HSM 250 Week 9 Final Written Assignment Character Profile
HSM 250 Week 9 Final Written Assignment Character Profile
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Date Created: 11/09/15
1 Character Profile Character Profile Axia College 2Character Profile Character Profile Each person develops a unique selfconcept relative to how they perceive themselves and their life experiences. Joe Clark, the principal of Eastside High School in New Jersey, is no different. In the movie “Lean on Me,” his character is not overly developed, so some of my profile is based on conjecture. Is this man an enigma or a dictator? A review of his character may lead to a clearer understanding of who this man is and why he is successful as a leader for change. Issues such as gender, age, race, religion, ethnicity, social class, and disability may all affect our view of ourselves as well as how others view us. So what makes this man who he is? Joe Clark is a man with a vision. His views and selfidentity make him successful in his role as a change agent at Eastside High. In his position, being male with a masculine persona is a plus. The students have taken over the operation of the school, so that no one feels safe. They need a stronghanded person who isn’t afraid to look outside the box and take control. His character is very stereotypically male in gender, including dress patterns, mannerisms, assertiveness, and technique. (Schmidt, 2006) He dresses in a suit and tie, stands tall and strong, isn’t afraid to make a stand, and exudes a demand for respect. Social class is one concept that most people never realize when thinking about selfperception. Joe Clark appears to be lowermiddle class. His salary as an administrator would have been marginal at best. I believe that he identified with many of the families with whom he worked with because he came from a lower class. He is in a position that most of us find ourselves in at one time or another; being a member of the 3 Character Profile “ingroup” and the “outgroup.” (Schmidt, 2006) At times, Joe found himself a member of both of these groups at the same time. The group support of the students in the jail scene was moving and showed how much they recognized his efforts (“ingroup”). He was also a member of the “outgroup” when the mother’s rejected him as a principal. Because he could identify and relate to his students about social class, he connected with them in a way a person from the upperclass never could. One of this character’s worst enemies was oppression. He constantly strove to make students realize that they had value, no matter how others perceived them. “Ethnic identity and related attitudes and behaviors influence the ways in which individuals conduct their lives, interact with people from other groups, and view society as a whole.” (Phinney, 1996). From all outward respects, Joe considers himself to be a member of the AfricanAmerican race, but who also associates himself with mainstream America. As a member of the “almost” mainstream, he share desires with other members (i.e.: a nice car, a better home, a family) of his ethnic group. He has faced his own share of discrimination based being “black.” He refuses to be seen as inferior and works hard to make sure others to become the best that they can be. In reality, this aspect of the character is a major part of what the movie is about. He wants his students to value who they are and where they came from, but also to respect themselves and others, regardless of what group they belonged to in ethnic terms. A person’s race is primarily based on genetics, but their identification does not have to follow those genes. Joe Clark considers himself AfricanAmerican. To be a powerful, black man during this time period would have been seen as lesser than his 4 Character Profile white colleagues. He steps into a role that requires he treat all people the same, no matter the color, every time. Because most of the students are black or Hispanic, his race is a benefit. He provides a positive male role model from a minority group many students may never have seen. Being a person of color makes this character acceptable to the student he teaches. Common experiences help him relate better to their personal issues. Age does not seem be a major issue for Principal Clark. He appears to be in his late 30s or early 40s. He was born into one generation and is now helping with people from other generations. Using the knowledge and experience he has gained from growing up, he can relate to this children he teaches. If he had been much younger or much older, he would have had to fight harder to gain respect. He was challenged almost daily, but the other groups would constantly have to prove prowess or fitness. Because he was of the age group of most of the parents, he gained their trust because he looked out for all children. Joe Clark shows no signs of disability, either physical or mental. He appears to be fit and healthy. Because he is zealous in his occupation, some might have labeled him as crazy. I think the fact that the character was portrayed this way lent to his credibility, even though it should have no effect. He appeared strong, virile, and had no issue with physically confronting a problem. If he had been overweight, slow, and non confrontational he would have had more difficulty establishing control. American society values the “healthful” look; the healthier a person looks, the more likely that they will be successful. 