Class Calendar

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

It's a privilege to be...white?



This picture featuring Michelle Obama was published with a caption saying that she wore a "flesh-colored" dress. Are they implying that Michelle's skin is not flesh? I don't think so, but this is an example of the privilege of being white; white skin is considered normal/flesh-colored.  This is just one of many privileges of being white in a culture that sees white as normal, desireable or better than other "colors".  This type of privilege is often unnoticed, subconscious, implicit.  But, it has a big impact.
Here is another example from Johnson and Johnson.  Note that the bottle says, "Normal to Darker skin," implying that there is normal skin and then there is darker skin which is implicitly abnormal. And, here are some privileges related to Christmas.  Some sociologists call these subtle nudges of racism microaggressions.  Here are 25 microaggressions from buzzfeed.






Sociologist Peggy McIntosh writes about White Privilege in her essay, Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.
In class instructions:
Please read through McIntosh's reading and choose one of the numbered privileges to respond to.  Take out a sheet of paper and write down which privilege you are responding to.  Things to consider: Have you ever thought about this before?  Why do you think McIntosh considers this a "privilege"?  Can you see this type of privilege happening in your day to day life?  

The idea is that because Americans live in a white-dominated society, whites have a host of little things that work in their favor.  Tim Wise, another sociologist, applied McIntosh's idea to the 2008 election. Read Tim Wise's White Priviledge, White Entitlement and the 2008 Election. Here is a brief excerpt,
White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because "every family has challenges," even as black and Latino families with similar "challenges" are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

Chicago Public Radio aired a story about Global Girls, an organization working to develop African-American girls’ self esteem. The girls at the organization know firsthand how difficult it is for their peers who are poor and black and pregnant. They developed a performance piece to help show their feelings and how white priviledge helps to favor white girls (especially wealthy) in the same predicament. Listen to the full story here. What do you think the reaction would be if one of Obama's girls was old enough and pregnant with a baby of her own? How does this privilege affect you? How might it affect minorities in other ways? What is your reaction to Tim Wise's analysis of the 2008 election? Noting that this is a difficult challenge ahead of Palin, what are the advantages that she might have being who she is? How might pregnancy affect a poor person differently than a wealthy person? How might pregnancy affect someone with power like a governor's daughter or Vice-president's daughter differently than the daughter of someone with less power/clout?

Listen to comedian Hari Kondabolu's example of white privilege and  microaggressions from the website Colorlines.



And Listen to Louis CKtalk about white privilege:
Here is a great story from This American Life (episode 362: Got You Pegged, Act 1) illustrating what happens when 2 cops see a black man riding a bike with a white kid. It is a funny story but it illustrates white privilege because I think the story would be very different if both of the people were white. Listen to the story and then tell me what you think.

Here is another story from This American Life (episode 475: Send A Message) about how eliminating an implicit racial bias can make a big difference in a young child's life.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Implicit Racism



Racism can often be hidden in our unconsciousness. Even though as individuals we might work consciously to not be racist, we live in a racist society with a racist legacy. From the moment we are born we are influenced subtly to think of white as good and black as bad. Look at these examples from various media. They are not trying to be racist, but the message they send reinforces racist ideology.

These pictures though very similar, are different in two important areas: the race of the people and the caption.












LeBron James is one of the few men to be on the cover of Vogue and yet, he is portrayed as an angry gorilla. Here is a critique from blackademics.  And here is one from ESPN.com Lebron James was only the third male to ever be featured on the cover of Vogue and he was the first "black" American ever to be on there.






Harvard has been conducting an ongoing study of how we implicitly associate certain traits with being good or bad. You can take the survey here. Click on Demo first.


See how this implicit racism shows up even within the same minority groups that are being discriminated against.
video

Some examples of implicit bias are listed below.  Please choose an article and examine it for:
1.  What is the implicit bias that the article examines?
2. Why is this bias "implicit"?
2. What person or group is being biased against whom?

A)Read this SHS basketball article that is full of implicit bias

Then checkout this post showing that Jewish players were dominant in basketball in the first half of the 20th century.

B)And another example of implicit bias is how people react in a split second when they confront someone with a weapon.  See here for that.

C)Here is an article showing that traffic stops in Illinois have an implicit racial bias:

D)This study shows a racial bias in NBA foul calling.

E)Here is a study showing that immigrants are treated differently based on skin color.

F)Having an African American sounding name will result in biased treatment as well.



Here are a number of other examples (A NY Police Lt., Harvard President, State Senator Obama) from the sociologists toolbox.

And this video from What Would You Do showing how people are more quick to be suspicious and to call the police if they see a black man committing the same crime as a white man.







video
Finally, this video called Slip of the Tongue uses slam poetry to explore how one girl stands strong to embrace her identity without giving in to popular pressure to change who she is. I think it is a motivating strong voice.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Explicit Racism

First, please discuss:

What was insightful/eye-opening from the panel last Friday?

