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 The Cycle of Socialization In Readings for diversity
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16 conceptual Frameworks,Cycle of Socialization,Socialized. Taught on a Personal Level,by Parents Relatives Teachers. People We Love and Trust,Shapers of Expectations Norms. Values Roles Rules Models of Ways to,Sources of Dreams. into World with,Mechanics in Place,No Blame No Consciousness Institutions Culture.
No Guilt No Choice Churches Practices,Limited Information Schools Song Lyrics. No Information Television Language,Misinformation Legal System Media. Biases Mental Health Patterns of,Stereotypes Medicine Thought. Prejudices Business,Confusion Sanctioned,Insecurity. Stigmatized,Don t Make,Waves Rewards and,Punishments.
Status Quo,Resulting in,Dissonance Silence,Change Anger Dehumanization. Raise Consciousness Guilt Collusion Ignorance,Interrupt Self Hatred Stress Lack of Reality. Educate Horizontal Violence N I,Take a Stand Inconsistency Violence Crime. Internalization of Patterns,Fig 2 1 The Cycle of Socialization. he Be innin Circle no 1, Our socialization begins before we are born with no choice on our part No one brings.
us a survey in the womb inquiring into which gender class religion sexual orientation. cultural group ability status or age we might want to be born These identities are. ascribed to us at birth through no effort or decision or choice of our own There is there. fore no reason to blame each other or hold each other responsible for the identities we. have This first step in the socialization process is outside our control In addition to hav. ing no choice we also have no initial consciousness about who we are We don t ques. tion our identities at this point We just are who we are. On top of these givens we are born into a world where all of the mechanics assump. tions rules roles and structures of oppression are already in place and functioning we. have had nothing to do with constructing them There is no reason for any of us to feel. guilty or responsible for the world into which we are born We are innocents falling into. an aiready established system,The Cycle of Socialization 17. The characteristics of this system were built long before we existed based upon histo. ry habit tradition patterns of belief prejudices stereotypes and myths Dominant or. agmt groups are considered the norm around which assumptions are built and these. groups receive attention and recognition Agents have relatively more social power and. can name others They are privileged at birth and ascribed access to options and oppor. tunities often without realizing it We are lucky to be born into these groups and rarely. question it Agent groups include men white people middle and upper class people. abled people middle aged people heterosexuals and gentiles. On the other hand there are many social identity groups about which little or. nothing is known because they have not been considered important enough to study. These are referred to as subordinate groups or target groups Some target groups are. irtually invisible while others are defined by misinformation or very limited informa. 1011 Targets are disenfranchised exploited and victimized by prejudice discrimination. other structural obstacles Target groups include women racially oppressed groups. gay lesbian bisexual and transgendered people disabled people Jews elders youth and. ople living in poverty Baker Miller 1976 Hardiman and Jackson 1997 We are. unlucky to be born into target groups and therefore devalued by the existing society. th groups are dehumanized by being socialized into prescribed roles without con. io usness or permission,I t Soclaiizi1tion Arrow no 1. NlIrds and Immediately upon our births we begin to be socialized by the people we love and trust. e most our families or the adults who are raising us They shape our self concepts and. If perceptions the norms and rules we must follow the roles we are taught to play our. x pectations for the future and our dreams These people serve as role models for us and. on ey teach us how to behave This socialization happens both intrapersonally how we. hink about ourselves and interpersonally how we relate to others We are told things. ke Boys don t cry You shouldn t trust white people They re better than we are. ay in your place Don t worry if you break the toy We can always buy another one. hristianity is the true religion Children should be seen and not heard Don t tell. yone that your aunt is mentally retarded It s embarrassing and Don t kiss other. rls You re supposed to like boys These messages are an automatic part of our early. ialization and we don t initially question them We are too dependent on our parents. those raiSing us and we haven t yet developed the ability to think for ourselves so we. onsciously conform to their views, It is important to observe that they too are not to be blamed They are doing the best. ey can to raise us and they only have their own backgrounds from which to draw They. ay not have thought critically about what they are teaching us and may be uncon. nart No one brings lOusly passing on what