Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Affirming with action

After looking at explicit and implicit racism and acknowledging white privilege in the US, it should come as no surprise that minority groups face very difficult challenges, especially black US citizens.  For example, nearly 1 out of 3 black males in the US will go to prison.  Also, although there are far many more whites in poverty than blacks, black US citizens are living in poverty in a much higher percentage than whites - 28% of black compared to only 15% of whites.    In terms of joblessness, the black unemployment rate is twice that of whites.

Some people argue that these statistics are why racial policies are needed to help provide balance in a society that is full of racism.  For example, in education, black students score lower than all other races.  See this chart from the ACT:

There are numerous reasons for this.  First, the test may be culturally biased.  For example, here is just one sentence from one question;
The kids who hung around the community center
liked Abshu, because he never preached and it   
20clear that when they spoke he listened; so he could zero
in on the kid who had a real problem.
 In this sentence there are at least three examples of cultural interpretations on language that is not necessarily taught in school: 1) "hanging around", 2)"preaching about it", and 3)"zeroing in".  The meanings of these slang terms might mean different things to different groups of people, specifically, they might be difficult for a black child from an impoverished neighborhood to discern.  Similarly, if a white suburban kid tried to take a test written by impoverished black children, it would be very difficult for the white kids.  Here is an example, called The Chitling Test.

Similar to education, US citizens who are perceived as black face discrimination in the workplace as well.  There was a study done by the Chicago Urban League which found that resumes that are exactly the same will get less call backs for interviews if the name on the resume sounds black.  Here is a CBS news report about the study.  You can download the whole study here but here is the abstract of the study:
We study race in the labor market by sending fictitious resumes to help-wanted ads in Boston and Chicago newspapers. To manipulate perceived race, resumes are randomly assigned African-American- or White-sounding names. White names receive 50 percent more callbacks for interviews. Callbacks are also more responsive to resume quality for White names than for African-American ones. The racial gap is uniform across occupation, industry, and employer size. We also find little evidence that employers are inferring social class from the names. Differential treatment by race still appears to still be prominent in the U. S. labor market.
Note that whites received fifty percent more call backs! Fifty! And the discrimination was apparent regardless of occupation - both high income and low income jobs, and the study notes that the discrimination exists even in government jobs where legally, there is a requirement to not discriminate based on race. 

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􏰥 􏰤> ¢􏰙 􏰺6 􏰥!X¡􏰩􏰧 􏰭􏰣 􏰬. 􏰧A􏰣􏰪\ 􏰭􏰾􏰳􏰱j􏰥l􏱀􏰎􏰺 􏰹p 􏰷􏰿􏰴􏰹 􏰪X 􏰷􏰿 􏰺􏰎 􏰭􏰡 􏰹􏰰􏰸􏰷.􏰬􏰿􏰷􏰎􏰧 􏰽!􏰎􏰻􏰳􏰷s􏰲9􏰱 􏰭􏰾􏰳􏰷 􏰽!X􏰭 􏰧􏰎 􏰥j 􏰧􏰩 􏰼l 􏰻􏰩 􏰭􏰣 􏰥6 􏰬. 􏰪􏰚􏰩􏰺 􏰺􏰞 􏰹n 􏰥Z 􏰬3􏰸􏰷􏰎􏰧~􏰥\􏰦 􏰵􏰶 􏰥~􏰴􏰲 􏰱􏰳 􏰥~ 􏰯􏰰 􏰭􏰔 􏰬􏰮􏰎􏰧􏰣􏰪􏰫􏰨 􏰧􏰩 􏰥~ 􏰦\ 􏰥j 􏰤>

Friday, December 6, 2013

Real Estate prestige (prices)

Here are some homes for sale listed in 2014 with their prices.  Notice how widely the prices vary.


