I could be involved with the In-Group.  The In-Group “is the feeling of being involved in something special.”

There are some people that don’t like the control of Conformity in America and they rebel by being deviant.  Deviance is, “behavior that violates the standards of conduct or expectations of a group or society” (Witt).  We have seen this happen to many celebrities all because of fame.  One example of this is Brittany Spears.  As a young artist she was forced to be a sweet and innocent singer, but as she grew up she began going out to clubs, parties and taking inappropriate pictures for the tabloids.  With America watching, we knew this was wrong and out of character for her, so we put her in a category of being deviant.

As I look at these examples I began to question whether or not I  am a conformist or if I make my own values.  I believe I am a conformist because I am in college getting the education I need to better my life.  I do believe I am involved in conformity because I eat cereal for breakfast to save time so I can do more things in my day and I shop for the newest clothes whenever I have money.  I believe that you can be whoever you want to be all you have to do is work hard to get there, which is another example of my conformity.



In this day and age, we live in a society where every person is expected to live up to a mainstream standards of how to dress, how to act, and even who to love. These expectations are of foremost importance to our culture and for the majority, people follow these expectations. But when you look into society there are groups that chose to live by their own set of values and norms, sometimes very similar to mainstream society,  and these groups are termed subcultures. They live in harmony with mainstream society but they choose to follow their own standards, but do not stray too far from mainstream society. When values and standards vary even more from the mainstream we find groups called countercultures, which are subcultures that deliberately go against certain aspects of the larger “mainstream” culture.

An example, that encompasses both of the terms sub and counterculture, would be a relationship group called polyamory, poly meaning “many” or “several”, and  amory meaning love. Polyamory is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved, and this aspect is what makes its practice a counter to the mainstream culture. The social norm of mainstream culture is to have a monogamist relationship based on truth and trust. Even though polyamory does go against social norms of love between a closed pair of people it still has the same values of trust and honesty, which gives the culture a more vague, but arguable, trait of being a sub to mainstream culture.

I recently learned about this term/culture from a dear friend of mine who has been living in a polyamorous relationship with their spouse for more then six months now.  They kept this a secret initially because of fear of how I would react to this information, and in all honestly, my first reaction was shock. I was shocked to find out this even existed in society. I didn’t understand how this could work or even be accepted by people, let alone an entire society. When my friend explained this life style choice to me, she stated clearly and rigidly that, “polyamory is not about sex, it is not at all like swinging. Polyamory is about having an open relationship with your spouse where you both are allowed to have a relationship with another person, and everyone involved knows one another and we’re understanding of the situation. It is about love and the overwhelming amount there is capable for people.”  My next question was to ask how far this relationship would, or could go, because legally you can only marry one person. From here my friend informed me the farthest it would go is to have all persons involved move into a house together, and live life loving each other. After I heard all the information I could, and doing my own research on  polyamory as a lifestyle, I had a few more questions. I asked my friend why they chose this life style, and they remarked, “ I feel this is what I was cut out for. It feels right to me, I have more love to share with someone other then my spouse. It also gives me a greater opportunity to be loved and love. I have known people who live this life style and when I finally understood its values and terms I realized this was the life I would like to live.”

When you relate this type of subculture/counterculture to society you find that many people are not informed about this lifestyle.  U.S.-based relationship values relating to intimate relationships are trust and loyalty, and to mainstream culture we view this lifestyle as deviant.  When my friends got married they signed a marriage license, which in most states means you are forever bonded to this person, and to commit adultery is illegal. Adultery is extremely frowned upon in our culture, it not only shows that you are disloyal to your spouse but it is also viewed as being dishonest to your fellow man.  I emphasize adultery because my friend who lives this life style chose a career that has strict rules concerning adultery. These rules never state what a punishment for adultery could be, but that you will be punished. As a result, my friend could potentially lose her entire career because of this.  Thus, one of my final questions to them was how could you live this life style knowing that one day your entire life career could come crashing to the ground, all because you and your spouse choose to live this way. My friend simply stated, “ I am willing to take the chance to live what I would consider a normal life, I am happy and strongly believe this is the right way to live. If I lose my career over this I will be hurt. But I don’t feel I should have to change my lifestyle to abide by what is expected of society.”