Even though race does not exist biologically, it does exist as a social construction. This means that people believe in it and act on it even though it is not real.  One of the ways the construction of race has shaped people is called explicit racism, or directly and consciously believing that one's own "racial" group is superior to others. Another way that Americans have been shaped by "race" is prejudice and discriminationPrejudice is having a predetermined attitude about a group of people usually based on a stereotype.  Discrimination is an action or behavior that results in unequal treatment of individuals because of his or her perceived "race." However, over the last few years, the  United States has elected its first black/ mixed-race President, there are more black actors and actresses on network television, and the cultural norm is that it’s wrong to be racist, SO is racism still relevant? Should we still be concerned about racism or have we moved past racism? 




Checkout these recent events in our country:
Here is a post about racist tweets from the 2013 Miss America pageant. 

Here is a post  about a 2013 racist incident in an unlikely place.

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education has an ongoing list of racist incidents.

A college student from Queens got more than he bargained for when he splurged on a $350 designer belt at Barneys — when a clerk had him cuffed apparently thinking the black teen couldn’t afford the pricey purchase, even though he had paid for it, a new lawsuit alleges.
“His only crime was being a young black man,” his attorney, Michael Palillo, told The Post.



During the Healthcare debate in 2009, Representative David Scott of Georgia had a 4foot swastika painted over his office sign.


The Southern Poverty Law Center identifies hate groups in America. This link will show you a map of all the hate groups in the United States.   Is this surprising?  Is this concerning?


This article from the Mail Online, A British online newspaper:
And with Mr Obama reportedly receiving more death threats than any other American president - 400 per cent more than those against his predecessor George Bush, according to a new book...A black U.S. Congressman had a swastika painted over his office sign after he yelled at allegedly racist protesters at a Southern town hall meeting, it emerged today.
In 2012, Joel Ward, a black NHL player scored the winning goal in the NHL playoffs and he became the target of racial slurs.

 Fraternities and sororities hold racial-themed parties that display very directly the racialized stereotypes that persist in the United States. Does this surprise you?  How would you feel/react to a party like this when you go to college?


 Jeremy Lin is an example of the racial stereotypes in sports and how stereotypes can be more or less permissible for different groups within a society. Here is a post explaining that dynamic from the society pages.  Here is a clip of the skit from the daily beast.  Have you seen or heard any explicit racism in your own life?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Race Panel

We were so fortunate to have a panel of our own students talking about "race."  The students had many insights.  One was that those who have to navigate different racial worlds never feel quite right anywhere.  For example, some students emigrated from another country like Mexico.  So, in the US they are considered Hispanic and they do not feel that they fit in, but in Mexico they are considered white and they do not feel that they fit in there. 

Along these lines, students spoke about how their master status often becomes their minority status.  That is, other people (usually those from the majority) only see them as black or Asian or whatever their minority status is.  This takes away the student's individuality.  Sometimes this results in the student being forced to speak for their whole minority group. 

Also students talked about the racial prejudice that lies just below the surface; sometimes it comes out from another student in a class of their, or their own parents or school teachers and administrators.  A third conclusion that I drew from the panel was the diversity within different groups.  Many people assume that all blacks are the same or all Hispanics are the same, but really there is a great deal of diversity within each group and this is another reason that stereotypes are ignorant and don't hold up. 

Finally, I think there was an emphasis on empathy.  Multiple students talked about the need to develop empathy for those from other races. I really like that idea.  Empathy is an aspect of sociological mindfulness.  Here is a Ted Talk from a sociologist called "A Radical Experiment in Empathy."

Here are some notes from the presentation:

Athenamom is white, dad is Pakistani.  Really resents the term Oreo.  Language - I speak the way I speak. Called terms like cotton picker in middle school.  Won’t shop at Nordstrom's because they profile me.

Julie – called nerd because I am Asian.  Stereotypes. Called chinks but I was the only Chinese person and there were whites with us, but didn’t matter.
Rarely were Asians on TV or in music videos.  Feels pressured from Asians to hang out with other Asians,… Taiwanese but feel pressure to be Chinese. Even a teacher insulted me by (wrongly) telling me about being Taiwanese.  Took a long time to adapt to American culture but then I was told I was too Asian to be American and too American to be Asian.

