Log inskip to content

Archive for the 'Sociology' Category

U.S. Public Becoming Less Religious

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

Is the American public becoming less religious? Yes, at least by some key measures of what it means to be a religious person. An extensive new survey of more than 35,000 U.S. adults finds that the percentages who say they believe in God, pray daily and regularly go to church or other religious services all have declined modestly in recent years.

Fresh Air Interview: Don’t ‘Sanitize’ How Our Government Created Ghettos

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

“We have a myth today that the ghettos in metropolitan areas around the country are what the Supreme Court calls ‘de-facto’ — just the accident of the fact that people have not enough income to move into middle class neighborhoods or because real estate agents steered black and white families to different neighborhoods or because there was white flight,” Rothstein tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross.

“It was not the unintended effect of benign policies,” he says. “It was an explicit, racially purposeful policy that was pursued at all levels of government, and that’s the reason we have these ghettos today and we are reaping the fruits of those policies.”

The Imprisoner’s Dilemma

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

There are 2.3 million Americans in prison or jail. The U.S. has 5 percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of its prisoners. One in three black men can expect to spend time in prison. There are 2.7 million minors with an incarcerated parent. The imprisonment rate has grown by more than 400 percent since 1970.

Check out this 538 analysis of “justice” in America.




Pardon Pot Prisoners?

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

On Monday, President Obama commuted the sentences of 46 federal prisoners locked up for nonviolent drug offenses, raising the total number of commutations he’s issued to 89. The decision came 15 months after former Attorney General Eric Holder announced the president’s request to prioritize clemency applications from nonviolent, well-behaved, oversentenced drug offenders.

While there’s still time, the president should consider an act of clemency that measures up to history: pardoning every marijuana offender.

Read The Atlantic’s argument…

The Most Diverse Cities Are Often The Most Segregated

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Nate Silver at 538 walks us through America’s most/least diverse and segregated cities. Data Power!

A woman walked around New York City for 10 hours and filmed every catcall she received

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Hollaback, an organization that wants to stamp out street harassment and intimidation (a.k.a.catcalls), produced a video in which it videotaped a young woman walking around Manhattan for 10 hours this past August. A hidden video camera was placed in the backpack of a man walking in front of her, catching every catcall, whistle, and even one persistent character who walked alongside the woman for five minutes.

The results are startling:

Touch Screen Generation

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

In the Atlantic Hannah Rosin offers a unique insight into kids and technology.

The Case Against High-School Sports

Friday, July 25th, 2014

“In these communities, the dominant argument is usually that sports lure students into school and keep them out of trouble—the same argument American educators have made for more than a century. And it remains relevant, without a doubt, for some small portion of students.

But at this moment in history, now that more than 20 countries are pulling off better high-school-graduation rates than we are, with mostly nominal athletic offerings, using sports to tempt kids into getting an education feels dangerously old-fashioned. America has not found a way to dramatically improve its children’s academic performance over the past 50 years, but other countries have—and they are starting to reap the economic benefits…

Imagine, for a moment, if Americans transferred our obsessive intensity about high-school sports—the rankings, the trophies, the ceremonies, the pride—to high-school academics.”

Amanda Ripley makes a compelling case against the American obsession in Slate.

Greed Is Good: A 300-Year History of a Dangerous Idea

Friday, July 25th, 2014

“But for the most part, I don’t think we don’t say very much about greed, not comfortably at least. Perhaps that is the inevitable price of an economic system that relies on the vigor of self-interested pursuits, that it instills a kind of moral quietism in the face of avarice, for whether out of a desire to appear non-judgmental or for reasons of moral expediency, unless some action verges on the criminal, we hesitate to call it greed, much less evidence of someone greedy. We don’t deny the existence of such individuals, but like Bigfoot, they tend to be more rumored than seen.

Moral revolutions come about in different ways. If we reject some conduct but rarely admit an example, we enjoy the benefit of being high-minded without the burden of moral restraint. We also embolden that behavior, which proceeds with a presumptive blessing. As a matter of public discourse and polite conversation, “Greed” is unlikely to be “Good” anytime soon, but a vice need not become a virtue for the end result to look the same.”

Writing in the Atlantic, John Paul Rollert walks us through the history of the concept of greed.

Coates’ Case for Reparations

Friday, July 25th, 2014

This journalistic tour de force is the best piece I’ve read this year. Coates puts the question squarely into the reader’s face and, in so doing, changes the dialogue about reparations.


I. “So That’s Just One Of My Losses”
II.  “A Difference of Kind, Not Degree”
III. “We Inherit Our Ample Patrimony”
IV. “The Ills That Slavery Frees Us From”
V. The Quiet Plunder
VI. Making The Second Ghetto
VII. “A Lot Of People Fell By The Way”
VIII. “Negro Poverty is not White Poverty”
IX. Toward A New Country
X. “There Will Be No ‘Reparations’ From Germany”

Read the Case for Reparations

Answer these questions 

You might also be interested in Coates’ evolving thoughts on reparations.