When I think about relationships in society today there are so many different types of love.  Our society has not come to terms yet with these new lifestyles, and at the same time new and vastly different relationships are popping up everywhere. As a society Americans are still working on accepting a homosexual lifestyles, let alone group relationships. I feel that after learning of my friends’ new way of love that society will most certainly shame them. It angers me to feel this way but that is how our society, and most any society works. We shame what we don’t understand and what is seen as counter to our mainstream. I think the solution to this situation is to be tolerant of things that are different. When we look back in history, stories just like this can be found in many different areas. This story is not about love, it is about acceptance that difference is inevitable.  Society use to shame anyone with non-white skin. But with time and awareness society overcame and did more than accept these differences; they began to celebrate them. It is not to say that there are not those who are jaded by the ideas of change to this day, but as a whole society, we can progress to be inclusive rather than exclusive. With saying this, I feel the only way this type of life style will be accepted is with time, and when society is informed and to an extent almost forced to witness these new values we can begin to embrace our differences.


Works Cited

Wikipedia contributors. “Polyamory.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 21 Feb. 2013. Web. 22 Feb. 2013.

 Witt, Jon. SOC 2012. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010. N. pag. Print.



The way in which people are influenced by society is a question many people ask to which many different answers are given. Of all the influences we can think of, one of the major influences affecting how people live their lives and act are due to the direct effect that research, its conclusions and its published findings have. Every single day we are bombarded with new statistics, numbers and correlations that researchers have published that can directly or indirectly create or mold societal values and even the degree to which something becomes a social norm. Whether it’s about the new fad diet that research has found to burn the most fat, or the newest correlation numbers have shown between the consumption of hormones and prevention of cancer over the past year, we are constantly flooded with this information from every resource of media someone can think of. As humans we are naturally attracted to facts and are quick to trust a claim backed up with statements like “researchers have found” or “lab scientists discovered” followed by numbers and percentages and bold word statements. As humans, we are addicted to new and latest information relative to our daily lives. Because of the need we express for new information and the trust that we give to it, we are reluctant to question the source and process from which this new knowledge has been acquired; this is what can make premature research and its published findings dangerous.


One of the most important questions to ask about published research is if it is valid. The validity of research is dependent on the degree to which the model, or measure is truly representative of what is under examination. It is easy to skew the results of research if one does not take into consideration the confounding variables, or variables that are not accounted for during research and can affect the validity of experiments. There are also issues such as the Hawthorne Effect where the influence of the researcher is directly imposed on the experiment and thus can drastically alter the outcome. To help level the playing field for researchers, a universal method used by researchers called the scientific method, provides a series of systematic and organized steps that allows a researchers to remain consistent in their exploration process. Methods like this help promote the validity of research and ensure that it is that much more reliable, or able to be repeated warranting the same results and minimize unwanted alterations. An example of invalid research from history stems from the election between Roosevelt and Landon when sampling error predicted that President Landon would win the election with over 55% of the vote. What the polling team did not take into consideration was that they sampled only people from an upper class population that were more likely to vote for Landon to begin with, and was not representative of the population as a whole. Roosevelt as we know had won the election.

Research of all categories is extensively funded and supported by government, non-profit organizations and communities looking for answers to unanswered questions, and regardless if a proper valid and reliable investigation was conducted, findings whether supportive of the researchers’s hypothesis or unsupportive, are published. Once published the public has access to review such conclusions and is instantly impacted by the information seen. Agents of socialization such as mass media and technology use information to appeal to the public eye and usually attempt to alter behaviors. For example, of all the magazines one can find on a grocery store shelf, how many of those magazine have a front cover advertisement promoting something “new” to help curb your appetite, or tell about five new exercises to protect your heart? In magazines and online articles where claims are not directly cited, sourced or backed up by valid research, it makes me wonder how much I can trust what is being circulated? A perfect example in history of bad research followed by manipulative publishing and the impact it had on society was something Newsweek (a trusted magazine by many Americans) called “The Marriage Crunch”. It was an issue that flew off the shelves in 1986 by college-educated single women across the United States. In short, the article supported that research showed that single women in 1986 in their early to late thirties were more likely to be killed by a terrorist than be married. The cover was donned with a fancy graph and exclusive numbers within the article to sell the point. As social intellectualist Joel Best puts it, social problem claims must compete for attention and when numbers have the weight of authority, through repetition regardless of how discredited a claim may be, it still has an impact on society (Best 2). With that the claim that women in their early to late thirties were more likely to be killed by a terrorist was highly discredited, but numbers have showed that the women of that time have very high percentages of marriage. My questioning wondered if there was an underlying motive that came with publishing the article. Is it possible that the adult women of 1986 read this article and instantly tied the knot as not to fall into a hopeless statistic? In the 80’s women continued to push changes in social roles which in time has led to social change. Was this poorly implemented and published research done purposefully to prevent deviance from traditional female roles in society?


