Freedom: Sociology and American Society

7 July 2016

Freedom Writers is a movie created from the sociological perspectives of a community submerged in social inequality. The systematic study of human social behavior is conveyed in the story of this group of teens, who are taught to fend for their own ethnicity. Unfortunately, teens that are raised in poor economical conditions have a tendency to turn to gangs, where they readily identify themselves. For adolescents is important in order to discover whom they identify themselves with. Although corruption is abundant in the life’s of Eva, Andres, Tito, Marcus, Jamal…

Etc, Mrs G, came in as guidance, as a lighthouse to their already somber lives. I never really realized the huge impact teachers exert on students until I watched this film. Teachers are supposed to be positive models that encourage and push students to do their best, but in this movie, teachers have lost their purpose due to their own personal problems, or because they feel, they are not rewarded enough for teaching such low class students. They have lost their inspiration to teach, due to certain social inequalities that affect the American society.

Freedom: Sociology and American Society Essay Example

Ms G is a young, vibrant woman with high hopes and a strong personality. She has not lived enough to lose expectations for her students. It is upsetting to see the frustration teachers feel while schooling students that come from low waged household. In the film, teachers feel less obligated to teach students. All this careless behavior is also the consequence of a bad educational system that fails to not only the students but teachers as well. It comes down to explain the phenomenon and the reinsurance of social reproduction in our “open” American society.

Unfortunately, students that come from an underprivileged background often end up with a poor education. If the child fails in an academic aspect, the fault is directed towards the parents. Societies ideology is usually; the parents are the ones in charge of establishing norms for their children to follow. Education is considered one of those important standards. Society seems to fail in understanding that parents can emphasize the importance of education but without the educational systems support; many students fail to finish school. In freedom writers a teenage immigrant admits to his classmates his struggle with poverty.

Despite his desire to give up, his parents continue to encourage him to finish school. If it weren’t for Ms. G consistency and her hard work perhaps her whole class would have ended up in that same cyclic cycle of violence, drugs, and poverty that lay ahead. Their has to be a balance between the parents and the teachers, both have to identify the importance of education in order for the child to triumph in life. The attitude that most of the teachers displayed in this film was of carelessness and its exactly that attitude that students absorb and apply to their self’s.

Theoretical Perspectives Issues of race and ethnicity can be observed through three major sociological perspectives: functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism. As you read through these theories, ask yourself which one makes the most sense, and why. Is more than one theory needed to explain racism, prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination? Functionalism In the view of functionalism, racial and ethnic inequalities must have served an important function in order to exist as long as they have. This concept, of course, is problematic.

How can racism and discrimination contribute positively to society? Sociologists who adhere to the functionalist view argue that racism and discrimination do contribute positively, but only to the dominant group. Historically, it has indeed served dominant groups well to discriminate against subordinate groups. Slavery, of course, was beneficial to slaveholders. Holding racist views can benefit those who want to deny rights and privileges to people they view as inferior to them, but over time, racism harms society.

Outcomes of race-based disenfranchisement—such as poverty levels, crime rates, and discrepancies in employment and education opportunities—illustrate the long-term (and clearly negative) results of slavery and racism in American society. Conflict Theory Conflict theories are often applied to inequalities of gender, social class, education, race, and ethnicity. A conflict theory perspective of U. S. history would examine the numerous past and current struggles between the white ruling class and racial and ethnic minorities, noting specific conflicts that have arisen when the dominant group perceived a threat from the minority group.

In the late 19th century, the rising power of black Americans after the Civil War resulted in draconian Jim Crow laws that severely limited black political and social power. The years since then have showed a pattern of attempted disenfranchisement, with gerrymandering and voter suppression efforts aimed at predominantly minority neighborhoods. Feminist sociologist Patricia Hill Collins (1990) developed intersection theory, which suggests we cannot separate the effects of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and other attributes.

When we examine race and how it can bring us both advantages and disadvantages, it is important to acknowledge that the way we experience race is shaped, for example, by our gender and class. Multiple layers of disadvantage intersect to create the way we experience race. For example, if we want to understand prejudice, we must understand that the prejudice focused on a white woman because of her gender is very different from the layered prejudice focused on a poor Asian woman, who is affected by stereotypes related to being poor, being a woman, and her ethnic status.

Interactionism For symbolic interactionists, race and ethnicity provide strong symbols as sources of identity. In fact, some interactionists propose that the symbols of race, not race itself, are what lead to racism. Famed Interactionist Herbert Blumer (1958) suggested that racial prejudice is formed through interactions between members of the dominant group: Without these interactions, individuals in the dominant group would not hold racist views.

These interactions contribute to an abstract picture of the subordinate group that allows the dominant group to support its view of the subordinate group, thus maintaining the status quo. An example of this might be an individual whose beliefs about a particular group are based on images conveyed in popular media, and those are unquestionably believed because the individual has never personally met a member of that group. Culture of Prejudice Culture of prejudice refers to the theory that prejudice is embedded in our culture.

We grow up surrounded by images of stereotypes and casual expressions of racism and prejudice. Consider the casually racist imagery on grocery store shelves or the stereotypes that fill popular movies and advertisements. It is easy to see how someone living in the Northeastern United States, who may know no Mexican Americans personally, might gain a stereotyped impression from such sources as Speedy Gonzalez or Taco Bell’s talking Chihuahua. Because we are all exposed to these images and thoughts, it is impossible to know to what extent they have influenced our thought processes.

Summary Functionalist views of race study the role dominant and subordinate groups play to create a stable social structure. Conflict theorists examine power disparities and struggles between various racial and ethnic groups. Interactionists see race and ethnicity as important sources of individual identity and social symbolism. The concept of culture of prejudice recognizes that all people are subject to stereotypes that are ingrained in their culture.

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