was taught to them Some of us may have been raised by par. exual orientation 15 who have thought critically about the messages that they are giving us but they are. llese identities are II not in the majority This could be good or bad as well depending on what their views. u There is there e A consciously racist parent may intentionally pass on racist beliefs to his children. r the identities we d a consciously feminist parent may intentionally pass on non stereotypical roles to. In addition to hav r children so it can go either way. e We don t ques Regardless of the content of the teaching we have been exposed without initial ques. n to a strong set of rules roles and assumptions that cannot help but shape our sense. ecbanics assump ourselves and the world They influence what we take with us when we venture out of. ld functioning we protected family units into the larger world of other institutions. r any of us to feel powerful way to check out the accuracy of these assertions is to choose one of our. cents falling into jal identities and write down at least ten examples of what we learned about being. at identity It s helpful to consider whether we chose an agent or a target identity We. 18 Conceptual Frameworks, may find that we have thought more about our target identities and therefore they are. easier to inventory Gender rules are sometimes the easiest so we might start there We. might also consider doing it for an agent group identity like males white people hetero. sexuals gentiles adults middle class people able bodied or able minded people Most. likely we will find it easier to list learnings for targeted groups than for agent groups. Institutional and Cultural Socialization Circle no i. Once we begin to attend school go to a place of worship visit a medical facility play. on a sports team work with a social worker seek services or products from a business or. learn about laws and the legal system our socialization sources are rapidly multiplied. based on how many institutions with which we have contact Most of the messages we. receive about how to be whom to look up to and look down on what rules to follow. what roles to play what assumptions to make what to believe and what to think will. probably reinforce or contradict what we have learned at home. We might learn at school that girls shouldn t be interested in a woodworking shop. class that only white students go out for the tennis team that kids who learn differently. or think independently get put in special education that it s okay for wealthy kids to miss. classes for a family vacation that it s okay to harass the boy who walks and talks like a. girl that most of the kids who drop out are from the south side of town that jocks don t. have to do the same work that nerds do to pass or that kids who belong to another reli. gious group are weird We learn who gets preferential treatment and who gets picked. on We are exposed to rules roles and assumptions that are not fair to everyone. If we are members of the groups that benefit from the rules we may not notice that. they aren t fair If we are members of the groups that are penalized by the rules we may. have a constant feeling of discomfort We learn that these rules roles and assumptions. are part of a structure that is larger than just our families We get consistent similar mes. sages from religion the family doctor the social worker the local store or the police offi. cer and so it is hard to not believe what we are learning We learn that black people are. more likely to steal so store detectives follow them in stores Boys are expected to fight. and use violence so they are encouraged to learn how We shouldn t stare at or ask ques. tions about disabled people it isn t polite Gay and lesbian people are sick and perverted. Kids who live in certain sections of town are probably on welfare taking our hard earned. tax dollars Money talks White means good black means bad Girls are responsible for. birth control It s a man s world Jews are cheap Arabs are terrorists And so on. We are inundated with unquestioned and stereotypical messages that shape how we. think and what we believe about ourselves and others What makes this brainwashing. even more insidious is the fact that it is woven into every structural thread of the fabric. of our culture The media television the Internet advertising newspapers and radio. our language patterns the lyrics to songs our cultural practices and holidays and the. very assumptions on which our society is built all contribute to the reinforcement of the. biased messages and stereotypes we receive Think about Howard Stern Jerry Springer. Married witll Children beer and car advertising talk radio girl vs man Christmas vaca. tion the Rolling Stones Under My Thumb the old boy s network and websites that. foster hate We could identify thousands of examples to illustrate the oppressive mes. sages that bombard us daily from various institutions and aspects of our culture rein. forcing our divisions and justifying discrimination and prejudice. Enforcements Arrow no 2, It might seem logical to ask why people don t just begin to think independently if they.
