Wednesday, May 17, 2017

post 10

So for the second half of this unit we analyzed American culture and how living in the United States might affect someone. We focused mainly on what Americans valued culturally. We as a society tend to be much more focused on the individual and much less on the well being of others. We are also much more materialistic than other cultures and many Americans base their happiness on their wealth and their ability to acquire consumer goods. This idea was stressed heavily in the short film "I Am" where a wealthy director realizes that happiness doesn't come from wealth, but from the connections we make with the world and other people.

Another interesting source that we looked at was Schirmer's Bemused in America. Schirmer brought up many interesting things about American culture. He found jogging amusing since it was a pointless form of exercise that involved little interaction with other people. In Germany, they value team sports more than individual forms of exercise because it helps with peoples social skills and helps people keep a good social life. Even I noticed the difference between American culture and European culture when I lived in Switzerland. The Swiss valued nature much more than Americans. In America we take excess consumption of food and energy for granted whereas in Switzerland almost everything is "green". Electricity was barely used in public schools, most buildings did not use  air conditioning since the Swiss government deemed them detrimental to their air quality, and all heating was done with geothermal heat, requiring almost no energy from outside sources. The Swiss also valued social interaction more than Americans. People tended to stay off their phones on long bus and train rides and instead would have long conversations with strangers. Cycling was almost always done in large groups and it was very rare to see individuals biking for exercise alone on the streets. The Swiss preferred team sports over individual sports and they also were much more respectful to their elders than Americans are to theirs.

Overall if I were to change something about the American culture it would be to focus less on individual achievement. I believe American society needs to work harder to help each other out in times of need. Neighbors are often strangers to each other and I find that extremely weird since they will be living right next to each other for an extended period of time but only know each others names. We need to be more open to strangers and embrace social interaction instead of avoiding it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Bocce Ball Service

So for my service hours for Mr. Sals class I decided to sign up to volunteer for the special olympics Bocce ball tournament at Stevenson. Honestly I had no idea what Bocce Ball even was but I decided it would be a really interesting experience to learn a new sport and help out with whatever they needed help with. Overall though after it ended I honestly had a good and life changing experience volunteering.

Volunteering for the special olympics was the first time I've ever volunteered before and I honestly can't say anything bad about it except for the small lunch they gave us. I and 3 other students from Stevenson were referees at field 18 and we had a good time doing our jobs. We worked together well as a team and did our best to do a good job for the athletes. Although it kinda got boring after a while, it was still pretty fun since I made new friends and had a new found sense of value. Volunteering out there on the fields made me feel like I was doing something worthwhile and good for the community and I would gladly do it again.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Post 9

So for this unit we learned about culture.
We learned about ethnocentrism and how it basically means that we as a group of people view other cultures as abnormal or weird. I really likes Mr. Sal's example of how different cultures have different kinds of toilets. Like in Japan they will not have a toilet in the same room as a shower because they view toilets as dirty. To me that seems a little unnecessary but id imagine that to the Japanese it is very important that they are separate. I also experienced culture shock with toilets before. I was visiting my grandparents in Korea and they have one of those squatting toilets and I felt so weird using them. The whole concept of squatting in order to do my business felt wrong and alien.

We learned about material culture which are basically phyiscal things that represent or belong to a certain culture. One example of this for the USA is a soda fountain. In the US we like everything in excess. If we go to a fast food restaurant, we expect to be able to refill our drinks for free and such. Americans also appreciate being able to consume as much as possible which is part of our non material culture. However, in Europe they appreciate buying bottled items, as soda fountains are normally deemed inferior. They will normally drink much less soda than Americans due to the fact that each glass of soda is a certain price and refills cost extra. This can be related back to the fishbowl lesson we had in class. Everything within the fishbowl was part of the fishes material culture whereas the water its self was the non material culture. We don't always see the nonmaterial culture but it plays a big part in our everyday lives.

We also learned about sub cultures. Stevenson has its own subculture and therefor has its own folkways, mores and taboos. One example of a folkway at Stevenson is stepping on the patriot. Its frowned upon, but stepping on it doesn't really matter. Something that is taboo at Stevenson is having bad grades. Almost everyone including the teachers will look down on you if you have bad grades.


So for the last time I posted I completely forgot to reference some sources that we read or viewed about in class. The first source id like to talk about was the documentary called God Grew Tired of Us. The film followed the lives of the lost boys who essentially lost everything during the sudanese civil war. Their families were brutally killed by their own government and therefore the boys were forced to leave their own country and form their own "families" in neighboring African countries. Their culture was extremely family based and friendly and when they moved to America, many of them experienced culture shock due to the emphasis on individualism in American culture. They felt as if the culture in America was less friendly and less open to foreigners which in my opinion is entirely true. In America we often do not talk to our neighbors or classmates and we often keep to ourselves. Another interesting thing that I noticed in the film is how some of the sudanese lost boys adopted parts of the American consumer and rap culture. These boys were frowned upon by their fellow lost boys because they felt as if they were drifting away from their heritage and past.

