short project - Wang 1 Sharon Wang Sociology 150 Short...

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Wang Sharon Wang Sociology 150 Short Project 1 October 12 , 2015 The Impact of Religion on an Individual’s Life Outside of School “I thought Jewish people weren’t allowed to dance” . These were the first ignorant words I uttered upon meeting my executive director on Main Stacks dance team , Michelle Rubinstein . My misconception had stemmed from the thought that practicing a certain religion inhibited a person from doing certain activities that may be looked down upon because of their religion . I had wrongfully assumed something about Michelle’s Jewish identity based on stereotypes I had heard , because like most others , I fit into the statement that “We could all take out a piece of paper , write down the major stereotypes of [these] identities , and show a high degree of agreement in what we wrote” (Steele 5) . Coming from an overwhelmingly Agnostic family and growing up surrounded by friends who were mostly religion-less as well , I was never fully exposed to religion , and therefore never realized how significant or insignificant of an impact it is on the activities that an individual participates in . I was also never able to fully understand how religion worked , which was why I was quick to make assumptions based on stereotypes . However , even without a religion , I was and am still able to classify myself as an Agnostic woman and consider this my identity . My being Agnostic often shapes the way I behave more than I realize and thus contributes even more to my identity . In comparison , Michelle considers herself a Jewish woman . Factors such as family , friends , 1
Wang and worship helped to influence her identity starting at a young age . For her , religion plays a huge role in her life , because it is something she practices every day , as well as a major part of her decisions and ways of thinking . Although Michelle and I are both females , juniors attending UC Berkeley , and individuals who are crazily passionate about dance , our religions , or in my case , lack thereof , heavily affects our perspectives on activities outside of school . In this paper , I will explore the ways in which our religions , which have been reinforced by our respective surroundings , shapes our identities and what factors account for the similarities and differences between our acquired perspectives on extracurricular activities .

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