Today's latest awesome news from one of my professors was that I aced the term paper.
Our assignment was to explore a racial or ethnic culture that is very different from our own culture (I chose Native American even though my Cherokee blood goes very far back).
We were required to use the "sociological imagination" (suggests that people look at their own personal problems as social issues and, in general, try to connect their own individual experiences with the workings of society.) and cultural relativism to explore our chosen culture. We also had to eexplain why ethnocentrism (tThe belief that one’s own group or culture is superior to all other groups or cultures) is not an appropriate method of understanding another culture. We had to discuss what was unique about this culture (languages spoken, customs, clothing and other material objects)? What advantages and disadvantages (family structure, economics, educational, healthcare and so on) do we see for those who live in this culture? We had to show our ability to apply sociological terminology from the assigned readings, outside sources, and classroom discussions.
In simple terms I had to choose a culture and look at it from within that culture and not from within my own and I had to be careful not to apply to that culture standards I expect in my own. Standards, traditions, expectations, and such are different among cultures. So it does no good to try and understand a culture different from our own if we constantly apply values and such from our own culture to another.
My professor remarked it was an excellent essay and gave me an "A" - 50 out of 50 possible points!!!