Waukegan, IL
$65,000
 Grayslake, IL
$299,999
 Lake Forest, IL
$1,200,000
 Lake Forest, IL
1,600,000
 Grayslake, IL
$469,000
 Grayslake, IL
$499,000
 Lake Forest, IL
$1,120,000
Waukegan, IL
$230,000

A Just Harvest

Sign up for A Just Harvest - December 13,  2013 3:30 - 8:30 Helping to serve meals to the hungry. Volunteers will meet in Parking lot C. Ms Fainman is the chaperone for this event. Do you need hours for your Social Studies classes? This is a great way to give back to the community and get the hours you need for class. Hope to see you there!

https://www.ugive.org/Opportunities/Detail.aspx?projectid=59712

Final Paper: Reflecting on Your Service Experience (Step3)

Click here for a google doc for the final paper or you can read it below: Looking back at your experiences in community service, reflect on what you did and relate it to sociology. This paper should be about your experiences in general. Do not simply restate what you have already written in your journals. Instead, look at your journals to refresh your memory about what you experienced and then try to make some generalizations about the experience. Apply these generalizations to the three areas below. You do not need to respond to every prompt below, but you should have well-developed and authentic answers to each of the three areas: application, sociological themes and sociological content. Each area should be written from your perspective as an individual. Your paper will be graded on the following components. This is due the second to last Friday before final exams. Journal: Please refer back to your journals to remind you of your experiences as you think about the three areas below: Application of the Experience: Evaluate the importance and value of voluntarism. How has this and will it affect your life in the short term & long term? Do you think that being involved in community (through the service experience) gives you sense of belonging and a feeling of being necessary that teens often lack, and how? Can you see how volunteering and helping others can contribute to the happiness and well-being of the volunteers? In what ways do you think that you have benefited from the experience? Was the experience rewarding/fulfilling? What did you take away from this experience? Sociological Themes: How might your experience reflect the idea of a sociological imagination? How are the private troubles of the people you served, a part of larger social forces? Use your sociological imagination to discuss why the people you served need volunteers. How are their lives (their reality) constructed by social forces? Has this experience helped you to become more sociological mindful? Why? Why not? Has this experience impacted the, “mark that you want to leave?” See Schwalbe’s Sociological Mindfulness for more on this idea. How might your service experience help to show the interconnectedness between people within society? Use examples from your own experiences. You might want to lookup what the organization you volunteered with does. Who do they help? Where does there money go? Sociological Content: Relate your experiences to sociology content. What aspects of class (or our blog) does this encompass? What connections do you see between the content of our class and the community service? Use our class notes, readings, and your blog to review all the ways your service experience might relate. Some ideas might be: What stereotypes were there before starting? Did any of these change? Was there any relation to gender, age, social class, race or any other group we discussed in sociology? Think about how the people you helped (and perhaps yourself) are socialized to think about themselves. Does culture play a part in the service experience? Maybe American values can be used to analyze the service experience. Perhaps you can think of the group as a subculture. Is there deviance involved? Perhaps the group you are working with is considered deviant by society. How might that affect those people? Maybe you are considered deviant for volunteering. Use the suggestions on the back of this sheet for other ideas of how the service experience connects to sociology. Also use at least 4 references to class discussions, activities, readings and videos. If you need help remembering all of the specifics of what we did in class, use my blog. Go through it and refresh your memory. Format: Write in proper format. Use a standard font type, size 10-12, margins .5-1.25, double space. Use proper prose and paragraphs, be cohesive and turn it in on time. Besides proper academic writing, your paper should be authentic. Do not fill your paper with generic clichés. Explain why and how from your unique perspective. Used detailed examples from your own experiences to support your answers. Here are some ways to help you think about how your service experience relates to sociology content: 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. 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.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Preschool Privilege

One of the final points that the People Like Us movie made was that we are separated by class from a young age.  For example, when the wealthy take steps to ensure their child be accepted into the upper-upper class, they begin early. A few recent articles and a documentary highlight this subculture. Wealthy parents in New York City hire consultants and special tutors to get their child into a handful of elite preschools and then they pay costly tuition ($15,000+) to send the child there. This article from Bloomberg News highlights the competition to get in,
...An average of 15 applicants vie for every spot in about 200 preschools, Uhry said. According to its Web site, Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, received 22,754 applications for the freshman class entering in last fall and admitted 2,124 -- 11 applications per admission.

