Drug use in grand theories. The recent drug topic that is ideal for this discussion would be marijuana. In the 80s while I was in high school, it was an illegal substance. A drug that drew rebellious teenagers to use to demonstrate their defiance against authority. It wasn’t a drug used every day because if you did, you would be considered a “pothead” or a “stoner.” It was used amongst peers when we were ditching a class and showing we fit in with one another.
If we heard of an adult using marijuana, we would immediately label them not only as a pothead but also as being weird. In our minds, adults were supposed to be responsible and using drugs was not a sign of this. We were well aware if we ever got caught by school staff or the police there would be legal and parental consequences. The thought of being a responsible adult steered me away from using marijuana as I became a young mother who had to raise her children.
In the 90s, the discussion of marijuana for medical purposes was a frequent discussion. In 1996, the State of California approved the use of medical marijuana (https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_215,the_Medical_Marijuana_Initiative(1996). My opinion of using it for medicinal purposes, with so many others, began to shift as we saw the benefits it had for our patients. This was during the time I worked with HIV/AIDS patients, who suffered from so many ailments that caused severe pain and discomfort. These were no longer the “potheads” that were portrayed in the Cheech and Chong movie “Up in Smoke, 1978.” These were people who were suffering and seeking any means for relief.
Over 20 years later it was approved for recreational use with the State of California being the first. In the New York Times one patron stated his strict southern mother was ok with the use of cannabis since it was now legal (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/01/us/legal-pot-california.html). Even though it has become legal in the State of California there are still laws surrounding cannabis. For instance, it is still illegal for minors to use and or posses it. People can not use on federal property (https://www.sftravel.com/what-you-need-know-about-legal-marijuana-california). With the legalization also brought the cannabis excise tax at a whopping 15% to ensure the State of California also benefits from the sales (https://www.cdtfa.ca.gov/industry/cannabis.htm#Facts).
In this article, Harry L. Grace shares how the educational system conforms children into socialized standards. He states it is a “secondary institution.” The educational system “consists of a methodical socialization of the younger generation. (Henslin 2007:447).” Their emphasis is on physical, emotional, social, and academic growth-preparing children to be productive adults for society.
I joked about this so many times with friends and family when we are in public places. I remember I was in the dreaded DMV line. I said to my friend, we are to stand in a straight line and wait until it was our turn. We are not to question the system but abide by the rules (obedience).
We are taught time management. We are to arrive every day on time and if we will not be attending school, we must call in to inform them of our absence (sick day). There will be a teacher (employer) who will be in charge to tell us (employees) what needs to be done. There will be scheduled daily tasks to be done without questioning (obedience). If we do a good job, we will be recognized and even given a prize (salary/pay). Those who do exceptionally well will be acknowledged by the school in an assembly in front of everyone.
We are taught how to work well with others in groups (teamwork). We are not to hit others. The use of appropriate tone at the right time. There is an inside voice (professional) and an outside voice (with friends and family). When we have a question or concern, we need to raise our hands (abiding by policy and procedures). It stresses the importance of being a “good student” as the ones who do not do well, are labeled as “bad students (Henslin, 2007:457).”
I was on my way to school and I was stopped at the light on I-5 and March Lane. Annoyed I had missed my green light, I looked around to distract myself from my frustrations. I noticed a woman on the corner waiting to cross the street. She grabbed my attention because she was holding a large radio, what we called “boom box” back in the 80’s. She had her music blaring, and she was dancing to the beat. I found this act initially refreshing. At the moment, she was enjoying life and not concerning herself what others thought of her. The woman was probably in her mid-40’s, of mixed race (African-American and Caucasian), she wore a tank top with overall jean shorts. She noticeably allowed the hair in her armpits to grow long. Her hair was in a natural state, by that I mean, she allowed her shoulder length hair uncombed. I appreciated I had found a positive scene to bring me down from my irritation.
