Stacey's Web Page
Deconstructing the Underclass & Constructing Race, Creating White Privilege
About Me
Fall 2005
Claim of Fact
A Fist in the eye of God
Concept Formation: Attributes Dynamically Inhabited From Conscious Awareness
Women, Sex And Darwin
Pedagogy Of The Oppressed
Neurology Summary
Emotional Intelligence
The Intellegent Eye
The Allegory of the Cave
Psychology From A Culturec Perspective
Thinking Styles
Who I Am, How I Learn
Winter 2006
Claim of Fact
The Sane Society
Rethinking Primate Aggression
Domination & Subbordination
Blaming The Victim
The Social Construction of Reality & Stigma & Social Identity
Economic Justice: The American Class System
Deconstructing the Underclass & Constructing Race, Creating White Privilege
Citizenship as a Source of Obligation
Better Together: Restoring the American Community
Imperial, the Highest Stage
Imperialism 101, Shooting an Elephant & The Gentleman of the Jungle
Spring 2006

Schiefelbein, Stacey

Winter 2006

Rhodes 182F



Deconstructing the Underclass

Herbert Gans


Constructing Race, Creating White Privilege

Pem Davidson Buck


Why is there such a struggle for the average person to be better than everyone else and why are we willing to step on everyone to get there?


Why is social standing so important?


Why is it that when we give stereotypes people believe them?


Why do those who that are given stereotypes, believe them themselves?


            These articles really make you think of what sort of worthless people we can be sometimes, well actually not sometimes, a lot of the time, we are a very hurtful species. I don’t think it is something that we are born with, but rather something we learn. And why is that we learn those qualities?

            As humans I believe internally to an extent our animal instincts lead us to be the best, I think it part of battle of the fittest. Those who are the strongest live the longest, well live period. Since we are no longer in the stone ages were we beat each other to death (well most of us don’t) we’ve gone from physical tactics to verbal tactics. For one they have less severe consequences and well we can verbally attack the same person (or group of individuals) over and over. I guess you could view it as resourceful, we are using the same resources (groups of people or person) to make our self confidence go up. When people give stereotypes I think it is an internal protection device from what we do not know and fear, or a self confidence booster. I guess it really depends on the situation at hand.

            Why do we all want to be at the top of the social latter? Is it because the grandeur that is sugar-coated sounds so appealing or is power? Personally, honestly, for me it is both. All through my elementary, junior high, and high school years I wanted to be part of the “popular” group. They were pretty, fun, everyone wanted to be one of them, and they had the power. If they didn’t except you, no one would. And as a girl, you want to be accepted, you want to fit in and you want to be liked.  And I have the type of personality that if I want something, I want the very best, so being liked by the “popular group” wasn’t enough; I wanted to be one of them. I think it is because you think, if you are in the “popular” group all your problems go away, sort of like your life turns into a fairytale over night.  Now let me tell you, I was never popular in elementary school, either in middle school, and by the time I hit my freshman year I was popular at my new school, but at the end of sophomore year I got rid of the boyfriend in which I was the trophy girlfriend, and lost my popular status, by senior year I was accepted by the “popular” group and that was good enough, at school anyways. Before I continue let me tell you that being a trophy girlfriend was for the most part problem free socially, everyone was jealous of you and your boyfriend and everyone wanted to be you. But being the trophy to the boy was tough. You were to be looked at, which meant you must look phenomenal at all times. That means never leaving the house with out full makeup on. And as a freshman in high school a female should not be taught that, that is how women are viewed. Moving on. At my place of employment, I am very popular. But popularity in the work place is totally different then high school clicks. I’m popular because I’m always on time, I always do my job above what is expected and I’m a good worker and fun to be around. (It helps that I love my job). Now the advantage of being popular at the workplace, you get what you want. No, seriously. I’ve been with my current company for almost a year and a half and I’ve moved up and to different departments within the first three months. I’ve gone through four different positions, and they all are steps up. I wish I could have applied my attitude that I use at work to my school life, but it’s like comparing apples to oranges. In college it’s a little different, because unlike high school where school is your life, college is only a little part of my life. These days I’ve got a full time job, a part time job, a full school schedule, a rafting business I help run, and a family to take care of which includes my boyfriend, his son, and our two Labs. Even though I take my studies very seriously, I’ve got so much else on my plate I don’t have time to be the “popular” one at the University. What would being “popular” at school do for me? I’m sure nothing like the endless possibilities that it gives me at the workplace. I only spend 13 hours a week at school; I spend 25 hours at one job, 36-40 at another, and on an average 20 hours of studying a week. School persons are the least amount time spent with. What I’m saying is that you’ve got to pick where to be “popular” at to use it to your advantage.

            Speaking of advantages, people sure know how to use stereotypes to their advantage. It seems like if we don’t like someone or don’t know something about someone so we make up something people believe it. They believe what we make up in our own minds. Where is our thought processes at? Its like we don’t think about what people label others, we just automatically assume it’s correct. WHAT? I really cannot say much because, I use to be really bad at believing stereotypes, but I am getting better. I think the worst stereotypes come out in middle school where there are the leaders and the followers; there are no thinkers because we haven’t developed that social skill yet. I remember those days, they were vicious. I remember that we used to call this girl roadkiller (her last name was rohmiller) because of her acne and the fact that she was a whiny bitch and it was fun to make her cry, but no seriously they name is still stuck with her. We are now freshman in college that is like eight years of the same stereotype. So is there actually every a thinker? I think so, but you have to be strong enough in your own believes to stand up for what you believe in. It’s not easy in such a verbally vicious society.

            On the topics of stereotypes, the victims of stereotypes believe them. WHAT? Stereotypes are false assumptions, and when those who are stereotyped believe them, what are they doing but hurting themselves. They are loosing the battle. They are conforming to fit the stereotypes by which they were labeled. WHY? Is it easier to conform to an idea than to stand up and not conform? This upsets me because what it means is that people are still being lead by the leaders. I believe it is laziness. I think you should be who you want to be, not what someone else wants you to be. I think you really don’t understand the meaning of being secure in yourself till you reach college, seriously. I’m just now seeing and understanding how to be self-secured in who I am. It’s scary at first, but I’m a lot happier now for the decisions that I’ve made to be myself and not fit into the stereotypes. I’m not saying it’s always easy or a happy experience, but at least I get the piece of mind knowing I’m being true to myself.

            The fact of the matter is that stereotypes exist because of insecurities, and we have to learn how to deal with them. You are what you let yourself be, not what others ay you are. Be you and be proud of it. No one ever said life was going to be fun or fair, but you determine the fun and fairness of it all. Choose wisely you battles, use your current situation to your advantage, don’t let a stereotype or an “unpopular” vote knock you off your horse.

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Stacey Schiefelbein