From the New York Daily News,
Consultants charge $10,000 a pop to share their secrets of success. A nose-picking habit is considered special needs.
As the mother of an 11-month-old already bemused by Manhattan's hypercompetitive baby-rearing culture, I watched the film with amusement and dread.
If, like Moon, I want my child to attend one of these nurseries - popularly perceived as "Ivy League feeder schools" - finding the annual $20,000 tuition would apparently be the least of my worries.


An interesting contrast might be comparing this to my post on the Harlem Children's Zone, also a rigorous program, but for parents of low-income, at-risk students.
Watch the trailer for a documentary called Nursery University which reveals the intensity around getting into the "right" preschool.

Tammy, Appalachia and poverty


In the movie People Like Us we met Tammy and her sons from Pike County, Ohio. (Watch the videoon youtube here or watch it on mediacast here.) They live in poverty. Tammy was from a family of 22 kids and she grew up in poverty. She wants to be a teacher. Her son wants to be an architect or a lawyer. Will they be able to achieve these goals? What are the factors that will hold them back? What will their life chances be? One of the ways that Tammy’s son copes with his situation is by trying to dress preppy and act preppy. He cleans the house so it looks better and he tries in school, winning awards and succeeding in sports. Can these actions move him up to a higher class or is he kidding himself? What are the chances he succeeds in the "American Dream"?
If you want to help Tammy and her family, here is a link to how you can help.

Here is an update on Tammy from the last 14 years:
video


Tammy is just one of thousands of Americans living in poverty. Her story highlights many of the difficulties of life in poverty: poor health, few jobs, inadequate education, stressful family dynamics, all limit the chances of those living in poverty ever getting out of it. Diane Sawyer did a special report on Appalachia that highlighted the children affected by poverty. I think there is a tendency for us to blame the adults for their impoverished situation, but we forget that these adults were once children born into a world of difficulties and obstacles that led to an adulthood of poverty. You can hear Diane Sawyer talk about it here. Can you use your sociological imagination to see all of the social forces that limit those who are in poverty in America? Watch the excerpt below from 20/20 to see the complicated life of the rural impoverished American or watch the whole video on mediacast here. video

High School and Social Class

"Well, your CD collection looks shiny and costly.
How much did you pay for your bad Moto Guzi?
And how much did you spend on your black leather jacket?
Is it you or your parents in this income tax bracket?"
- Cake


How does class play itself out at our high school, or in high school in general? Does high school reinforce or prepare you for fitting into a social class? If so, how? Give some examples from our high school. Additionally, how do you think moving up or down would affect you? Which would be tougher? What if you married/dated someone who was very low income or someone rich? What difficulty would this cause in your family and friends?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Class Interaction

In the movie, a few of the interviewees say that people from different social classes do not interact much on a daily basis. One person says that the last time he saw people from a different class was in high school and they didn’t get along much because the working class people felt that the upper middle class people were always looking down on them. He also said that the lower classes feel “invisible.” Another guy said that people from different classes might interact at a baseball game, but they don’t really understand each other.

The question is do you think that we separate ourselves from other classes? On a daily basis, when do you get to interact with people from different classes? Why do lower class people feel “invisible?” Do you think this is true? Visit the following website to see what kind of people live near you:
Claritas class finder by code.

Also, there is a short article about how uniforms separate us into classes. Click on the following link and then click on “Essays” then “Pride and Prejudice...”
Articles on Social Class


Also in the movie, they show a woman trying to act wealthy. She is given lessons on how to walk, talk, stand, think, dress etc.... What do you think of these techniques? Can someone learn to fit in? How are we encouraged to not let others into our class? Do you think that our parents encourage us to mix with people from a certain class? The following website provides evidence for one small way that classes tend to separate themselves. What do you think of it? Click on the link below and then visit the visitors section:
Ivy League Dating

How are you separated from other classes in your daily life?