When the crosswalk light was green, she would cross right in front of my vehicle. I kept watch of her and the drivers of the other cars as she passed in front of them. People frowned and shook their heads with disapproval as she crossed. She noticed I was not only watching, but I was also smiling. At this point, I am nodding my head up and down to demonstrate I was also listening. Her smile grew. She stopped at the corner, which is now on my driver’s side of my car. She yells out, “You like that s$@#?!” I continue to smile and bop my head. Then her demeanor changed. She became aggressive. She yelled out, ” Open your mouth! I’ll give you that s$@#!” She is now opening her mouth wide, sticking her fingers into her mouth, and then wiggling her fingers towards me suggesting she stick her fingers into my mouth.
The expressions of the other drivers were that of disapproval. Her loud music, dancing in public, and possibly the long armpit hairs were not approved by others. What attracted me to this behavior is the fact I do the very same thing in my own yard when I’m gardening, mowing, or watering. People passing by will find it amusing when I’m behaving in the same manner. I will be caught up in my music blaring in my ears because I have headphones on. I understand what it is like to get caught up in the music and forget about your surroundings. However, when I notice people watching me prancing around, I abruptly stop.I become embarrassed. I get smiles and thumbs up when I am caught in such acts. But I am in my own yard whereas this woman was on a public street.
Once she began making gestures and suggestions about her fingers, then I was not comfortable. The scenario was now weird to me and she was crazy. When a person wants to impose into my personal space even through suggestion, in a sexual way, I am no longer interested in giving my attention. It didn’t matter that she is a woman, I would have felt the same way if it were a man.
Jennifer Hunt in this chapter, “Police Accounts of Normal Force” did participant observation for 18 months with the Metro City P.D. She reviews reasonable force and excessive force within their department through justifications and excuses. This study was published in 1985.
I have encountered police officers several times throughout my life. I have not ever been in a position where force was deemed necessary. I can not say it doesn’t happen because there are those few officers who use their position of authority and abuse it. I understand how she explains in this reading that what is taught at the academy isn’t what is always reflected in public. For any stressed induced position such as policing or even nursing, one can be trained one way in the classroom, but emotions take over in a significantly different mode once out in the field.
I once encountered an officer who attempted to use his authority to feel superior over me. I did not become disrespectful with the young man but instead remained calm. After our encounter, I contacted his Watch Commander to file a complaint. I explained in great detail the incident. I then proceed to ask him if I was wrong that this young man was new to the force? He confirmed he indeed was only six months into his role. I pointed out how I kept my demeanor calm and respectable. Instead he wanted to come across as if I were challenging his decision. I stressed to his superior, had I responded the same way it would have been a guaranteed escalated situation. He agreed and spoke with the officer.
In my instance, I had the opposite happen to me, where the new and younger officer was asserting his authority for no reason. His superior, who was a seasoned officer of 15 years was more patient than his subordinate. I am sure peers have an influence on each other. I would be interested in a current study on this topic to see how the officer’s, dash, and public cameras have impacted this in any way.
David L. Rosenhan conducted a “test” in 1973, on psychiatrists to see if they could differentiate between the “sane” and the “insane.” The results were they could not tell the difference between the two. It demonstrates that diagnosing is subjective.
For this study, he had eight individuals who are sane patients posing as insane patients. They used their own information with the exception they were seeking help for voices they heard. These pseudo- patients consisted of three women and five men. They were committed to several psychiatric hospitals throughout the United States. Upon being committed, the pseudo patients acted “normal” again. However, they were not allowed to leave unless they were deemed so by the staff. During their staff, they would take notes about their experience. Ironically, 35 out of 118 patients on the admissions ward voiced their suspicions “You’re not crazy. You’re a journalist or professor [referring to the continual note-taking]. You’re checking up on the hospital (Henslin, 2007:327).” Upon discharge, none of them were considered “normal.” Instead, they were discharged with “schizophrenia in remission.”
