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Sociology is the Soil that Pervades a Racial Orifice 

Albeit, there have been crucial components that determine the reconstruction of the behavioral personality, and psychological feedback of an individual—like the parents, an institution, others—but it is fundamental to point it out that society is one of the most vital, if not the most vital of it all. To understand society, we must turn toward sociology.

What is Sociology?

The Dictionary of the Social Science edited by Craig Calhoun defines Sociology as “the scientific study of society, including pattern of social relationships, social interactions, and culture.”

Fact is, every race is predominantly judged by the society that bred it. Africa, tagged black and green, stupid, animal-like Non-Africa, tagged white and experienced, civilized, human. I mean, the deduction has been from the common conclusion that while one society radiates, crimsons along with its dwellers; the other punctures, perforates along with whatever habitat dwells in its pouch. Now, what substance pervades this large orifice of segregation, if not for the difference in the society?

Let’s see, a good reference will be ‘Pet’ by Akwaeke Emezi which paints Lucile as a society where angels are presumed to be draped in white robes, winged, wearing golden faces or carrying kill-evil swords; where monsters are assessed to carry horrible faces, long noses, wear red capes, and be molded of two different unfit parts. Pet looks a monster, and Hibiscus, an angel. But reverse is the case, isn’t it? This is a textual representation of the relationship between what the society concludes on, and how the object of verdict might be different from the conclusion.

The Relationship between Humans and Society

Sociologists believe that human traits are patterned, even if there are rooms for choices—which insinuates that there can be a shift, a change in the recorded pattern, as slight as it may be. Albeit, society does not exist independently in relations with humans, yet humans are greatly a product of the society; which insinuates that the two are interestingly jumbled in an abstract sense. The conclusions are: man depends on the society.

Man is a product of the society. Man is smudged with the color palette his society mixes. Man is a nominal object, wherein his society becomes the determiner right before it. You see, none is completely independent. And this brings the conclusion that man and his society can be said to have a mutual connection—wherein one depends on the other to grow, to breathe, to exist.  

Sociology and Inequality in Society

In a healthy society, there will always be a gap, a breach between a part and another. A web source defines a society as ‘a collection of individuals united by certain relations or modes of behaviour which mark them off from others who do not enter into those relations or who differ from them in behaviour. Which means, the society knowingly or not, recognizes that there will always be distinct parts—rich or poor; communist or capitalist; black or white—that exist to show proof of one as disadvantaged, and the other not.

Functionalist theorists recognize inequality as inevitable, and important in the society while conflict theorists view inequality to arise from differences in power. But the point of discussion is that traits are not necessarily always patterned, there can be a shift, a room for choices which then gives a room to recognize that not all poor people stink; not all black are offensive; no particular trait is fixed!

Racial Inequality in Society

I’ve always wondered how people with different race view themselves. Is there a stream of consciousness? Is there always a sense of belonging, or is the sense literally split into two or three or multiples? Well, American sociologist W. E. B. Du Bois has offered a detailed rationale to this with his theoretical contribution to the world of racism, the concept of double consciousness, in The Souls of Black Folk.

Du Bois’ Concept of Double Consciousness

This concept refers to the way in which people of color picture themselves with two different identities—one, through their own very eyes and what they think of themselves and the other, through other eyes and what they think of them. This will likely be more understandable if you can relate to the groundless fact of how all Muslims are terrorists.

 Du Bois wrote:

“It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his twoness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.” 

This quote frightens the body, sucks nutrients out from the nape, to think that I might actually get pulled over by a police, arrested without warrant, or rough-handled just because of the inscription of what other people believe my society reads: I’m black, and I’m dangerous.

Read more on Du Bois at the link below:

Crossing Lines and Code Switching: A Sociological Take

Sunday T. Saheed

Sunday T. Saheed is a Nigerian poet and essayist. He is the 1st runner-up for the Nigerian Prize for Teen Authors 2021. Sunday T. Saheed has appeared or is forthcoming in journals and magazines including Open Leaf Press Review, Kalahari Review, Nigeria Review. He was among the 84 finalists for the Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange 2018.