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Lisa Villarreal-Guerry Do you have a good friend who is of a different race to yourself? If so, how did you meet? With this friend, do you ever talk seriously about racial issues? Explain why or why not. Do you think you fully understand the impact of race on your friend(s)? Explain why or why not. If you do not have any friend(s) whom are of another race, why do you think that is? I have a close friend who I met while I was in the army almost twenty years ago. He and his family are Creole and moved to San Antonio shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit their home in Louisiana. They were amongst the displaced people that sought refuge in Texas. For a brief time in our military career, we worked together educating people about discrimination, diversity, and the effects of inequality. We have had many discussions about our life experiences and what were have heard and witnessed over the years about various things regarding racial and other issues of discrimination. We understand what we share with each other, but we will not completely comprehend the lasting impact some of these experiences have left on people. As a people, we generally want to connect and empathize with people, but there will always be things we will never completely know to fully understand. It is like being in a swimming pool on a windy day and someone telling you that this is how it feels to be in the ocean. We can say we understand, but the moment we finally get to walk on the beach and jump into the ocean, we realize that it was never the same. How can sociology be used to (a) recognize, (b) publicize, and (c) combat racial discrimination? Be specific for each and clearly explain your response. Recognize racial discrimination. I believe that our society has desensitized the behaviors of discrimination, especially within one’s race group. It has become a norm for some to overtly exhibit racial behavior because it is an acceptable practice within that group. People’s attitudes and behaviors normalizing negative behaviors systemically create and breeds these behaviors as norms. Many people lack the empathy needed to understand how dormitory acts can create a rift between the people within a group and the outsiders looking in. Awareness of ourselves and recognizing our biases, beliefs, and behaviors allows us to see and understand how we view others. Publicize racial discrimination. An effective way to publicize racial discrimination is through training and education. This helps bring awareness to people in a controlled environment that helps promote a safe, neutral place to discuss sensitive topics. Through experience, I have found that creating hands-on interactive training has been more effective than simple presentations. For the two years that I traveled, the soldiers I worked with got more knowledge from my classes than they ever had before. Yes, we can use social media and other platforms, but if we can effectively plant a seed within people, then change will come. Combat racial discrimination. Combating discrimination is a difficult task to achieve. It is difficult to get people to see things differently, especially when they are influenced by generations of believing things to be a certain way. I believe that education and awareness are essential in taking the first step in effecting change. If we take a look at animal trainers. There is clearly a communication barrier between them and the animal, but through pains taking efforts of trying to fine the best approach, they are able to find a way to communicate, trust and coexist even with the most dangerous of animals. Many times we often stop trying at a certain point because our personal feelings and emotions get in the way. We must realize that change is not easy, and it takes a lot of self-awareness and patience to change people’s perceptions and behaviors. We need to be aware of our own stereotypes, biases and perceptions before we can effectively educate people to combat discrimination and the effects of it. Explain what ‘equal rights’ means to you. How much equality is there in US society between men and women? Everyone has the right to be treated and seen equally despite our differences. It is the right to be who we are without fearing being treated differently and accepting who we are. According to Ruth Milkman in her book On Gender, Labor and Inequality, there is still a divide between men and women. The equality gap can increased over the years scene laws were changed for women. However, it also opened up new forms of discrimination as they began to assert themselves in the workforce. Discrimination between men and women increase more between those in the lower classes compared to those in the upper classes. Why should men be interested in promoting equal rights and opportunities for women? What are some appropriate ways for men to help women gain greater social, political and economic power? Men and women see and experience the world differently. It is through these differences that women can bring valuable insight and perspective in the workplace and other parts of our society. Men and women should work together to foster equality between the two sexes. Men are the dominant influencers in our society and can use their roles in the community to promote and build a better platform for women to be treated and viewed as an equal to their male counterparts. Describe how women of color are ‘doubly oppressed’ and lesbian women of color are ‘triply oppressed’ in our society. Does your friendship circle include people of various genders and sexual orientations? Oppression comes in many forms and categories with its own set of ways of discrimination. Depending on who we determine whether or not we will be discriminated against and how. In my home, I have been discriminated against due to my gender and race, my boys look white so they have not been treated differently; however, my daughter had been based on race, gender, and sexual orientation. Being in the military, I had friends from all walks of life and even now that I have retired. Reference Korgen, K.O., & White, J. M. (2015). The engaged sociologist: Connecting the classroom to the community (5th ed.). Sage. Milkman, R. (2016). On gender, labor, and inequality. University of Illinois Press.