Through my studies in sociology and literature as an undergraduate, I realized that scholastic research can add considerable insight into the processes by which society operates. Indeed, by studying and reading sociological texts I became more observant of the injustices in the world. After learning about discrepancies in social classes, I was inspired to read a famous sociology book by Mitchell Duneier’s called Slim’s Table: Race, Respectability, and Masculinity. The book is about the working-class culture of black men in Chicago. Upon reading I thought that it was an excellent analysis of this particular sub-culture. Throughout the semester I continued my studies in sociology and the insight I gained from the course has given me a completely new outlook on the role of the social worker and the pressing need for individuals to ensure social justice for the downtrodden members of society.
Another instance that drew my attention to the discrepancy of social justice in the United States was my study of the 20th Century Civil Rights Movement. In a speech at an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education Supreme Court decision, Bill Cosby offered an impressionistic indictment of the ills he found within contemporary culture and poor Americans to collectively engage in a process of increased social responsibility and personal agency. Cosby argues that while oppressive social structures and racism were the once the predominant reasons for the achievement gap, with the advancements of the Civil Rights movement — as exemplified in the Brown vs. Board of Education decision – today, progressive developments in African-American education and financial security will occur by turning the microscope inward and taking personal responsibility. “It’s not what they’re doing to us. It’s what we’re not doing. 50 percent drop out.” Cosby states, “It’s not about the money. It’s about the money.