Essay: Sociology

Sociology is the scientific study of human social life, social groups and society as a whole. (W.Sutton, 2013) It can be defined as ‘the vivid awareness of the relationship between experience and the wider society.’ (Mills, 1959) It is used to view society through a new lens and find out why things such as poverty and equality occur. The sociological imagination provides us with a way to view, understand and affect the world in which we live, involving sociologists in taking a broad view having the ability to stand back and question all that society takes for granted. It attempts to be able to see the strange in the familiar, also to be able to think outside our own experiences and look at them anew.
Sociological imagination assists us in our everyday lives through facts/statistics, comparatively, developmentally (how we did things to get them how they are) and theoretically.
Racism can be classified as prejudice or discrimination directed against someone of a different race or ethnic background on the belief that or race or ethnic group is superior to another. The origins of this behaviour date back to feudal times in japan with people having been deprived of their land due to wars between local rulers. As a result this caused those who lost their land to become outcasts, thus resulting in discrimination in the form of being given a title such as Burakumin which caused them to appear different than everybody else. (W.Sutton, 2013)
These people were then given jobs in which no one wanted to participate in as they were seen as dirty, unclean jobs. These people then went on to live in poorer areas having jobs of low income. To date, there is still discrimination and prejudice towards these people even with Japan now seen as the world’s second ranking in economic power. (J.Neary, 1986) Through the sociological imagination it looks at how things have developed through modernity with the boost in economic power, thus having a higher employment rate yet those who in feudal times were given a title ‘Eta’ still exist, still with prejudice and discrimination against their houses.
Within sociology race is continuously one of the more complex concepts due to people still believing that we can all still be separated into different races rather than a scientific finding. According to Rex (1986) through a blood sample the colour of a person’s skin could not be identified but rather racism being caused by groups or individuals causing this prejudice or discrimination against a person or group. The colour of a person’s skin in this day and age should not matter although is still looked upon in a significant way whereas there is no difference within people who have a different hair colour. Through the sociological imagination it provides us with a broad view as to an explanation, as in feudal times it was rare to see someone of a different race, therefore people began to become unfamiliar with these people weather it may have been down to race or religion causing prejudice towards these people. Furthermore people were unable to see the strange in the familiar, this allowed for groups or majorities to form opinions and discriminate against a person for being different to that of them in regards to colour, ethnic background or religion.
In the early 17th century European settlers in North America turned to African slaves as a cheaper source of labour. Furthermore thousands were sold into slavery doing various jobs with no recognition or appreciation on poor conditions. This perhaps was the beginning of segregation between white people and those of a different race. During this time the African continent was deprived of its most ablest and healthiest men and women due to the majority due to the majority of its population being sold as slaves. Slavery was ended in North America as a result of the Civil war between the southern and northern states. (Giddens, 1989)
The ending of slavery did not make any significant differences as many still remained to live in poverty. Between 1890 and 1912 a series of Jim Crow laws were passed which still allowed for segregation and discrimination, with black people being banned from white people’s railways, public toilets and so on. (Verney, 2000) Looking sociologically at this situation it was seen as normal behaviour, following a trend with a majority regardless of the fact that black people had to use unclean facilities and was segregated from the rest of society.
In Montgomery, Alabama in 1956 a black woman called Rosa Park was arrested due to not giving up her seat on a bus to a white person, after this incident the majority of the black population in which was led by Dr. Martin Luther King boycotted all of the transportation system for 381, with further boycotting and sit ins following, with the objective that desegregation in other public facilities would abolish further segregations. King was arrested for starting this boycott/protests being fined $500, as a result of this his house was fire bombed with others involved in this action being intimidated. (Martin Luther King, 1964)
In 1963, John F. Kennedy proposed his social equality bill. To induce Congress to help this bill, King, with other social liberties pioneers, composed the fabulous March on Washington. (Jr, 1992) The march due to take place in Washington and indeed was an uncertainty, not knowing if many people would turn up. Although in August 1963 a quarter of a million people turned up with one quarter of this population being white, although some members coming from the south were harassed and threatened. The Protestants marched from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial, with the consequences of this walk being both a challenge and a collective festival, with the walk being noted for its thoughtfulness and quietness. The march was also covered by the media with live international coverage. (Martin Luther King, 1958)
During this march there were numerous speakers, the final one of which was Martin Luther King with the fanciful discourse of I have a fantasy, this was heard all over the world, bringing about the social equality development, in 1964 the Civil Rights Act was put enthusiastically. (Jr, 1992) After this was in place King then moved onto a bill which would guarantee the voting rights of the black community. Thanks to King it changed the perspectives of the black community allowing them to come a step closer to becoming fully equal as that of white people, his victories as a result has a major impact on the world. Although to date his work is still remembered as it is a mark in history there are still racial inequalities that exist despite all of his hard work. This still mainly occurs in America where the most recent incident of racism the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. There is no rational explanation as to why this is still occurring except that racism still exists strongly in some parts of the world. Through looking at this via the sociological imagination we may find that behaviour is passed from generation with discrimination and prejudice still existing. As generations are becoming vividly aware of discrimination and what is happening in the world they may begin to look at things anew and gain new perspectives on the topic regarding racism.