don t like what they are seeing around them Why don t we ignore these messages if we. are uncomfortable with them or if they are hurting us Largely we don t ignore the mes. sages rules roles structures and assumptions because there are enforcements in place. The Cycle of Socialization 19, maintain them People who try to contradict the norm pay a price for their inde. pendent thinking and people who conform consciously or unconsciously minimally. te people hetero receive the benefit of being left alone for not making waves such as acceptance in their. ded people Most esignated roles being considered normal or a team player or being allowed to stay in. agent groups th eir places Maximally they receive rewards and privileges for maintaining the status. quo such as access to higher places attention and recognition for having made it or. being the model member of their group or the privilege that brings them money con. facility play nections or power, rom a business or People who go against the grain of conventional societal messages are accused of being. rapidly multiplied troublemakers of making waves or of being the cause of the problem If they are mem. f the messages we ers of target groups they are held up as examples of why this group is inferior to the. hat rules to follow gent group Examples of this include the significantly higher numbers of people of color. hat to think will ho are targeted by the criminal justice system Although the number of white people. ho are committing crimes is just as high those whites are much less likely to be arrest. lIodworking sh op charged tried conVicted or sentenced to jail than are people of color Do different laws. o learn differently pply depending on a person s skin color Battering statistics are rising as more women. ealthy kids to miss scrt their equal rights with men and the number one suspect for the murder of women. lks and talks like a n th e United States is the husband or boyfriend Should women who try to be equal with. that jocks don t men be killed The rationale given by some racists for the burning of black churches was. 109 to another reli hat they were getting too strong Does religious freedom and the freedom to assemble. nd who gets picked pply only to white citizens Two men walking together in a southeastern U S city were. everyone aten and one died because they were walking so close they must be gay Are two. ay not notice that, men who refuse to abide by the keep your distance rule lor men so threatening that they. lhe rules we may, ust be attacked and killed These examples of differential punishment being given to. and assumptions, members or perceived members of target groups are only half of the picture.
tent similar mes If members of agent groups break the rules they too are punished White people who. or the police offi upport their colleagues of color may be called IOn lover Heterosexual men who. i hlack people are lake on primary child care responsibilities cry easily or hug their male friends are. expected to fight ccused of being dominated by their spouses of being sissies or being gay Middle. are at or ask q ues lass people who work as advocates on economic issues are accused of being do gooders. ick and perverted or self righteous liberals Heterosexuals who work for the rights of gay lesbian bisexual. our hard earned or transgendered people are immediately suspected of being in the closet themselves. Re Lllts Circle no 3, hat shape how we It is not surprising that the results of this systematic learning are devastating to all. is brainwashing mvolved If we are examining our target identities we may experience anger a sense of. hread of the fabric eing silenced dissonance between what the United States stands for and what we expe. papers and radio rience low self esteem high levels of stress a sense of hopelessness and disempower. J holidays and the ment that can lead to crime and self destructive behavior frustration mistrust and. r oillforcement of the dehumanization By participating in our roles as targets we reinforce stereotypes collude. crn Jerry Springer n our own demise and perpetuate the system of oppression This learned helplessness is. I Christmas vaca t en called internalized oppression because we have learned to become our own oppres. an d websites that ors from within, he oppressive mes If we are examining our agent identities we may experience guilt from unearned priv. ur culture rein ilege or oppressive acts fear of payback tendency to collude in the system to be self pro. Cctive high levels of stress ignorance of and loss of contact with the target groups a. nse of distorted reality about how the world is fear of rising crime and violence levels. Imited world view obliviousness to the damage we do and dehumanization By partici. dependently if they pating in our roles as agents and remaining unconscious of or being unwilling to inter. lese messages if we upt the cycle we perpetuate the system of oppression. on t ignore the mes These results are often cited as the problems facing our society today high drop out. erforccments in place rates crime poverty drugs and so on Ironically the root causes of them are inherent in. 20 Conceptual Frameworks, the very assumptions on which the society is built dualism hierarchy competition indi. vidualism domination colonialism and the scarcity principle To the extent that we fail. to interrupt this cycle we keep the assumptions the problems and the oppression alive. A way that we might personally explore this model is to take one of the societal prob. lems and trace its root causes back through the cycle to the core belief systems or pat. terns in U S society that feed and play host to it It is not a coincidence that the United. States is suffering from these results today rather it is a logical outcome of our embrac. ing the status quo without thinking or challenging. Actions Arrow no 3, When we arrive at the results of this terrible cycle we face the decision of what to do. next It is easiest to do nothing and simply to allow the perpetuation of the status quo. We may choose not to make waves to stay in our familiar patterns We may say Oh well. it s been that way for hundreds of years What can I do to change it It is a huge phe. nomenon and my small efforts won t count for much Many of us choose to do nothing. because it is for a while easier to stay with what is familiar Besides it is frightening to. try to interrupt something so large What does it have to do with me anyway say. many agents This isn t my problem I am above this We fail to realize that we have. become participants just by doing nothing This cycle has a life of its own It doesn t need. our active support because it has its own centrifugal force It goes on and unless we. choose to interrupt it it will continue to go on Our silence is consent Until our discom. fort becomes larger than our comfort we will probably stay in this cycle. Some of us who are targets have been so beaten down by the relentless messages of. the cycle that we have given up and resigned ourselves to survive it or to self destruct. We are the victims of the cycle and are playing our roles as victims to keep the cycle. alive We will probably go around a few more times before we die It hurts too much to. fight such a big cycle We need the help of our brothers and sisters and our agent allies to. try for change,he Core at the Center onhe C cle, We are blocked from action by the fear and insecurity that we have been taught We.