Shukran – Born in Iraq, moved to US 7 yrs ago.Lived a normal girls life in Iraq.  Very sheltered – indoors.   Made fun of for my nose – because I’m Arab and I have a large nose. Tried to embrace the good side of my culture.  Tried to be more Arab than Muslim.  Aladdin , belly dancing. Embraced math. Been called camel jockey, turban head, terrorist. Arabs are different from Muslims – less conservative,

Justin– Growing up here (only 1.7%) is different. Parents have to tell us certain things like dress a certain way, talk a certain way.  By middle school, learned that didn’t matter, because were still calling me things.  Reduced to being only “black” and nothing else. And people made fun of me for that.
Q: being reduced to black and nothing else, even as a good thing is still bad right?  Oreo and white washed are not compliments.  “acting white” is not a compliment. I can be black and good at art or black and smart. I was told by another kid that I was too black to do art, but I worked really hard to get here.  People joke about stuff but that’s bad.  Even more dangerous are interactions with police, security.  I have been carded by SHS security  to see if I went here. It was rough to see because I grew up here and I felt disrespected. And people think that racism is over. Some people think the Nword is passé but I cussed my friend out because it’s not cool.  But in jr high I would’ve brushed that off and not really said anything because I just wanted to be liked.  Recently during Ferguson and Trayvon Martin people called them coded names like thug.  It makes me think about how others think of me and I wonder if they think of me that way.  President of BASS black association of students.  We talk about different issues and stuff going on.  Fridays after school. 

Jenny C- mixed child, mutt, box of chex mix. Grandpa is purely Puerto Rican, also Assyrian, France, Poland Ukraine.  Mom’s side is lighter than dad’s. I used to have darker skin, plus dark hair but my mom is really light – hair and skin.  Sadly I used to think I was adopted.  When my Grandma died, I knew she was Polish but then found out I was Ukrainian.  Found out my real last name was C**-V****, but my grandpa dropped the V**** and changed the name and changed his bday. People ask what I am, I say Puerto-Rican and people say then you have to speak Spanish to be Latina.  Difficult to navigate family people because different skin and different cultures.  Makes it really difficult for me to know who I am.  Made it hard for me to go through different friend groups.  Now I have friends who are a mix of everything.  This year I am finally embracing who I am. Holidays are a hodge-podge: Assyrian meatballs, Puerto Rican rice and beans.  But still struggle with self-esteem.  Don’t like the question “What are you?”  Instead  ask “what’s your ethnic background?”

Jessica P
Mexican.  Born here, but called beaner.  People don’t understand how much damage they are doing.  Mom here for 20 years legally.  Dad here (legally) for 18years??, but
A woman at mom’s work was mad at my mom and called immigration on her but they found my dad instead.  And I felt like it was my fault – I opened the door that day.  My dad told me how he crossed the border, and it was awful,
Being Hispanic I am surrounded by white people and it is intimidating.  My dad is hard working and often the employee of the month.

Jocelyn
Puerto Rican and Guatemalan, but just recently found out that.  Older sister is half white and we look nothing like each other.  Growing up we didn’t like each other, and no one ever knew we were sisters.  A saleslady didn’t believe we were sisters and it’s frustrating to have to explain that she is my sister. That is just one example.  Something else I face on a daily basis, as a manager at my store, is the idea that because I am Hispanic I can’t be successful.  Customers ask to speak to a manager but sometimes that’s me!  Sometimes I have another employee with me who is white and older and they insist that she is the manager. We can be successful just anyone else can.  Don’t judge a book by its cover. 


Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Social Construction of Race in the U.S.

Because race does not exist in any biological or scientific way that can be defined, each society is able to define it how they want.
Over the years, race has changed in America. The Irish were originally considered not white. Later, Italians, Greeks and other Southern Europeans faced discrimination because they were considered less desirable than Northern Europeans. In the 1920s, the Supreme Court Case Thind vs. U.S. determined that a man of Asian Indian descent was not white or caucasoid, even though he did not fit into the other categories of race at the time (Mongoloid/Asian, Negroid/Black). Instead the court ruled that because most people would say that he is not white, then he is not white. This was just one case of many that shaped race throughout U.S. history. For more on how race has changed and can change, see Nell Irvin Painter's book called, "The History of White People." Here is a review on Salon. All of these are examples of how race has changed over the years in America. It can change, because there is no way to define it. It doesn't exist in any biological or empirical sense, it only exists as a social construction.

Here is how the US census has changed in how it determines race over the years.

Click here to do an activity where you have to categorize people like a census taker would have.  After you do the sorting people activity above, click here to learn about traits.  Is this new information to you? Is it difficult to process? 

Watch this show making fun of how race is socially constructed.
video

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Race is a social construction

Please answer these questions:

What are two ways that sorting the balls yesterday was a metaphor for race?

What is the important conclusion from yesterday's lesson?

Then on page 2 of your packet, please answer questions 1-3 about the reading.

 The book by Omi and Winant called "Racial Formation" provides a detailed explanation of how race is formed through a social construction. Read an excerpt here.