When research is valid, the behavior changes associated with it are not always negative but positive. A perfect example of this is the conclusion scientist have made about the correlation between smoking cigarettes and developing cancer. Since discovered, published and made aware, many less Americans smoke today. But it is the research that is neither valid nor reliable and still published which has a very large impact on society- it becomes dangerous. As Americans, we put trust in the word research without questioning it, and when we are bombarded with numbers and statistics backed by said research, it is hard to deviate our thinking and we are altered by it. Though it is hard for an average American to determine what is valid research and what to believe and trust in without knowing the direct source, I personally believe it is healthy to question it every now and then. We have this contradicting belief that, “you can’t always believe what you hear in the news/internet/radio,” yet we cling to the information these sources provide to us without question. My suggestion to the information seekers out there is to be weary of sources that are not cited and stick to professional journals which most times allow the reader to review the research process and methods that was taken in collecting and interpreting data. Don’t be too quick to pay for preventative medication, buy a certain car, or move to a different state because of what poorly implemented research has done.  Lastly, my suggestion to the researchers out there, carry out your research precisely and effectively. Have multiple peer reviews and be sure that the methodology of your research eliminates as many confounding variables as possible because once the word is out, one can never truly determine how it may affect its observers.



Joel Best, “Promoting Bad Statistics.” Society, March/April 2001:11-15.


In today’s social structure, it is almost everyone’s goal to “fit in”. However it is becoming less rare to have large groups of people choosing to not fit into the dominant group. As a result of people’s different interests, beliefs, and goals there are a variety of different groups that people typically identify with such as sports fans, the party crowd, computer nerds, academic nerds, preps, video gamers, and even hipsters. Individuals tend to choose a group and conform to their values and norms. Norms are considered an established standard of behavior maintained by a society, where values are a collective conception of what is considered good, desirable, and proper or the opposite like bad, undesirable, and improper in a culture(Witt,57,59). The mass majority of people’s cultural beliefs and practices along with values and norms help create the dominant ideology(Witt,62). This mainstream ideology legitimates existing powerful social, economic, and political interests. However in the United states we have a difficult time identifying a singular and inclusive dominant core culture. We have a lot of cultural variation between the subgroups in our society because many people are not able to connect or agree with dominant ideology. Sometimes members of our society completely oppose almost every single value and norm of the mainstream group, and this is where countercultural groups find their members, from the outcasts or objectors of the dominant ideology.

Subcultures are an ethnic, regional, economic, or social group exhibiting characteristic patterns of behavior sufficient to distinguish it from others within an embracing culture or society (Subculture,1).  These subgroups within a culture typically share some values and norms with the dominant ideology. Subcultures are closely similar to countercultures, however countercultures deliberately opposes certain aspects of the core culture (Witt, 65). It can be very challenging to distinguish a group as a subculture or a counterculture, I personally decide the difference based on if they coexist with the dominant culture or not. If the group coexists peacefully with the dominant culture I would consider the group a subculture and if the group does not want to be involved with the dominant culture I would them consider the group a counterculture. People of countercultures often fight to affect some kind of essential change to mainstream culture. Some clear and obvious examples within the last century include feminists, hippies, and punk movements. They all tested the dominate culture to break down previous norms and values that the countercultures did not agree with.

