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Archive for the 'Sociology' Category

I Got Myself Arrested So I Could Look Inside the Justice System

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

A former prosecutor fights the law and lets it win. Courageous, and kind of stupid. But informative.

Minimum Wage Was Once Enough To Keep a Family of 3 Out of Poverty

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

Since the 1980s, the federal minimum wage has kept pace with neither inflation, nor the rise of the average worker’s paycheck. That means that while a federal minimum wage in 1968 could have lifted a family of three above the poverty line, now it can’t even do that for a parent with one child, working full-time, 40 hours a week and 52 weeks a year (yes, this calculation assumes that the parent takes no time off).

 

The racial preferences of online daters

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

America’s angriest white men: Up close with racism, rage and Southern supremacy

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

Up close with small-town white rage, with bitter, scary men who feel left behind by economic and cultural change.

“These are the sons of small-town America, the Jeffersonian yeoman of the nineteenth century, disfigured by global restructuring and economic downturns. They come from the “large and growing number of US citizens disaffected from and alienated by a government that seems indifferent, if not hostile, to their interests. This predominantly white, male, and middle-and working-class sector has been buffeted by global economic restructuring with its attendant job losses, declining real wages, and social dislocations. While under economic stress, this sector has also seen its traditional privileges and status challenged by 1960s-style social movements, such as feminism, minority rights, and environmentalism.”

The sons of these farmers and shopkeepers expected to—and felt entitled to—inherit their fathers’ legacy. And when it became evident it was not going to happen, they became murderously angry—at a system that emasculated their fathers and threatens their manhood. They live in what they call a “Walmart economy” and are governed by a “nanny state” that doles out their birthright to ungrateful and undeserving immigrants. What they want, says one guy, is to “take back what is rightfully ours.”

A son’s search for his Amazonian mother

Friday, September 20th, 2013

David Good’s parents come from different countries – hardly unusual in the US where he was raised. But the 25-year-old’s family is far from ordinary – while his father is American, his mother is a tribeswoman living in a remote part of the Amazon. Two decades after she left, David realised he had to find her.

Fascinating…from the BBC

David Good and his mother Yarima

King’s Dream Remains an Elusive

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

A new survey by the Pew Research Center finds that fewer than half (45%) of all Americans say the country has made substantial progress toward racial equality and about the same share (49%) say that “a lot more” remains to be done.

The analysis finds that the economic gulf between blacks and whites that was present half a century ago largely remains. When it comes to household income and household wealth, the gaps between blacks and whites have widened. On measures such as high school completion and life expectancy, they have narrowed. On other measures, including poverty and homeownership rates, the gaps are roughly the same as they were 40 years ago.

See this startling collection of data from Pew.

Could You Survive on Fast-Food Wages? Try Our Calculator

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

How would you and your family fare on a typical fast-food paycheck? How much does it really take to make ends meet in your city or state? Use this calculator to get a better sense of what fast-food workers are up against.

American Girls Aren’t Radical Anymore

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Yeah, I read about dolls now. My new life. This is interesting…you know, symbolically and what not:

“Previously known as The American Girls Collection, indicating their core importance to the brand, dolls of previous eras have been officially renamed “Historical Characters” in order to give more attention to the customizable “My American Girl” (advertised as a doll that looks “just like you!”) and the annual “Girl of the Year.” These product lines offer blander avatars who reflect only the present time period and appearance of contemporary girls…
By contrast, the original dolls confronted some of the most heated issues of their respective times. In the book A Lesson for Samantha, she wins an essay contest at her elite academy with a pro-manufacturing message, but after conversations with Nellie, her best friend from a destitute background who has younger siblings working in brutal factory jobs, Samantha reverses course and ends us giving a speech against child labor in factories at the award ceremony…
Kirsten explored tensions between early pioneers and Native Americans. In Kirsten Learns a Lesson, the “lesson” may have been her introduction to manifest destiny…
With a greater focus on appearance, increasingly mild character development, and innocuous political topics, a former character-building toy has become more like a stylish accessory.”

Marissa Mayer Thinks Feminists Are a Drag. Is She Right?

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

Mayer described feminists as women who are “militant” and have a “chip on the shoulder,” which struck me as a pretty unsophisticated portrait. But a few days later I am starting to reconsider. Maybe Mayer’s outdated stereotypes are distracting me from the more interesting question: If someone as smart and successful as Mayer, someone who tours the country speaking to young women, can’t comfortably call herself a feminist, then maybe we need to take her objection seriously. Maybe there is a reason why that PBS documentary was so much better on the history than it was on the modern era. Maybe feminism is a term too freighted with history and it’s time to move on.

TAL: Harper High School

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

TAL spent five months at Harper High School in Chicago, where last year alone 29 current and recent students were shot. 29. They went to get a sense of what it means to live in the midst of all this gun violence, how teens and adults navigate a world of funerals and Homecoming dances. They found so many incredible and surprising stories, this show is a two-parter; you can listen to Part Two here.

 

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