Money in the Wrong Places

In “Dispatches from Pepper-Spray University,” Julia Sze and Sunaina Maira analyze the incident in 2011 where students of UC Davis were pepper sprayed by police while protesting a proposed tuition increase. They argue that neoliberalism and the increased privatization of universities in the United States is the cause of events like these; the lack of funding from the government forces universities to increase tuition dramatically, causing immense pressure on students and their families.

The New York Times article “The Law School Debt Crisis”, by the Editorial Board, describes the growing problem the American law students face with student debt and unemployment. The authors write that tuition increases leave the average law student with over $100,000 in student debt and less students have been passing the BAR exam in recent years. The authors blame the governmental loan system for offering limitless loans to students who are later unable to pay them off. This massive debt increase lowered the amount of law school applicants, causing schools to accept lower quality applicants and thus increasing the amount of students who cannot pass the BAR exam and end up unemployed and drowning in debt.

Like Sze and Maira, the authors of the NY Times article blame the government for tuition increases, but they show a different aspect of the problem. Sze and Maira focus on the lack of government funding causing privatization while the NY Times claims that offering too much money in loans gives students more debt than they can pay off. It seems to me that if the government is giving money towards education, it should go to lowering tuition instead of increasing the burden of student debt.

Rachel Carson Silent Springs

Silent Spring is an environmental science book written by Rachel Carson and published in 1962. Carson wrote this book to inform the people of the harm pesticides had when being sprayed in the air, on water, crops, and even people. By doing this, she faced criticism from other organizations she hurt and other scientists as well, most of them being white men. They criticized her work, saying that what she stated was wrong, stating she is just a women and does not know the content of what she said. All things are ways that the white men tried to keep Carson down and from hurting the organizations and hurting the white imperialistic males. But it did not stop her from pursing what she believed was right and that was stopping the use of pesticide DDT. During this time, a book called Feminine Mystique was written by, Betty Friedan. This book was about women being unhappy with their lives as married housewives. Now she wants them to find themselves and stray away from the norms like Rachel Carson did. Find yourself and become what you want to become, take time to find out what you want to be, just like the men did. Rachel Carson was apart of a movement that allowed women to advance in their lives and become something more than just housewives. Is this the foundation of women making a stand in America?

racialization of ghettos

Ghettos are a places that have, “(1) physical isolation characterized
 by race (or ethnicity) and
 class; (2) extreme poverty; (3) low employment opportunities and
 labor force participation; (4) low adult education levels; (5) high levels of crime, dilapidated
 housing and
 general environmental deterioration; (6) inadequate educational, health, social and
other human services; (7) low levels of social organization; (8) and
social and
cultural isolation”. The reason why is to keep those cities away from the higher economic classes and to keep these cities from prospering and obtaining a way out. Dependent on where these areas are located, for a type of race, sends a racial profile for the entire race as a whole. Ghettos were designed to keep races in those areas and allow whites to be with other whites; racially creating areas for different races and social class. For example, we all know of the high class areas in the U.S. to be mainly whites and the low income areas of hood, ghetto, to be mainly other races like black or mexican. We do not assume that it could be the the way around because of the way life is in the U.S. for races that are not white. In the article stated above, it states that, “the Federal Housing Agency (FHA) which developed
ʺconfidential city surveys and
appraiserʹs manuals with ʺovertly racist categories …[that] channeled
 almost all of the loan money toward
 whites and
 away from communities of color.ʺ (Lipsitz 2000:351‑352)” . Enforcing laws that make it almost impossible for a way of escape to better ones self. In these ghettos, do you believe there is a way out to live a better life?

Hegemony in Dance Moms

Hegemony is the method of gaining social, political, and economic control by means of coercion rather than force.  More specifically, hegemony exemplifies how one can assert dominance through the use of ideologies by making people believe that the current way society is run is the only way to run society.  In order for hegemony to be successful, people must believe that they have a choice and that if they work hard they will have the opportunity to move up in that structure of society.

In the hit TV show Dance Moms, a hegemonistic approach is used by the dance teacher, Ms. Abby, as a means to gain power over the girls and their mothers. Ms. Abby introduces the pyramid – a ranking system reordered every week based on the girls’ performance scores, attitudes during their practices and their mother’s behavior over the week.   The pyramid alone causes a lot of drama on the show.  Parent’s want to see their children on the top of the pyramid.  The girls are constantly pitted against each other to please their parents and teacher by landing at the top of the pyramid.  When the pyramid was first implemented into their dance team, the mothers and girls were immediately against it.  However it was not long before the team falls into the hegemony and it begins to control how the girls felt about themselves and how satisfied the mothers were with their daughter’s weekly performance.

I think it is very sad that this type of control is used on children at such a young age. We see this to some aspect in team sports when some children are labeled as team captain or get more playing time than others.  However this pyramid method is a little extreme in my perspective and I wonder if it is doing more harm than good.  Sure it makes the children want to work harder so that they can land at the top of the pyramid, but it also adds a significant amount of stress and competition within their team that might be too much for girls at this age.

If you were a coach, would you ever use this type of pyramid as an incentive to make your players work harder? What benefits or drawbacks do you believe come with this type of system?

Modern Technology and How We are Defined by it

Smartphones are definitely a marvel of technology. They essentially bring the world within our reach at all times. But what  does this mean in terms of how we live our lives? In this article Carolyn Gregoir takes a look at a recent study of phone usage and analyzes what it means in terms of our social behavior. She quotes Dr. Sally Andrews with, “The fact that we use our phones twice as many times as we think we do indicates that a lot of smartphone use seems to be habitual, automatic behaviors that we have no awareness of.” While not an exact copy, this finding is similar to the behavior we saw with De La Pena’s The Body Electric. While De La Pena focuses on the more private side of technology, this article takes a look at what technology is like in everyday life and that quote shows how intertwined we’ve become with technology. Despite the differences of where they are used, both texts show us our natural attraction toward new technology. I definitely agree that smartphone usage is an interesting text on who we are, along with article’s statement that whether the effects of this are positive or not remains to be seen. Regardless of this, it is a fact that we are drawn to the new and exotic and that it plays a major role in telling a story about our modern society. What do you think? Has the presence of smartphones had any adverse benefits or consequences you can think of?

Handicaped Because of a Handicap?

In an article from the New York Times that I came across today, I saw something that was quite repulsive in my opinion. There was a study done by a University to determine if employers discriminated against applicants who had disabilities. The outcome showed that employers avoided qualified applicants because they disclosed that they had some form of disability on their application.

This type of discrimination brings me back to the Baynton reading that talked about discrimination in the form of disabilities. Even though this situation is different, the American people are still trying to use disabilities to disqualify a person from doing something that they want to do. Overall we still cannot manage as a nation to treat all people equally.

Do you feel that a person with a disability could justifiably be denied a job even if it isn’t one that would hinder their ability to perform the necessary tasks for the job?

“More Women,” Gender Ideology, and Leadership

The general argument made by Alex Holder and Alyssa Boni in their work, Elle UK “more women,” is that there are few women are at the top positions in politics, business, entertainment and media. More specifically, Holder and Boni aim calling for more women to be in higher, more powerful, and more visible positions in all the industries.

The argument presented by this cultural artifact, a short video photoshops out all the men from pictures of groups of leaders in many industries, is gender ideology, leadership and individualism.

Holder and Boni both address the issue we have discussed of the contradiction between being an American and a woman. They are similar in this way: women is less involved in politics, business, entertainment, and media is because women are typically dependent, not strong, excessive in emotions, etc..

Do you agree that the reason why there are less women shown in those industries is because the typical impression of women?