A very small counterculture arising in my hometown is a group that is refereed to as “The furries”. In a larger, more commonly known group they would be considered Therians. A therian is a member of a contemporary subculture of therianthropy, which is based upon a spiritual or psychological identification and relationship with animals and sometimes they believe themselves to be actual animals trapped inside a human body. The furries all believe themselves to literally be wolves. Therians normally try to follow the animal interactions, such as the furries creating a hierarchy of order, such as ‘Alpha Wolves’ and also howling at the moon. They also believe in openness about their sexuality, their animal instincts, and as a cause are normally very sexual in general. The furries typically refuse to talk to other people outside their culture group, and disobey authority figures every chance possible and this is why I would consider them a counterculture.

The subculture I think everyone notices taking over currently is the hipster culture. There is even a television series based on this subculture called Portlandia, centered in Portland, Oregon, the Hipster Capitol. Hipster refers to a subculture of young, recently settled urban middle class adults and older teenagers that appeared in the 1990s. The subculture is associated with independent music, a varied non-mainstream, fashion sensibility, liberal or independent political views, alternative spirituality or atheism or agnosticism, and alternative lifestyles (hipster,1). Hipsters mesh well in most cases with the dominant group because they follow music and fashion trends. The group has become so accepted that lots of their adopted trends are extremely popular and readily available in retail stores. Because they coexist with and accept some dominant ideology’s norms and values, I would consider them a subculture.

The problems we are faced with as a result of countercultures in our society is a lack of harmony between groups and extreme forms of countercultures can be dangerous to society.  The dominant ideology needs to be accepting of being disagreed with, because it is only natural to have a few people with opposing view points. When there is a counterculture of people who want to create tension between themselves and the dominate group it creates a negative atmosphere. The only solution to get rid of the tension between the two culture groups is to agree to disagree and be tolerant of one another. Extreme forms of counterculture in the past include groups such as the Klu Klux Klan. This counterculture was derived from hate ideologies and made the group extremely toxic to society. It is important for the government to keep restrictions on these dangerous counterculture groups to keep society safe.

There is no possible way to rid our society of countercultures, nor should we all wish for that. Countercultures provide us with a variety of types of people and scenes to explore and find new aspects of ourselves within them. Everyone is different, some more then others and that should be okay.


Works Cited

Haddow, Douglas. “Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization | Adbusters Culturejammer            Headquarters.” Adbusters Culturejammer Headquarters | Journal of the mental      environment. The Big Ideas of 2013, 29 July 2008. Web. 25 Feb. 2013.            <;.

“Hipster (contemporary subculture) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia, the free   encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2013.         <;.

“Subculture – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary.” Dictionary     and Thesaurus – Merriam-Webster Online. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2013.         <;.

Witt, Jon. SOC. 2012 ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 20122011. Print.


With the United States being a very diverse country, we still have a unified culture. Culture is the learned and shared ways of believing and doing with a society. It provides us skills, habits, and styles which are passed from generation to generation. As a complex society, we have many subcultures in the U.S., which are segments of the larger culture. They have their own beliefs and values which they carry from their own cultures. Conversely, many subcultural groups also participate and engage in the behaviors of the dominant culture. As we know, language is part of culture.  It has an impact on subcultural groups within a larger society who struggle to keep their language. For instance, many Somali children, when they move to the U.S, end up speaking American English more fluently than the language of their culture simply because the U.S  culture surrounds them most of the time. Not only does the dominant culture influence on language, but it also dominates subcultural values, mores, and folkways.

Although there is a huge immigrant population in this country, I would say when it comes resocializing, some immigrants can adapt easily.  Resocialization, the process of leaving old behavior behind and accepting the new life changes they’re undergoing is easy for some, while others, like refugees, take time to go through this process.  This is simply because some immigrants may come into this country for different reason: education, business, or vacation. These kinds of immigrants tend to experience fewer traumas compared to refugees who are vulnerable, having undergone rigorous situations in their countries.  My mom, for example, after living three years in Lansing, is still having trouble transforming herself and taking on some of the behaviors of the U.S..  Language is an issue for her. Even though she has transformed by adhering to some of the norms and values of this country, she wouldn’t have even followed these without being told by her children to do so. The language barrier has kept her from getting a job since English is the only language used in the larger society. This problem has explicitly resulted from the lack of resocialization and driver’s license.  Addition, she is not able to go to a doctor’s appointment without an interpreter. By accepting new transitions and social relationships, resocialization changes individuals from their old behaviors and way of life to the new patterns.



