We’re pleased to announce our first finalist for the Virtuous Prom Peace Scholarship, Camille Williams, along with her submission essay.
Sociology Facilitates Peace and Understanding
In a world where violence, self-superiority, and hatred run rampant, promotion of peace and coexistence is more important now than ever before. However, although all of us would like to do our part in reducing misguided hate and egocentrism, there is not often a clear path to resolving this issue. Deciding where to begin, as well as learning how to accept viewpoints that do not align with our own, are necessary skills if we are to obtain our ultimate goal of peace in humanity. Through a solid education in Sociology, these skills can be acquired and developed into effective tools for promoting peace and discouraging acts of violence between people.
The Role of Sociology
I for one, truly believe that my studies in Sociology have allowed me to enhance and expand my own abilities in peace promotion by encouraging me to think with tolerance, understanding, respect, and compassion in mind. I wholeheartedly acknowledge that this growth can mainly be accredited to Sociology’s tendency to: encourage humankind to understand and relate to each other’s thought processes, teach people to respect other’s beliefs, and inspire people to solve their issues with others through use of productive and non-violent means.
Sociology Facilitates Understanding
Firstly, my studies in Sociology have made reacting to other’s situations with kindness and genuine understanding much easier. In difficult situations, I now find myself wondering what compelled others to behave the way that they did. I wonder what their side of the story is, how they feel they were treated, and what emotional reactions or distress this may have caused for them. This automatic process of attempting to view the world from another’s perspective creates an environment which welcomes peace, tolerance, kindness, and understanding. Many people do not realize that holding onto harsh initial judgments of others based solely on their most infamous actions actually promotes hate, intolerance and misunderstanding. This also makes future violence from others in similar situations an inevitable, reoccurring problem. To promote peace and tolerance, we must be willing to understand those who are misunderstood, and to react to their issues in a compassionate and productive manner rather than in judgement and distaste. In all honestly, nobody is perfect and we are not so different from one another. Unfortunately, when we stop attempting to relate to others, we cloud this knowledge. Therefore, it becomes much too easy to discount others as deviants and criminals; when we should be viewing them forgivingly. Most often, they are just people, like ourselves, who found themselves making unfavorable decisions while facing a difficult time with immense struggles.
Sociology Encourages Respect & Courtesy
Secondly, I have found that Sociology places great emphasis on respect of other’s opinions, beliefs, cultures, and customs. Maintaining respect and courteousness is of paramount importance to Sociology as it allows us to be immersed in other’s cultures in a non-threatening manner for the sake of learning through direct observation. Given the undeniable importance of respecting others and feeling respected to Sociological studies, I would have to argue that this factor is even more important when it comes to promoting peace. Respecting other’s opinions, especially ones opposing your own, go a long way in preventing negative feelings or judgements of others and the social or cultural groups in which others belong. Treating other’s opinions and beliefs with respect is an excellent way to avoid hostile emotions, which can escalate into acts of violence.
Sociology Urges Peaceful Solutions
Lastly, I believe studying in Sociology has encouraged me to automatically seek irenic solutions to social problems. Sociology encourages use of non-threatening, non-violent solutions to issues that could otherwise have ended very badly. The ability to encourage use of simple, virtuous tactics over convoluted, revengeful schemes is an invaluable peace promoting tool whose significance cannot be overlooked. When we take credit and blame as they are due, and pursue positive solutions to our issues, we set a standard for others to follow. Through use of peaceful problem solving, we can do our part in making the world a more rational, humane, and non-threatening place.
In conclusion, I genuinely feel that my studies in Sociology have strengthened my abilities to promote peace, understanding, tolerance, and kindness in every facet of my life. Making efforts to understand the rationale behind other’s actions, respecting others viewpoints, and solving issues in non- violent ways are skills everyone can make conscious efforts to achieve. These skills are strengthened and supported through the fundamental concepts of Sociology and become easier to attain as a deeper Sociological insight is acquired. I strongly recommend study in Sociology to any person looking to expand or discover their abilities to promote peace in their daily lives. Thanks to my increasing knowledge in this field, I feel like I can make more conscious efforts to combat unnecessary hate and intolerance in my life.
About the Author
Camille Williams recently graduated with an Associate’s degree in Arts, and is now a Sociology major at New Mexico State University.