It gave me the sense if you go to a psychiatric hospital seeking help, you will be automatically diagnosed with some type of psychosis. It reminded me of my last reading Zimbardo’s “The pathology of imprisonment.” Once you are given a label [in this case a diagnosis of schizophrenia] the label will remain with you.
In the reading, Philip G. Zimbardo from Stanford University conducted an experiment with 24 young males. Half of the participants were assigned as prisoners and the other half as guards. The experiment was to last 2 weeks but stopped by the sixth day(Henslin, 2007:317). Three participants stopped participating and sent home by the fourth day due to the traumatic experience they encountered during this experiment.
Each person knew their role they were assigned to. The experiment revealed that the participants took on their roles whole-heartedly. The guards demonstrated an abuse of power over the prisoners: creating their own rules, “treat others as if they were despicable animals, taking pleasure in cruelty(Henslin 2007:317). The prisoners began to display behaviors as such, fighting amongst each other, thoughts of escaping and became “servile.” They could no longer differentiate between role-playing and reality.
This illustrates individuals can be consumed by social roles, labels that are placed upon them. This reminds me of my social status when I was labeled as a “teenage mother.” People immediately stated it was sad because I would never continue my education, or get a job to provide for my children. Rather, I’d be a lifetime burden on the system.
I have many friends who were the same predicament, teenage mother. They easily absorbed the negative statements about our status. I decided to fight the grain and returned to school, obtained a good education and career. I owned my own home before I married my second husband. What stood out for me is the majority actually accepted what was being said about them. They did not feel they were good enough to go back to school. They would just live off the welfare system until they could.
“Each of us carries around in our heads a favorable self-image in which we are essentially just, fair, humane, and understanding (Henslin, 2007:318). We should not place labels or people in categories. As demonstrated by Zimbardo, people will act on the labels they have been assigned to (Henslin, 2007:319). I found myself believing doctors, friends, and co-workers when I was injured that I would always be in pain and could never work again. I began to feel sorry for myself and the physical and emotional pain amplified for me. I began to ignore what others said and told myself repeatedly I would not conform to their expectations.
“In order to carry a positive action, we must develop here a positive vision.” Dalai Lama
In this reading, James M. Henslin shares the story of the plane crash with the Uruguay rugby team with their family and friends in 1972. The accident occurred in the Andes Mountains. There were over 40 people on the plane, and after the crash, only 27 people survived. Their flight contained a very minimal amount of food, so the survivors found themselves eating the flesh of the deceased-cannibalism.
People would say this was insane to even considered, there is no need to eat our deceased in our society when there are animals that provide the flesh we need. Initially, they could not get themselves to eat the meat of the dead. However, as the small group who wanted to do such a deviant behavior of cannibalism, got more people to understand the need to. They justified the need for cannibalism with rationing and religion since they were Roman Catholics; “They are no more human beings than the dead flesh of the cattle we eat at home (Henslin, 2007:279).” “God wants us to survive, and He has provided these bodies, so we can live.” The social group gave new meaning to being a cannibal in this situation. Our socialogical definition can change as needed.
You would believe people would not admit to such acts. However, they spoke openly as if to seek approval or forgiveness. “It was like a heart transplant. The dead sustained the living (Henslin, 2007:282).” “God gives us the body and blood of Christ in holy communion. God gives us these bodies and blood to eat (Henslin 2007:22).” They wanted to maintain a sense of respectable appearance, even though they participated in cannibalism. However, society accepted their actions and disregarded cannibalism as something considered unacceptable in other circumstances.
How does this resonate with today’s society? Marijuana use is one recent example. It was once considered socially unacceptable for individuals to smoke or use marijuana. It did not matter why a person justified the need to use it. However, as society began to understand the benefits of marijuana use, it has grown in approval throughout the nation. In 2018, there are now thirty-three states in the United States who have approved marijuana for one reason or another (https://www.governing.com/gov-data/safety-justice/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html).