Friday, April 28, 2017

Post 9: Culture

For the first half of Culture unit, we began by learning about how we react to different cultures with culture shock and ethnocentrism.  We also learned that sociologists seek cultural relativity when understanding other cultures.  We then learned about the different components of culture: Material culture, and non-material culture: gestures, language, norms (folkways, mores, taboos), and finally values. Finally, we learned that within cultures there are subcultures.

One idea about how to relate these sociology concepts to your own life is to post about if you have ever been to a foreign culture, or,  research a culture and post about how different it is.  Does it have unique components?  What are they?  What sources did you use to find them?

- Be sure to explain multiple sociology concepts and relate them to a unique example from your own life.

- Be sure to explain how two sources relate to these sociological concepts.  Sources can be readings, videoes, websites. (Some sources we have used include: God Grew Tired of Us, Social Time)  Also, remember that you can use your textbook as a source.

- Be sure to write properly, turn it in on time, spell check and proofread.

-Comment on two other posts.

God Grew Tired of Us and Cultural Differences

We watched a bit of the movie "God Grew Tired of Us." (Click here to watch the movie via mediacast) My mom happened to meet and talk to one of the lost boys in the film and she recommended it to us for sociology. I'm so thankful to her for that. Anyway, in the movie we see numerous cultural differences. Here is a website dedicated to the Lost Boys of Sudan in Chicago.
To speak about culture in a more measured way, think in terms of the way sociologists might break down culture. Culture is made up of material culture as well as the nonmaterial: gestures, language, norms, values.  Describe the cultural differences that the Sudanese men experienced using the terms material cuture, mores, folkways, values?  Have you ever met anyone from a different country? Did you notice or discuss any cultural differences? What component of culture (from the terms above) did those differences fall under?

I also like the contrast in cultural values in the movie between communal society versus individualistic society. We see the Lost Boys in the United States have food, shelter, jobs and schooling but they feel lonely. They miss their culture because they are so used to communal culture. That is being together with their friends and family, rather than living nearly alone in an apartment. This is an important revelation that our culture sometimes de-emphasizes to a fault; we need other people. Humans are social and communal beings. Do you see how this individualist way of living and thinking shapes our lives? How can we work to change that and satisfy our inherent needs for connecting with other people?

Finally, I like watching the movie with our community service in mind. We have so much to be thankful for in our culture. We live in a culture of abundance. We must be mindful of our bounty and mindful of those who have so much less than us. One way to create this mindfulness is through community service. By finding ways to serve others we become grateful for what we have rather than ignoring those who need help and taking for granted all of our bounty. Perhaps you know someone who is able and willing to help them find a job or donate to their cause - here is a list of ways to help.

Here is the foundation created by John Bul Dau from the movie:

Here is a follow up story about Panther Bior:

Update - March 2016
Sudan broke apart into two nations; Sudan and South Sudan.  South Sudan is where the Lost Boys in the movie returned to. Unfortunately, South Sudan faces a new civil war within itself.  Here is a March 8, 2016 report from NPR:

Local Refugees
I facilitated a sociology conference where we had a keynote speaker discuss refugees.

James Hardan from the World Relief Fund discussed them for us:

Immigrants choose to leave but refugees are forced.
The road to refugee:
Flee homeland, leave everything behind, find temporary shelter (avg stay is 5 years) sometimes living in forest for extended time
Interview with UNHCR; often involves reliving the events
Wait for acceptance and nation to accept you
US resettles 50-60% of worldwide refugees
If accepted, go wherever you are sent and be prepared to pay back airfare costs!

26 million refugees worldwide.
50-80,000 refugees accepted to US each year

$900 given to each refugee to make it through first 3 months!
IL is 7th largest recipient of refugees

UNHCR – US Dept state – IOM Travel logistics – Resettlement Services

Worldrelief Services:
Initial resettlement
Employment Services
Education Services/ESL
Refugee Counseling Services
Youth Services
Volunteer and Church Relations
Citizenship and immigration Legal Service

Educational factors: ESL and lagging academics

Family and Cultural Dynamics:
Parent child role reversal
Lack of parental involvement in students’ lives
Lack of parental involvement in school
Different parenting styles and discipline

Past and Current Trauma/stress:
Past trauma and identity crisis

IL refugees:
Ethnic Lhotsampa
108,000 people displaced
Imprisoned, abused, denial of human rights

Very different from Bhutanese
Recent refugees, short term
Kids have seen and experienced more turmoil than Bhutanese

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Final Paper - Step 3 of Community Service Project

Final Paper – Community Service Reflection
DUE: Thursday May 18 , 2017
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.
- Look back over my blog for the various sources we looked at this semester.
- Use your textbook as a source if necessary.
- Use Socimages (link on my blog sidebar)

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.
- Use the appendix on the back of this handout.
- The intro unit can be applied to every service opportunity.
- Research the organization that you worked with.  Find out who they help and why – this will give you ideas about how to connect to sociology.

