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Notes for Sociology

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Apply the sociological imagination, as well as theories and concepts from this course, to your life or your parents’ life (you can choose yourself, either of your parents or both your parents). In other words, how have important events, experiences, or the life trajectory of you or your parents been shaped by, connected to, and/or reflective of broader societal dynamics, patterns, institutions, or structures?

Essay Outline

I want to apply sociological imagination to my own life. I want to write about how Asian Americans still encounter discriminations and stereotyping despite being the “model minority”, how being an immigrant can have a negative reputation within the Asain American community. The binary of being FOB and Asian American. Second I want to talk about bamboo ceiling, how it contrast to the glass ceiling. Also I want to talk about what it means to be an Asian female in a scientific field.

Discuss the issue of race vs. ethnicity,
U.S is a Pluralism society, yet racial discrimination and stereotype still exBU

On the surface, sociology is about the study of human behavior within the society. But sociology is much more than that, it correlates seemingly general human behavior with society, using sociological imagination, one can analyze an episode of an individual’s life to border social issues and historical events. It allows oneself to denaturalize from one’s immediate environment, questioning it and connecting it to broader social dynamics. As an Asian female student who majors in biology and minors in piano performance, I will use sociological imagination to connect my life in a macro level. I will analyze the period of time when I struggled to assimilate into the American culture and connect such event to bigger social issues such as the bamboo ceiling and the glass ceiling in order to address how race and gender affects me now and my outlook for the future.

When I first moved from China to the U.S during middle school, life was very hard for me because of my poor English. I was one of the only minority students in a town with mostly all white middle class families. I vividly remember that no one listened to my input during group projects, but everyone thinks I can help them with math. As a 13-year-old teenager, I enjoyed being needed in math class and I felt as if I made friends through this particular subject. I tried very hard in math in order to help people and make more friends. However, little did I know that I cultivated stereotyping in my school; my way to “assimilate” into the American culture made me depressed because I did not like math at all, but being good at math was the only way for me to feel welcomed in a foreign school. I understand now that many Asians also struggle with stereotyping everyday, especially in places that dominated by another race. Even though race is a socially constructed concept, people still have certain expectations when interacting with Asians, African Americans, Latinos, etc.

However, some of the problems remained even when I moved to a different town with much more diversity. I still encountered cases where people were hesitant to follow my instructions even though I presented my idea confidently. The phenomenon I eventually conquered can be referred to as the “bamboo ceiling”. Bamboo ceiling was first published in “Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling” by Jane Hyun as a career guide for Asians. It touched upon cultural and individual factors that impede Asian Americans’ from achieving leadership roles. Due to culture difference, people of none Asian culture can easily have the impression that Asians are aloof, reticent and have no communication skills at workplace but in reality, the generalization arise from culture misunderstanding. Certain Asian cultures promote these qualities as good characteristics due to traditional teachings and historic values. The values that are so important in Asian culture are quite the opposite from the ideal American leaders who are usually very charismatic and self-promoting.

According to Conley, Asian Americans have “high average educations and economical status amount all other minority groups; therefore they are the “model minority”. However,
P1: Stereotyping
P2: Bamboo ceiling
P3: Glass ceiling
P4: Out look for future

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