A person’s behavior is a product of cultural influences, social roles, and personality characteristics. The situationism perspective suggests that a person’s behavior and actions are influenced by their immediate surroundings and environment while the dispositionism suggests that internal factors influence our behavior. In this context, an internal factor is a characteristic of a person that may include personality traits such as temperament. The present self-reflection adopts the situationism perspective to evaluate how my personality is influenced by immediate surroundings and environment. The situationism perspective is anchored in the conflict theoretical perspective to highlight the way inequalities in the society contributed to my life experiences as a white male living in the New York Area. 


Growing up in the New York area as a white male has exposed me to life experiences that have shaped my personality as an individual. Being born in a middle-class family had a significant impact on my personality, particularly social identity. Dwivedi (151) defines social identity as an individual’s sense of who they are as a result of their group membership(s). Belonging to a social group becomes an important source of self-esteem and pride. Achieving middle-class status is a dream for very many Americans is it opens up opportunities for better health and education. As the second-born son of a retired mechanical engineer and a retired registered nurse, I have had several opportunities that have exposed me to unique socio-cultural and economic experiences. Living in the Queen’s area of New York City allowed me access to numerous baseball facilities scattered across the middle-class borough. In America, baseball is considered a recreational sport for the middle class. Therefore, playing baseball significantly elevates a person’s social status in society. Understandably, I have been playing baseball since I was 5 years old and currently play at the university. Playing baseball presented unique opportunities to spend more time with my dad as he was always busy at the gas station and repair shops. It was the one thing that both of us would dedicate time and effort to watch and play. It also presented opportunities for father-son bonding time as well as socialization with my peers. 

According to Wiener Welsh and Blasch (151), family influence the expectations and values of a person, either directly or indirectly. Parents directly influence the personality of their children by teaching them values to live by, particularly how to interact with other people. Indirectly, parents teach their children about social expectations by socializing with them. Watching parent interacts with others, determine what’s wrong and right as well as make choices impact how children develop their moral self. This is true because my mum has had a significant impact on my morals by consistently teaching me the value of respect and honesty. While my dad has been pivotal in teaching me the value of hard work and diligence, my mum taught me how to be empathetic by occasionally challenging me to make personal sacrifices for the sake of others. As a result, the values that guide my interactions with other people were instilled in me by my parents. Watching my parents interact with other people has had a significant impact on my morals.



The conflict theory suggests that conflict is an essential part of the social order and that schools play a critical role in the reproduction of social inequality, particularly racial stratification and class conflict. The education system in the United States is not meritocratic as individual hard work and talent do not necessarily guarantee success. Larger sociological forces generate inequality outcomes that privilege the powerful and exacerbate inequality within the education system to help maintain the reproduction of the status quo. In this context, education is used to maintain existing power structures while creating an underclass or docile workforce. Access to quality education is one of the ways inequality in society is exacerbated through the education system. It is a source of entrenched social discrimination that ensures that only the children of the privileged and powerful in the society can access colleges and universities that offer education likely to contribute to the success of the students. Not everyone can afford tuition fees for elite higher education institutions, thus limiting upward mobility for the poor in society. I am fortunate that my parents can comfortably afford university tuition to enable me to pursue a course that will contribute to my career in the future.

The development of educational institutions is tied to property tax funds, therefore schools located in affluent districts of New York have more money to provide quality education. The affluent districts of New York City are predominantly white, like my parents. The schools are able to attract better teachers with higher salaries as well as install the latest technology and purchase the newest text to facilitate learning. Students like me attending such schools gain a substantial advantage of being fast-tracked into higher-paying professions. On the contrary, schools located in less affluent neighborhoods in New York such as Harlem and Bronx do not enjoy similar advantages such as access to the latest technologies and texts to facilitate learning. Students attending these colleges are more likely to be fast-tracked to technical or vocational training. In most cases, these schools are attended in high numbers by minority students. I was oblivious to these differences until I met students from colleges located in less affluent neighborhoods in New York. There was a Stark difference between the qualities of education provided in colleges located in less affluent neighborhoods as compared to where I live in Queens, New York. The experience exposed me to the inequalities in the education system that exacerbate conflicts between classes within a society.


America’s capitalist economic system requires a person to make a substantial income to access a certain quality of lifestyle. A person’s level of income determines their access to healthcare, education, housing, and other social amenities. My parents have made this abundantly clear by encouraging me to get involved in the family business to understand the source of income that supports the quality of life that I live. Since I was 14 years old, I have worked for my father’s gas station and repair shops. Over the years, I have learned to perform a number of repairs on motor vehicles as well as fuel vehicles. It is manual work that is tedious and exhausting, but very rewarding. Working at my father’s gas station and repair shops has taught me the value of hard work and diligence. I now understand that I will have to work for everything that I want in life and do it ethically.

