Notes on Observation in Muskegon, MI (1 hr on Pere Marquette Beach)
Who? I observed multiple groups of high school and middle school aged learners on the beach. They were primarily groups of Caucasian high school or middle school learners. I observed one group of three teenage Caucasian girls who were wearing the same exact swimsuit but in different colored stripes. This struck me as important as the teenagers thinking it was cool to wear the same type of article of clothing but that it could not be 100% exactly the same.
I observed a group of Caucasian boys who were all in swim attire walking down the pier. They were socializing with each other and seemed to be getting along.
I did not see a large number of African American or Latino students on the beach. This could be because I went later in the afternoon (around 4 pm) which is not a prime time to go the beach.
So what? Fitting in seemed to be a number one priority of the girls I observed and that wearing a similar swimsuit indicated solidarity but the different colors indicated individuality. This could be reading in between the lines but I think there is something about wanting solidarity and individuality at the same time. It also seemed like many of the people at the beach were probably with their families but were allowed to walk the beach alone in their group of friends. It seemed like they were happy when they were away from their parents.
I would like to observe the beach either at an earlier or later time to see if the demographics change with the time of day. I would also like to see if latino and African American learners are with their families on the beach or if they are by themselves. I would also like to see whether or not the sense of solidarity/individuality is as important to African Americans or Latino? Does clothing matter or is it about the personal relationships? Is what I am seeing at Rivertown mall with the Caucasian populous caring about brand names and African American/Latino populous not caring as much true as well at the beach?