Personal Action Plan Diversity can affect many aspects of a person’s life, including social class. When someone steps outside his or her normal surroundings, he or she becomes aware how others of a different social class live. The person will observe others at a higher or lower point in life. This may allow someone to step outside his or her comfort zone and gain a different perspective. This person could learn new or different things from observing others of a different social class. He or she may interact with socially conscious individuals and view their traits.
By witnessing this, this person may see a change in his or her comfort level and could become more of a socially conscious person. He or she may realize some areas need improvement. According to Bucher (2010), when a person steps outside his or her normal surroundings, he or she may gain a different perspective increasing his or her awareness. This could allow him or her to develop steps in possessing growth in this area. The person experimenting with this activity considers his or herself to be middle class. He or she chose to observe others of a lower class in an unemployment office.
This experience allowed this person to observe others trying to find work within the area. The majority of these people were men of different races, but there were a few women. Each person ranged in age, and some were dressed nicer than others. The person experimenting saw some people were dressed professionally whereas others wore jeans and dirty shirts. The people at the unemployment office did not pay any attention to the person observing. These people were focused on filling out applications. The unemployment office was consistent with people coming in looking for work.
The person experimenting observed some of the people taken to small offices for interviews whereas others continued to sit there all day. The person observing was out of his or her comfort zone. The people at the unemployment office were trying to find work to support their families and the person observing began to feel sadness for the other people. These people were trying hard to get a job and most did not succeed. The person observing was uncomfortable because he or she did not want the others to believe he or she was starring or making a mockery out of everyone’s troubles.
The person experimenting was not use to so many people less fortunate surrounding him or her. He or she was unsure if he or she stuck out to everyone and did not want others to become aware that they were being observed. The person observing was scared of the people’s reactions if they knew the reason he or she was there. This person learned that others of a lower class are people too. These people want stability for themselves and their families. People can assume that others of a lower class want handouts, but in reality these people are willing to work for what they have.
The person observing realized that judging others quickly without knowing why these people are struggling is wrong. There are many reasons a person’s social class can change. The less fortunate people may have been laid off from a job or may have a sick family member with excessive medical bills. The person observing learned that these circumstances could happen to anyone at any time and that his or her social class could change at some point too. According to Williams (2002), social class can be predicted by a person’s occupation because every job has a different status level.
The person experimenting realized that his or her perceptions changed. He or she saw the effort these people were putting in to find work. The majority of the people at the unemployment office spent their entire day filling out applications and waiting to see if they would get an interview. This allowed the person observing to gain a different perspective on others of a lower social class. The people at the unemployment office were patient, interested, and eager to answer any questions obtaining to their previous work history and background.
There were many socially conscious individuals. These people were friendly toward others who were applying for jobs or working at the unemployment office. These people were quick to help others struggling with filling out the applications. Everyone was aware of his or her surroundings and understood each other’s hardships. Many people were social with others and would talk among themselves. These people had positive attitudes considering their troubles. Many of the people knew they would not find work, but continued to sit there.
These people were not willing to give up and continued to be determined, passionate, and eager to overcome their struggles. When the person observing first approached the receptionist, the receptionist acted rudely and appeared to have a bad attitude. Once the receptionist knew the person observing was a college student working on a paper, the receptionist’s attitude completely changed. After a few hours had passed, the person observing saw the same people waiting for interviews appeared to speak Spanish. Everyone who was taken back for interviews spoke English clearly.
The people speaking Spanish continued to sit there waiting. According to Weeks, Weeks, & Frost (2007), social class and race play a role in discriminatory behavior of others. These are the types of social inequality witnessed by the person observing. The comfort level of the person experimenting changed from when he or she first arrived until he or she left. The person observing was nervous and scared in the beginning. He or she did not want others to realize why he or she was there. This person believed others may react badly and would think the person observing was there to judge others less fortunate.
By the end of the observation, the person experimenting realized the other people were not paying attention to him or her. The people at the unemployment office were there to find work and were not focusing on the people sitting there. This allowed the person observing to be calm and relaxed. This experience taught the person observing to be more socially conscious. The person learned never to pass judgment based on appearances. A person must witness the hardships of another to see the effort put forth by someone less fortunate.
The person observing learned to never make assumptions before looking at the whole picture. He or she will start to become more aware of the people around him or her. The person observing will need to possess several traits to become socially conscious. He or she will need to offer kindness toward others of a different social class. This person will need to be considerate and show empathy for others hardships. A positive attitude and influence will help the person observing to be more socially conscious. The areas that need improved are lacking empathy toward others of a lower social class.
Sometimes a person may believe someone is not trying to improve the hardships in his or her lives. The person observing use to believe a person wanted things handed to him or her without working for the things he or she needed. The person observing plans to take steps to ensure growth in this area. This person will take the time to get to know people of a lower social class. He or she plans to have an open mind about the hardships of others. If this person begins to have better communication with others, he or she will ensure growth in becoming more of a socially conscious person.
Although diversity affects social class on many levels, a person must become aware of his or her surroundings to understand others of another social class. Someone needs to observe another social class to realize how quickly assumptions can be made before knowing the hardships of another person’s life. This can allow a person to gain a different perspective and grow as an individual. This person may witness types of social inequality while learning to become a socially conscious individual. An experience like this may help ensure growth as a person and as a society.