Choose a social problem we learned about in class. Reflect on a specific experience you had with this social problem in American society or overseas. How will your new knowledge of the sociological perspective change, has your understanding of this social problem changed? How so?
A social problem that occurs way to often and one that I see happen on almost a day to day basis is racism. Racism is a world wide problem but seems to be heavily injected in the American culture more than any other. I feel media plays a huge factor on why it’s all over and in your face daily. That can be a good and bad reason but at least it does expose the world to what is really going on in a lot of communities.
A personal experience, I’ve had plenty of them but one in particular was an occurrence that happened back in 2010. I was simply driving home from the mall and was stopped by the police. I pulled over and grabbed my license and registration. When the officer came up to the car he asked me who did this car belong to? I told him that the car was mine and gave him all of my paper work. He handed it back to me and said it just doesn’t look like you should be driving this vehicle. At the time I was wondering if I had broke any law or what did the officer even pulled me over for? I didn’t take it as a racist remark when it happened but reflecting on it I see where the racism came into play. Here you have a young 21 year old black male driving a new Lexus in a stereotypical nice area. I’m sure in his mind he thought it was stolen. Even after he ran my plates and seen my paperwork he still decided to ask if the car belonged to me because I was a black male and did not commit any crime.
My persective on the topic still remains the same on the topic and still remains to be a big problem in American society. When I moved to Germany and seen how nicely I was treated and how their citizens treated Americans including being a Black American I can say I was never greeted with any racist remarks or any incidents at that for the 4 years of residing there. That made me view American very differently. Hopefully one day we all can be more accepting of people, regardless of background, color, or beliefs.
SECOND STUDENT RESPONSE
I am a very optimistic person and I generally see the good in all people. I know that there are exceptions to everything and to each race. I have first-hand experience with nearly every from of racial injustice imaginable. I have been harassed, beaten, and robbed by the police (all before the age of 18), the very people who are charged with upholding the law. Through my dealings with law enforcement I have never assumed all police are corrupt or bad however, I am starting to rethink my position. Last week I was on a road trip that took me through Oklahoma. I was stopped by a state trooper and he explained that he stopped me because I didn’t signal long enough before merging, ok I ca live with that. He takes me to his car and issues a warning and we have a great conversation about his job, my military service, etc. He hands me my license and other documents and says have a nice day. As I’m exiting the car he asks if I have any weapons, open containers or cocaine in the car! I replied no I don’t and he asks if he can search my vehicle. I respectfully declined as asked to why he would like to search my vehicle. He said that he had “reasonable suspicion” and wanted to search. I again declined and asked what were those suspicions because I don’t smoke so there was no odor, I wasn’t speeding, and my windows were down so he could see inside my vehicle and there was nothing to indicate I was a “criminal”. He said he wasn’t going to tell me what his suspicions were and at that point I was being detained and a K-9 was on the way. Cool I don’t have anything so this is going to be a breeze! The dog arrives circles my car 6 whole times. He is playing with the handler, eating out of the grass next to the highway, licking the ground, everything but sniffing my car. They even put him inside the windows nothing! They take the dog to the back of the patrol car and have a quick conversation before coming to ask me why the dog alerted. So I told him that I watched the dog the whole time and he never sat or bard to indicate an alert. He said “the dog’s breathing changed which indicated an alert”. So I spent the next hour and a half on the side of the road while they literally took my car apart. I felt like I was on the show Border Wars. As we all know I had absolutely nothing in the car because I’m writing this post, so what did the dog alert to? Was this an illegal search? Were my rights violated? The fact that the 3 officers knowingly concluded to administer an illegal search is testament to the problem of social injustice and dare I say systemic racism. How do I go from failure to signal “long enough” to a DEA search? As for the second part of the question knowledge and understanding won’t change anything. I admire and respect those who suit up every day to make a difference and keep us safe, but if the good ones remain silent then they are complicit as well. In the end I was set free to go along my merry way without an apology, and explanation as to why, and no one was able to tell me what the dog “alerted” to. So Kaepernick please don’t take a knee and disrespect the anthem and flag that men and women fought and died for, especially the one’s who come home to have their rights violated on the side of Interstate 40.
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