If "race" is not biological then it is a social construction.  There is no way to biologically, physically or scientifically group humans into distinct racial groups.  If there was, then racial groups would be the same all over the world.  They would fit into the scientific classification system such as kingdom, order, phyllum etc...  But instead each culture has its own racial types.  For example, when I was in Japan, I asked some Japanese friends what races were in Japan and they said "nihon-jin and gai-jin," Which means "Japanese people and foreign people.  In other words, the Japanese think that there are Japanese people in the world and then there is everyone else.  And then I pressed him further and I said, " But aren't there different groups within Japanese culture?"
My friend finally said, " Ahh yes... there were ancient Japanese who settled the islands from the north and there were ancient Japanese who settled the islands from the south, and you know how to tell who came from where?  Earwax." That's right, earwax! He explained that some Japanese have dry flaky earwax and others have wet greasy earwax.  That determines where your ancestors came from and a different biological group that you are a part of- essentially a different race.  But that makes no sense to us because in the US we never think of earwax as part of race.


Here are the racial groups in Mexico:
  1. Mestizo: Spanish father and Indian mother
  2. Castizo: Spanish father and Mestizo mother
  3. Espomolo: Spanish mother and Castizo father
  4. Mulatto: Spanish and black African
  5. Moor: Spanish and Mulatto
  6. Albino: Spanish father and Moor mother
  7. Throwback: Spanish father and Albino mother
  8. Wolf: Throwback father and Indian mother
  9. Zambiago: Wolf father and Indian mother
  10. Cambujo: Zambiago father and Indian mother
  11. Alvarazado: Cambujo father and Mulatto mother
  12. Borquino: Alvarazado father and Mulatto mother
  13. Coyote: Borquino father and Mulatto mother
  14. Chamizo: Coyote father and Mulatto mother
  15. Coyote-Mestizo: Cahmizo father and Mestizo mother
  16. Ahi Tan Estas: Coyote-Mestizo father and Mulatto mother
 And in Brazil, In 1976, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) conducted a study to ask people to identify their own skin color.  Here are the 134 terms, listed in alphabetical order:
Acastanhada (cashewlike tint; caramel colored)
Agalegada
Alva (pure white)
Alva-escura (dark or off-white)
Alverenta (or aliviero, "shadow in the water")
Alvarinta (tinted or bleached white)
Alva-rosada (or jamote, roseate, white with pink highlights)
Alvinha (bleached; white-washed)
Amarela (yellow)
Amarelada (yellowish)
Amarela-quemada (burnt yellow or ochre)
Amarelosa (yellowed)
Amorenada (tannish)
Avermelhada (reddish, with blood vessels showing through the skin)
Azul (bluish)
Azul-marinho (deep bluish)
Baiano (ebony)
Bem-branca (very white)
Bem-clara (translucent)
Bem-morena (very dusky)
Branca (white)
Branca-avermelhada (peach white)
Branca-melada (honey toned)
Branca-morena (darkish white)
Branca-p�lida (pallid)
Branca-queimada (sunburned white)
Branca-sardenta (white with brown spots)
Branca-suja (dirty white)
Branqui�a (a white variation)
Branquinha (whitish)
Bronze (bronze)
Bronzeada (bronzed tan)
Bugrezinha-escura (Indian characteristics)
Burro-quanto-foge ("burro running away," implying racial mixture of unknown origin)
Cabocla (mixture of white, Negro and Indian)
Cabo-Verde (black; Cape Verdean)
Caf� (coffee)
Caf�-com-leite (coffee with milk)
Canela (cinnamon)
Canelada (tawny)
Cast�o (thistle colored)
Castanha (cashew)
Castanha-clara (clear, cashewlike)
Castanha-escura (dark, cashewlike)
Chocolate (chocolate brown)
Clara (light)
Clarinha (very light)
Cobre (copper hued)
Corado (ruddy)
Cor-de-caf� (tint of coffee)
Cor-de-canela (tint of cinnamon)
Cor-de-cuia (tea colored)
Cor-de-leite (milky)
Cor-de-oro (golden)
Cor-de-rosa (pink)
Cor-firma ("no doubt about it")
Crioula (little servant or slave; African)
Encerada (waxy)
Enxofrada (pallid yellow; jaundiced)
Esbranquecimento (mostly white)
Escura (dark)
Escurinha (semidark)
Fogoio (florid; flushed)
Galega (see agalegada above)
Galegada (see agalegada above)
Jambo (like a fruit the deep-red color of a blood orange)
Laranja (orange)
Lil�s (lily)
Loira (blond hair and white skin)
Loira-clara (pale blond)
Loura (blond)
Lourinha (flaxen)
Malaia (from Malabar)
Marinheira (dark greyish)
Marrom (brown)
Meio-amerela (mid-yellow)
Meio-branca (mid-white)
Meio-morena (mid-tan)
Meio-preta (mid-Negro)
Melada (honey colored)
Mesti�a (mixture of white and Indian)
Miscigena��o (mixed --- literally "miscegenated")
Mista (mixed)
Morena (tan)
Morena-bem-chegada (very tan)
Morena-bronzeada (bronzed tan)
Morena-canelada (cinnamonlike brunette)
Morena-castanha (cashewlike tan)
Morena clara (light tan)
Morena-cor-de-canela (cinnamon-hued brunette)
Morena-jambo (dark red)
Morenada (mocha)
Morena-escura (dark tan)
Morena-fechada (very dark, almost mulatta)
Moren�o (very dusky tan)
Morena-parda (brown-hued tan)
Morena-roxa (purplish-tan)
Morena-ruiva (reddish-tan)
Morena-trigueira (wheat colored)
Moreninha (toffeelike)
Mulatta (mixture of white and Negro)
Mulatinha (lighter-skinned white-Negro)
Negra (negro)
Negrota (Negro with a corpulent vody)
P�lida (pale)
Para�ba (like the color of marupa wood)
Parda (dark brown)
Parda-clara (lighter-skinned person of mixed race)
Polaca (Polish features; prostitute)
Pouco-clara (not very clear)
Pouco-morena (dusky)
Preta (black)
Pretinha (black of a lighter hue)
Puxa-para-branca (more like a white than a mulatta)
Quase-negra (almost Negro)
Queimada (burnt)
Queimada-de-praia (suntanned)
Queimada-de-sol (sunburned)
Regular (regular; nondescript)
Retinta ("layered" dark skin)
Rosa (roseate)
Rosada (high pink)
Rosa-queimada (burnished rose)
Roxa (purplish)
Ruiva (strawberry blond)
Russo (Russian; see also polaca)
Sapecada (burnished red)
Sarar� (mulatta with reddish kinky hair, aquiline nose)
Sara�ba (or saraiva: like a white meringue)
Tostada (toasted)
Trigueira (wheat colored)
Turva (opaque)
Verde (greenish)
Vermelha (reddish)
It's crazy because we do not think of race in these ways, but it just makes the point that race is socially constructed by each different culture.  Because of that, if you flew on a plane to a different country your race would change.  That is because it is not scientific and biological, instead it is based on what country you are in and what their current construction of race is.

