October 2009 Archives

safety in schools

I was reading through people's blogs and it struck me how many talked about violence in schools.  I went to South in Minneapolis and the an alternative school and although there were a lot of fights, what always stood out to me was one incident...

I graduated ten years ago, but what I thought was the worst incident of violence (in my mind)was perpetrated by our police liason officer against a student.  The student was outside smoking and the police officer essentially flipped out at him because he was talking back, and hit him across the face so hard with his walkie talkie that you could see the imprints of the buttons.

We would have uniformed and plainclothes officers in my school often, and they never made me feel safe - it was the opposite.  I guess I just wanted to share that and perhaps complicate issues regarding safety in school. 


There is no blog due 11/3. Instead, I will post questions Monday night that you will respond to after watching The Life & Times of Rosie the Riveter in class on Tuesday.
Papers are due at the beginning of class on Tuesday.

Tuesday is also Election Day. Questions about where to vote, how to register, who is running? See the MN Secretary of State's website for more information.

Comment to Bute0023 blog post

I had a similar experience to yours about the free/reduced lunch in high school except for me, everybody would still get the same kind of food. It's really interesting to see how your school had certain colored tickets and different lines for students to get lunch. I have never experienced that in high school and I bet it must have been hard to deal with. High school is the year where you make friends and try to adapt to the environment you're in, but it is very challenging because at that age group, we tend to not block out factors of race, class, and gender. Looking at the fact that your school did not have that many minorities compared to my school where there were more minorities, makes me see things differently from you, but at the same time I see where your coming from. The fact that there were more Caucasians at your school, you don't look at race as much, but instead you look at the class range of higher/lower-income. This is how I examined your blog post compared to my blog post. it differs when you look at class, gender, and race and at the same time it is similar, except we all look at it differently as one and sometimes not as a group or vise versa.

Blog 8

I think the danger and bravery Asher talks about have to do with acceptance within a group. The students who 'outed' themselves in her classroom were risking losing the similarities that tied them to their peers. The danger was losing identification with one group or another. Asher talks about her mixed race student being in danger in terms of "the history of racism and slavery in the South." While I agree that racism is a cause of division along the lines of skin color, I don't think it's accurate to account for the divisions themselves this way. Had their been a group of mixed race students, it would not have been so brave for this one student to admit to her belonging to that group. It was the fact that she no longer automatically fit into one of the predefined categories that made her brave.


This sort of cliquing brings teenagers to mind, and I think no one can more aware of her own belongingness than a high school student. It is difficult to talk about race and class in my high school, because the vast majority of us were white, middle class Christians, and as a member of this group, I did not pay attention to the experiences of those few students who didn't fit into this category. I certainly never witnessed any overt racism, although I can remember some tension between the very wealthy students and the poorer ones. The one aspect of identity I can imagine being troublesome is sexual orientation. The homophobic ideology in my high school reflected that of my community as a whole. Anti-gay language was common, and many of my classmates attended my church, which is officially opposed to homosexuality. I think it would have been dangerous to my comfortable status to have been gay. Now that I think about it, the one time I can ever remember being teased I was accused of being a lesbian.


As far as surveillance and rebellion, it seems to me that this is mostly an issue when the teachers and administration are different from the students in some way. Lomawaima discusses the white authority's surveillance of Native American students. Similarly, it is easier for authority figures to hand down their ideologies and social norms to students who are like themselves. This was the case at my school. Our teachers were our parents or people very much like our parents, and we generally accepted their views of the world.

