Friday, January 16, 2015

(Sociology) Final Reflection: Sociology is Bull--- Wait, Wrong Subject

Sociology class was interesting.  To say the least - or perhaps the most.  Yeah… Anyway.  The class itself wasn’t the problem; I enjoyed most of the subject matter, though the requirements of annotation was ridiculous.  A 90% brings down your grade while a 100% doesn’t.  I mean, a 90% is certainly better than having, say, a 70%, but if I’m putting in more effort in annotations than I usually do I would like that to be reflected… Yeah… The requirements could have been better at the very least.
Not to say I didn’t enjoy the readings; I certainly did.  They were pleasant, and I learned a lot from them.  It was also nice to have, say, “warning” of what we were going to learn, and they certainly facilitated conversation.  I liked participating in these, and it gave me a view of people who were otherwise quiet or just plain goofballs.  It probably made sociology tolerable instead of absolutely unbearable.  The discussions were definitely a highlight.
The class, overall, was fairly easy.  I was glad it was; it was certainly fitting.  For juniors and seniors, there should be that option of AP = hard and normal = easy.  After all, we’re almost done with the hellhole called school 12 years of torture basic public schooling, and having the option to be a little lazier isn’t going to kill us.  I mean, as long as everyone knows what they’re getting into.
I think I would have enjoyed this class more if it weren’t for the other students.  It was a pain to deal with them and certainly not all that enjoyable for me.  Most of them were quiet, of course, and some of them were even - miracle - friendly.  But the few who weren’t made the experience so much worse than it should have been.  It was just a small handful, but I really don’t appreciate seeing satanistic symbols drawn on the board or having to see a “dick rocket”.
At least someone tried to make it… not a penis.  But it was a dick rocket.  Which wasn’t much better.  Anyway.  I don’t appreciate being cat-called either; I mean, how rude can you get?  I’m a slight feminist - though not much of one, and certainly not the kind that think “women > men” - and I am strongly against objectification of anyone.  So why do men do this to women?  Not like we’re free of blame, of course, but it’s still absolutely ridiculous.
As for the subject matter itself… Well, I’m pretty sure I have norms and culture down pat.  I mean, there’s a few things I forget, but for the most part I know what I’m talking about.  Norms are everywhere; you go to the bathroom and, boom, NORMS.  You walk down the hall and run into norms.  Norms… everywhere.
It’s fun to think about - another highlight of sociology.  Thinking about the way we follow norms, the way we interact in groups… Taking this class and psychology has certainly given me a lot to think about, and has helped me to learn about normal human behavior.  Humans are weird, strange things to say the least; but we are endlessly fascinating and entertaining.
The reflections kind of sucked, though.  The requirements were a bit long, and though I’ve thus far been able to fill it up, I’ve also used some space-wasting techniques (cough) whenever I opt to type the paper instead of handwrite it.  I mean, the word count is about the same because typing comes out to be a lot smaller than messy and haphazard writing on even college-rule (let alone wide-rule) paper, but making it “three pages” is ridiculous - and more difficult than it sounds.
I think maybe cutting the minimum slightly is a good idea.  Most of our reflections were two pages; making those, say, one and a half minimum would be nice for those typing.  And for this three-page one, maybe making it only two pages.  Or just changing the required amount for those, who like me, opt to type it up because it’s easier and more efficient.  Seriously; doing three pages on Word/GoogleDocs is an entirely different world from three pages handwritten on wide rule (alas, the pretty notebooks do not come in college rule :() paper.  Well, maybe not ‘world’ - not like they’re worlds away or anything.  But the experience is very different, and it honestly ends up being more difficult to add enough BS and space-waste tactics as to not spend forever-and-a-day typing something.
Yes, I know, I use BS and space-waste tactics.  I’ve used it for this and I’ve used it for other papers.  A good thing about these reflections, however, is that I can talk in a much more informal manner; this thought-to-paper style allows me to use less BS and less space-waste tactics that there’s actually some stuff in here that’s full of deep thoughts.  Yay!
I think the most important thing I’ve learned in this class has absolutely nothing to do with sociology and everything to do with life.  I’m a very passive person, that eventually just goes boom and explodes into an angry ball of fury and hate.  Er, metaphorically speaking.  That’d be cool if I could do that in real life, though…
ANYWAY.  This passivity isn’t very beneficial; I often let others walk all over me.  However, when I deal with people I genuinely don’t like, I become much less passive and much more aggressive which usually turns into passive-aggressiveness though every so often it becomes straight-on aggression.  The thing is, though, I need to stand up for myself.  When I informed people of what was going on - after being dragged to the dean’s for an offhand comment about shooting people, when I’m not violent and have no access to guns - stuff happened.
And people complained about it, certainly, which was somewhat embarrassing.  I felt bad for making people who had nothing to do with it become involved.  But the fact of the matter is, it got stuff done - it made things better.  Too late in the semester for me to return to caring about the class, but things did change.
Of course, it wasn’t a perfect change.  The boys who were douchebags were still douchebags; but at least they weren’t drawing things on the board anymore.  And class became… less fun.  Which was disappointing.
Still, it helped me understand some things about myself that I think are key.  Or maybe not about myself but about things in general.  I don’t really know how to phrase what I know now.
When people are behaving inappropriately or cruelly, it’s everyone’s business.  You can’t back out because you’re not (skin color); you can’t let it slide because you’re not (gender); you can’t be less mad because you’re not (sexuality).  You have to be pissed off, you have to fight back, and you can’t let it slide.
There’s a difference between turning the other cheek because someone has wronged you and not defending yourself or others.  Martin Luther King turned the other cheek, but he defended himself; he was core to the civil rights movement.
You can’t simply let it go when someone does something wrong.  You have to speak up.  You speak up softly, you speak up kindly, and you explain patiently; but you cannot stand silent.  Silence leads to inequality, racism, and bigotry.
I think that’s the biggest thing sociology can teach us.  To not be silent, to not be cruel, but to gently and patiently speak up for what’s right.

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