How powerful is our culture and are we even aware of the power?
We have learned about cultures, groups, and socialization. Values are part of these topics from our own personal values to cultural values. All of our values are socialized. Let’s take some time to look at a fun story and see if we can put it into a context of these concepts.
Your Module 4 Critical Assignment is to first read The Piranha River Story:
Once upon a time there lived Beyoncé who was in love with Pat. Pat lived on the shore of the Piranha River and Beyoncé lived on the opposite shore of the river. The river that separated the two lovers was teeming with people-eating piranhas. One day a huge storm washed out the bridge that was the only means of crossing the Piranha River. Beyoncé wanted to cross the river to be with Pat because of the love they felt for each other. They missed each other so very much. With the bridge washed out the only way across was by boat. So Beyoncé went to ask Gilligan, a riverboat captain, to provide passage across the Piranha River. Gilligan said that he would be glad to give Beyoncé passage if Beyoncé would consent to having sex with him before the voyage. Beyoncé promptly refused Gilligan and went to talk to a friend named Jesus to explain the predicament and get advice. Jesus did not want to be involved at all in the situation. Beyoncé felt the only alternative was to accept Gilligan’s terms. Gilligan fulfilled his promise to Beyoncé. Beyoncé crossed the river and was delivered into Pat’s loving arms. When Beyoncé told Pat about the sexual escapade, Pat cast Beyoncé aside with disdain. Heartsick and dejected, Beyoncé turned to a friend, Bubba, and relayed the tale of woe. Bubba felt compassion for his friend Beyoncé and sought out Pat. Bubba beat Pat brutally. Beyoncé was overjoyed at the sight of Pat being punished. As the sun sets on the horizon of the Piranha River, we hear Beyoncé laughing at Pat.
Once you have completed this story and thought about it, write one 3-5 paragraph essay that responds to the questions below. Your essay should be at least 500 words and appropriately have an introduction, body, and conclusion. If you use any outside sources, those should be cited using APA format. Included below are some questions to get you thinking about your response in terms of the science of sociology.
Who do you think is the most horrible person in the story and who do you think is the least horrible? Why? You may want to rank order the characters from “1” being most horrible to “5” being least horrible.
What personal values do you hold that may impact your decision of most to least horrible people? Examples of personal values may include but are not limited to achievement, altruism, autonomy, beauty, companionship, control, creativity, duty, education, emotional well being, fairness, family, friendship, fun, greed, health, honesty, justice, knowledge, love, loyalty, monogamy, patience, peace, pleasure, power, recognition, religion, sex, spirituality, success, violence, wealth, and wisdom. I suggest you rank order your top five or ten values that guide your life. They may or may not be in the list above.
How do you know these are your true values and not just the ones you think your culture wants you to have? Those things that are your top values would dictate how you spend your time each day, how you make decisions, what guides you in your daily activities. Are the values you listed the ones you spend most of your time on? For example, if you listed family in your top five values, yet most of the time in your day is spent doing things that do not involve your family, then perhaps this is not really a top value for you. Do you think that the values you listed are truly your top ones or perhaps did you list that which you think your society or culture expects you to list?
How powerful is our culture and are we even aware of the power? Think about it: Has society socialized you into believing that values like power, greed, and wealth are bad or good? What about values like religion, success, and sex? Do different cultures have different values of violence? How do you know this? What are examples? How powerful is socialization? How easy is re-socialization, especially if it involves strongly internalized values? How powerful is our culture and are we even aware of the power?
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