Week 8

I have to laugh when I hear the phrase "students' resistance to the intense surveillance that they faced in school" I went to a standard high school in the suburbs, it was not thought of as a risky place within the surrounding communities (I think). Anywho, I do understand the surveillance piece as a superior group (staff) watching and discerning for punishable actions amongst the Proletariats (students, hehehe). But for what reasons? Why are staffs watching us so closely? Because I might try to pierce my tongue? Maybe, however I was under the impression that we are held in lockdown at youth for safety purposes. As a white middle class female I was given an abundant amount of resources about what I did and did not have to tolerate, posters, movies, guest speakers, student orientations. Going through sex ed courses discussing sexual harassment and inappropriate mannerisms, plastering girls bathroom stalls with info on unwanted touching, attention, actions and the severity of such an offense gave me the impression that if I were to tell just a random adult in a random supermarket that I was being violated that they would personally take me to a place where legal action could and would be taken. After this said complete stranger has made sure I know how loved and special I am and of course, how much I don't deserve such treatment they would let the professionals handle the problem. All involved offenders would be punished to the maximum extent of the law and justice would be served. The message they were sending me was "I care about you, the student as a person, I'm genuinely interested, it is safe and in everyone's best interest to talk openly with advisors when there is a problem. All right, cool. In my junior year of high school I was laying on my front with my elbows propped up supporting my head, reading a book, enjoying the sunshine when a posse of minority Asian males walked by and decided they wanted to slap my ass. I have never met any of them; they don't talk to people at school who aren't "like them". A few of them grabbed and slapped my but in succession, laughing, and walking away as if nothing happened. I got up and was yelling my male friend came up and tried to defend me. By then, one of their posse had pulled the car around while another grabbed an honest to god real fucking machete. My friend scrammed. The posse scrammed. I was still standing there, shocked. I went to the school staff with my story; they didn't seem moved at all but just sent me to the principal's office. Upon explaining the situation to the fucking Hopkins High School principal I was given a very vague justification for the way that "boys just act" and some sort of rambling that didn't make sense. Everything but his words told me that I had already made too big of a deal about it and, to just kind of let it go. I left the office with absolutely no knowledge of what would happen next and what to do. Don't worry though, I learned what to do next time. Shut up, giggle, cry to my mommy or other equally moody irrational females, go "hysterical", or become a die hard angry feminist, despising and tarnishing the good reputation of men in pursuit of a "twisted Justice that only applies to females" or in other words, recognition that I am a person too.

By the way, I realize my story is skewed as far as race goes. I'm not justifying it. I had a bad experience with a couple of males who shared similar attributes, Asian immigrants. That's the end of the story, where did any one, including myself take a step back and question how this one and ONLY experience would forever alter my perceptions on an ethnicity? How many people ever do?  I would argue that I am one of the lucky ones to even realize this.

My experience with RACE and CLASS

I attended a primarily white elementary school, middle school, and high school, located in a mainly white, seemingly middle-to-upper class Christian city. There were only a handful of people  who fell into the non-white category. On one hand, those people stuck out because there were so few of them. On the other hand, as I discovered after coming to the UofM,  I had truly considered the minorities to be white like everyone else. I think this was because they lacked their own racial group to identify with, and were therefore forced to identify with the white students. It never even occurred to me that they may have had different beliefs and backgrounds than most of my home town seemed to have had. I think the students of color probably tried to fit in with the white students as a protective measure. I was always under the impression that everyone was rich and white, but I look back and wonder how many other people thought the same thing, and perhaps tried to mask their own race or class differences in order to fit in with the prescribed "norm."

Coming from a less-than-wealthy family myself, I had always felt somewhat out of place throughout my middle and high school years. I remember having to go to the office before the school day began to get my free/reduced lunch tickets. It was embarrassing for many reasons; 1) Full-priced lunch tickets were purchased in the cafeteria, whereas mine came from the office.  I would do my best to sneak in and out of the office to avoid being seen there. 2) The reduced/free lunch tickets were a different shade of red and blue than the full-priced tickets, making it obvious  that I was holding on to a free/reduced lunch ticket. 3) There were two meal lines; one for free/reduced tickets and one for full-priced tickets, physically separating me from the "normal" kids. 4) I was limited to either the hot lunch or the cold lunch; I could not buy cookies, pretzels, slushies, etc that everyone else seemed to be getting.

My experience in the lunch room was in no way comparable to race issues. After all, I am no longer on free/reduced lunches; I was able to escape the discrimination that I felt, which does not happen for people of color; my issues were invisible because I could try to find ways to cover up my situation,  whereas skin color cannot visibly be masked.

Blog 8 Entry

The Lowawaima reading made me wonder about how schooling has changed for Native American students since the boarding schools of the 1800s and early 1900s have closed, and then I remembered the book Staggerford by Jon Hassler (it's one of my very favorites! http://bit.ly/kHFUF). Even though it is a work of fiction, the book describes a very interesting cultural and racial dynamic between a small Minnesotan school district and its Native American students from a nearby reservation.


The book's narrator is an English teacher, Miles, and he describes day-to-day life at the school over a one week period. There are two students in the school, a boyfriend and girlfriend couple, who are Native American and they are constantly getting in trouble with the school. The problems the two students are having, along with poor attendance and graduation rates of all Native American students (except one who had gradated a few years before, received a scholarship and left the reservation), leads the school district to develop a plan. The principle of the school urges each teacher to "adopt" their own Native American student, increasing the surveillance on the student. The intention of this adoption program is to produce more students like the one "successful" Native American student they had.


