- May 28, 2020
Sociology of me
Normsand beliefs influence how people interact with each other. Thisinfluence can be at a personal and intimate level or a widespread.Various approaches have been used by a sociologist to study thisinfluence. The macro-sociologist approach focusses on the broadersociety and aspects of social structure. Major aspects of the socialstructure are culture, roles, social class, status, social groups andinstitutions. A person’s location in the social structureinfluences their behavior, perceptions, and attitudes.Micro-sociologist approach focuses on the small scale, face to face,social interactions. This approach focuses on how people define theirworld and how these definitions influence their behaviors (Smith2014). This aspect includes stereotyping, body language, personalspace, and eye contact. This paper will describe how personal andgeneral social experiences have shaped my life with a focus on thesocial forces influence on my behavior.
Iam of Mexican origin as both my parents are Mexicans. I was born inthe United States but was raised in Mexico. I returned to the SanDiego in the United States at the age of 12 with no literacy in theEnglish language. The first months were challenging as I haddifficulty communication with people around me as I knew onlySpanish. Now am better at English and can easily communicate withothers. Life in Mexico and United States has shaped my life invarious aspects. Interactions with different people from varioussocieties and cultures together with the general social structure hasinfluenced my behaviors and attitudes.
Mexicanhistory in the US
Throughmy experience, I have learned that both Mexicans andMexican-Americans experience stereotyping, economical and racialdiscrimination in the United States. Mexicans are people of mixedskin color. There are those who are white, brown and dark and this isbecause of their ancestors (Smith 2014).It is also correct to saythat Mexicans do not belong to either white, black or Asian race.Although Mexicans did not suffer equal discrimination likeAfrican-Americans, they were greatly affected by the vice. Darkskinned Mexicans faced more discrimination and stereotyping thanwhite Mexicans. Mexican-Americans were also less education comparedother races such as White-Americans.
Stereotypingof Americans can be traced back to the early incidences ofimmigration into the United States. Early Mexican immigrants had lowlevels of education and did not have professional skills that couldenable them acquire lucrative jobs. Over time, the stereotype thatall Mexicans had low levels of educations and work as manual laborsbegan to form due to a large number of uneducated immigrants movinginto the country (Smith 2014). This rumors spread rapidly and withina short time, they were widely accepted throughout the country andaffected how people interacted
MostMexicans and Mexican-Americans are Roman Catholic. They values andculture reflected their religious belief. However, there are smallinfluences from traditional values. There is a strong connectionbetween a family member and the immediate relatives. Most of thevalues regarding families and interaction with the extended familytend to have traditional origins and have been passed from onegeneration to the other. Most Mexican families, especially in ruralareas, are large consisting of immediate and extended family members.I am conscious of responsibilities to the family and extended familyor even friends.
TraditionalMexican norms also dictate that one should be hospitable to guestswho visit because hosting parties are a vital part of the culture(Smith2014). Visitors should feel comfortable and well feed. Thesetraditional customs are highly encouraged even among the MexicanAmericans. Personally, I have seen how my parents treat their guestfrom a young age and believe that as I grow old, I will be able toadopt some of these cultures.
Inthe family, the male is the head with the responsibility of providingfor the family. The mother of the family is also highly respectedwith responsibilities second to the father. Mexican culture alsohighly encourages mechanism as the males are supposed to be outwardlymasculine. In some culture, this might be viewed as insultingespecially to the women subjected to macho males (Smith 2014). In mycase, I had major problems intergrating with Americans bacause oflanguage barrier. For example, when I arrived from San Diego, I haddifficulties speaking English. However, with time, I came tounderstand that the lnguage and was able to speak fluently.
Beinga Mexican and born in the United States, stereotyping has affected medirectly. Many people believe that all Mexicans are uneducated andtherefore only viable for manual labor that requires little or noeducation. Most Mexicans who come to the US face a lot ofdifficulties securing formal employment as people already haveperformed opinion about them. For those who have been able toovercome the stereotype and attain employment in lucrative companies,they have always received warm reception because people tend to thinkthat they have passed through a lot to reach their current status. Acommon culture for all Mexicans is that despite high regards toemployment, the family still comes first before the job. This is whatI was taught at a young age.
Dueto mixed ancestry, Mexicans are neither white, African nor Asian.However, this has not exempted us from discrimination because we areoften looked down upon by white Americans and other races. The resultof this inequality is that majority of Mexican population havesuccumbed to public opinion and have had lower levels education. Itis true to say that even up to date, there are those who still have ageneral feeling that the whites are superior to them. However,through my interactions with people, I have realized that we are allequal given the same opportunities.
Discriminationagainst any race or particular groups of people for various reasonshas a profound effect on their social life. Most discriminated peopletend to isolate themselves from the general population and form theirsmall isolated cultures. The results are usually the settlement oflarge populations of discriminated individuals in one region. Forexample, the creation of China towns was as a result of thediscrimination of Asians in the US (Smith 2014). Mexicans also placehigh value in interaction and settling together with other Mexicans.Mexicans place a high value on family and community, a quality thathas been passed on to Mexicans like me living in the US.
MostMexicans view education as a step towards a better life. Mexican andMexican American parents value education. This notion is because ofmost of the earlier Mexican immigrants were uneducated and thislimited their opportunities in the United States. They werediscriminated due to their low levels of education and as a resultsdeveloped high value for education (Smith 2014). The value ofeducation eventually became a general feeling as results in mostMexicans who can access education value it. This general feeling hasinfluenced my value of education as I take education seriously and asa means to a brighter future.
Onthe other hand, stereotypes may also have the effect of self-prophesyon individuals. Individuals from a particular race may believe thatthey cannot succeed in education due to the belief that the societymay input (Smith 2014). The result is many who enroll in school willdrop out or have poor performance as they have no confidence in theiracademic ability. Mexicans suffer from self-prophesy effects. Somebelieve that they have no educational ability because the societybelieves they cannot study.
Thesocial structure has a critical role in our personal experiences thatshape your behaviors and beliefs. Social forces that affect andsurround a community influences their beliefs and culture. Personalexperience and general social experience influences and individuals’perspective of norms and values. In my case, the traditional customsand values that I learned at my young age during my time in Mexicohave defined me. Most of the Mexican Americans have incorporated someaspects of the American culture, but large aspects of their cultureremain traditional. With this newly formed awareness of the role ofsocial structure, I will be more conscious of various aspects of ourculture that unknown influence us and learn their origins.
Smith,R. C. (2014). Black Mexicans, conjunctural ethnicity, and operatingidentities long-term ethnographic analysis. AmericanSociological Review,0003122414529585.