5 Character Profile Religious identify is often hard to pinpoint. It is very difficult to tell if someone is Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish, if they do not choose to tell. Joe comments that he has faith in God, but makes no further reference to his beliefs. The belief system of a person’s religion may affect they feel about and treat people. He seems to value each as an individual; each possessing their own family, personal, and needs differences. Sexual identity is also difficult to judge in Mr. Clark. He appears to be heterosexual and does claim to be divorced. From my perspective, he shows nothing but the signs of being actively male with interests in females. Clients who were homosexual in this era would have been looked down up and not trusted with children. Clinically they were told, “Most therapists now advise their clients to accept themselves and concentrate on managing their identities in a positive fashion; it is recognized, in effect, that their queerness is part of their essential nature and cannot be changed.” (Norton, 2002) I am not sure that Joe would have accepted homosexuals as normal, but I am quite sure that he would have demanded respect for their choices within his school setting. Society makes judgments about people every day. They decide who need services and who can stand on their own, often based on any of the issues discussed in this paper. Most would look at Joe Clark and think that a person in his position would not have need for human services. I contend he might. He may need counseling services to better deal with stress. Few companies offered health care insurance, so he might have needed assistance with medical bills. A principal was paid a very low salary in comparison with today’s school administrators, so while he was better off financial than the families of his students, he may have well been struggling. 6 Character Profile I would recommend some type of counseling for this person if he were a client. Being faced with constantly barraged with violence, drama, and anger would wear a person in this position down quickly. He would need to learn to handle the stresses of rejection to his learning format on both the parental, societal, and student levels. “When teachers attempt to engender a new (radical) pedagogic or ideological normative this is met with pockets of resistance from students.” (Perumal, 2008) This resistance could be seen as a personal attack and cause immense amount of stress and strife. He might need information related to healthrelated services, but I doubt he would qualify. I can see where societal misconceptions about the needs of his class could alter the services he might receive. If he had been seen as an average, middleclass man, it would have been assumed he could fend for himself. As a lowerclass, black man many services might have been offered that would never have been thought about for other classes. In working with Joe Clark, I think I would learn about respect, perseverance, and the ability to relate to other people. By integrating part of his character into my own, I would grow and become stronger as a human service professional. Joe Clark may have acted the part of a dictator, but I deduce that he was more of an enigma. He was a lowermiddle class, AfricanAmerican man who truly loved his students and worked hard to break them free from stereotypes. He does not allow social class to influence his expectations of his students and tolerates no disrespect. The role model he portrays shows strength, tenacity, and a willingness to stick by his guns even in the worst situations. His softer side lends itself to aiding families in trouble and students who need more than just the iron wrath of their principal. Identifying selfconcept 7 Character Profile identity in such a complex individual is difficult. His successes, as a leader and an individual, point to the fact that anyone can overcome the issues that society imposes upon us. Each of us has our own strengths, weaknesses, and identities; the question remains…Can a person control these issues and the perceptions that go with them, or will society control the person by presenting roadblocks that challenge and defeat self concept? C8aracter Profile 9 Character Profile References Avildson, John G. (Producer). (1989). Lean on Me. [Movie]. : Warner Brothers. Critique of Social Constructionism and Postmodern Queer Theory, 1 June 2002, retrieved from Internet site on October 8, 2009. <http://www.infopt.demon.co.uk/social05.htm>Norton, Rictor, "Sexual Identities", A Perumal, Juliet. (2008). Student Resistance to and Teacher Normalisation of Radical Ideologies. International Journal of Learning, 15(1), 211224. Retrieved October 9, 2009, from EBSCO database. <http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.apollolibrary.com/ehost/detail? vid=5&hid=112&sid=ba081f61f6524872a873 c614671ac185%40sessionmgr111&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d %3d#db=ehh&AN=34381974> Phinney, J. S. (1996). Understanding ethnic diversity.American Behavioral Scientist, 40, 143–152. Retrieved from EBSCOhost on November 6, 2009. http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.apollolibrary.com/ehost/pdf? vid=6&hid=108&sid=231fda9c046143c99453ba2f4c7b2333%40sessionmgr112 Schmidt, J. J. (2006). Social and cultural foundations of counseling and human services: Multiple influences on selfconcept development. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc. 10aracter Profile
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