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College of Arts & Sciences
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Sociology Program


   Sandra Weissinger, PhD


Sociology is more than a discipline or career choice; it is a lifestyle. One that enables me to see the world, and my role in it, with clarity, compassion, and determination. From this mindset, I am able to resist demoralizing and debilitating social affairs. I argue that without this quality of mind, I would be pushed, from sea to shore, with every new example of how racism, sexism, and state-sanctioned discrimination persist.

Certainly, there is no shortage of inequality. But, because I am grounded in sociology, I am able to understand that the xenophobia of today is rooted in the unresolved xenophobia of yesterday. I understand and respond with the thoughtfulness and conviction of someone not driven by fear, but driven by data. Someone who refuses to be silent and isolated and is, instead, made strong by the creativity and resiliency of community building interactions. It is truly empowering to be motivated by the potential of what happens after the fear, hate, shame, and anguish – all characteristics which haunt those who harbor prejudice and act out in discrimination.

My observations of society have shown me that many of us are in denial concerning the connection between micro-level support of individual racists and how this mindset (of apathy and denial) is reinforced by institutional co-signing of overt and covert racism. This pattern of denial is true for all forms of discrimination. And these acts and ideologies grow more perverse the more people run away in the name of colorblindness, rules, and apathy.

Yet, there are some of us who resist these destructive tendencies. We deal with life on life’s terms and work to create anti-racist, anti-discriminatory, cultures that are inclusive. That is the power of the discipline of sociology. Personal power, due to an understanding of how the past influences the present, drives sociologically minded people to build the communities of the future – communities that are supportive, creative, and resilient.

These sociology-rich communities promote the development of people motivated by growth, hope and long-term success. This communities sit in stark contrast to communities that are personality driven and built upon brutality, tradition, and fear.

Surely, sociology, as a lifestyle, is empowering and has provided me a unique vantage from which to move through the world – come what may.

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