Here is a link to different censuses around the world.

Here is a link to a survey of who is white around the world.

 And here is a global dialogue about race.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Race and biology; the spectrum


I asked students to classify these balls into different categories. Two things happen:
1)Some students pick a trait such as size or color to classify the balls or, 2)Students classify the balls based on the sport of each such as basketball, soccer, etc...
This is a metaphor for race and how we classify people. 1)First, we choose to use traits such as skin color to classify them, but the divisions between these traits are arbitrary divisions. If you lined up all of the people (or balls) in the world according to a trait, the divisions would be less obvious. It would look more like a spectrum that changes gradually blending into one another.  Here is a post from soc images that displays the spectrum of human colors.



So why all the fuss about skin color? The article Skin Deep by Jablonski and Chaplin from Scientific American explains the science behind skin color and how around the world, skin color would look more like a spectrum than distinct groups. 2)Second, when we categorize the balls into sports or people into races we are constructing a social category that only exists because we say it should. Ask students to define what a basketball is.  The only true definition is "any ball that society says is a basketball."  The same is true for race. Whatever the society says is a distinct race, is a distinct race in their eyes.   Race, like sports, are social constructions.  Here is more about skin color.
What's the point? Click here to see why there is no way of biologically separating people into "races." Race doesn't exist in any scientific sense. This is a difficult concept because I think that race is a biological hegemony in America - that is, it is so accepted that we never question it. For more info you can checkout the April 22, 2005 episode of Odyssey, a radio program that used to air on Chicago Public Radio. This episode about the genetics of race and if you listen carefully to the caller segment, you can hear a very interesting high school sociology teacher commenting. [Listen the program here (the good part is after 35:26)]

Here is an explanation about how genetic diversity spread out over time and how that led to varying populations of diversity but not distinct groups.


Jefferson Fish also explains how race doesn't make sense in the article title Mixed Blood from Psychology Today, 1995.


What are some assumptions you have had about race? Have you learned erroneous information regarding race? Why is this not a part of curriculum in American schools especially in light of the profound impact the idea of race has had on this country?

