Would he have a different type of influence at different stage? I do not think so. For the thirty years that we were married, he always seemed like that book smart classmate that I always knew. Maybe if we had met later on, he would be someone else husband,
3. Life Obstacles
Most difficult challenges? The loss of my mother at a young age because of TB had a great impact on my future. She could not afford medication. It was a luxury. Back then, the civil rights movement was at its peak, amenities, and employment opportunities for African-Americans were scarce. Peddling smack (heroin) was the easiest way to earn a living. At that time Johnson was president and Rockefeller was governor. They were tough on drugs. Eventually, my brother was caught. He got fourteen years. I was left all alone.
Role of the environment Everything! I never had an opportunity to attend school. My mother died because she could not afford medical care. The conditions back then did not favor you if you were black. We would hear the likes of Jackie Robinson speak of civil rights and equality, but it was all a mirage to us. At least in New York, it was not as bad as it was in the South. Segregation within the state was not as bad.
What helped you? Initially, my brother kept me going. He was involved in rough stuff, but he always found time to pass by and check up on me. At times he would take me out to an old diner called Bixies over the weekend. After he had got arrested, I had to think of myself.
Outer support I got a lot of help from a church in Crown Heights. It had an outreach program to rehabilitate former drug users through church programs. Even though I had no drug problems, I was given a cleaning job where I was paid using food. Five years later I was sponsored by the church to attend a vocational college.
Inner support After losing my mother, my desire for a better life kept me going. I was not going to be a quitter. It reached a point where I wanted what everyone else had. I craved for normalcy. This desire pushed me out of the gutter.
5. Looking Back
The most important lesson in my life is that of persistence. I have realized that no situation in life is irredeemable. I had lost my mother at sixteen, my brother at seventeen, and spent over a decade doing menial jobs. Here I am.
Advice to others Drugs! Stay away from drugs. I have never seen anything good that came from drugs. I lost my brother and many family members to drugs. My brother came out of prison and barely a month later, he was back in the slammers doing time for marijuana possession. Besides that, it is important to realize that life is a very precious gift. Each day that we squander doing things that are meaningless hurts us. My drive every morning is to better my yesterday.
6. Looking Forward
For my future, I want to reach a point where I can look back and say that I have lived life to the fullest. I just want to help my daughter to raise my grandchildren to grow up to make a name for themselves. Thus, for my future, I want to be there to see my grandchildren succeed.
Hope to experience I have achieved most of what I have always wanted in life. I am a simple person, and simple things give me pleasure. The older you get, the more you want to feel alive. There is this feeling that time is running down quick. Perhaps I would like to travel more and experience more. I do not think I have done enough of that.
What do you regret the most? I do not believe in regrets, but at times I feel as if I should have lived life more during my youth. By the time I had achieved my certificate in eighty-two I had spent another five years pursuing a diploma and working. By the end of all that I was thirty-seven years old. I had not left mainland New York throughout all that time.
What would you do differently?
Travel more. Most definitely travel. And maybe gotten involved in activism. During the seventies and eighties, there was a lot happening.
What defines happiness to you?
Happiness is all about living life to the fullest. I cannot stress enough the importance of living life. Happiness is also about learning to appreciate the simple things in life. I value positive experiences over material possession any day.
What were some of your happiest moments in life? I have lived a happy adult life. However, I can say that the three best moments of my life include the time when I got my certificate in social work, when my daughter was born, and when I bought my first house. My social work license got me my first job. My daughter is the beacon of my life. My house symbolizes my perseverance. It may not be a mansion, but it is my little house.
Interrelation Between Micro, Mezzo, and Macro Systems
The life of the respondent shows clear connections between the various interrelated systems. On a micro level, the respondents life is affected by elements such as family issues, household, her personality and the type of neighborhood she is raised. On a mezzo level, she faces issues arising from race and the community. The macro-level of society affects the subject through national laws and societal pressures and systems.
These concepts are all interrelated. On a macro level, segregation was very rife during the subjects childhood. This was part of the trend of racism that had affected many areas of the country. Thus, this macro level issue then made it harder for the community where the respondent was raised to have amenities such as hospitals. Thus, the respondents mother was unable to access medical services. As such, she passed away.
The race wars on a macro level can be explained through the use of the conflict theory. According to the theory, society is always in conflict because of the scarcity of resources. Thus, through domination, social order is maintained (Manza, Sauder, and Wright, 2010). This relates to racism where the white people during that time were not comfortable sharing their resources with black people. By amassing resources such as buses, restaurants, and trains, (available on the mezzo level) the whites who were predominantly wealthy would ensure social and economic dominance.
Another interplay between the systems theory is the issue of civil rights. The respondent was present during an era where the civil rights movement were at their peak. These movements were mezzo level and designed to counter macro-level forces. At a micro level, the subject was mostly skeptical due to her life experience. As seen in a study by Bergstrom and Dekker (2014), the interrelation between different systems can lead to an increased nature of resilience. For instance, external pressure on the civil rights movements that originated from all the social system levels increased resistance on the part of the campaign. Similarly, the problems faced by the interviewee were caused by mezzo and macro factors. This translated to micro level resilience on her part.
Moreover, according to the respondent, the differences between macro-level factors and mezzo level elements hurt her micro level life. She uses the example of her brother who was incarcerated. The subject believes that the association of drugs with the African-Americans contributed to the high rates of arrests of her family members. This association is also attributed to the racial conflicts that existed during the civil rights movements. Community initiatives to fight against racial discrimination had gone contrary to national norms and practices. In turn, this led to mezzo level profiling that affected lives on a micro level. The respondents brother was arrested, and she found herself hustling for a job at the age of sixteen.
The interplay between various levels of society can be explained using the conflict between essentialism and social constructionism. Under essentialism, entities have particular characteristics that contribute to their definition. This philosophy seeks to eliminate commonalities that exist between various people while at the same time promoting differences. This causes racial problems because some races use this to claim superiority as seen in the past. Comparatively, constructionism allows for open thought on the interpretation of entities (Berg-Sorensen, Holtug, and Lippert-Rasmussen, 2011). People cannot be predefined. As such, individuals should be evaluated objectively and not based on basic description or stereotypes.
Additionally, the interplay between social levels has resulted in social mobility for the respondent. When one takes a look at her economic and social situation in the sixties and how far she has come, one notices the significant progress. While narrating her early life story, the subject paints a picture where social mobility for most black people was negative or stagnant. The respondent attributes her success to education. Education exists at the mezzo and macro levels. Micro level challenges that affected her and her family give her the required drive to overcome mezzo level challenges of racism that had created an educational divide.
Life events are specific occurrences that are usually abrupt and have the potential to result in a turning point as well as a transition. A life event differs from a transition since a transition is usually gradual. The impact of life events can be calculated through the use of a Social Readjustment Rating Scale. This scale analyzes the stress score caused by a particular life event. Using t...
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