Showing posts from November, 2013

wealth gap and Congress

I've always found this post to be a powerful story and graphic. After reading the article, try to answer the question whether you think it matters where on the income scale our representatives come from? Notes on wealth gap and Congressional wealth.  from Edward_ Winkleman blog:The wealth gap between younger and older Americans has stretched to the widest on record, worsened by a prolonged economic downturn that has wiped out job opportunities for young adults and saddled them with housing and college debt.  The typical U.S. household headed by a person age 65 or older has a net worth 47 times greater than a household headed by someone under 35, according to an analysis of census data released Monday.  While people typically accumulate assets as they age, this wealth gap is now more than double what it was in 2005 and nearly five times the 10-to-1 disparity a quarter-century ago, after adjusting for inflation. The analysis reflects the impact of the economic downturn, which has hi…

Feminizing Sport’s Elite Female Stars

This is a post originally from Sociology in Focus about gender and sports. Consider the top 10 women earners in sports:Maria Sharapova $US25 million (Russia, tennis)Caroline Wozniacki $US12.5 million (Denmark, tennis) Danica Patrick $US12 million (US, motor racing)Venus Williams $US11.5 million (US, tennis)Kim Clijsters $US11 million (Belgium, tennis)Serena Williams $US10.5 million (US, tennis) Kim Yuna $US10 million (figure skating, South Korea)Li Na $US8 million (China, tennis)Ana Ivanovic $US6 million (Serbia, tennis)Paula Creamer $US5.5 million (US, golf)  While these are all talented athletes, they are not the top athletes in their sports. In addition, do the sports they are in have something in common? What do you think this tells us about how society values and compensates women in sports? Parts of the original Sociology in Focus article are reproduced below. Even if you are not a sports fan, it's interesting to see the different ways sport – much like the rest of society –…

Major Features of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Most of us are well aware of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but most of us have never really read it's provisions (much like how most of use know about the Declaration of Independence or the US Constitution and Bill of Rights, but have never read these documents either). It's well worth it to consider the 1964 Civil Rights Act's actual provisions. 
read more here
(Public Law 88-352)

Title I—Voting Rights
Barred unequal application of voter registration requirements, but did not abolish literacy tests sometimes used to disqualify African Americans and poor white voters.  Title II—Public Accommodations
Outlawed discrimination in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, and all other public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce; exempted private clubs without defining "private," thereby allowing a loophole.  Title III—Desegregation of Public Facilities
Permitted Justice Department suits to secure desegregation of certain public facilities. Title IV—Desegregation of …

Hispanic Poverty Rate Highest In New Supplemental Census Measure

According to a alternative Census Bureau calculation known as the Supplemental Poverty Measure,  Hispanics have the highest poverty rate of the nation's largest racial and ethnic groups...The alternative measure is intended to better reflect the costs of basic living expenses as well as the resources people have to pay them.

Immigration Crackdown Also Snares Americans -

According to a recent report, the crackdown on immigrants also snares plenty of Americans.
Immigration Crackdown Also Snares Americans -
A growing number of United States citizens have been detained under Obama administration programs intended to detect illegal immigrants who are arrested by local police officers.  In a spate of recent cases across the country, American citizens have been confined in local jails after federal immigration agents, acting on flawed information from Department of Homeland Security databases, instructed the police to hold them for investigation and possible deportation.  Americans said their vehement protests that they were citizens went unheard by local police officers and jailers for days, with no communication with federal immigration agents to clarify the situation. Any case where an American is held, even briefly, for immigration investigation is a potential wrongful arrest because immigration agents lack legal authority to detain citizens…

Report Takes Aim at ‘Model Minority’ Stereotype of Asian-American Students -

There are many problems with the "model minority" stereotype that negatively effects Asians and other minorities alike. This particular report focuses on the large numbers of Asians who are NOT doing well...
The report, by New York University, the College Boardand a commission of mostly Asian-American educators and community leaders, largely avoids the debates over both affirmative action and the heavy representation of Asian-Americans at the most selective colleges. But it pokes holes in stereotypes about Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, including the perception that they cluster in science, technology, engineering and math. And it points out that the term "Asian-American" is extraordinarily broad, embracing members of many ethnic groups.