Monday, December 8, 2014

the working poor; Hand to Mouth

Linda Tirado was barely getting by financially when she posted about the hardships with being in the working poor.  Her online post spiraled into a book that has helped explain the difficulties of living at the poverty line even with a job.  Here is an excerpt from Slate.
--> And this is my bottom line point about work and poverty: It’s far more demoralizing to work and be poor, than to be unemployed and poor. I have never minded going without if I wasn’t working. It sucks not to be able to find a job, but you expect to be tired and pissed off and never to be able to leave your house if you’re flat broke. 
Here is an interview with the author from NPR's onpoint.  You can listen to an hour-long show about the book and living at low income.
 
Because our lives seem so unstable, poor people are often seen as being basically incompetent at managing their lives. That is, it’s assumed that we’re not unstable because we’re poor, we’re poor because we’re unstable. So let’s just talk about how impossible it is to keep your life from spiraling out of control when you have no financial cushion whatsoever. And let’s also talk about the ways in which money advice is geared only toward people who actually have money in the first place.
Here is an interview from the Guardian with the author.

Final Paper

-->
Sociology
Final Paper – Community Service Reflection
DUE: TUE, Jan 6, 2015
After completing your service hours, you must reflect on your community service experiences.   Please write an authentic paper using details of your own experiences and relate your community service experiences to sociology. 

Similar to each blog post, the paper should meet the standards of the class:

Literacy – Please relate your experiences to a variety of different sources (readings, videos, websites, images) from the semester.  Thoroughly explain the connection between the source and your service experience.  Try to be specific about what aspect of the service related to the source.  Your grade will be based on the following scale:
4- Student thoroughly connects a variety of sources from personal research or experience to community service experiences in a detailed and specific way.
3- Student thoroughly connects a variety of sources from throughout the semester to community service experiences in a detailed and specific way.
2- Student connects source from throughout the semester either lacking in variety, thoroughness or detail.
1- Student fails to connect sources from throughout the semester and is lacking in variety, thoroughness or detail.

Sociological Content – Please connect your service experience(s) to the sociological concepts and terms we have used this year.  Please see the attached appendix for some suggestions of how to connect service experiences to sociology.
4- Student is able to connect multiple sociological concepts from different units in a meaningful and accurate way.  The connection is explained with irrefutable conviction.
3- Students is able to connect either multiple sociological concepts in a meaningful and accurate way with irrefutable conviction.  Or, the student is able to connect multiple concepts from various units but might lack some conviction, or leaving some meaning unclear.
2-  Student is able to connect a concept in a way that is either accurate or meaningful.
1- Student is unable to make connections that are accurate, meaningful.

Academic Expectations – Please write the reflection with proper prose, grammar, spelling and format.  Use .5-1.5 inch margins, 10-12 font, and double spacing.  Turn it in on time.
4- Student is able to do all of these.
3- Student misses one of these.
2- Student has 2 or 3 mistakes or is late.
1- Student has more than 3 mistakes or is late and has other mistakes.


Appendix A – Connecting to Sociology
Introduction:
            Sociological Imagination – how are the individuals who you served shaped by circumstances larger than their own personal choices.  How are they shaped by when and where they live? Sociological Mindfulness – consider how this experience makes you aware that you are a part of society and you have an impact on it. Social construction of reality – explain how individuals’ feelings and experiences are shaped by society.  Ingroups-outgroups – explain how belonging to a group affects your feelings and stereotypes toward outgroups.

Culture:
Identify unique elements in your service experience, such as: material culture, norms, values and sanctions. Consider how these cultural elements aid in the functioning of the organization and how they contrast with mainstream elements of culture.  How do American values play a role in the plight of those being served or in your service work?

Socialization:
Analyze the modes of interaction that you engaged in during your service. Where there differences in the way that you acted towards the clients versus other volunteers versus members of the organization?  Did you see any processes of socialization occurring with yourself or with the clients that you were working with? 

Deviance:
Reflect on the whether the organization or clientele of the organization where you were volunteering bears any stigma from the larger community.  Often times, community-service organizations have the primary goal of aiding individuals who carry a deviant identity.  Whether it is poverty, substance abuse, illness, age, disability, etc. Observe how the clients manage their stigmatized identities. How do the workers at the organization treat the clients?  Do the clients manage or reject the label of deviant?  How does the work of the organization help change societal perceptions of the stigmatized?

Social Class:
What role does class inequality play in their organization?  How is the organization funded?  How do community service organizations in general generate enough interest for people to volunteer their time and donate their money to help others?  How does charity fit into the American Dream ideology?  Do you believe that most Americans are willing to sacrifice some of their own wealth to help those in need? Why? Why not?

Race/Ethnicity:
Reflect on the racial and ethnic dynamic of their organization.  Is there a difference between the racial or ethnic composition of the staff, the volunteers, and the clientele?  Did your experiences of the racial or ethnic composition at the organization parallel your everyday experiences?  Have you gained any insight into a particular group? Explain.



