An Individual’s Thoughts on Group Thinking
Fast and Furious As I rode to my hockey game that night, I feared pressing submit. My banner – a video involving the whole grade – needed to be released.
Dierks Bentley came on the radio as my aggressive father veered in and out through traffic. We were late. Start of Something New When Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. wanted better representation in his accomplished musical career, he took it upon himself to create a company putting the interests of the artists first. In 2003, Carter, better known by his stage name Lil Wayne, while working alongside business associate Cortez Bryant, created the Young Money label.
Part of Cash Money Productions, owned by Universal, Wayne used his connections in the rap industry to sign budding new artists Curren$y and Boo in early 2004. Lost in Thought Having a thought is a journey in itself. Action potentiation veers through the neurons in the brain, trying to reach its final destination: the hippocampus. A tired mind means traffic on the expressway. This thought struggles to find shortcuts, meandering through foreign neighborhoods and traveling in all directions. Left and right turns, forward and backwards progression, even the occasional U-turn are all part of the voyage.
There are no posted signs giving directions, no hitchhikers on the side of the road with their thumb aimed skyward, no traffic cameras. Don’t get lost. Too Soon to Quit In 2011, Don Firke, head of the Latin School of Chicago, issued a statement that after the end of the season, the Latin Hockey program would be cut from Latin Athletics. Decreased participation, poor results and a spike in costs were the main reasons why the headmaster decided to end the program. A Facebook page, “Support Latin Hockey” was created by Pete Matias (’05) to provide a voice to the current students, parents, and alums in order to save the program.
In two months, over 70 responses were posted. These responses were each read in front of the board of trustees, the athletic director, and Mr. Firke himself in an effort to save the program. Blue Button I worked diligently on the lyrics for the banner, spending late nights listening to “BedRock”, trying to understand the tempo, the down beats and rhymes. Incorporating the class of 2017 into a song about drugs, sex and alcohol was risky; however, if it was executed well, I could go down as a legend.
The other grade rep had tasked me with the banner while she tended to more nit-picky activities like early morning meetings and constitution revisions. My task involved using the bland Google doc template to create the freshman banner for that years spring carnival. Never a creative one, I relied on RhymeZone for rhymes and RapGenius for lyrical interpretations as I molded our grade into four and a half minutes of previously explicit lyrics. So that night, as I began to be flustered with questions on what the banner would be, with a deadline looming so near that I calculated there was no chance we finish this in time, I stared blankly at my screen.
The navy blue ‘submit’ button shone effervescently at the bottom right corner of the screen, urging me to press it. I had all the lyrics in the textbox, evidence of the sleepless nights I had put into the process. Release Date After being leaked in September 2009 to Lil Wayne fan sites, “BedRock” was finally released on November 14, 2009. Approval Rating Just as my finger inched toward the screen, horns blared, and my father swerved out the way of a stalled truck pulled on the shoulder of the highway. I feared the reaction and critique of my classmates, but also yearned for their approval. My baggy hockey warm-ups coupled with my flaming hot seat warmer caused sweat to glaze over my body as I wondered if this was the right time.
I decided to press submit just before I got on the ice. Fast Lane The thought process is different if you are with others. Suddenly the thought has a police escort. Maps and GPS are now at its disposal. It travels forward at high speeds.
No stop signs to the right; no red lights above; nothing can stop it. An Unattended Phone I exited the rink after a great win. My line combined for 4 goals in a 5-3 win over Highland Park. I was momentarily cheerful before peering down at my phone. Two hours away from it resulted in over 75 notifications about my work.
While some of my classmates loved the work I had produced for the banner, I received a lot more negative feedback as my inbox was flooded with demeaning messages. I had no idea how to respond to all of these personal attacks, but at the same time I struggled to share my emotions with my family. I was afraid they would agree that the work I had produced was not ok, that my peers were making valid points. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work In December of 2009, Young Money, produced their freshman album, “We are Young Money” which included #1 song “BedRock.” The group’s work was very popular as it reached gold just five months after being released. Enemies to Teammates The Latin hockey team was saved after months of battles with the school.
Many have said that remarks made by players were the most powerful statements at the trial. Many were relieved to know that their voice The saved program opted to become a consortium for city hockey players. Now students from schools throughout the city were involved. Latin and Parker, Walter Peyton and Whitney Young, Northside and Lab: bitter rivals became teammates. Latin Hockey was the city’s team. Acting Like Everything is not OK What caught me by surprise the most was the collective hatred of my piece from the theatre department.
Many of the messages I received came from that group as if they were all conspiring against me. “As a theater homie I can speak for the group and say we are offended by a few of the lines.” New Friends The signing of both Drake and Nicki Minaj to Young Money’s label in 2008 was a major breakthrough for Young Money Entertainment. In the next five years, both produced No. 1 Billboard albums, Take Care and Pink Friday respectively. Additionally, both were important contributors to Lil Wayne’s first version of “BedRock.
” What’s on Your Back? Saving the program for some was a chance to show their attachment to the game. “When I step into an ice rink a chill runs up my spine because I am so excited to get on the ice. If hockey is taken away from Latin many people will lose the opportunity to play the game they love, and get a chance to wear that jersey that represents our school” • Matt Lucas Job Change I was forced to reconsider my banner. Due to the complaints, I reached out to the rest of the grade, asking for help from anyone interested. I was stripped of my role as chief lyricist and assigned to supervisor. I now had no say.
Putting Our Heads Together Social psychologist Irving Janis was the first to diagnose group thinking in 1972. He discovered that it most often occurs when a group is very tight-knit and under considerable pressure. Moreover, groups affected tend to ignore alternative solutions and often times act irrationally. Fifth Time’s the Charm There are five versions of “BedRock”. The artists that have been involved are Lil Wayne, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Lloyd, Gudda Gudda, Jae Millz, Tyga, Rasheeda, Omarion, Kandi, Diamond, Lola Monroe and Toya Wright.
Plebiscite A grade wide vote was held: “BedRock” was ousted by “Royals.” All my work and collaboration with classmates was for nothing as the final tally suggested the grade favored change. We were never able to come to a unanimous decision. Unity Saving the program for others was less for personal reasons. Latin Hockey was inclusive, taking in a wide breadth of talent levels.
Not everyone played because they loved the game, but they loved the team mentality: one for all, and all for one. “When commitment is coupled with students sacrificing their time for the respect of a team, an incredible sense of unity manifests itself. It would be a travesty to deny Latin students a rare opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to their school.” • Arielle Saporta Playing the Odds “Decisions shaped by groupthink have low probability of achieving successful outcomes.”