In Group And Reference Groups

Submitted By lile2414
Words: 562
Pages: 3

In-groups and Reference Groups In class we have talked about different in-groups and reference groups. An in-group can refer to one’s family, team, club, and other groups that coincide with these. A reference group refers to a group/environment one is comfortable in mentally (Allport 12-15). An individual that comes to my mind that is in the media today is Michael Sam. He is an African-American, college football player that is coming out publicly that he is gay. Why does this matter you may ask? He might also become the first openly gay NFL player if picked from the draft, which is kind of a big deal. Michael Sam play football for Mizzou (University of Missouri). His football team would be considered an in-group. It could also be considered a reference group because he mentally feels he belongs there. Now, Michael is a male, making his sex an in-group. His sexual orientation is he prefers men, meaning he is gay and may be considered both an in-group and a reference group. He is also African-American, which is an in-group as well.
Now that we have established which in-groups and reference groups he is a part of, we can now discuss why it seems important that he comes out to the public that he is gay. The first reason would be not all people support gays. Take the Westboro Baptist Church for example. They are an in-group of their own. They hate anyone who is gay and who supports gay people. They think that God hates gays and march around protesting this. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but these people verbally attack gay people and their supporters. Considering this, why would anyone want to publicly come out that they are gay when there are people out there that are hateful to them. Michael Sam wants to show people he is okay with who he is because there is nothing wrong with him. He is a child of God just like everyone else.
A second matter would be how his teammates would treat him. He plays on a team full of men. These men might