That Time I Took A Sociology Class and Hated America

Tent City Rally Megaphone

A real picture I actually took at a protest I went to.

Everyone should probably take a sociology class at some point. You will end up hating America, but that's okay. For a little while, at least. You shouldn't go on hating America for the rest of your life or anything. Because it really is the best country, and all countries have flaws. You won't realize that during your sociology class, though. You will be blinded by indignant rage.

I know this because I took one my junior year of college. A tiny woman who graduated from Vanderbilt and wore pearls and cable-knit sweaters waved her fist around, giving impassioned lectures about minimum wage as sunlight glinted off the walnut-sized diamond on her finger. She didn't believe in pink toys or kitchen play sets because they encouraged gender stereotypes. She said things like, make no mistake: it is illegal to be homeless in Nashville, Tennessee.

We watched a movie by the same guys who made Supersize Me about living on minimum wage for a month. She yelled at us for not reading 10 pages of homework and wasting the education our daddies were paying for because we weren't applying ourselves or something.

Oh yeah. She was the real deal, y'all.

This class led me to start doing things like reading Shane Claiborne and arguing with my then-boyfriend-now-husband about gender roles and my right to work (which, as far as I can remember, no one was even arguing against). I even attended my first and only protest that year.

It was a protest to save Tent City, which was a well-known area where a lot of homeless people set up camp and was being threatened to be kicked off the property.

My friend and I went to the capitol building downtown and, after nearly getting trapped inside a very seedy version of Narnia otherwise known as a parking garage stairwell, we stood outside in the cold for a while wondering what we were supposed to do. Were we supposed to bring signs? Was there a chant? Isn't there always a chant? I saw my sociology teacher and hoped she would notice me and commend my commitment to justice for the oppressed. She didn't.

After a few minutes, we noticed something was happening, so we fell in a line marching into the capitol to Mayor Dean's desk, which, we gathered, was to give him a giant card a bunch of people had signed. I assume we were successful in that. I wouldn't know. My friend and I were in the back of the line, and I got stopped at security because I had a pointy nail file in my purse. People were filing back out of the building before I had even been cleared as a security threat. According to my memory (which is often unreliable), the card was actually a thank-you card, not a petition of any kind, because the mayor had already decided to save Tent City. So essentially our protest was all for naught. But no matter, I had done my duty that day. FOR JUSTICE.

Protest Pic

Don't we look like warriors of justice?

After a the semester passed and I realized I was never going to read "Jesus for President" no matter how good "Irresistible Revolution" was, my passion began to wane to normal-person status. I still think social justice is important, and women should be able to work and all that, but I'm not going to go around, arms crossed, and instigate fights with people about it. I'd rather agree with you on how great Kerry Washington is. (I KNOW RIGHT?) But I think it was good for me to experience.

Everyone should probably take a sociology class at some point in their lives. If nothing else, you get to watch movies.

Have you ever taken a sociology class? Did it make you hate your country and want to protest things?

P.S. I love America. Really. [Just had to be clear on that in light of the title of this post, since this is the Internet, after all.]