A Pretty NORMal Sociology Class

You see what I did there with the title, don’t you. Clever huh! Shh though. We will talk about it in just a little bit.

So had my first sociology class. Well technically it’s the third, but it’s the first one that I will be blogging about. So let’s just all pretend it’s the first. SO,  I had my first sociology class and learned quite a few things.

I learned about industrial and post industrial societies. I always thought developed countries were considered industrial countries but now I realize that most are post industrial countries. America and most of Europe can be considered a post industrial nation, in which we care about information exchange more than building infrastructures. i I would have never imagined there is something called post industrial. I always assumed industrial societies were the pinnacle of human societies. I guess you could argue a Utopian society is the pinnacle but they don’t exist as of yet, so let’s just not consider that. This was discussed for about 5 minutes in class but it is one of the things that stuck with me after class. I could sit here and write about all the things I learned from the 3 hour class, but that would take a chunk of time and would turn this blog into more of a pseudo-lecture.

So let’s get to the main part of today’s blog post. If you are a smarty-pants you probably already know what I am going to blab-on about, don’t you? But, if you are a NORMal-pants don’t fret I will tell you.

Today I will be blabbing about Societal Norms.

Norms are acceptable behaviors. What would you expect from a middle aged Asian man in a clean pressed black suit? Would you expect him to speak English? Would you think it NORMal (ok I promise last time ) for him to touch himself inappropriately while on a train? Is it an acceptable behavior (see I avoided the word normal) for him to walk up to everyone wearing a red shirt and scream at the top of his longs “VENI VIDI VICI”? Well. you would probably answer “Probably, NO, The hell does that even mean”?

We each have expectations of what is normal in society. This can vary from culture to culture. For example, an American and a lazy European (me) would think it normal to drive car for 5 minutes to get to a close store. However, that same middle aged Asian man may think it weird and believe that a bike is a more normal method of transport for that distance. So each person has their expectations for societal norms. However, it seems that these societal norms may also change depending on who we see do them. A light of example of this would be seeing an Asian man (yes the same one, don’t worry he’s been taking his meds) eating a rice dish and a black man eating fried chicken drumsticks (Just using common stereotypes, no need to bring out your inner keyboard warrior to do battle with me). Most Americans would think this normal, they (we) expect an Asian to mostly consume rice and a black man to consume fried chicken. (Again just stereotyping) However if we saw the two sitting side by side eating opposite meals, someone might crack a joke, because it is not what we consider normal. Another example, a more touchy one at that, would be constantly checking your pockets in a predominantly black neighborhood because you expect every passerby to be a criminal. You could argue that I am talking about racism and not societal norms, but I would refute “Is not racism a form of societal norms?” Racism is just the norms we have, or the expectations we have for each race. Racism is a form of NORMalization of an array of dynamic behavior from racial groups that benefit the dominant race.

Well I have been discussing examples, let me show you all something I found that might make the examples a little more real. This YouTube video encompasses what people believe is normal for a white american family and a black american family. This hopefully also encompasses what I have been trying to explain about norms.

So apart from the sappy music (bleh!), that was harsh right?

Well that is the norm, what can you do?

So according to the video, it is absolutely normal for a black american family to beat their child, however it is abNORMal (sorry couldn’t help myself) for a white american family to beat their child. No one dared to stop the black man from beating his child, but armies rose to stop the white man from beating his child. Even black people stopped the white man from beating his child.

You may argue that the change in location attributed to the lack of action against the black father, however it does not refute that people consider it a normal action for a black family and an abnormal one for a white family. How come black people can beat their kids and white people can’t, that not fair, I want to have the same right to beat my probably white child when I’m grown. (joking 100%)

In the 21st century, should it not be abnormal for ANYONE to beat ANY child? The norm in the United States and most European countries is that children should not be beaten. I mean a slap in the head every now and then for horrid behavior is acceptable in Europe but not to the degree shown in the video.
I know I am not alone on that.

Anyhow back to the point, one can say (with a bit of a stretch) that American societal norms allow black children to be beaten, but not white children. The norm in America is not that no children should be beaten. It is that no white children should be beaten.

Is this because people fear interjecting in the business of an apparently violent black man, or is it because people feel the need to protect a white child but do not think a black child needs the protection. It could even be that some people think the black child did something horrible that is worthy of a beating, another for of the norm; assuming that the black child did something bad.

There could be other reasons, however these are the two that occupy my thoughts.

 

PARADIGM THAT FITS?

So each blog will be analyzed through a paradigm. This time I will use…
Symbolic Interactionalism.

In the media, black men are mostly portrayed as violent. White men are also portrayed as such, but black men are stigmatized with the mark more so than white men. If the media is consistently misrepresenting black man as violent and dangerous, then people tend to believe that is the truth. For most of society, a violent black man is normal. This norm is powerful enough for society to ignore the black man hitting his child, because it is what people expect. When they see a black man (the symbol) they will most likely link him to a violent tendency. To them is just a simple part of the norm for black man to be violent because they have been accustomed via the media to associate a black man with violence.

PS: I do apologize to all of you for making this post so long winded.I hope it did not make people flee. I will try to shorten my future post. This post was much longer, took me a good hour to make it like this.

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