Another problem associated with subcultures is ethnocentrism.  Ethnocentrism can lead to bad things for many different reasons. It often puts down a certain group or culture. Subcultural groups can feel ethnocentric when they have to learn the language of the bigger society. In addition, following their norms and values has been prioritized. Ethnocentrism also leads a group to thinking they are righteous and better than other groups.  This happens at my workplace when working with some employees from the dominant culture. I had small talk one day with one of my coworker and come up with one of the norms of culture to compare with another from the large culture. I felt he implicitly preferred the norms of that subculture. Sometimes ethnocentrism does not have a negative impact, rather it has advantages. For instance, it can create patriotism. Even though we consist of different societies with different beliefs, values, norms, and knowledge, we still have common norms, values and symbols that bring us together.  For instance, the flag symbolizes unity and shows love of the country and obedience to the rules and regulations. The flag encourages people to be patriotic for the country whether an individual is from the dominant culture or subculture.


“Self and others do not exist as mutually exclusive facts.” –Jon Witt

Developing our sense of who we are starts as soon as we make social interactions, between family friends, co-workers, teachers, even acquaintances we meet on a daily basis.  It’s through social interactions that we are shaped and can even define who we are or what we might think of ourselves.   It could be something as simple as a guy telling you you’re beautiful or a woman telling you you’re strong, which you then begin to believe that’s how others view you, defining yourself as a result of these assumptions.  This reflects Charles Horton Cooley’s looking-glass self theory.   In this theory, Cooley argued that our identity is based on how we think others see us, even though no one really knows what others are thinking.

When you’re a teenager in high school you try to conform to the norms of being popular; you by the fancy clothes from stores in the mall like Hollister,  Aeropostle and Abercrombie so that you “fit” in.  You’ve never particularly liked the clothes before or even had the ability to afford them, but you eventually buy them anyway or save up to buy them.  In my case, I had to wait till Christmas to buy the popular fashions.

Because I wasn’t always wearing name brand clothing, I felt that my peers were always critiquing me and giving me dirty looks.  By assuming that they were always thinking negative things about me I then became shy and acted negatively.



Cooley’s Theory of the Looking-Glass Self includes three main components:

1.) Self reflection study – We imagine how we must appear to others

2.) Self-awareness manipulation – We imagine the judgment of that appearance

3.) Individuation manipulation – We develop our self through the judgments of others.

We rely on feedback from others to see what their thoughts on us are or how we’re viewed by them and then proceed to act like such to help guide us with further interactions.  The most important interactions are with our significant others.

The Looking-Glass Self involves a series of steps that we all do subconsciously which affects us every day.  With socialization comes up and downs. Through our social interaction we learn from our conversations and experiences with others, whether they are positive or negative.  Deciding our own attitudes and feelings by watching how we react to situations is called the self- perception theory.  

Our self is shaped from our interactions with others and forms a unique combination distinct from everyone else.  The self comprises who we are as individuals and our concepts of what’s considered good, desirable and proper, or our values that we hold onto.

We try, we fail and we try again.  This is our guess and check strategy at life and with people.   It’s through our interaction that we learn and grow, which provides us with greater self confidence for future interactions with others.  We are who we are for various reasons: how others view us, how we view ourselves and where we came from.   It’s because of these reasons that we are unique.


The term “values” means something different to each one of us. Our textbook defines values as, “a collective conception of what is conception of what is considered good, desirable, and proper-or bad, undesirable and improper- in a culture,” but I feel that they are more than that (Witt).  I see values as another stepping stone in what defines us as individuals. Everyone has different values yet some people are raised in the same culture.  As Americans we see thin and curvy as beautiful and desired while people that have a little more weight on them are undesirable. Americans are elitists and have the tendency to look down on others, but as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Changing one’s set of values can be done, but it rarely is. I went through this when I joined the military; I went from being an irresponsible, irrational teenager to an adult that had a new set of values.  I was instilled with the core values that the Army has, including leadership, duty, respect, selfless service, honesty, integrity, and personal courage. According to Wikipedia, “values which are not physiologically determined and normally considered objective, such as a desire to avoid physical pain, seek pleasure, etc., are considered subjective, vary across individuals and cultures and are in many ways aligned with belief and belief systems.”  So whatever you believe in, you will have related values.

