Sociology and African Diaspora Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

four-year college, California State University Long Beach (CSULB) was my first choice. However, since CSULB could not accept my application, I decided to apply to California State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH), which was listed as an alternative location option on the CSULB application. I took this decision independently after examining CSUDH's Human Services Program material. In fact, I did not even attend an orientation meeting, although I had received an invitation.

Thus, it is evident that I had decided on Human Services as my major before enrolling in classes at Dominguez Hills. My choice was influenced by my current career objective of working as a child counselor in Social Services. Therefore, my choice of major was shaped by my future career goals rather than any previous work experience. To be honest, however, I did not choose CSUDH because of the reputation of its Human Services program. Instead, I chose it because it was the next best alternative, in terms of location, to the Social Work course offered by CSULB.

After completing my baccalaureate, I am hoping to graduate in counseling studies from Capella University. In fact, I think it is important to mention here that I have given up my previous job so that I can concentrate on qualifying as a child counselor in Social Services.

The Human Services program offered by Dominguez Hills has been an invaluable learning experience. However, it has been my experience and observation that the current fee structure, along with the mandated volunteer and intern hours result in increasing the burden on students. Therefore, it is my suggestion that CSUDH reconsider aspects of its fee structure such as the levying of a health fee and multiple increases on the tuition fee per semester. In addition, it is my view that a reduction in the number of mandated volunteer and intern hours would help students better manage their academic and other commitments. On the whole, however, I believe that I have benefited from my time at Dominguez Hills. Therefore, it goes without saying that I would recommend the institution to a family member or friend.

My field experience in Human Services took place through Children's Institute International (CII). My placement with this organization was highly useful since the organization's work is directly related to my ultimate career goal of working as a child counselor. Therefore, I believe that I have learnt a great deal from my exposure to CII's efforts to improve the lives of Los Angeles' most vulnerable children. More specifically, my time with CII has allowed me to gain first-hand knowledge of how social and economic factors can adversely affect the psychological well-being and development of children.

The crucial role that family environment, upbringing and values play in the psychological development of children is well documented in academic literature. However, no amount of reading prepares you for the real world experience of working with children who have been traumatized by abusive families and home situations. For, this is when one actually faces the challenge of applying theory to real world counseling and treatment of vulnerable children. In fact, my experience with CII taught me just how important it is to take a calm and professional approach to the assessment, treatment, and counseling of troubled children and their families. Indeed, this point was really driven home during the several occasions when I encountered troubled children with uncooperative parents.

Thus, in my view, my placement has been successful in meeting the learning objectives, duties and responsibilities, which were stipulated in my contract. In fact, I would like to place on record my appreciation of the opportunities, support and training that I received at both CII and CSUDH.

My decision to pursue a career in the field of human services did not come easily since it involved giving up a steady job in technology. However, I believe that nothing worthwhile in life is ever achieved without a great deal of effort and some sacrifice. Indeed, it is this philosophy that has given me the strength and determination to go back to school in order to realize my dream of helping troubled children grow into psychologically healthy and socially productive adults. In fact, I believe that I will have made my life worthwhile if I can help even a small percentage of children overcome their personal problems or the disadvantages of a troubled family life.

Childhood is a time of innocence, hope, curiosity and spontaneity. Thus, in my view, it is a great injustice when a child is deprived of the opportunity to experience the unbridled joys of childhood. Although much of the responsibility for such a crime can be placed squarely on the shoulders of a child's parents or caretakers, the fact is that children are the future of any society. Therefore, any progressive society must assume responsibility for the well-being of those of its children whose families fail them. In fact, in such cases, the representatives of society, namely, its social workers must accept the challenge of helping troubled children resolve their troubles so that they can go on to enjoy the rest of their precious childhood and grow into happy, secure, productive adults.

I recognize that this task is easier said than done since the cognitive ability of children, especially very young ones, is still developing. Therefore, it is extremely hard to make a child comprehend as to why life has seemingly singled him or her out to, for instance, face the trauma of an abusive family situation. Thus, to my mind, the most important challenge for this population is to develop an understanding of life that is really far beyond their ability at that age. In fact, this is precisely the area where I hope to make a contribution, in my capacity as a Social Work Associate, Licensed Baccalaureate or Master Social Worker.

The study of African diaspora has gathered significant momentum in recent times. This momentum, if maintained, can succeed in making an important contribution to the understanding, preservation, and strengthening of African cultural and ethnic identity. Indeed, this is evident in the central thesis that has underpinned this course. For, as Palmer (2000) points out, the modern African diaspora, at its core, consists of the millions of people of African descent living in various societies who are united by a past based significantly, but not exclusively upon racial oppression and the struggles against it. Thus, these African communities, despite the cultural variations and political and other divisions among them, share an emotional bond with one another and with their ancestral continent and who also, regardless of their location face broadly similar problems in constructing and realizing themselves.

Since the African Diaspora communities in the United States are largely descended from the estimated eleven to twelve million African slaves who were brought into the country between the fifteenth and nineteenth century (Palmer, 2000), it can be inferred that racial oppression has strongly affected the life and culture of these communities. Indeed, this is evident in the literature and art that emerged from the Harlem Movement. In fact, Alain Locke in his essay The New Negro makes the observation that Harlem had become the center of a process of transformation, where Africans irrespective of ancestral lineage, were uniting in a quest for racial pride, consciousness and solidarity.

The indelible impact of slavery and racial discrimination is also manifested as a recurring theme in mid to late-twentieth century African-American literature, irrespective of the geographical grounding of such works. In other words, although the effects of racial oppression were more severe in the slave plantations of the South, other African communities across the United States were as affected by racial discrimination and prejudice.

Interestingly, racial oppression and resistance to it are the more salient features of African diaspora communities spread all over the globe.…

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