Write a 5-7-page essay describing, examining, and reflecting upon a personal cultural diversity encounter.
Understanding cultural diversity from a sociological perspective first requires understanding the concepts and theoretical frameworks that guide sociological thinking. Cultural diversity encompasses a variety of social categories, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, social class, age, and physical or mental disability. Sociologists examine these categories at both the micro level (how they affect or are affected by individuals) and at the macro level (how they impact society as a whole).
In this assessment, you practice making connections between the micro and macro levels by examining how your personal experiences or observations connect to broader issues related to diversity in American culture. For example, if you have observed or experienced firsthand a situation involving prejudice, stereotypes, or discrimination in the workplace, consider not only how that situation relates to broader patterns or trends in the workplace but also to specific theories of diversity within the field of sociology. By placing your personal observations and experience in the context of the society in which you live, you will be thinking like a sociologist and practicing your sociological imagination.
Demonstration of Proficiency
By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the course competencies through the following assessment scoring guide criteria:
- Competency 1: Describe theoretical ideas of power in relation to policy.
- Connect a personal experience to sociological concepts of power.
- Competency 3: Analyze the effects of social policy using aggregated data.
- Analyze data to make valid sociological inferences.
- Competency 4: Analyze how laws are applied or created based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, and social class.
- Analyze how laws or policies are applied to a diversity issue.
- Competency 5: Apply diversity strategies in professional, educational, and personal contexts.
- Apply strategies for addressing a cultural diversity issue.
- Discuss personal characteristics or experiences that might account for feelings or reactions involving a diversity issue.
- Competency 6: Communicate effectively.
- Write coherently to support a central idea in appropriate format and with few errors of grammar, usage, and mechanics.
Reflect on an instance when you or someone else were unfairly excluded, discriminated against, or otherwise neglected or treated inappropriately due to race, ethnicity, age, gender, social class, sexuality, disability, or other category related to diversity. Depending on the setting in which the incident occurred, consider whether any laws or policies were violated, either those established by an organization, such as a business or school, or state or federal antidiscrimination policies.
Write an essay in which you complete each of the following:
- Part 1 – Describe your experience:
- Describe the event and the underlying diversity issues at play.
- Describe your opinions, feelings, actions, and what you learned from the event.
- Part 2 – Examine your experience:
- Discuss experiences from your personal background that might account for your feelings or reactions. Consider areas such as your ethnicity, history, upbringing, local mores, recent events, et cetera.
- Connect your experience to at least three sociological concepts and/or issues. For example, if you are writing about what if feels like to be an outsider, you could connect your discussion to the concept of power or social structure, or the broader issue of relationships between dominant and minority groups.
- Examples of other concepts you could include are prejudice, discrimination, stereotypes, cultural pluralism, assimilation, structural mobility, social distance, and modern racism.
- Examples of theories include functional or conflict theory, Marx’s and Weber’s theories of inequality, Park’s race relations cycle, Gordon’s theory of assimilation, human capital theory, scapegoat hypothesis, and the theory of authoritarian personality.
- Incorporate research on the broader issue that your experience illustrates. For example, if the incident you describe involves discrimination in the workplace, research workplace discrimination and find data on the prevalence or nature of this problem. If the incident involves bullying at school, locate data on how extensive this issue is. Questions to consider include:
- Is the type of incident you describe commonplace?
- Where might this be most prevalent?
- Among what groups is it most likely to occur?
- What trends did you notice in your research? For example, does the kind of incident you experienced or observed seem to be an increasing problem, or is it declining over time?
- Analyze how relevant laws or policies might be applied to this situation. These may be civil or criminal laws or, perhaps, policies established in the workplace or schools.
- Consider whether any laws or policies were violated and how those laws or policies might be changed or better enforced to address the situation you describe.
- Part 3 – Reflect on your experience:
- Based on your reflections of the event and the research you have now done, share personal strategies that are useful for informing the interactions or relationships between the involved parties, as well as your own understanding or perspectives.
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