Saturday, December 6, 2014

Post 8: Deviance and Social Class

For this post, we have explored how deviance is relative and how that relativity is related to social class.  We also looked at all of the components of social class that shape an individual's possibilities and problems.  Some things to consider for this post are: Do you see how social class is played out at SHS?  How does our school compare to Saints and Roughnecks reading?  And how do you see social class playing a role in your own life?  How are you affected by it? How might someone in poverty be affected by it?   Some sources to consider using are The Saints and Roughnecks by Chambliss, the websites related to social class and the video The Line.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Debriefing the Components of social class and monopoly

1.  From two days ago - look at your list on page 37 of the packet and determine what is your family's social class?  Are you above average, average or below?  Why? 


2.  Where would you fall on the ladder below?

3.  How does this compare to your position in the monopoly game yesterday?


4.  What are some of the difficulties that prevented the working class person from rising up in the game yesterday?


5.  What are other obstacles in real life that might make it challenging for someone toward the bottom to move up in social class?


Poverty in the United States


Barbara Ehrenreich's book Nickel and Dimed is an experiment with what life is like for someone living at minimun wage (or at least low-wage). Here is an excerpt.

Morgan Spurlock's video 30 days at Minimum Wage is also an experiment at living at minimum wage.

The Line is a documentary about people living at the poverty line.  It highlights the difficulties of different people who share a common struggle: life in poverty.  Here is a link to The Line on Mediacast.  Here it is embeded:
What I want you to see are the effects of poverty on individuals:

Physical Health (Here is a comprehensive list of research on health effects of poverty):
- a lower class person has a higher chance of dying at any age than a wealthy person!  Some other health outcomes for those in poverty:

From the American Journal of Pediatrics; Poverty and lack of nurturing in early life may have a direct effect on a child’s brain development, according to a study that found smaller brain volumes in poor, neglected children.

 Impoverished black children, for example, are twice as likely as poor Hispanic or white children to have levels of lead in their blood that is at least 2.5 micrograms per deciliter. Some researchers have found that even that small amount of lead is enough to cause cognitive impairment in children — especially the kind that impacts their reading ability.

Environment: the poor are more likely to experience asthma and other health issues;
...poor black children are more likely than poor white or Hispanic children to be diagnosed with asthma — another ailment that plagues poor children in Jacksonville and one that is linked to living in older, more industrialized areas.Poor white children, though, are more likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke, or to be born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy than poor black or Hispanic children.And poor Hispanic children, it found, are twice as likely to have no place to go for health care, as compared to poor white or black children.
 hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes, heart disease, mental disorders, suicideunsafe sex. obesity, cancer, HIV

Lifestyle = less access to healthy food (i.e. fruits and vegetables); see this link for a TED talk about one man who is arrested for planting a vegetable garden in a poor neighborhood!, smoke, Drug use and abuse, exercise less,
One reason may be that violence tracks with poverty, thereby preventing people from being active out-of-doors. Similarly, parks and sports facilities are less available to people living in poor counties (5), and people who live in poverty-dense regions may be less able to afford gym membership, sports clothing, and/or exercise equipment. There are multiple individual and environmental reasons to explain why poverty-dense counties may be more sedentary and bear greater obesity burdens.
Medical Care = less access and poorer hospitals, lack of health insurance.
Mental Health = higher stress, children feel effects of stress for life.

Some people will argue that there is a culture of poverty among those in the lowest income levels. This culture of poverty represents individuals making choices that create or worsen the impoverished situation they are in. But, it is important to understand how these choices come about. A life of deprivation, punctuated by emergencies creates a lack of “deferred gratification." In other words, it is difficult for these people to invest in their own future; many of the poor see the future as more of the same or even worse; enjoy what you can, because tomorrow may be worse; poverty influences attitude & behavior which leads to poverty, etc…

And it is important to note that 20% of the children in the US are growing up in poverty! That's 1 out of every 5 kids in the United States is living at the poverty level! Yes you read that correctly - 1 out of every 5 children in the United States is living in poverty right now!  That's a higher rate than 34 out of 35 Western countries. This is another good reason why the cycle of poverty exists. These children grow up in these conditions and so it makes it easier to see how they become the adults who continue to be stuck in the cycle of poverty.

Growing up in poverty can have serious and long-lasting effects on children’s health, development, and overall well-being. The effects of poverty have a well-documented impact on young children’s developing brains. And children who grow up in poverty are more likely to experience harmful levels of stress, more likely to struggle in school, and more likely to have behavioral, social, and emotional problems than their peers.

