Unit V Project: Photo Essay
SOC 1010, Introduction to Sociology
Columbia Southern University
Unit V Project: Photo Essay
Part A Photo Essay
Image 1: Photograph of Absentee Parents ([Photograph of Absentee Parents], n.d.)
I chose this photograph to represent the story of my childhood. The image above represents me or a child with one or more absentee parents (n.d.). This is an issue in today’s society where one parent for whatever reason is no longer part of the family. This could be due to the parents getting a divorce; one parent could be incarcerated or they possibly cannot see themselves as parents and run away from the responsibility. To me this photograph depicts my father missing from my childhood and not being a part of our family and the strain that is caused on us.
Struggling Single Parent
Image 2: Photograph of a Struggling Single Mother ([Photograph of a Struggling Single Mother], n.d.)
Image 2 continues the story of my life as a child. To me this photo represents my mother struggling with four children as a single parent. The photo above also represents a common issue in today’s America, that of the struggling single mother (n.d.). I chose this photo because looking back at my childhood I can see my family in it. It also represents my family’s shift from one social status to another. After my father was no longer part of our family we moved from the lower-middle class social status to the lower class social status. Sociologists call this kind of movement horizontal movement (Witt, 2016). This photograph also lends itself into the next one which is that of the overworked parent.
Image 3: Photograph of an Overworked Single Mother ([Photograph of an Overworked Single Mother], n.d.)
Image 3 is yet another continuation of my youth. In my eyes this photograph above depicts my mother being overworked and dog tired (n.d.). Not all single parents struggle but it is an issue that continues to be seen in America today. The stress and burden of raising four children as a single parent was difficult. My mother had to make hard choices on what job she chose to work and what hours she chose to work this at times led to her being as depicted above an overworked parent (n.d.). A secondary issue this caused was another absentee parent. The ripple effects created by this issue were enormous in my life and led me to being what I call a troubled youth.
Image 4: Photograph of a child in juvie ([Photograph of a child in juvie], n.d.)
Image 4 is that of a child in juvie sitting on a bunk (n.d.). This is not me in this photograph but represents where I was at one point in my childhood. As a youth I was frustrated with my status in life and what I felt at the time was a lack of family. Due to not feeling like I had a family I spent more time with friends and built the family I wanted. Some of the people I associated with were to be nice, poor decision makers and their influence on me impacted the choices I made because I saw them as family and didn’t want to disappoint them. Those choices landed me in a lot of trouble with the law and eventually a juvenile detention center.
Image 5: Arkansas National Guard Youth Challenge Emblem ([Arkansas National Guard Youth Challenge Emblem], n.d.)
Image 5 is that of the Arkansas National Guard Youth Challenge Emblem (n.d.). I chose this image because it represented a turning point in my life. As mentioned in the previous image I made poor choices that landed me in a juvenile detention center. When I was sentenced by the judge I was given two options, the first go to juvie the prison for four years or go to juvie then into the Youth Challenge Program. To me it is still one of the easiest and best decisions I have made. This program changed my life it showed me that I could be more than what I was and it helped me gain a sense of independence.
Enlisting in the Airforce
Image 6: Photograph of civilians enlisting in the Air Force ([Photograph of civilians enlisting in the Air Force], n.d.)
Image 6 depicts a group of youths enlisting into the Air Force. I was not in this picture but I was in a group similar to this one. I chose this image because it shows the start of where I am currently. Based off the experiences I received from the Youth Challenge Program, I saw the military as a way to make a good living without needing a higher-level education. Many people join the military for the same reasons every day. Joining the Air Force also helped in moving me into a higher social class than what I was previously in. I moved from the lower class social status to the lower-middle class social status.
In my opinion Social Class had a lot to do with the way my childhood was shaped. I believe that social class plays a big part in some of the life chances that I was afforded. Looking back, I was in a lower tier of the social class so I was not afforded many choices which led to me taking advantage of the chances given to me. I was part of a single parent family and very poor, I made poor choices which led to me getting into trouble and was given the opportunity by a lenient judge to change my life, which I took. That opportunity gave me the option of joining the military and rising in my social status which has afforded me with a magnitude of other life chances. This assignment has given me the chance to look back over my life and look at the situations and decisions made by my father, my mother, and myself and what effects that they had on me and my family. I never realized before how much social class and life chances were tied together before completing this photo essay.
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