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NAU SOC 301 - SOC301_Final_Paper

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Kristina SimonovicSOC301Risa Garelick31 July 2018Final ReflectionWith taking a class associated with fear, I was afraid it would bring certain fears to surface that I typically avoid due to the level of vulnerability and anxiety it causes me. My only hope was that I would understand where my fears stem from, which would in turn help me work past conquering some of them. This course allowed me to become aware of some of my fears in a way that wasn’t overwhelming. I enjoyed the structure of this class because with it being online, it felt somewhat anonymous to have students that I haven’t personally met read and respond to my discussion posts. I became more comfortable throughout the class as the questionsbecame more complex and involved to answer. I felt like I could be really honest with my posts and not worry about being judged. Although everyone in this class came from different upbringings and had different views, I felt that everyone remained respectful towards one another throughout the entire course. Regardless of whether or not I agreed with someone’s views, I found insight in their differing perspectives and it certainly gave me understanding of their opposing views. This class taught me a lot about not only myself and how I respond to my own fears, but also how to approach another person’s fears and the importance of not further instilling that fear in them. Before taking this class, I found myself feeling detached from society, thinking that my fears were extremely personal and that no one had the same fears as me. Fear was a topic that was rarely brought up in conversation. I avoided thinking about my fears, because they wouldmake me feel defeated. Anytime someone would ask me what my biggest fear was, I’d revert to answering “plane crash” or “car accident”, without giving it much thought. This course caused me to questions what my actual fears in life are. Through taking this class, I was able to bring many of my fears to surface and make them known to myself. I now know after taking this class,society’s fear stems majorly from each individuals upbringing. Not only are we wired a certain way to respond to the stimulus of fear through evolution, but we also acquire these characteristics from our parents who have passed their fears onto us. Our parents have instilled their fears in us just by raising us. Often times, the things that frighten our parents also frighten us. In the Invisibilia podcast on NPR, Alix Spiegel says, “So why has the invisible leash betweenparent and child tightened so much? Roger says it was absolutely clear from his interviews. The reason was fear” (Invisibilia 2015). We are taught to behave a certain way in response to our fears. In addition, fear is instilled in us through media. The media, in all it’s glory, is a very persuasive platform for the viewer. According to Melissa Kearney on NPR, “What teenagers are watching can make a really big difference in what they think, and ultimately how they behave and really important life decisions” (NPR Staff 2014). Fear appeals are very prominent in today’smedia and have a significant impact on the way people go about their every day lives. Being a person of white race, I have certain privileges that I face in regards to fear. When it comes to racial profiling, that is something I’m fortunate to not have to endure in my life. However, being a 22-year-old single female certainly comes alongside many fears. More often than not, when going out in public, I fear being sexually harassed or taken advantage of. It causes me to be extremely cautious at all times, always staying on my guard and questioning men’s motives when interacting with me. When we approach situations with fear, it closes us off and causes us to pass judgment and make assumptions about people before getting to know them.This class taught me the importance of communication in moments of disagreements. I found the most significant disagreements on the topic of race and racism. Many people disagreedon whether or not kindness alone could put an end to racism. Although there were clear differences in views, everyone responded respectfully and there were never an issues over the disagreements. It is important to approach interactions with the intention of not hurting that person’s feelings. I too felt that kindness alone couldn’t end racism, but I chose not to engage in the conversation. There were already many comments in disagreement and I didn’t feel like I needed to chime in as well and I felt like there was nothing to contribute to the conversation that hadn’t already been said. It’s a good reminder that words carry weight and that one should use their words meaningfully with the understanding of the impact they can have on others. The term“emotional correctness” was introduced to me and influenced me to change my thinking. In the Ted Talk, “Is It Enough To Be Politically Correct?”, Sally Kohen mentions, "my biggest takeaway is that for decades we've been focused on political correctness. But what matters more is emotional correctness - the tone, the feeling, how we say what we say, the respect and compassion we show one another" (Raz 2014). Political correctness alone simply isn’t enough. Emotional correctness allows you to treat others with respect while putting yourself in their perspective to try to understand their opposing views. I struggle with this concept as it takes a lotof maturity and patience with people and sometimes I lack those things. With completing this course, I have acquired a few skills including communication with others, feeling and showing empathy for others, and staying in dialogue when experiencing conflict with others. These are all skills that will need to be focused on and practiced in order to fully grasp the power they will have in my life. According to the TED Talk, “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race”, Jay smooth mentions, “We need to move away fromthe premise that being a good person is a fixed immutable characteristic and shift towards seeing being good as a practice and it is a practice that we carry out by engaging with our imperfections” (Smooth 2011). When getting into future political debates, I will keep these concepts in mind and focus on not letting my emotions stand in the way of a productive conversation. I am very passionate about politics and can get emotional when in a heated debate. I will remember to


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