2013 - Fall Traditional Sociology

Welcome to Sociology

The Study of Society.


Sociology focuses on identifying, explaining, and interpreting patterns and processes of human social relations. This introductory course is designed not just to teach you some of the major findings of sociology, but to help you master fundamental sociological skills, including the ability to think with a "sociological imagination" as well as integrate "technological fluency" with "informational literacy" utilizing basic computer-based data analysis—skils which have broad applicability in a range of educational and work settings.

Our goal in this class is for you to gain a different perspective of a diverse world often taken for granted and to gain new insight into the ways that society shapes people and the way people shape their society. Our objectives are directed at building competence as a critical thinker and change agent so that you will better able to raise relevant questions about the direction in which society is moving, interpret social trends, and examine significant social problems.

It is my hope that this hands-on experience of "doing" sociology will both enliven your interest in sociological analysis and help you develop practical skills that you can use in other contexts as well. We can best understand the process of social interaction when we understand the person in place and in time. Our syllabus sets the place, time and process of this course for you the person.

Welcome to my world, your world, our world
Dr. Michael Thompson

Ronald Wells,
Racial Profiling Of Black


Every African-American male in this country who drives either knowingly or unknowingly has been the victim of racial profiling by law enforcement officials. African-American males are disproportionately targeted, stopped, and searched by law enforcement officials based on race and gender. Enforcement of public laws view prosecute, and incarcerate African-American males. On the basis of race and gender, governmental officials have devised a profile of black and male as criminals.

Driving while black has been used to describe the practice of law enforcement officials to stop African-American drivers without probable cause. The practice particularly targets African-American males.Racial profiling involves a pre-disposition held by law enforcement officers who are members of the majority, to believe that minorities, and particularly African-American males, are engaged in criminal activities; therefore, they are stopped and searched without probable cause or reasonable suspicion. Racial profiling has been institutionalized into our American justice system, as well as other systems that disproportionately exclude, punish, and ostracize African-American males. African-American males have fallen prey to law enforcement agencies, as they use racial profiling as a technique to selectively enforce laws and regulations. Data show that nationwide, the police exercise power primarily against African Americans and Latinos. So no person of color is safe from anywhere, regardless of their obedience to the law, their age, the type of car they drive, or their station in life. Skin color has become evidence of the propensity to commit crime, and police use this "evidence" against minority drivers on the road all the time.

Racial profiling is also based on the premise that most drug offenses are committed by minorities. The premise is actually untrue, but it has nonetheless become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because police look for drugs primarily among African Americans, they find a disproportionate number of them with contraband. Therefore, more minorities are arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and jailed, thus reinforcing the perception that drug trafficking is primarily a minority activity. This perception creates the profile that results in more stops of minority drivers. At the same time, white drivers receive far less police attention, many of the drug dealers and possessors among them go unapprehended, and the perception that whites commit fewer drug offenses than minorities is perpetuated. This results in the persecution of innocent people based on their skin color. It has a corrosive effect on the legitimacy of the entire justice system. It deters people of color from cooperating with the police in criminal investigations. And in the courtroom, it causes jurors of all races and ethnicities to doubt the testimony of police officers when they serve as witnesses, making criminal cases more difficult to win.

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