Thursday, October 21, 2010

Creating allies...

Sometimes when I discuss the implications from socialization into gender, there is a feeling among some students like we should be able to live amongst all of these socialization messages and just not let them affect us. Others might say this is simple humor, and what's the big deal? Well, if you think it's not a big deal and that we shouldn't let it affect us then you haven't been paying attention! Or maybe you have forgotten to use your sociological imagination and sociological mindfulness. What we have been learning is that humans ARE affected by their surroundings. We saw this last unit in terms of culture and we see it now in terms of socialization. We are affected by our environment. Our surroundings make us who we are. And so, when you stop and realize who we we are (see all the research in the posts below), you realize this is a huge problem in our culture. And since it is a huge problem, I am asking you to use sociological mindfulness to determine what to do about it. Well, what do you do about it?

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Another civil rights movement?

Quietly it seems that another civil rights movement has been snow balling. Lately it seems that gay rights activism is everywhere. The twenty year old Don't Ask Don't Tell policy is finally in the spotlight and a federal judge recently ruled it unconstitutional. Vince Vaughn was in a movie trailer from a new movie where he was making fun of a car and he called it "gay." That scene was cut and different dialogue was added in its place. Popular television shows on prime-time network stations have been highlighting same-sex relationships like on Grey's Anatomy, Brothers and Sisters and Modern Family. Closer to home, our school had rally of sorts to promote acceptance and draw attention to the problem of bullying, especially for homophobic reasons. And, Dan Savage launched the it gets better campaign to help combat the rash of suicides by gay teens. Sociologically, it is an important insight that all of this activism is questioning the social construction of gender and our reaction to sex and sexuality. Nearly all professionals and people who study people will tell you that sex and sexuality are determined for each of us. But, gender is a social construction. Think about about you have been shaped to think about gender - what have you learned to consider acceptable and what not? How have you been shaped to think about homosexuality? Even if you personally understand that being gay is not a choice, how difficult is it for you to speak out for gay rights and equality ? Here is another resource for students dealing with issues related to sexuality: The Trevor Project.
And here is Sir Charles Barkley speaking candidly about Jason Collins, the first professional athlete to be openly gay.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Service Op: GIVE weekly events

GIVE offers several weekly and special events. Students may sign up for all events through the UGive website.

Here is a list of some of our weekly events that always have openings and our upcoming special events: (All traveling events meet in parking lot C.)
Weekly events
Friends Place 3:30 - 5:30
Sunrise 3:30 - 5:30
Brentwood 3:30 - 5:30
SHS Friends During 8th period

Special events
10/14 Willow Grove Ice cream social 5:30 - 8:00 Meet in parking lot C
10/16 Haunted Harvest Lambs Farm 5:00 - 10:30 Meet in parking lot C
10/19 Cove Homecoming Decorations Room 1102 3:30 - 5:30
10/22 Cove Homecoming Dance 3:45 - 10:30 meet in parking lot C

Visit the GIVE page under student activities for more detailed descriptions of events.

$200K, overworked and poor?

Here is a report about working professionals who make over $200K a year, but they are increasingly overworked and yet they feel poor. All of these ideas are detailed in the book Elsewhere U.S.A. by New York University sociologist Dalton Conley. To listen to the whole interview, click here.

It's a brave new world. For the first time, it was people with incomes over $200,000, in a New York Times poll, that said that they feel poorer when they're around rich people as compared to people who are actually poor. That's stunning to me. And for the first time in labor history, the further up the income ladder you go, the more hours you work.

RYSSDAL: Give me an example of how the title of your book plays out. It's called "Elsewhere U.S.A." What does that mean in practice?

CONLEY: It means that this class of professionals, what I call "the elsewhere class" is increasingly in more than one place at one time. So if they're at home ostensibly having dinner with the family their minds, or perhaps their thumbs as they click away on the Blackberry under the table, are actually communicating with other folks somewhere else back in the office. They might be more distracted at work because they're also worried about the fact that their kid is home sick, and they have to after this meeting rush right home to relieve the mom or the dad, since there is more shared child care in this regard. And it's constant frenetic pace where we're always on route to elsewhere if not physically then in some communicative way, through telecommunications or travel or what have you.

RYSSDAL: You could of course just not have a Blackberry and not have DSL at home with broadband internet access. And you could just have a regular 9-5 job and come home and cook the dinner and put the kids to bed. Is that viable?

CONLEY: Many people still live that life. Increasingly, the people at the top don't, and I don't really think it's an option for them. Of course, any social ethic or any movement creates its opposite, and we have this slow-foods movement emerging and the simple back to basics living movement. And some people sell the business and move to rural Maine and build their house with their bare hands from scratch. But for most of us, we want the Blackberrys, we like our work, and we want to be connected, but we want to have fulfilling connections and not lose the intimacy that we once had.

RYSSDAL: Dalton Conley is a professor of sociology at New York University. His latest book is called "Elsewhere U.S.A." Dalton thanks a lot.

Do you see these dynamics in your own family? Do you desire a career that makes $200K+ per year even though it might mean working all the time and not spending enough time with family, friends and taking care of your health and happiness? After reading/listening to this, has it made you consider any of your future differently?