Course: SOC 100 (1708): Culture and Society | Spring 2020 | Prof. Alapo

Reflection Essay

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      Hector Viveros
      Participant

      Hector Viveros

      Professor Oluremi Alapo

      SOC 100

      Reflection Essay

      A Society is a group of people who live and interact with one another in a defined geographic area, sharing a common culture. Sociologists examine how society functions by studying and analyzing the societal behavior of individuals, in the various groups and institutions they form.

      Growing up in a disenfranchised neighborhood has a significant impact on your economic success as an adult. Those coming from neighborhoods with high levels of poverty and unemployment, are often viewed as second class citizens. This makes it more of a challenge for them to attain their goals and lead more successful lives. Growing up in a rough neighborhood myself, I was able to see first hand the alarming results of a neglected community. Children raised in impoverished communities have a reduced chance of graduating high school, as opposed to those born in affluent neighborhoods. Even though many of us born in poverty have the ambition to strive for a better life, we still face certain obstacles that make accomplishing those goals nearly impossible. Either it being socially or systematically, there are restraints for us that not only physically hinder out mobility, but mentally handicap us into thinking that we are less than our common worth.

      The effects of growing up in a poor neighborhood made college seem like a bleak possibility. If it wasn’t for my parents pushing and urging me to receive a higher education, it wouldn’t have been in my trajectory. Throughout my adolescence, I was fortunate enough to participate in many clubs that kept me out of  trouble within my neighborhood. I became that image of a good child in the eyes of my neighbors. That is why individuals in my neighborhood were content in finding out I was going to college, because I gave them hope. Kids in my neighborhood don’t see college as a possibility and resort to other methods to gain income and support their own.

      Growing up in a society where as a minority from a poor neighborhood, society seems to have this perceived prejudice of you. At my previous job, I worked in an affluent area in Brooklyn, and as the only AfroLatino working there, I often felt like an outcast. My coworkers were predominantly white, and we couldn’t relate to anything. It felt like I was only hired to be their token AfroLatino so that the company seemed more diverse, and to give off  the appearance of racial equality. To make matters worse, occasionally I would wear my hair out, and my coworkers would always try and touch my hair and violate my space. Growing up in this country truly is a privilege, however, there are those like myself, who grow up in low income neighborhoods and are ridiculed and seen differently from the rest of society.

      That is why I decided to intern at DreamYard; an organization that specializes in creating artistic opportunities for underprivileged Bronx Youth. My job allows me to help kids, who grew up in a similar environment, by providing them with many opportunities and making college a possibility. At DreamYard, kids can express themselves artistically in a positive and safe environment, instead of being on the streets causing trouble. These young prospective students have the ability to accomplish their goals in life, but are always subjected to be viewed as inferior in terms of potential, and capacity. That is why I became more involved in more group-oriented programs, as the concept of fellowship and togetherness captured my mentality. I volunteered at the summer youth program, P.A.L.(Police Athletic League) in East New York. There, I was required to perfect my leadership skills, where young kids ranging from seven to thirteen looked towards me for assistance and guidance.

      In conclusion, the community where an individual grows up in can shape who they are and impact their role in society. Some individuals will view and treat those born in low-income neighborhoods differently. Even though some of these communities are neglected and looked down upon, it is up to those from these areas to set an example and pave the way for the younger youth so that they can prosper.

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