There are many events in our lives that will force us to think about the world around us. There have been many lessons that have impacted my life and the way that I will live. This lesson has something to do with how we need to focus on our entire life rather than just one aspect of our lives. The sociological imagination allows us to connect with all aspects of our lives and understand how our surroundings impact us. I have been able to apply the sociological imagination to many of the concepts, topics and issues we have discussed.
A concept that we can apply the sociological imagination to is culture. Culture is defined as,” a complex collection of values, beliefs, behaviours, and material objects shared by a group passed on from one generation to the next”. Culture is what we identify ourselves by such as, by the way we act, dress, and what we believe in.
Another sociological concept that helped me learn was bracketing. Bracketing means to let go of any previous ideas or assumptions that you had, even if it’s just temporarily, so that you are able to allow new concepts and truths to flow in. Bracketing helped me to become open to new ideas about what race is and how it came into existence. It helped me learn more about it as well as to be challenged enough to want to stop racism and make a difference.
Being racist is a very serious thing and you may not even realise that what you have said may have offended someone else around you. We all need to be smart with our words and phrases to make sure that nothing comes across as racism. I knew that racism was something to do with people saying comments to people of other cultures and ethnicities about their skin colour or ethnicity. I opened myself up to learn more about racism and what it really consist of as well as what we can do to put an end to it. I always used to think that a race had something to do with your biology which is very untrue, race is not genetic.
One thing that we learned that was what we talked about in a group discussion about how we are truly being racist and discriminatory when we group people into such categories and give them derogatory names, because we are more similar to them than we really know. I may not be racist myself but we all have our own prejudices and stereotypes that might involve other races. I am a very religious person who respects other religions, cultures and ethnicities for who they are. Finally realising that we all need to do our best to escape from these stereotypes and prejudices and really focus on seeing other people for who they are.
The sociological imagination and bracketing are two concepts that I will take with me through life. This class has taught me a lot and challenged me to become a better person in so many different ways. I have learned more about so many topics especially race and racism. We all need to work together to make a difference and stand up for what we believe even if that is stopping your friends from being racist. Some key ideas are to be open to new ideas and options and not being caught up in our own ways so that we never take risks. We all need to open our eyes and really see the issues that are going on in our society before we can try to fix anything. This course has given me many life lessons that I will treasure and take with me throughout life.
The event that I attended was the Ghana Field School Students Colloquium on November 10th. We got to listen to some of the stories of the 24 students that went on the school trip to Ghana. The few that shared their experience in Ghana also explained what their placement was as well as inform us of things that impacted their lives as well as what impact they made. Many people think that Africa is a place filled with animals and safaris in a very hot place but is also to be known for poverty. Ghana is said to be filled with welcoming and friendly people, which is different from other places and the students learned that quickly. What I have learned from the stories shared by the Kwantlen students who had visited Ghana was that we need to find ways to give back because of everything we are fortunate to have in our society.
The aspect of Ghanaian time and North American time was a huge topic brought up during the presentations by the students who had visited Ghana. Time is something that means something different to each person in the world. The main differences relating to time in Ghana and in North America is that the people of Ghana would take time out of their day to greet another person even if they were a stranger. This made the students believe that they care more about being welcoming in their society rather than rejecting them. People in the Western society are so focused on not being late to an event in which case if that means not greeting new people than they would not do it, whereas Ghana people focus more on being a welcoming and caring society instead of always being focused on the concept of time. Another huge topic that the Kwantlen students shared about was the education system in Ghana compared to North American Schools. The teachers in Ghana are uneducated and not being paid a regular salary to teach the students.
The students from Kwantlen who had shared their experiences from their trip to Ghana showed me different perspectives. I have realised that we are not any better off just because we are from a money driven country which makes us very fortunate. We revolve our life around money and time because we are so fortunate while people who are less fortunate value more than money and being on time. The Kwantlen students started to realise how fortunate we are when they arrived at their hotels in Ghana and immediately noticed the things that were missing rather than noticing the things that were provided to them. Materialism is a huge issue going on in our society today and it’s making everyone see what they don’t have rather than appreciating what we are provided with. The unity in Ghanaian people is demonstrated in their schools when the teachers continue to teach even though they have no idea when they will be paid next. I think that the people from Ghana have truly remained true to their cultures and beliefs and do not get caught up into Materialism.
On Monday December 5th we watched a documentary called “In-Decently Exposed” which challenges Canadian’s attitudes towards Natives. Jane Elliott split up the two groups by eye colour, blue eyes in one group and brown (many being natives) in the other group. Jane switched the tables and bullied the blue-eyed Canadians and treated the brown-eyed Natives with respect.
After the reality-based documentary was over we split into small groups and discussed what our thoughts were one we had finished it. My group agreed on a lot of things and one of them was that they made it seem like white people (blue eyes) never experience racist comments when in reality they do. We may not experience it as much as others but that does not mean that it has not happened in our lives. We also discussed different ways that we could try to limit the racism that goes on in our society and one thing that we talked about was that we all need to work together and do our best not to separate ourselves from other cultures. Targeting younger people because they have a chance to grow up and learn that racism is bad but if you target older people than they can be the role model for the younger people. Racism is a very huge issue in our world today and we all need to work together to lower the amount against other cultures and ethnicities.
