Table of Contents
The Merchants of Cool movie is a documentary that focuses on the cultural, social, economic and environmental aspects of the life of teenagers. The documentary film features the day to day sociology as it encompasses the youth population which forms a larger majority of the entire population (The Merchants of Cool, 2001). This study evaluates the sociological themes presented in the Merchants of Cool documentary including sex and gender, socialization, culture, social interactions, groups and social structure. Sociology plays a critical part in preparing an individual for the complex and diversified society’s opportunities and challenges.
Kenneth Clark and Kiri Davis’ work in sociology played a significant role in providing insights into the self-perceptions of children in relation to their race. Through the use of the doll experiment whereby a child could be presented with two identical dolls except for their skin color and then asked a series of questions on their preferred doll and its different attributes. Most of the children preferred the white doll. Their studies helped in exposing the internalized racism experienced by children especially African-Americans with further analysis exposing internalized racism to be more acute in segregated institutions. This research study was used to highlight the potential of damage caused by racial segregation in the public education sector. Kiri Davis on his part found similar results to Kenneth Clark but saw the choosing of white dolls as defiance against violent plays by black children which was popular at the time (Akpan, 2011).
Billy Mills on the other hand was a young athlete who had a great dream that propelled him beyond his native home when he won the first Gold in 10000 meters race. The love of Mills for his native tribe inspired his quest to give back to the community that very much had supported him. The movement project started by Mills has served to empower the Native Indian young people to better equip them for the challenges in the diversifying and changing world. Instead of injecting money to a problem, the movement plan was to empower youths with intellectual ability to identify a problem and come up with possible solutions.
The modern societies are faced with the challenge of an ever changing social milieu and hence sociology equips an individual with the conceptual methods and tools that can be used to gain a better understanding of the social milieu through behaviors of youths, their values and group attitudes. Gaining knowledge in sociology helps us to view both our society and other societies in a more objective manner. Sociology prepares an individual for the rapidly changing and complex society, culture and equips an individual with the ability to appreciate diversity whereas at the same time gaining vast knowledge on human behavior. In addition to this, sociology knowledge and tools help in explaining how societies structure and fit together and highlights the subsequent consequences associated with social change (Sociology and School Knowledge, 2015).
In-depth analysis of the external forces that influence behaviors, values and attitudes facilitates us to better understand ourselves and the how others’ motivation influence us. At the same time, sociology studies provide skills and tools required for active involvement in the creation, managing and advancement of social groups. Sociology provides a deeper explanation to the relationships between human beings and communities through observation of behaviors (Akpan, 2011). The American community has grown to a more diversified community in terms of ethnic, cultural and social populations. In such a complex and diversified community the sociology knowledge can prove to be a valuable resource to allow for various extents of support and understanding of other groups. The sociology knowledge may help individuals with different cultural backgrounds to accept different perceptions especially when operating within diversified groups.
- Akpan, W. (2011). ‘Local’ Knowledge, ‘Global’ Knowledge, ‘Development’ Knowledge: Finding a New Balance in the Knowledge Power Play. South African Review of Sociology, 42(3), 116-127.
- Sociology and School Knowledge. (2015).
- The Merchants of Cool. (2001). PsycEXTRA Dataset.