Watch Poor Kids on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Monopobility

Today we played monopoly with rules that more closely affect the real rules of the US class system. Players started with different amounts of income and different amounts of property; the upper-upper class started with the most, and the working class the least. They rolled the dice to see what class they were. I told them them not worry about who "wins" the game, instead just try moving up to the next level of class. Playing monopoly according to the rules of the U.S.'s class structure should have some revealing insight about the state of mobility within the U.S.'s class structure.
From the Brookings Institute:

Recent studies suggest that there is less economic mobility in the United States than has long been presumed. The last thirty years has seen a considerable drop-off in median household income growth compared to earlier generations. And, by some measurements, we are actually a less mobile society than many other nations, including Canada, France, Germany and most Scandinavian countries. This challenges the notion of America as the land of opportunity.

Mobility in America tends to be within the middle classes (from working class to uppermiddle class). The wealthy class tends to stay wealthy and the impoverished class tends to stay in poverty, especially in comparison to other most developed nations. Another trend is for intergenerational mobility. Which means that it is more likely that the children of one group will move up than the parents themselves.

How has your family's mobility been? Are you growing up in the same social class as your parents? How about from your grandparents? Where do you see your future in terms of social class?

A second way that we can look at this simulation is in how players react.  Below is a TED talk about how people react to playing the game.  Think about how that reaction might show up in everyday life.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Components of Social Class in the USA

The common thinking about the American class system is that there are no rules in America and anything is possible. "Only in America" is a common myth. The reality is that there are "rules" to the class system, but few Americans see it (then again, few have a sociological imagination!). Here is a link to the Stanford Center on Poverty where you can view slides about inequality in the USA.


Here is a link to 15 statistics about inequality in America.


Here are other resources for examining the components of social class that comprise the "rules" about what is possible in the USA in terms of class:

Income: the highest earning Americans have continued to earn more and more over the last 50 years, while the lower earners have earned closer to about the same. The more money you have, the more you can earn.
What do you think the average household income in the United States is?
Click here to see an answer. Note the percentile for each income bracket and note the median.

If you are interested in how your community's income looks, click on the American Factfinder and search by zipcode. Then click on "Income" and look next to median family income.

For comparison, the average household in the US earned about $52,000 whereas BG earned $93,000, Lincolnshire earned $109,000 and LG earned $191,000.

Here is a link to Marketplace where you can input your income and compare it to social class data in the US.

Also, This graph displays the inequality by occupation.

Checkout this post from Slate about income inequality. You can scroll down a bit and enter your zipcode and see where it stands by comparison.

This video (though politicized) is an accurate portrayal of income inequality in America.


Wealth: Wealth in tricky to understand.  It is everything that a household owns, such as the home, vacation home, cars, 401K, savings, stocks, jewelry, etc...But, you must subtract what the household owes.  So, if my house is $200,000 but I owe $160,000 then my wealth is only $40,000 on the house.  Although tricky to calculate, most research indicates that the wealthiest Americans have an enormous amount of wealth compared to the average American. The disparity is greater than that of income (see the pie graph below).  From the Huffington Post, In 2010, "The median household net worth -- the level at which half the households have more and half have less -- was $77,300
How does your family or community compare to the average American?

Average American:  50% own 2 cars,  50% have a 401K, 66% own 1 home, 6% own a second home

This post and video from sociological images shows wealth inequality in the US. 




Education:
In the US, here are the percentages of adults over the age of 23 who have attained each degree in 2012:
High school graduate87.65%
Some college57.28%
Associate's and/or Bachelor's degree40.58%
Bachelor's degree30.94%
Master's degree8.05%
Doctorate or professional degree3.07%
For more on education and social class, this Wikipedia entry is thorough.

This link shows that on average, the higher a family's income, the higher the ACT score

And this link shows the higher one's educational level, the more he or she earns.

Here is a post from sociological images that has a lot of info showing the connection between your degree and your income. This graph shows that the less education that parents have, the less education their children obtain.
Location: The price of a home depends on a lot more than the physical structure of the home.
The average home price in the United States in 2012 was $175K.  The average price in BG was $346,000.  And in LG it was $765,000.  Click here to see some houses for sale in Lake County, IL in 2014.  Which do you think are the most expensive?  Which are the least? When you see the actual prices, why do you think that is?

Here you can find data by zipcode about the average home price ( as well as income and other data).



Prestige: People view different occupations with different levels of prestige.  This prestige can translate to real power such as being appointed to boards or committees.  It can also simply give you credibility or respect in social situations.  Here is a chart of prestige ratings.

All of these combine to form a rough picture of social class. Here is one representation of how all of those components might work together:





Look over your information for income, wealth, education, location and prestige.  Are they mostly above, average or below? Then try to think where that person falls on this ladder?  Why would you place them there?  Share this your group.

Was it difficult to share with the group?  Why or why not?