Sublimation is the transformation of an unacceptable impulse into an acceptable activity. My understanding of sublimation is that it’s when people convert unpleasant energies into positive and useful ones. An example used in class was if you were arrested for being a rapist you would be incarcerated to serve your sentence and then you would be released. Instead of re-offending you would go around to speak at schools and conferences about rape and teach people not to instead of teaching them how by being involved in raping people. We were also given a chance to come up with examples of sublimation and then share them with the rest of the class. The example that we came up with in our small groups was that someone who has an anger problem who results to violence should take their anger out by going hunting, getting involved in sports or finding a job like demolition.
This three-part documentary explores the meanings and importance or racial distinctions in the United States. This first part goes beyond the knowledge of the similarities of red, black, white and yellow races and offers a more in-depth truth. It questions the very idea of race as biology. It examines science including genetics that challenges our common sense assumptions that human beings can be separated into three or four different groups according to their physical traits.
Did this film challenge or change the way you think about race?
I don’t think that it changed the way I think about race but it sure did clarify and define what race really is. Different people talked about their experience of racism and how it makes them feel as a person from different cultures and ethnicities. It made me really understand what some people have dealt with every day of their lives and how it really impacts them. I knew racism was a huge issue in our society but I didn’t realise how people deal with it every day.
What is the film saying about the concept of race? What is the fundamental argument?
The video covered a lot about the concept of race but some facts that really stood out to me were how genetically every race is similar. The fundamental argument that I think they are trying to make and teach people is that under the skin we are all the same. They did some experiments with students and the students as well as views were shocked to discover that their closest genetic matches were with people from other “races.”
Is the student Noah right when he concludes: “Every single one of us is a mongrel?”
Noah makes a good point when he says that we are all intertwined even though we come from around everywhere. It doesn’t matter where we are from even if we have different cultures we should not let the difference of our skin colour effect how we view others. We are all a huge mix of different cultures and ethnicities and should respect them by not showing favoritism of what we are and becoming racist towards others.
In chimamanda’s speech she discusses many ideas but mainly covers the consequences of believing just one story about a situation, person or place. She also says that we are all so focused on our differences and that we never pay attention to our similarities. She quotes ‘If I had not grown up in Nigeria and if all I knew about Africa was from popular images, I too would think that Africa was a place of beautiful landscapes, beautiful animals, incomprehensible people fighting senseless wars, dying of poverty and aides, unable to speak for themselves, waiting to be saved by a kind white foreigner.” The reason we buy into single stories is because we have not taken the time to find out more information about a certain situation or person and therefore we just believe what we hear from others.
After watching this video I was shocked to realise how we have all been stereotypical. I think that we all tend to assume and come upon conclusions without hearing the real story of individuals. This movie has inspired me to watch what I believe and that we all need to discover the real story rather than going off of what others have told us. I really liked that Chimamanda gave an example of how she read into a single story all because her professor told her that the novel she wrote was not “authentically African.” He said that the characters were too much like him, well-educated and middle class but instead they drove cars and were not starving and therefore were not authentically African according to him. She explains that she was very ashamed that she bought into the single story of what it really means to be African.
I think that Chimamanda made some inspiring points through her stories and events. I was impacted by her story because she talked about how she has also been stereotypical and that when she realised it she was ashamed of herself. I feel as though I could personally relate to her stories because I tend to believe what others say rather than finding out the real story. We need to watch that we are not quick to judge others but rather than making conclusions and sticking with them.
I believe that with work that over time we can become less stereotypical and that we will be able to accept people for who they really are rather than making our own conclusions about them. We all need to realise that there is always much more about a person than what we see at a first glance. Making this realization is the first step for people before they can start to become less stereotypical.
I know personally that I will try to be less stereotypical and will not judge a person on the first chance that I have seen them but actually get to know the person before making conclusions. This will take time but I do hope that everyone makes it their goal to try to change how stereotypical we can be and not read into a single story but accept them for who they are.
The video “What have my cocoa beans got to do with Canada” is all about the global sociological imagination and how we are all connected in some way. It discussed how our actions living in Canada can affect the people on the other side of the world without us even knowing. They used different examples such as the purchase of chocolate bars here are for us to eat and when we make that purchase we are giving some people a chance to eat. The cocoa beans come from farms and the owners rely on them being purchased so they can make a living.
After watching this video, I realised how that everything an individual does here in Canada could be affecting someone or even a group of people living across the world. I feel like we are responsible to do things that will benefit these people rather than making their lives harder. It gave me a greater understanding of how connected we are with others even though they may be in another country, and therefore we need to do things to help each other through live.
I think that after viewing this video we will all be able to see things differently in the world and how the actions we take can affect others. I think it is important that we make sure that what we are doing or purchasing is positively affecting someone’s life rather than destroying it. I know personally that I will be making sure I am helping out the world now that I understand how connect we all really are.
I believe that if we all work together to watch our actions and what we purchase that we will be able to make a big difference in other people’s lives. I think that we should all be more concerned about the less fortunate around the world and find ways to help them rather than purchasing products that force them into labour to produce.
I know that this will all take time before everyone understands and decides to make it their goal to watch what they are doing and purchasing so that we can positively affect other people rather than make their lives harder. This is an issue that I believe should be addressed with others so that we can begin to make that change to help others out. If everyone made small decisions it could end up making a huge impact in someone’s life across the word rather than destroy it.