Dr. Wade Nobles: The Concepts Of Power In Society

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Power is the ability to define reality and to have other people respond to your definition as if it were their own. – Dr. Wade Nobles
What is power, and how does one possess enough of it to define the reality of others? Power is the invention of labels and categories to separate people into different social positions based on race, class, gender, sexuality, or other characteristics. These categories and positions are often the basis of the individual’s identity. We so often hear people say, “I am a…,” and then fill in the blank with a color, occupation, race, etc. We also hear people reject certain labels because of cultural connotation that comes with being put in a particular category. We are aware that the labels exist but are blind to why they exist and who, or what, made them necessary. One person does not hold the power of reality in his or her hands. Power is held by the shared works of a group of people
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Our reality, or truth if you will, may be different from those of our counterparts. What we know to be true can be shaped by religion, science, place, and time. Truth often reflects the ideas of the majority (Schwalbe 2007; Nobles). Being mindful of who creates truth can help to better understand societal structures such as power, privilege, and race. To demonstrate sociological mindfulness one must also employ an understanding of the sociological imagination. In other words, in order to pay attention to how we change and are changed by our surroundings, we must understand the relationship between the private self and the community. Using the two can help us to experience life openly and not as if we are trapped in the push and pull of society. We have to see ourselves as an intersection point of our own person experiences and history, while simultaneously paying attention to and processing our unique interaction with society (Mills 1959; Schwalbe

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