Why is sociological research necessary? Why is relying on personal knowledge alone not enough to help us clearly understand events in our daily lives?

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Relying on only your personal experiences and knowledge of life often results in the enactment of prejudice and oppression towards people who have different lived experiences than you. This is continually proven in defensive reactions of white folks when people of color speak about racism, male defensiveness when women speak...

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Relying on only your personal experiences and knowledge of life often results in the enactment of prejudice and oppression towards people who have different lived experiences than you. This is continually proven in defensive reactions of white folks when people of color speak about racism, male defensiveness when women speak about misogyny, and so on. Many of the defensive responses are rooted in a lack of understanding regarding other people's lived experiences.

Often, the person who does not experience the oppression use this lack of experience as a reason why the oppression does not exist. When police kill black men and uprisings occur against the police killing, many defensive white folks react by saying things such as, "Well, I've never had a bad interaction with police." This refusal to expand one's understanding beyond their own personal experience is part of the reason oppression can continue to exist.

Sociology, when rooted in an intersectional perspective, can encourage people to think about the realities of other people and life forms on the planet, and how these experiences can be immensely varied based on class, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, ability, and so on. Sociological research can make connections about common lived experiences and conclusions based on these common experiences.

For instance, since black women have worse overall health outcomes than white women, sociology can be used to understand the overlap of racism and health care—and how that affects black women.

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