have been kept ignorant and confused by the myths and misinformation that we have. been fed and we lack a core of confidence and vision to guide us We don t know how to. take action against a system so powerful and pervasive As long as our core is filled with. these negative elements we will be paralyzed and will re create the same cycle again. Somehow however change and hope still find their way to the surface Perhaps some. one s discomfort or pain becomes larger than her complacency Perhaps strength encour. agement determination love hope or connection to other people begin to grow in. someone s core and he decides to take a different direction and to interrupt this cycle. Direction for Chan e, Some of us who are targets try to interrupt the cycle because for us the discomfort. Ilasgotten larger than the comfort If we try this alone or without organization we may. be kicked back down to our powerless positions If we begin a new direction and even. work with our agent allies however we can create our own hope. Some of us who are agents may decide to use our power and privilege to try to make. change either out of guilt moral values or vision If our motivation is guilt we are. doomed to fail but if we operate from a strong moral base and vision and if we work. together with our targeted brothers and sisters we create hope We become allies with. our target groups and build coalitions for success. When groups begin to empower themselves by learning more about each other by. unlearning old myths and stereotypes by challenging the status quo we make the diffi. Prejudice and Discrimination 21, competition indi cult decision to interrupt the cycle of socialization We begin to question the givens the. extent that we fail assumptions of the society the norms the values the rules the roles and even the struc. ppression alive tures As we attempt this it becomes obvious that we cannot do it alone We must build. the societal prob coalitions with people who are like us and people who are different from us We will not. f systems or pat be the minority if we work in coalitions We will gain the necessary vision and power to. e that the United reconstruct new rules that truly are equal roles that complement each other instead of. e of our embrac competing assumptions that value all groups instead of ascribing value to some and. devaluing others and structures that promote cooperation and shared power instead of. power over each other, For this new direction of action to work we need education for critical consciousness. JOU of what to do for all groups We need to take a stand reframe our understandings question the status. of the status quo quo and begin a critical transformation that can break down this cycle of socialization. may say Oh well and start a new cycle leading to liberation for all This is possible We can change the. Tl is a huge phe world see Harro The Cycle of Liberation chapter 87 of this volume. se to do nothing,l is frightening to References,me anyway say. Baker Miller J 1976 1 oward a New Psychology of I110 1 CIl Boston Beacon Press. realize that we have, Bell L A 1997 Theoretical foundations for social justice education In M Adams L A Bell and.
m It doesn t need P Griffin eds Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice A Sourr ebook New York Routledge. 1 1 and unless we, Griffin P 1997 Introductory module for the single issue courses In M Adams L A Bell and l. Until our discom Griffin eds Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice 1 Sourcebook New York Routledge. Ie Har ro R L 1986 Tel ching about HI terosexism A Psychologiml Education Design Project University. ntless messages of of Massachusetts Amherst unpublished manuscript. nr to self destruct ardiman R and B W Jackson 1997 Conceptual Foundations for Social Justice Courses In M. to keep the cycle Adams L A Bell and P Griffin eds Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice A Sourcebook New. urts too much to York Routledge,been taught We,on that we have 3. n t know how to,ore is filled with Prejudice and,Iscri nl ination. Warren J Blumenfeld,and Diane Raymond, In Nazil Germany they first came for the Communists and J didn t. speak up because I wasn t a Communist Then they came for the. Jews and J didn t speak up because I wasn t a Jew Then they came. ege to try to make, for the trade unionists and I clidn t speak up because J wasn t a trade.
JD is guilt we are, unionist Then they came for the Catholics and I didn t speak up. Ion an d if we work, because I was a Protestant Then they came for me and by that. come allies with,time no one was left to speak up, out each other by Attributed to Martin Niemoeller in John Bartlett.

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