Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Service Op: Special Olympics Bocce Ball

Once again, sociology has partnered with the Special Olympics to provide an amazing community service experience.  We will provide all of the volunteers (80) for the Area 13 Special Olympics of Illinois Bocce Ball tournament.  This will take place:

At Stevenson High School on the Port Clinton field.

On Sunday April 17, 2016 from 8am to 3:30pm.  There will also be a training  session on thursday April 14th, the week before during 8th and 9th periods (choose one period to attend a training session).

Here is a google form if you are interested, or fill out the form embedded below:

Friday, March 11, 2016

Don't just do something, stand there! Nothing and Thriving


Our culture constructs a reality where we are not allowed to just be. We must be doing at all times; it is valuing personal achievement, time, work, competition, materialism and success. Note that happiness is never a apart of the equation.  The hegemonic assumption is that happiness simply comes with those values.  See this post about happiness and it's relationship to money.  Contrast these values with the values that Michael Buettner writes about in his book Thrive.  What are the lessons you learned from Thrive?  How would you like to live your life differently after reading this?  What would be a message you would like to share with the rest of your classmates who don't have the privilege of being in our class?

Bernard McGrane's experiment explores the idea of doing nothing in American culture. In his book, The Un-Tv and the 10mph Car he explores doing nothing as a way of being able to detach and see all that is actually going on - both in others and in ourselves. By detaching from the social world, can you see the ways the world controls who you are? We go about our daily lives without question drifting along doing the things that we do. We never have to stop and think about why we are doing what we do and whether we want to do that. Some of the questions McGrane addresses are: How did you react and what occurred to you in being unoccupied? How did the world around you react to doing nothing? How does this relate our work to our identity? See this link for a discussion guide to the nothing experiment. This is from McGrane's book. If you don't know why we did that experiment please read it!
The last point about work and identity reminds me of how Americans get acquainted with one another. The first question is usually "What is your name?" (usually answered very individualistically with the first name.) And the next question is usually "What do you do?" This highlights the importance of job and work identity. What does this mean for teens who might not have a job or parents who spend their days taking care of children and making a home. It is a sad message. An example of a different way that some cultures do these introductions is something someone from Australia told me. He said they get acquainted by asking "Where have you been?" So the focus is more on one's previous life experiences and travels. Another example is described in Richard Strozzi Heckler's book Holding the Center. In it, he describes a group of presenters at a health conference who were introducing themselves,
The distinguished men and women described their degrees, awards, publications, university positions, and their current research. The sixth person was an Ojibway Native American who introduced himself first by naming his tribe and family lineage and then describing in specific detail the land in which he and his tribe lived. He spoke of his relatives, many generations back on both sides of his family, who his sisters, brothers, and children married, his relationship with his aunts and uncles, and then the birds, fish and animals, the trees, rivers, lakes. He finished by saying, "this is who I am." He then politely requested that others provide the same information.


This is a marvelous example of other ways of defining their identity. Whereas Americans would define their identity based on their individuality and that would have a strong focus on their job, others (like the example above) would define their identity by their community and where they came from. It is much more communal than individual and less focused on your individual role. Finally,Here is a funny video of a group that appears to do nothing, but they are actually doing "freezing". For the purposes of McGrane's experiment, they are not detached, but it is funny nonetheless to watch.

Our culture constructs a reality where we are not allowed to just be. We must be doing at all times; it is valuing personal achievement, time, work, competition, materialism and success. Note that happiness is never a apart of the equation.  The hegemonic assumption is that happiness simply comes with those values.  See this post about happiness and it's relationship to money.  Contrast these values with the values that Michael Buettner writes about in his book Thrive.  What are the lessons you learned from Thrive?  How would you like to live your life differently after reading this?  What would be a message you would like to share with the rest of your classmates who don't have the privilege of being in our class?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Black Lives Matter


Trump at a rally 2/29/2016
  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpijYTMpz3k
 
and: 

Trump throws out Black lives Matter Protesters and he incites the crowd by yelling "All lives matter." Here's some metaphors to help explain why the Black Lives Matter movement is important and it shouldn't be trumped by "all lives matter".

Black Lives Matter Metaphors:

Bob
Bob is sitting at the dinner table.  Everyone else there gets a plate of food except Bob.  Bob says, “Bob deserves food.” Everyone at the table responds with, “Everyone deserves food!” and they continue eating.  All though everyone deserves food is a true statement, it does nothing to actually rectify the face that Bob has NO food!

The Doctor
A man goes to the doctor for a broken arm, and the doctor starts examining the rest of the man’s body.  The injured man says, “Doc, it’s my arm that’s broken; everything else is fine,” and the doctor responds, “All bones matter.”  Of course they all do, but they aren’t the ones broken now!

Jesus
When Jesus said “Blessed are the poor, “  no one stood up and yelled “Blessed is everyone!”

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Randall Barnes puts February 2016 into perspective with a detailed analysis of Blackish: