In Pleasanton, California on October 23, 2000 I made my entrance to the world. I was labeled a caucasian male, which has had made an impact on my life. The person I am today has been created by several factors growing up, from family influence, seeing others socialize, and experiences of mine or others. The primary way of learning about the world is socialization, hearing others opinions, ideas, and how they live can help shape your life. A majority of issues individuals believe are personal are problems that groups of people deal with deeming the name social problem.
A social problem is a social condition or pattern of behavior that has negative consequences for individuals, our social world, or our physical world.(Leon-Guerrero, 2018) Numerous factors of sociology effect how everyone lives, like ethnicity, gender, sex, education, wealth, race, or many more factors. My ideals of life relate with the interactionist perspective of how our language, interaction, and social symbols help create and maintain our social world.
I will go into detail of some moments of my life where I believe some of these social problems have affected me positively, negatively, or not affected me. Some of the moments I will be going over will be my experience as a child being different from others, experiences from Ice hockey, and my privilege in comparison to my peers.
Growing up as a child, you do not fully get how life works yet or why people are different from you. From a young age of six I needed glasses and learned I had dyslexia, this was all very confusing because no one around me had the exact same problems.
As a child everyone gets labeled by their peers whether its good or bad it happens. Through our interaction, social problems are created and defined.(Leon-Guerrero, 2018) My whole experience with elementary school I was labeled by students and teachers, students because my glasses and teachers because my dyslexia. I was not taught to strengthen my weaknesses, but to just get better at the things I am good at. This is when I took it upon myself to strengthen my reading abilities, so I could fit in better. The interaction between teachers and students daily reinforces the structure and inequalities of the classroom and educational system.(Leon-Guerrero, 2018) Looking back I feel I was labeled by these teachers, which changed the way they interacted with me and how I interacted with others. From a young age I was negatively labeled the majority of normal people around me. Now I can see back clearly on this whole situation and realize that this was the Labeling theory in action, this was something that majorly impacted my life. This taught me to never judge someone based off looks, but based off how they act towards others. At this time I learned that it is okay to be different and that not everyone will have the same experiences. Being different from others really taught me how important socialization is and especially in school .After elementary school I became friends with a small group who were all socially outcasted for being different. Hearing their problems of poverty, sexuallity, and being the first generation of a family in schooling opened my eyes to see more of the real social world.
I have derived from my experiences that children introduced to sports, gain much needed social interaction in diverse ethnic and cultural groups they are comfortable in. Individuals of all races, classes, and gender interact together for a common goal. My first experience with having a woman on my hockey team was very interesting when I was a child. I remember every team we went against would be very bashful over her playing. This is related to the gender division of labor, a sport is not a job unless it is a professional sport, but the ideals of some of the teens relate with this. Gender roles according to functionalist perspective are necessary for society to function, but I believe it is socially wrong for these ideals to still be around. Yet women who assert their rights for social and economic equality are seen as attacking the structure of society.(Bonvillian, 2006) This is a functionalist perspective shared by mostly men, and where I believe the ideals of feminist perspective that men control most of the power and are taking advantage in the social, economic, and cultural world. It was not until around 12 years old when I realized the sacrifices financially and time wise others parents and my own were making. Hockey taught me that our community or even society is held together by shared beliefs, social norms, and common morality. Many manifest and latent function are shared between sports, obvious manifest functions are learning the sport, commitment, and social interaction. The latent functions could include some of the more important life qualities like accepting others for who they are and learning of different backgrounds and experiences. The whole basis of team sports is related to the functionalist perspective that every role is needed to keep society or a team in tack.
As I have grown I have started to understand some of the privileges I am subjected to compared to others. I played hockey from six years old till this day, my parents would wake up on their days off, so I could enjoy time on the ice with my friends. During my adolescence my parents influenced me to interact with different groups of people from school and a sport to teach me more about the world and people. The small group I was friends with in middle school had individuals ranging from poor to rich, male and female, and multiple ethnic backgrounds. One of the first instances I learned about my privilege was hearing my hispanic friend speak about sports. He asked his parents if he could play hockey with me, but they told him they could not afford it. I felt lucky that my parents were able to pay for my sport and it really taught me how I should relish all the time spent and make the most of it socially and physically. I have privilege for getting the chance to attend college and learn from all my experiences socially and educationally while at San Jose State. I also am grateful for the amount of connections I have built through my schooling and playing of a sport. Those not able to play a sport do not have some of the same connections I have gained over the years. I am glad for all of these privileges I have, but I do not think these are all from white privilege. I believe my parents are the cause for what I have and what I will become, just as I believe that I will be able to shape my child into who they will be.
I have concluded that these moments in my life when put into sociological perspective have given me a better grip on the social world. My negative experience as a child from getting labeled and outcasted taught me how important communication and acceptance are in the world. Communication can be the main factor in where you get in life, as long as you are sharing your beliefs, ideas, or feelings with others. From playing hockey I learned how to relate to people of other races, genders, and backgrounds to work as a unit or group in society. I learned every role is needed to make society or a team work, even if someone is unhappy where they are. While every role in society is necessary, gender specific roles are not because personality or social exposure can drive someone into a specific job field. The life chances I have are all thanks to my parents and those before them. I strive to make the most of the privileges and opportunities I have to expand my knowledge of social problems and the social world. I am grateful that through education and sports I learned life skills and gained knowledge about how society works.