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.
- Be authentic.
- Spell check

Appendix A – Connecting to Sociology

            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.

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?

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? 

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?

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.

Service Ideas for 1 hour

If you need just one more hour for your community service requirement, here are some options:

You can clean out your closet or help your parents clean out stuff around the house and then drive the donations to Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity Restore shop or another charitable organization.  Remember to take pictures of what you donate and where you drop it off at.

Giving Blood
You can stop into a Lifesource and donate blood.  I will count this as one hour.
Feed My Starving Children
They have lots of shifts and some of them are just 1.5 hours.

Northern Illinois Foodbank will take food donations.  You can run a food drive  in your neighborhood.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

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

What color dress is Mrs. Obama wearing in this picture?

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, desirable 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.

When you're accustomed to privilege, equality sounds like oppression.  From Chris Boeskool of Huffington Post.

Privilege does exist and it's measurable.  From Michael Harriot of The Root who explains the ways privilege shows up in education, employment, income, spending.

Robin DiAngelo, author of What Does it Mean to Be White and White Fragility; Why It's So Hard for  White People to Talk about Racism published this op-ed about White Privilege.  Here is a journal article about White Fragility.

Here is an example from Sociological Images of how white privilege shows up even when discussing racism.

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

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.

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?

Monday, April 17, 2017

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.  It also results in many of the students feeling pressure to represent their minority group or live up to an ideal that is more pressure than those in the majority have to experience.

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:

Mom is Indian and dad is Pakistani. 
Racially profiled on a flight.  Mom said that we will be treated differently, but have to react differently.   Profiled as terrorist, but also stereotyped that good at math, bad at sports.  Mom said we might be treated differently but what matters is how we treat others.
Recalls a time teased by a kid in 6th grade.  Called Osama Bin Laden by a boy who didn’t even know me.  Asked if he dislikes Jewish people even though most friends are Jewish. Asked if I know how build bombs.
I grew more aware of cliques and how race shapes social groups.  But I didn’t feel that I fit into one group, but was still bullied for being not white.  Asked where are you from?  Where are you really from?  Parents encouraged me to blend in and not identify, but wanted to embrace being brown, Pakistani Muslim.
Alerted at the rise of white supremacy and trump, I wanted to be involved.
I know I am blessed and cursed to live in a bubble. 
My bubble burst a few weeks ago.  I was volunteering at a hospital, a white woman walked past without a pass.  When I stopped her, she asked my name and told me that I have no business in this country as a brown boy.  She talked about how I don’t belong here.  You’re people ruined this country and destroy buildings.
She shouted cussed me out and called me “sand nigger”.  I got a hold of myself and remembered my moms advice.  I gave her a pass and wished her well and asked her to have a nice day.

Identify as Biracial and live in a multiracial family.  Father is white german/Swedish.  Mom is Indian and Pakistani but switched between both.  I also have two black uncles and black cousins. 
Adopted my sister who was black, then had me.
I knew we weren’t conventional.
Always normal to have different races in my family.
3rd and 4th grade is when I realized it was different and I became more aware.
I was always more pale than my mom. 
People used to think my mom was my nanny.  One friend told me that my mom couldn’t be my mom.  People said that my sister couldn’t be my sister just because of our looks.  People think how someone looks defines their experiences and their relationships.  I was visiting an aunt in the hospital and followed back to the room because the nurse didn’t believe that we were sisters and only family were allowed.  People were more inclined to think that my adopted sister and my mom were blood related because they are both minorities but not me and my mom even though shes my biological mom.
Didn’t connect to my mom’s side of the family because they didn’t accept that we were a mixed family. My own grandma said that I have “devil’s blood” in me because of my Indian and white.  Crazy because your grandma is supposed to love you no matter what, but because of race, they have these viewpoints.  Now I am more proud

Used to be troublesome.
Typical Indian family.
I was different, I took interest in other cultures.  My family never understood this.  When I played with cousins, I always felt left out.  There were groups – older cousins and younger cousins and then I was stuck in the middle.  I used to be the goody two shoes in middle school.  In high school I rebelled – didn’t want to do chores or get good grades.  My dad is a pediatrician in India and he owns a hospital.  I grew up feeling that I was not Indian.  In high school I didn’t feel like myself, my family didn’t accept

Born in Chicago.   Raised in Jalisco, Mexico.
Growing up in Mexico was nice.  Played with everyone esp on fri sat.  Went to religious catholic school . Less rules in Mex.  I miss it.  Still feels like my home.
Moved back in 6th grade.  Knew very little English.  I couldn’t make friends because of the language and people didn’t want to talk to me.  Eventually, I talked and became friends with the few other minorities.  I don’t fit into the same experiences with my parents.  I
I started to be rebellious and self harm.  But parents don’t accept mental illness as a real medical problem.  I was bullied and stereotyped.  We came to high school but thought we were going to Mundelein but ended up at SHS.  Felt like I was being stereotyped that I was  a minority who was up to no good. 
Microaggressions – day after election.  “Trump won, why are you still here?”