Every day at the gas station and repair shops, I meet people of different personalities. The experience has exposed me to different cultural perspectives that continue to inform my interaction with people from different cultural backgrounds. I have learned to respect cultural differences and avoid stereotypes and prejudices when serving customers. My father has a culturally diverse workforce working at the gas station and repair shops. He has charged me with the responsibility of establishing a welcoming and inclusive working environment to prevent discrimination and harassment. It has been a challenge sensitizing the workers on the need to respect and embrace cultural diversity due to inherent prejudices and biases. Nevertheless, the opportunity to manage a culturally diverse workforce is sufficient preparation for a career in a culturally diverse workplace. I will leverage the lessons and insights I have learned managing my father’s gas station and repair shops to establish a successful corporate career. 

Also, earning a significant income is expected of men as providers and protectors. Perceptions of men’s social role as providers and protectors have permeated the modern society, that’s requiring capable men to provide for their families. Since I was a young boy, I have seen my dad work in his gas station and repair shops to ensure that we have enough irrespective of the season. I have come to admire the man because we have never lacked anything as a family, and I hope to do the same for my family. He has taught me the value of saving and investing whilst working alongside him as he used the proceeds from the gas station to open several repair shops in our neighborhood. It is an inspiration to be an entrepreneur, having seen my dad start a business from scratch and build it over the years to become an enterprise. It is vindication that hard work pays as my dad is a proud owner of a gas station and several repair shops in Queens, New York. He has managed to establish a loyal clientele through courteous, honest, and transparent consumer relationships.


New York is one of the most diverse cities on the planet, with an 8.6 million population speaking over 800 languages. Queens is the most diverse out of the five boroughs in the city, and 37% of people living in New York were born outside the United States. Living in a culturally diverse borough such as Queens, New York, has had a tremendous impact on my personality. I’ve had to deal with racial discrimination and harassment since I was a young boy due to conflicts emanating from cultural differences among the people of Queens. I am friends with people from different cultural backgrounds, although such friendships present opportunities for racial stereotyping.

Being White does not mean that I am exempted or immune from discrimination and harassment because I have suffered my fair share growing up. The perception that white people are extremely self-involved and less educated about other races has undermined some of my relationships with culturally diverse people in the past. Some people find it surprising that I can enjoy hip hop music because white people are stereotyped as listeners of rock and country music and abusers of hard drugs such as cocaine. I have tried several interracial dating relationships with little success because racial stereotypes often come up. Nevertheless, living in a culturally diverse city such as New York has taught me to be tolerant of other people’s cultures, norms, and beliefs. I have also learned to embrace the unique differences attributed to cultural differences to establish harmonious relationships with my neighbors.

Accepting and celebrating diversity in society is an attitude that involves accepting and respecting the feelings, ideas, behaviors, and experiences of people different from oneself. This means embracing people of different age, gender, race, ethnic origin, social-economic background, sexual orientation, as well as religious and political affiliation. Embracing diversity starts with recognizing personal uniqueness to better understand how different other people are from you. It is besides considering inherent stereotypes that infer a fixed and simplistic view of other people. I recognize that I have an inherent weakness that I must resolve to improve my perception of the opposite gender. I am yet to accept women as equal to men because I have always considered the latter superior to the former. It has been a challenge working under female bosses irrespective of whether it is in a social or corporate context. I have a habit of undermining their authority in addition to doubting their ability and capabilities. I feel it is a problem that will hinder my professional development; thus, I should address it before it costs me a career opportunity.

            I appreciate my social status as a middle class because it allows me to access better education and health care facilities and like people living in Harlem or Bronx. I do not take it for granted that my parents worked hard to give me the best life they could, and I hope to do the same for my family. I intend to leverage the opportunity that my social status accords me to develop a career that will enable me to earn a decent income to support my family. I might be tempted to continue in the family business because my father is insisting that I should take over from him.

Works Cited

Dwivedi, Kedar Nath. Meeting the needs of ethnic minority children – including refugee, black and mixed parentage children: a handbook for professionals. London: J. Kingsley Publishers, 2002. Print.

Wiener, William R, Richard L Welsh and Bruce B Blasch. Foundations of orientation and mobility. AFB Press: New York, 2010. Print.