At no point in the novel does the school district consider cultural difference, instead, they just hoped to have the Native American Community adopt their cultural norms. This idea backfired, and a violdent incidence at school where a Native American student is beat up by a white student leads to a revolt by the reservation. They come into Staggerford, something rarely done, in a caravan and demand to speak with the white student, who does not receive adequate punishment by the school district. Mitigating the event eventually leads to an intervention by the local and state governor.


The most chilling part of this plot is the school district's continued correspondence with the government in which, instead of focusing on how to better relate with their Native American students, they talk about how they made progress with Native American students long ago in the past, and what is needed is more surveillance of the students. This very much reminded me of the correspondence in the Lomawaima article between Chilocco's Superintendent and the Field Supervisor where they discussed the clothing of the students, something that hardly affects an education.


In the book Staggerford, a students race determined their graduation rate, and if they were a behavioral threat to the school. The interplay that was carried out was one of violence, when the Native American and white student got in a fight, and the reservation community rose up in protest. It  was only when Miles and the (white) state government intervened that there was any semblance of safety.

Blog 8

Graduating high school only a few years ago as I reflect back I can see how the race, class, and gender of my classmates affected the interplay between danger and safety in the classroom. For me my education goes beyond just the curriculum performance but the socialization in the classroom that reflects the social norms. At my school the security was low having a security guard only at doors of the main entrances. As safety and security surveillance should be have been an important aspect in my school I felt that the problems were overshadowed by constant clashes between opposing subcultures.


Once incident that I remember quite vividly was a fight that broke out near my locker. It was between an African American female and a white female, fighting over what ultimately boils down to cultural differences. From this fight other students were put in danger and thus created a stereotype that the African American students were hostel.


This also caused teachers to look at them differently, and view them as less serious students. In high school I took many honor classes and participated in many extra curricular activities. I was often recommended by faculty for these classes because of my status and strong participation in school. I realized that the so-called minority were not nominated for these privileges, or placed in honor classes because they feared that they would not take advantage the doors these opportunities opened. The socially constructed view of low expectations for students of ethnic backgrounds brings fear of destruction to the teachers and other students.




Blog 8

I remember early on in high school when all the rules began to change facing gender, class, race and especially identity in relation to surveillance and rebellion.  They began with banning bandanas, they said it was a gang symbol and no single student was allowed to show any form of identifying with a gang or club.  I remember thinking that it was odd they included clubs and organizations as some sort of connection to a gang. 
After they changed the rules there was one day when I was standing outside of my locker putting my books away when a latino walked toward me and had a bandana in his back pocket. He leaned over and said "hola mami" at the exact same time that a security guard happened to walk by and immediately the security guard grabbed the latino, pushed him against the wall, and patted him down.  I was in shock.  I never actually knew if it was because he spoke to me or because of the bandana but it felt like such a violation.  A security guard patting down a kid with a bandana? It's hard to understand the difference between whether I would have been handled the same way had I decided to rebel and have a bandana hanging out of my pocket...it definitely feels like race, class, gender and identity all played essential roles in my school.

blog 8

The school and community I grew up in was a rural small town in Minnesota.  Everybody in town pretty much knew everybody's business, and there was very little diversity as far as race, our school district was mostly white middle-upper class kids with the exception of lower class white kids.  The Asher article talks about students being brave in outing themselves through self disclosure.  At my school no bravery like this existed because everybody already knew everything about you to begin with.  This tended to make our school dangerous for anybody that didn't fit into the mold of the athlete.  Many of our teachers and faculty were the coaches of all the sports teams so if you were a member of this elite group you were ok and not matter what you did there were literally no consequences.  I remember specifically one time a party was called in to the police, and all the people there were hockey players who were drinking underage and not one of them got a minor consumption because the police thought this was gonna be a great hockey season and didn't want to mess it up.  If you weren't in this group of wonderful athletes you were constatnly being tormented and made fun of for what you didn't wear or what your family couldn't afford to let you wear, and if any rules were broken by this group at school they were punished to the fullest extent.  Looking back at my high school days reminds me of how threatening this high school atmosphere was to anybody even remotely not fitting into the status quo.  The teachers and student body were against you.I think it really did a poor job of socializing and preparing students for the real world and was anything but an equal educational opportunity for kids.