Along with people being discriminated against with regards to race there is also prejudice and discrimination amongst those of a different ethnic background, like those of a different race they seem to be highly disadvantaged in terms of economic advancement. Ethnicity like race is purely social in meaning as it refers to a person’s social identity in regards to their cultural differences. The term ethnicity like race is used when referring to a person attributes, which is also a social phenomenon. Ethnicity is extremely problematic as people are still being unacknowledged due to their ethnicity. Irish travellers have their own culture in which not many understand. Due to the length of time they spend in each given place they are not valued or understood by local majorities. The government in Ireland also refuse to deliver services to the travelling community, thus undermining their ethnicity. Through looking at situations such as this sociologically we find that majorities do not understand a specific way of life so therefore turn their backs on the idea, regardless that travellers are very religious people and have the same religion as most they are still discriminated against due to their ethnicity, this may be as a result of majorities being able to see the new in the familiar as they are not used to a specific way of life. As a traveller rarely has a full term address they are discriminated against when looking for a job like all ethnic minorities a sever prejudice is formed against them. (Donald, 2014)
Within minority ethnic groups there are a lot of stereotypes in which occur with some speaking some truth whilst others can simply be a process of rearrangement, in which feelings such as anger and hatred are targeted towards objects or things in which is not the applicable origin of these feelings. Typically the main stereotype is on single mothers in which people believe that they do not work, thus resulting in them receiving welfare. Furthermore they believe that a minority of single mothers would like to be in the workplace although they would not have access to childcare or that their benefits would be cut. Sociologically these stereotypes may be accurate due to the family structure changing people having children at a younger age, thus leaving them financially insecure. According to Chris (2012) 76% of single mothers are now on benefits compared to that of 59% in 1990. (M.Herbst, 2012)
There are many minorities ethnic groups in which are disadvantaged in comparison to majority or dominant groups as they possess more wealth and power having a sense of togetherness. Sociologically prejudice and discrimination began in feudal times in Japan, where the lords evicted people from their land giving them a title in which shamed them and to this day still exists regardless of Japan succeeding successfully economically. In regards to race and racism it occurs endlessly even to this day, it is caused by majority groups in which have respects within this group they are seen as having a higher power which in turn gives them the right to segregate a member of a different race or ethnic background. Those who were in higher power in feudal times usually had a black servant if not more than one as proof of their healthiness, with those of lower class maintaining the household and participation in all the daily household chores by themselves along with rating their children. Black men where bought and used as slaves on tobacco farms or doing any given job as they were a cheaper source of labour. Their homeland population decreased due to the strongest and most able men being taking from their land and sold as slaves. This particular era stopped due to laws against slavery although those of a different race still had a prejudice formed against them. (Holborn, 2008)
Although slavery ended the troubles of inequality did not end for black people with white people still having superiority over them as they were seen as being more powerful. In the years between 1890 and 1912 a series of laws were passed banning black people from public transport after an incident where a black woman refused to give up her seat to a white person on the bus, resulting in the majority of black people boycotting public transport for 381 days. In August of 1963 a march which was led by Martin Luther King resulted in equality in regards to the voting system although they also moved up in terms of developing in becoming more equal to those of a majority. Furthermore King has done a vast amount in regards to gaining equality for black people although his work has not gone unnoticed racism still on-going.
Sociologically stereotypes are a form of discrimination these occur with every given situation particularly when it comes to ethnicity e.g. the travelling community of Ireland have their own culture which is not understood by majority groups causing confusion and prohibiting a minority group from many of the daily things we take for granted in regards to working or religion. Sociologically there are still members of minority ethnic groups in who are disadvantages in comparison to groups in which have more solidarity. In sociology scientist are using the term minority not that these groups may be but rather it is used to describe the group’s subordinate positions, in terms of race and ethnicite your text in here…

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