Introduction to Sociology has been a well-rounded informative course for me. I like the fact that this course seeks to understand a very broad range of topics that includes every aspect of human social conditions. Some of the material I learned in this course helps me to understand social conditions like the causes of crime and poverty. It has helped me to better understand myself and other people, cultures and environments. In turn, this is great because once we better understand ourselves we can learn from each other and help each other. Out of the many informative lectures, the one that I found to be the most interesting was the history and rise of sociology. History never fails to fascinate me and I was glad to learn more about the history of sociology. This course not only allowed me to consider why things are the way they are in society, but also helped me examine the stages that have led up to the way our society functions. This includes The Scientific, Industrial and Political Revolution and The Enlightenment where new ideas emerged like individual rights, equality of opportunity and social responsibility. I’ve learned about various topics like, bracketing, sociological imagination, and global sociological imagination. Global sociological imagination is something I’m going to apply in other parts of my life too. This concept caused me to think outside the box, and relate issues that are going on in my community to other issues in the international realm. This is something that I can apply when I watch the news; engage in a conversation or when I talk to my relatives and friends in other parts of the world like India. Some of the pre-conceived notions I had before taking this course all regarded the issue of racism. I am by no means a racist, but within my culture, inter-caste marriages are looked down upon let alone marrying someone of a different race. I disagree with this, but I did have a hint of prejudice regarding race before entering this class because I grew up with this misconception within my culture. Another concept that I will take away from me is the basic quality of the sociological perspective, “seeing the strange in the familiar”. This is very important to me, because it encourages me to question the assumptions I make in society it’s an investigative skill to have that will help me think critically about current situations going on in our society and the world. In conclusion, I have learned a great deal in this course and also had an amazing opportunity to share my knowledge through the group presentation.
“Race is a social concept”. This caught my attention during this class once the professor started talking about the history of racism. I find it very interesting that the power elite defined groups of certain people according to their social structure, and us humans created such an evil way of putting another human down. The concept of bracketing is also involved, because everyone has racial prejudices and it is difficult to discuss such a topic and unfortunately racism is inevitable and still exists. One should be open-minded and realize that we are all equals no matter how we look. Other than professor’s lectures, we also watched a really interesting video about racism not being a biological entity.
This video is about the idea of race being a biological myth, and the fact that it is a human invention. We are more alike than we are dissimilar, and race is a social construct. Many scholars in the video believed that biology of race is an excuse for social differences. This video also discussed the Extinction thesis, where death rates between the “whites” and “blacks” were compared and researchers came to the conclusion that the minority race degenerated eventually, due to disease, etc; it included the concept of Social Darwinism. However, these researchers forgot to look at the impact of poverty, social outcast/neglect on these minorities health. This video also brings up an interesting point of genetic variation; two random Italians are as likely to be genetically different as an Italian and a Vietnamese individual.I feel like I have learned a lot after watching the first episode of this video, a lot of important points were mentioned. I know that race is a universal concept there is no way of measuring race, and population doesn’t differ by we look, but by distance.
What question did this video raise?
What happens when you put good people in an evil place?
How did the video answer this question?
This experiment was conducted by Philip Zimbardio, and it consisted of individuals who were imprisoned, in an experimental setting. This “fake” prison consisted of guards, and prisoners. Each person was to act their role. The power struggle felt in the prison caused the prisoners to rebel, rebel against a status, or power authority which were the guards. It was a make-believe social situation that overwhelmed the individuals, causing guilt, humiliation, fear, and many other unpleasant emotions. The underlying message of this experiment is that, power corrupts and it’s very difficult for victims of abuse to stand up and defend themselves.
How does the answer match our own ideas and experiments?
This experiment, however unethical was very important. It made us realize that power corrupts, and you can put any individual in a setting where there is authority, you will do what the leader says, and the leader will start to put on the role of an authoritative figure. Given the power, you can take control of the situation whether good or bad, and it’s even easier to do so, if others like you are doing the same thing. It’s a scary thing this experiment figured out, us humans have the capacity, and ability to behave in the most cruel way if possible.
What question did the text raise?
The fundamental question raised in this text is whether it is fair for Bush to kill millions of innocent people by announcing war on Iraq & Afghanistan, but yet the atrocities other nations faced due to the USA are told to “forgive” and “forget”. Why didn’t America forgive & forget after the 9/11 attacks?
How did the text answer this question?
The deaths of many due to US-led attacks are marginalized like atomic bomb blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Bush’s excuse for the war was that he was seeking justice, but if he was truly seeking justice why impose such revenge-like war on a nation where millions of lives were/are being lost, and tremendous amounts of money being spent? The answer is greed. Dr. Quist-Adade, is basically saying that Bush’s government asked and told other nations where millions died by US-sponsored attacks, to forgive and forget but what happened to the forgiveness during 9/11 attacks?
In my opinion I agree with Dr.Quist Adade’s ideas. I feel pride is a huge issue for majority of Americans, a lot of patriotism is within the nation, so when a terrorist attack took place on a remarkable building, in one of the largest cities in the world a lot of hatred was bound to take place. I feel like this complicated mixture of hate, patriotism, and revenge fueled the government to take action against the terrorists. Pride and greed are main components for the reason of the war. There was no way America, a proud nation was going to sit back and “forgive” and “forget” what had happened. I believe one should forgive, but never forget.
For some reason, I think If Obama was in Bush’s shoes, he definitely would have thought twice before wasting over $200 billion on war.
What question did the text raise?
Dr.Charles Quist-Adade raises the concern that many of us should have as well, about poor nations that receive no help from wealthy nations. Just because Liberia lacks valuable natural resources like oil, no attention is given to such a country. So what about Liberia?
How did the text answer this question?
The text says that billions of dollars are being spent on war, and not enough money is being put into good causes, like providing health and nutrition for underdeveloped nations. The amount of money USA spent on the Iraqi war is more than enough to feed half of the world’s population! Only aid that is given to Liberia is ECOWAS, which is Economic Community of West African States.
We are all interconnected in this world, and I truly believe that in this world where we are given millions of opportunities to help and give, should take advantage of this and provide for other unfortunate communities in the world. We are lucky enough to live in a time where online donations are available; the Internet is available for awareness, and even so many volunteer organizations that help others in different parts of the worlds. I am on complete agreement with Dr. Quist-Adade that it is absolutely ridiculous how much money was spent by Bush, where as that money could have fed every single individual on this planet, for a day!
Dr.Charles Quist-Adade believes that one event precedes another. He feels thankful that George Bush was elected, made his mistakes, and this way Obama was elected. It has taken a lot of struggles, immense amounts of lives lost, a lot of hope and spirit for an African-American individual finally to be selected president. Dr. Quist-Adade believes that the past is key for succeeding in the present, one must look in the past and use it as a guidance in the present. He also stresses the importance of eliminating Bush’s policies, and wants the troops to pull out of Afghanistan. Overall, Dr. Quist-Adade expresses his gratitude to Bush, for Bush, there is Obama.
The past is key to the present. The past and the present are interconnected. The Akan people of Ghana use this idea very clearly. They believe in a myth of the Sankofa bird, which walks forward as it looks back. The lesson to be learned here is that one cannot move forward in life, without looking back into the past.
I selected this segment to paraphrase because looking into the past is key for any individual who decides to run a country like the U.S.A. Looking into the past makes you realize how much has changed but yet some things have remained the same. This universal concept can also be applied to anything like politics to something personal like a family, or a relationship. I really found the Sankofa bird philosophy relative to my life, and will remember it and share this with my friends and family.