Seductive Habits: Building Reality

“White privilege is best understood as a constellation of psychical and somatic habits formed through transaction with a racist world. As such, it often functions as unconscious: seemingly invisible, even nonexistent, and actively resisting conscious efforts to know this.” In Revealing Whiteness: The Unconscious Habits of Racial Privilege, Sullivan is trying to get us to think about and understand how white privilege can be unconscious when it is transactional because of the means by which that unconsciousness is formed through seduction by transference of enigmatic (meaning unknown to or hidden from both sender and receiver) messages from parent to child. Continue reading “Seductive Habits: Building Reality”

Equality Staring

Rights in law are fundamentally about seeing and not seeing, about the cold game of equality staring. Talking about women’s lives in the language of rights is a cold game indeed, a game played with words and philosophical concepts which bear little relationship to real life.” Continue reading “Equality Staring”

Sociology of Family: Immigration and Diversity in the Latino Family

“The immigration debate is usually framed as though there were a clear demarcation between legal residents and illegal aliens who live “in the shadows.” But reality is far messier. Palacios’s clan—six siblings and their spouses and kids—includes Americans by birth, naturalized citizens, permanent residents and undocumented immigrants.”

Regarding family and diversity, I reviewed the article “America’s Divide” which appeared in the April 10th, 2006 issue of Newsweek Magazine: Illegal’s Under Fire. This article was written by Arian Campo-Flores. This article tells the story of immigrant families and the diversity of the immigrant experience inside the family, or ‘clan’. Continue reading “Sociology of Family: Immigration and Diversity in the Latino Family”

A Brief Ethnographic Commentary: Waterlily

Waterlily is a captivating story of a young Dakota girl growing up in the Sioux culture of beliefs, social conventions and ceremonies. We learn, alongside Waterlily, the concept of kinship: “achieving civility, good manners, and a sense of responsibility toward every individual dealt with.” These kinship rules are the crux of the Sioux culture, as they “held the people together, impelling them to sacrifice for one another”. Within the tiyospaye, Waterlily learned to navigate the relative obligations that are at the core of kinship rules. In doing so, she was to become a child beloved and an exemplary woman, all by means of that careful observation of kinship rules and her joyful and selfless execution of gift-giving rituals. Continue reading “A Brief Ethnographic Commentary: Waterlily”

Gender, Ethnicity, Sexual Orientation and Class in Popular Television

Sex and the City‘ has been known for pushing the edge of ‘real’ on television. You might imagine with this greater breath of freedom that they would use that position to promote positive images of women, people of color, gay and lesbians and those of different classes. However, that is just not the case. Women are portrayed as being absolutely consumed with the pursuit of men, love, clothes and shoes. Little do we know of their jobs, and even less time is spent discussing them. The main cast is white American’s, with few ethnic characters appearing in a single episode. Carrie and Charlotte have ‘best’ gay friends who serve as fashion accessories. Stanford is the prominent gay character, and together with Anthony, these men serve up flamboyant gay as if it’s going out of style. Finally, issues of class aren’t approached at all… everyone is well-to-do with an amazing apartment with only one financial concern – how many of the new season’s shoes you will be able to purchase.
Continue reading “Gender, Ethnicity, Sexual Orientation and Class in Popular Television”

Ethnicity, Gender and Communication: Privilege

Privilege is an advantage, right or perk that is not available to everyone, but only an elite group. For example, my boyfriend and I work for the same company, his group reimburses a portion of his cell phone expenses, while mine does not. He was complaining when they took that benefit away. I explained to him how he cannot complain because it was a privilege, not a right. He should be happy for the benefit while he had it, because others just as deserving did not get the same perk. Continue reading “Ethnicity, Gender and Communication: Privilege”

Cultural Sensitivity and Awareness

A Guide for ESL Tutors

As a tutor, you will be working with students from other cultures. You will gain an appreciation for different cultures by providing the student with an atmosphere of trust and acceptance. Encourage the student to talk about his/her family and country. If you are asked about American customs, be sensitive to the tutee’s viewpoints. What is socially acceptable in the U.S. might be unthinkable in the student’s culture. Most foreign students are eager to talk about their country and traditions. This interaction might be a valuable learning experience for you. Continue reading “Cultural Sensitivity and Awareness”

Savage Inequalities

The inequalities described in Jonathan Kozol’s Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools seem to paint a picture taken from a third world country, appallingly however; these are scenes from modern day America, the realities of inequalities and their pervasiveness. Continue reading “Savage Inequalities”

Walking in the Ghetto

When I was young, probably about 12 or 13 years old, I would do volunteer work in the “First Ward” neighborhood of Charlotte, North Carolina. I always felt awkward and so completely out of place. As a white girl with fairly nice clean clothes, I couldn’t help but wish I didn’t stand out so much in a way that accentuated the advantages I had versus the severe disadvantages that the residents of First Ward had. Racial and educational inequality is rampant and increasing in America. The photo of Lloyd’s kitchen in “Our America: Life and Death on the South Side of Chicago” page 190, of two children sprawled on a filthy disgusting kitchen floor is a haunting memory from the time of helping my mother as she visited Charlotte’s version of the projects. I can’t imagine what it would be like today, after another ten years of disintegration and destitution. Our America is not one and the same with “their” America. Continue reading “Walking in the Ghetto”

“There goes the neighborhood.”

The phrase easily conjures up a picture in your minds eye… A white family standing on the porch of a picturesque house wearily eying the new neighbors moving in as “they” are the darkest color found in this sunny scene.

Inequality is defined as “unequal opportunity or treatment based on social or economic disparity”. Racial inequality is still seen today in the picture painted above, and in one example, stems from the residential segregation of neighborhoods across America. I grew up in the South where some neighborhoods were somewhat interspersed with various color and ethnicities, while areas remained faithfully “white”. It wasn’t until I had moved out of the South and lived in both Dallas and Seattle that I ever comprehended how pervasive residential segregation was. Continue reading ““There goes the neighborhood.””

Educational Inequality through continued Racial Segregation

Educational inequality found through racial segregation in schools continues to plague our nation’s children. Though the efforts to improve the inequality found within our educational system has waned over the past several decades, the Supreme Court still remains correct in its standing that segregated schools are “inherently unequal”. However, segregation is not necessarily just mean by race, but also by socioeconomic means, or more simply stated: poverty. Continue reading “Educational Inequality through continued Racial Segregation”