Beliefs can be a strong factor in how people act on a daily basis or for the rest of their lives. For example if one person believes that the world is going to end, that person will do what they believe to be the necessary steps to prepare for this event. Belief can be defined as the psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true. Dispositional and occurrent belief concerns the contextual activation of the belief into thoughts (reactive of propositions) or ideas (based on the belief’s premise).

So think about the things that you think define who you are, like are you someone who thinks that it’s not ok to steal? Or maybe you go out of your way to help others, whatever makes you, you is what I consider to be your values because they are what make you an individual. Values are important and they can also tie into so many other things like beliefs and culture because they are a part of the building blocks of society.


America is a postmodern society, a technologically sophisticated pluralistic, interconnected, globalized society (Witt122). One of the key elements of a postmodern society is networks. One of the major networks is the social network. A social network is a group or organization that allows people to have a broad outreach of other people, groups, or organizations and indirectly connect with them. “There are over 200 well known social network sites, with over 1.43 billion users. As of February 2013 Facebook is leading and Twitter is a close second for being the biggest social networking sites,” says Christian Arno writer of the article Worldwide Social Media Trends for 2012. The social network is growing three times faster than the overall growth of the internet. To help with better understanding of what social networking is, here a video on social network.

Now that you have seen that short clip on social network I would like to show, how social network affects the norms of our life. A norm is something we do or rules that we just embody as part of everyday life. I believe that the social network has become a norm for many people’s lives today.  Every day, multiple times a day, people are checking their Facebook news feed or reading a status on Twitter. According to the website, Mashable, “In 2006 people on average were spending about 2.7 hours a month on social networking sites. The average time spent now on social networking sites is about 7 hours a month.”. Therefore, I feel like social networking is becoming a norm in the average Americans life.

Many of these social networking sites require you to create a profile, just a few things about yourself. Once you have done this, for example on Facebook you can post a status or comment on a picture someone posted. These profiles allow people to view your values, a collective conception of what is considered good, desirable, or proper to yourself (Witt57).  On Facebook and Twitter, companies have their own page that people go to like or support or read about. A company may post a sale that it is having, and it is for everyone who follows them to see. Furthermore, you can make that page part of your in-group, a group or category to which people feel they belong (Witt108). Your personal in-group pages that you value are seen and can be liked by anybody with the same interests. By having the same interest in something as somebody else does, you two now have a connection through that page, thus making your friends and their friends able to see that page, indirectly connecting everyone in a social network.


With social networks being so large, there are good and bad things that come from them. That’s why I believe that their needs to be more social control on social networking sites. Facebook has led to some of the most deviant cases of cyber bullying on the social network. In 2012, I took writing 121, in which I wrote a research paper on cyber bullying. Being the twenty- first century, America is a postmodern society and “90% of teens are online” (Billitteri). Many of these teens are being tormented for what they consider to be the norms of their lives and their values attacked, because the abuser wishes to label them with a stigma, devaluing the person whom they view as different (Witt137).

Social networks have today, in some way, affected everybody  They help us find a job, are a dating service or aid in sharing music illegally. Social networks are growing every day, and growth is healthy for this economy. Growth just means we are moving forward as a society, and social networks are substantial elements for future growth.

Work Cited

Arno, Christian. “Worldwide Social Media Usage Trends in 2012” December 26, 2012 Article February 2013

Billitteri, T.J. “Are Laws Needed to Curb Online Aggression?” Cyberbulling (02 May 2008): 1-36 Article.22 Mar 2012.

