Social Observations Essay, Research Paper
For my social observations paper I attended a high school football game and observed how students interacted with fellow classmates, namely students from other towns, teachers, parents and even the town “super-fan”. I also observed how they interacted with classmates of different race and ethnicity and how they didn’t interact with the elderly. I expected to find that the students would be mainly in groups of the same social and economic status. I also expected to find the students keeping their distance away from the parents in the stands or the parents keeping their distance away from them.
When I first arrived it was apparent that the “popular” students still sat in the same section (top left corner) in the stands as they did when I was a student there. It was obvious that the students that were in this group felt comfortable around other “popular” students. The students in this group rarely strayed away unless it was to the snack bar and when they did it was with 4 or 5 others. On their way back from the snack bar the teachers would sometimes try to start a conversation with the students but the students kept it short and sweet, afraid of what fellow classmates thought.
There was very little interaction outside the group for fear of embarrassment. Most of the conversation outside the group was to the town super-fan who is more often than not intoxicated. He attends all the football, hockey, and baseball games and is often on the rowdy side. The students found it amusing to ask him questions and give him hypothetical situations. This was one of the very few times they interacted with non-group goers.
The students from other towns are automatically viewed as outcasts and aren’t included in the conversation. When students from other towns are introduced to people in the group, the students are often nice but then criticized their personality or clothing behind their back. One of the more popular students had a cousin from the town of the opposing team and everyone in the group was friendly because of the popularity of his cousin.
The parents sat in the middle section of the stands away from the “loud and obnoxious adolescents”. as one parent stated. The parents’ main objective was to pay attention to what was happening on the field and maybe catch up with a few old friends. I asked one parent why they didn’t sit with the students and she said, “I can’t enjoy the game if their screaming all the time and acting like a bunch of idiots.” On the other hand the students’ main objective was to talk about what they were doing after the game, what happened in school that day or whose boyfriend and girlfriend.
The biggest surprise to me was that the African American students sat in their own section of the stands. The few African American students were always included four years ago when I was there. The number of minorities has increased since I was a student there; therefore it was now more noticeable that they separated themselves. They also rarely interacted with people outside their group but the efforts they made to keep their distance were more evident. They also didn’t pay too much attention to the game but their behavior was loud and more obvious. Unlike the group of white students the African Americans sat with races other than their own like Latinos and Asians but the group was predominately African American. There were a few white students that conversed with the African American students but it was sporadically and for a short amount of time. I asked one student why they thought there were separate groups throughout the stands, she replied, “They (minorities) they sit over there we sit over here, it’s no big deal.” These students separated themselves maybe because they feel more comfortable with people of their own race, or maybe because the white students make them feel unwanted. In my observation it was not because the white students discriminated against them but because it was how they preferred to converse.
In conclusion all the different social groups I discussed tend not to interact with each other. In some instances it was done on purpose like in the case of the parents but in other cases it was just because of the different levels of how they viewed their social status. How, who and where high school students interact with each other is very important to them because of reputation.