China rising, yellow peril, and poverty

In recent years, the refrain, "China owns us (the United States)" has become a common refrain. I often hear this comment from students and in everyday social encounters. A casual perusal of popular news media seems to reinforce this line of thinking. However, I think such arguments reflect a subtext of racism and insecurity more than reality. As we watch small pockets of immense wealth emerge in China combined with the insecurity of declining American wealth and influence, we are seeing a revival of the "yellow peril" syndrome that was so much a part of western demonization of China in the past. 
To be clear, I am not suggesting that concerns about environmental destruction as China industrializes, overpopulation, or declining manufacturing in the US are not serious issues. Rather, I suggest that we have to pay careful attention to how questions and arguments are framed so that they do not demonize an entire people.
To put things into context about whether "C…

Dominicans' dance with want - Le Monde diplomatique - English edition

The reasons why people move are incredibly complex. They go far beyond an individual's or even family's desire for better themselves economically. Consider the following comments by David Brotherton, a criminologist, sociologist, and specialist of the Caribbean.
"But what are Dominicans fleeing from? In this general election year this question focuses our attention on the plight of this nation: it is now 49 years since the country was last led by a truly independent politician, Juan Bosch, in 1963. This extraordinary intellectual and man of unimpeachable character was duly dispensed by Washington, in league with its local allies, for his efforts to bring a popular democracy to a country that had been brutally and dictatorially ruled by Trujillo for more than three decades. Bosch's commitment to land reform, an anti-colonial foreign policy, and openly democratic elections were simply too unpalatable for the US fearful of a freedom-hungry Caribbean four years after the …

Sexism in the Civil Rights Movement: A Discussion Guide | Teaching Tolerance

Sexism in the Civil Rights Movement: A Discussion Guide | Teaching Tolerance
Teaching about the Civil Rights Movement used to be easy. These days, however, when educators assign research projects about the struggle to end U.S. apartheid, students are likely to stumble upon resources that contain disturbing and seemingly adverse information.  One such resource is Michael Eric Dyson's recently released I May Not Get There with You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr. Conceptualized and written for today's "hip hop" youth, this new biography delves deeply into allegations about King's chauvinism and promiscuity as well as into sexism in the Civil Rights Movement generally. In this way, the text complicates the commonly held, one-dimensional perceptions of King and the struggle to end segregation.

Wikipedia and academia

This American Life's podcast about the state of housing in America

This is a great podcast about the state of housing in America. It raises fundamental questions about the enduring place of race as a social delimiter in the US.

Questions for immigration class:
What might this experience mean for immigrants? Are the fortunes and futures of immigrants inextricably linked to those of African Americans?

website with tons of data and charts

Although I take some issue with the name of the website, it's still a very interesting site with a great deal of very interesting data, charts, etc. Of course, the key is to always consider the data carefully and to consider the source. According to their "About us" page, they are a "project of the Cato Institute with major support from the John Templeton Foundation, the Searle Freedom Trust and the Brinson Foundation." Admittedly, I don't know much about the other foundations, but the Cato Institute has historically been aligned anywhere between libertarian to more conservative so it's something to take into consideration when you're looking at the data (and which might explain the name a bit). With those caveates, the site,, is still well worth a visit. See what you think of the data and their choice of topics.

'via Blog this'

Blackboard (if you must) and Google Drive

I am one of those instructors who hate Bb (I keep planning to write a post about why, but there's always something else that needs to get done). Nevertheless, sometimes I give into student demands and use Bb. And when that happens, I still try to work it into my preferred method of sharing documents with students-- Google Drive. After some trial and error, I've finally figured out the best way to do this.
I create the syllabus/document whatever I want to share with students in Google Drive.Then, I publish the document to the web (File -> Publish to the web) and click "update automatically" if that's what you want to do. When you publish the document to the web, Google provides you with a link and an embed code. Unfortunately, the embed code doesn't seem to work in Bb 9.1 (at least not at my institution). So a brief Google search turned up this website with the code below that seems to work. (Don't forget to use the url of your published document!).<s…

a little data on immigrants, undocumented, and deportations

A student raised this question in class. In order to answer her question, I had to go back and find some hard numbers. Since I made this spreadsheet, I thought it might be a good idea to share it with the entire class.