In 1959 famed sociologist C. Wright Mills released his book the sociological imagination upon an unsuspecting world.  The radical professor hoped to change the field of sociology with his observations about society and beliefs that the field of sociology can be used to improve the lives of average citizens.  Although the book is written in technical jargon that only sociology majors would find remotely bearable, he does have some very important things to say.  The crux pf his thesis is that there is a connection between public policy and the private problems that everyday people face.

The reason that his thesis can be considered iconoclastic is because most people did not subscribe to this view then, and do not give it much thought today.  This has to do with the American ethos of rugged individualism and personal responsibility.  These concepts are applied in a way that lays the blame of failure of the individual person on their shortcomings rather than outside forces beyond the persons control.  Hard work is an important part of success in life many people seem unaware of how decisions made by people whom we are likely to meet have an impact on our lives.  The sociological imagination seeks to connect the dots and see how the direction of our daily lives are sometimes taken out of our hands.

An excellent example of the sociological imagination relates to unemployment and poverty.  If someone loses a job because the job was sent to a foreign country because of a business decision an individual employee has no part of, the soon to be unemployed person has to quickly find another job and seek to file for unemployment benefits.  If that worker has a family and is the main provider, then finding another well-paying job becomes paramount. Because unemployment benefits are limited, the worker will eventually take any job that puts money in the pocket and might have to adjust to a lower standard of living.  These circumstances could lead to lower life time earnings and having less money limits the number a choices a person has when making important financial and life decisions.

Making It to The Finish Line recognizes the validity of the sociological imagination.  As a community organization we help people deal with the negative impacts that may take them off the path of a successful future.  By instilling a strong sense of community we aim to build a resilience so that they can pick themselves up and brush aside problems when they arise.  It is important to instill these values when kids are young, because if too much time passes they may not develop the necessary coping skills to overcome obstacles.   In order to complete our mission we can use all the help we can get.  If you are interested in helping or know anyone who is, call Gladys Pearson at 313-460-0596.


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