Born in Seoul South Korea.  I have memories of Korea.  I am part of 1.5 generation.  I migrated with parents so mot exactly the first one here.  Father will move to states for better econ opportunity, but family will stay or vice versa.  Wild Goose father. Moved to California first.  Actually very excited.
Moving here, realized people thought they knew me better than I know myself.   Got to choose my own English name – Jenny.  Chose Jenny because I thought it was sexy J  At first got in trouble because of language barrier.  Despite speaking eng fully by 3rd grade still getting bullied.  I moved to Buffalo Grove at age 9.
Remember my first night at orientation they spoke to me slowly assuming I could speak slowly.  They put me in ESL without evaluating me.
Race became master status – everything related back to my race.  Chiky eyes, youre pretty for an Asian, youre smart because youre Asian,
Mom packed traditional Korean food, but I tried to speak English on the phone.
I tried to Americanize myself as much as I could. I wished that I was white.  After middle school I was at all time low.  At SHS I felt better, but still tried hard to prove stereotypes wrong by rebelling and not getting good grades.  Didn’t want to be just another cookie cutter Asian.
Mom put me into traditional Korean drumming and I was thrilled to get praise from the Korean community.  It’s the most joy and pride I have felt in my own culture.  I never viewed the world by races, but …
My said that she was told America is a melting pot but recently Race is more of a salad bowl
People try to pick out ingredients and make fun of them or take them out of the salad bowl.
I think we should embrace our backgrounds and our history but not judge others based on their race.

Asian (Thai and Laotian) and identify as Caucasian?
My identity and race problem is never really placed quite right.
I remember watching Tarzan and realizing that I didn’t look like my family like Tarzan and his tribe of apes.  My mom told me that she loved me no mater what. However in middle school I had more trouble because there were other Asians who I didn’t relate to even though I wanted to identify with them.  I felt a little left out. I started identifying as white.  I couldn’t put that hyphen next to my nationality.  Race was always at the forefront of my life.  I have learned some
Everyone’s situation is different.  Listen with an open mind.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Post 8: Race

For this post, please post about race.  You may wish to talk about the social construction of race (it is not biological), ingroups/outgroups, explicit and implicit bias,  prejudice v. discrimination, and privilege.

As you apply it to your own experiences, you might want to think about: assumptions you have had about race (esp. biological), experiences you have had with other races and/or racism, and how privilege affects you.
Some sources you might want to consider using are:
The Racial Formation reading (in your packet) by Omi and Winant, and Tim Wise's video "White Like Me," the panel, and the various other links and sources on my blogpage.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Being (Tim)Wise about race in the US

Tim Wise is a sociologist and anti-racist educator who has spent his career writing about race and speaking out against racial injustices.  His latest video is called White Like Me.  You can watch it here on media cast.

Wise's video reinforces much of what we have done already this unit:

Explicit Racism is still an issue in the US despite having elected a black man to President.

White privilege has helped many whites while blacks have not received the same privileges such as mortgages, jobs, and loans.

Implicit racism subtly and subconsciously creates discrimination and racialized attitudes such as when whites receive government assistance it is simply helping them reach the American dream, but when blacks receive similar assistance they are considered leeches of society.  Whites never have to think about their race so race is not a big deal to them, but minorities constantly are aware of their race and how it affects their treatment.

Our goal is not to create white guilt but rather to make everyone mindful of the effects of racism on society and on individuals.  In becoming more mindful, hopefully we become more understanding and appreciative of each other as humans having a unique experience.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Implicit bias on AirBnB

Monday, April 3, 2017

Post 7: Social Class

For this post, you are required to apply both the movie, The Line, and the reading called Nickel and Dimed.  Please explain the dynamics of social class in the United States.  Explain how The Line and Nickel and Dimed contribute to our understanding of Social Class.  For the sociological content, some of the concepts that were a part of this unit are:  income, wealth, prestige, power, social mobility, poverty and life chances.  For applying these concepts to a unique experience, you might want to use your own family's social class or the social class of your neighborhood/school as an example. This is due next tuesday by class time.