Mashable, “this is how much time you spend on facbook, twitter, tumblr”. 1-8 Article 11/28/2012 February 2013

Wikipedia. Online encyclopedia/social network/definitions/pictures. February 2013

Witt, John. SOC 2012.1-450 Text Book/ 2012 February 2013

Wikipedia. Online encyclopedia/social network/definitions/pictures. February 2013

Youtube. Videos/ “what is social networking”/ February 2013


In too many instances, most look at Blacks with harsh eyes, and whether they speak or are silent there are way too many doubtful thoughts racing through their mind. We, Blacks, may not be mind-readers but we already know what words and phrases are formulating through the minds of the “others” who don’t think it is quite possible for us to succeed…and sadly that might be true…but for only one reason…they have caused such blockage to occur.

One might ask who is the “they” that I speak of. “They” comes in many forms: people from other ethnic backgrounds, discrimination, stereotypes, government, justice system, educational system, and sometimes even our own. Why do they cause such blockage? It is because of their culture that has been embedded in them since birth or their condescending ways that have snowballed into a pile of self-worth and self-distinction. Things such as this create ethnocentrisms, the belief in the superiority in one’s ethnic group.

The outlook of being superior to blacks has gone on since we were brought to this country. And like John Mayer, we are waiting for the world to change, but I am sure his change doesn’t include blacks.  If Elvis Presley was featured in the song, his world wouldn’t include blacks either, because according to him only thing we could do for him is shine his shoes and we don’t want to stop blacks from doing that because everybody needs a good shoe shining!

“Yes we can!”

Instead we need the encouragement that Obama says best. But unfortunately this does not happen often, so our heart hums songs of overcoming, while are our actions involve ways that aren’t always that illegal. We are the true survivors of the fittest. With few of the resources one may need to make ends meet, we make change, not always good but we make things happen—despite the belittling from other ethnic groups.  And many may not believe this, but we want all our actions to be positive but this can’t happen if we are constantly ridiculed and not properly taught.

Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and feed him for a lifetime.” 

Like most, we want the opportunity to grow into something healthy and beautiful. But, unfortunately this can’t happen if we are not given the right resources to make that happen. In our eyes, we are like foster children who, unfortunately, got stuck with some not so nice and caring foster parents who badly abuse us and gives us the leftovers of what they once had and no longer wants or temporarily have no need for—usually they receive benefit from doing so .  In order to keep such a superior stance, one or many must keep the inferior group down. Here is how “they” did it and here are some of the leftovers, these are not to help, but to keep us distracted and quiet: 1. A ball. 2. Some crack. 3. 28 days. 4. A Piggy bank. 5. A beat.

1. As a Black, if you can dribble or throw a ball, you are seen as Captain Save ‘em.  Blacks are scouted out because their skills. Because of this, many Black youth value system may differ from white youth. For instance asking a young black boy what he wants to be when he grows up; his response …a basketball player.

2.  THE CRACK EPIDEMIC scare was orchestrated by the media. They inhaled oxygen and exhaled carbon dixode, blowing on an ignited flame forming an urban fire killing, not trees, but people…a fire that began in the eighties but has grown more vicious today.  Crack served as the white savior to many Blacks. It was passed around urban areas heavily populated by Blacks. Not only were Blacks getting hooked, but they were dying, killing, landing in jail. Surburban areas, most populated by whites weren’t even hit with 10% of the blow back from urban areas.

3.  TGIF: THANK GOD IT’S FEBRUARY!  For 28 days—sometimes not even that amount—Black youth have the opportunity to learn bits and pieces and half truths about their race and culture. But for the rest of the school year, they learn of norms orchestrated by white society.

4. WELFARE. The code for poor Black people.  Thanks to the media and ignorance of way too many, TANF, commonly known as welfare, is seen to cover the lazy behinds of blacks that just don’t want to work. I see it is as a stumbling block that spoonfeeds Blacks and keeps minds in bondage from trying to succeed. Think about it. Yes, there are financial benefits from TANF, but not many opportunities to teach one how to “pull themselves up from their bootstraps” and become self-sufficient.

5.  MUSIC…From the beginning of time the ancestors of Blacks have used music to uplift their spirits. Passing each lyric down from one generation to the next. Now there is a new style of lyric and new form of lyric passing. In this new day, we have rap; a style that most use to promote their new shiny materials, while subconsciously belittling themselves….guess who again gets the top cut and first and last laugh.