Another source we looked at was Bemused in America by Stefan Schirmer. Stefan is a German Journalist who currently lives in the United States and he writes about how the culture in America is different from Germany. He finds the materialistic culture of America amazing and loves how stores can be open 24/7. The materialistic culture and nature of the American people was new to him since in Germany they value family and religious practices more than the US. For example, it is illegal for stores in Germany to be open on Sundays since they follow strict guidelines that Sunday is a rest day that should be spent with family or friends. He also found acknowledge our culture of convenience and efficiency. The Idea of being able to shop during times that fit your schedule was extremely appealing to him. He also noticed how Americans enjoy more individual based forms of exercise such as jogging while germans prefers to play sports in teams.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Post 8

So for this unit we discussed race. We learned how minorities in the United States and everywhere else in the world are discriminated against just because of the color of their skin or just how they look in general. We learned about how there is explicit race bias which is essentially forward thinking racism and how there is implicit race bias where we are just conditioned to unconsciously view another race as lesser or "bad". When I was taking that implicit race bias test I realized just how much I was conditioned to view a race differently than the white majority. What also shocked me was how race wasn't biological and that it was just a social construction of reality.

When I think about race I like to think about how I fit into two different categories. Being a mix of white and asian, I had difficulties fitting in with groups of people as I was growing up. My asian friends would always view me as white whereas my white friends always saw me as asian. Hearing the people talking on the panel really made me think about how I viewed myself. When the other mixed girl shared her story about people not thinking her mom was actually her mom I was able to relate. Most people think I'm white so when people see my mom they get genuinely confused and it kind of hurts. In the end though I think I'm happy with my mixed ethnicity and am happy with the way I turned out. Being apart of two different cultures is great and has allowed me to view other cultures with an open heart.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Post 7

So for this unit we've been learning about social class and how it affects the lives of people. In the United States, Wealth is basically everyones reason to live. People have to earn money in order to live their lives normally. Whats really unfortunate is that the social classes in America are severely skewed. Only a small percentage of Americans live in the middle to upper class while a lot of people are stuck in poverty with no way out. Both the movie The Line and the reading called "Nickel and Dimed" revealed just how sad and difficult it is for the working poor to live their lives. People are often stuck in their social classes because they just don't have access to the resources they need to improve their lives. In Nickel and Dimes, the sociologist struggled extremely hard to make enough money for her to live a normal life. She worked long hours in two jobs but was still unable to improve her living conditions. That really stuck out to me because I was so unaware of just how difficult it was for people to get by with low income. Below the line showed me just how different the lives are of low income people are when compared to the life of the average Stevenson student. I can't imagine living in a violent low income neighborhood.

What really makes me think is how my father was able to move his way up the social class ladder. My dad was born in South Dakota and lived in a small town with a population of under 200. His family was extremely poor and had little to nothing. As he grew older, he realized that he had to work hard in order to change his life for the better. Unlike many other people who tried to make their way up the ladder, my  Dad was extremely lucky and was able to do it. He went from being born in a "below the line" house hold to providing for a family of 4 in the Stevenson district. He's told me stories about how he did it and he tells me every time that it was just hard work and luck. It kinda hurts to think that no matter how hard some people try to move their way up in society, they just don't have the opportunities or luck to do so like my father.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Post 6

In sociology we have been learning about deviance and hot it affects the perception of people. In Class we learned that deviance is relative. Some people view things as normal while others may view them as weird or disgusting. One example of this that I've personally experienced was in Korea. In Korea I was scolded for shaking my uncle's hand with only one hand. I found out that it was a sign of disrespect and that I was supposed to place my left arm on my right arm while shaking hands with elders. To me that was weird but for them it was normal.

We learned that deviance often labels and affects people in different ways. In the saints and Roughnecks reading, we learned that even though both the saints and roughnecks were delinquents, they were treated differently. From this reading we learned that social class plays a large part in deviance. The saints were upperclass white kids who got away with many things due to their status and wealth, where the roughnecks grew up in a poor, rural setting and often had to resort to crime in order to have fun or get what they want. The reading showed that it was much more hard for the roughnecks to mature and get jobs than the saints all because of their lack of money or willingness to play along with society.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Post 7

In this Unit we have learned about how we as human beings are categorized into two opposite ends of a spectrum. In the eyes of most people we are either male or female, and nothing in between. This is untrue however, since sociologists have come to believe that there is a gender spectrum and that no one is truly fully masculine or fully feminine.

American culture forces people to conform into the two opposite ends of the spectrum; if you fall in between male or female, you are automatically deemed weird or abnormal. This is most apparent in the political scene. Some politicians actively campaign and outwardly state their intentions of limiting transgender rights and gay marriage. However, I do believe that it is getting better and that soon we as a society will come to accept the spectrum full heartedly.

What really affected me was watching the tough guise documentary about how men are affected by agents of socialization to become tough and violent. Agents of Socialization for masculinity are present everywhere. For example, Action films portray the main characters and deadly tough soldiers and action figures for young boys often look extremely aggressive with large muscles and often come with a whole arsenal of deadly weapons. Boys are brought up to be violent, and they learn at an early age that many things can be solved with violence. I remember when I was younger I had a friend who would always punch other people if he ever got into an argument. His father told him that sometimes being physical can solve things faster and more effectively. Although my friend stopped being violent  by about 7th grade, I don't really believe that he's truly left behind the idea that masculinity is all about violence. When he would play sports, he would always intentionally try his best to get as mean as possible to the other team.

Another thing that really changed my mind about things was the LGBT panel. I had never met or seen a transgender person before and I kinda considered the idea of being transgender extremely weird. But, after hearing the transgender people on the panel speak, I realized that they aren't any different than us. They are just normal people and they shouldn't be treated any differently or be discriminated against.