Blog #8

Race, class, gender, and other aspects of identity shape and affect the interplay between danger and safety for students in schools. I went to Washburn Junior High School which is a public school in south Minneapolis. It is a diverse high school that I have estimated of about 30% African Americans, 20% Asian Americans, 20% Hispanics, 20% Caucasians and 10% were other ethnicities. The 4 years at Washburn was really good for me and I didn't think it was a bad school. I didn't have any problems with anyone, but I mean there were fights during my freshman and sophomore years. During my junior and senior year, the school became more diverse and students started to cooperate with each other.


There is danger and safety at Washburn, but there was nothing serious that would cause the whole school and students to corrupt. Washburn was more of a "ghetto" school back in my freshman year which made it seem like it was a bad school. As the years went by it became more diverse then it usually was. Being more diverse makes the students feel safer just because they know that they aren't outnumbered or lefted alone by themselves in a classroom environment. Since Washburn has become more diverse, it has shaped the school differently with the fact that nothing is used against the students and their identity. The students seem to be more open minded and respectful of their peers, teachers, and staff members. They all have equal opportunities, access to things or information, and same amount of help from their teachers which has given students a positive sense of graduating from Washburn.

week 8 - schools

The only time I can think of a dangerous situation in my schools was my 8th grade year of middle school. There was a threat left in a bathroom stall that on a certain date, the school was going to be blown up. The administration flipped it's lid and on the supposed day we all had to walk through metal detectors and get herded into the gym like cattle. We were sectioned off for hours while everyone was "processed". School started a few hours later. Most of the well off students' parents kept them home, but the rest of us still went. When they found out who made the threat he was immediately kicked out of the school and sent to another town a few miles away.
    Instead of handling the situation by trying to work out the root of the problem, the boy was constantly picked on relentlessly in and out of class, the administration just got rid of him. When I see him around the city, I still think of him as the kid who tried to blow up my middle school and wasted a good chunk of my morning that day. His reputation was tainted due to the situation. Obviously, our school was not a safe place for him to seek help. Not only was he constantly bullied, but he had no one to turn to in the staff in order to get help. I think that the entire day would have been justified, if after they found out who the student was, they counseled him and had an intervention with the students who bullied him to that point. Instead, they rushed him off to another school as a dangerous menace. He wasn't sent to an ALC school, but just another normal middle school.
    The Administration in my school just brushes this off as a one time incident. The boy was just a bad egg. They did not deal with the fact that a lot of students in our school were picked on. I know I was. During the time of the threat, students would tease and say it was me because I was quiet and didn't have many friends. Even at that age, there was a sense that the administration was not there to help you. I would assume that it was mainly the students like myself and that boy who weren't well off that felt this way. We were not offered the same educational opportunities in the sense that we had no one in the administration to turn to about our frustrations. Luckily, I had a good support system of friends who mattered more than those who made fun of me. He had the extra burden of being a male, so seeking out help for being constantly teased would have just gotten him picked on more because boys in my school were not supposed to be sensitive. Growing up in a small town north of the twin cities, you were to be a strong macho country boy, not a sissy. 

week 8 blog

My years of elementary and high school education were spent at a private institution, surrounded by middle upper class students, and the only diversity consisted of the kids whose parents were wealthy enough to adopt them from countries like China or Korea. So when addressing the issue of race, class, and gender, and the role that plays in the safety, surveillance, and rebellion in schools I have little personal experience. But from talking to friends I had in public school I somewhat got a sense of the diversity and how that affected their education.

I had a middle class white friend who attended a public school and she told me that teachers always had higher expectations from her because of her white status. She was put on the honors track and was a member of the national honors society and participated in many extracurricular activities. She would tell me how the minorities got away with not doing their homework and skipping class because it was just expected of them to not take school seriously.

Another instance that stuck in my mind is a story of a friend who attended a different public school. She told me about how each ethnic group would hang out in a separate hallway and if you were to go down that hallway and you weren't of that ethnic group, you would suffer consequences. There were times where she genuinely feared for her safety because of the lack of intervention the school took to make the school environment integrated.

An article I found on rebellion and deviance, attributed deviance to theories such as the labeling theory, control theory, and differential association theory.  The article also discussed how schools propagate capitalistic values such as competitiveness, by encouraging competition between the different ethnicities they were only furthering class divisions and producing hostility towards one another.

Blog Post #8

One thing that I noticed was very prominent in students (mostly of minorities) was how they defined their identity by their importance in school. They usually based this importance on the attention they received from other students, teachers and faculty. I think a lot of this relates to the identity they receive in the communities as well as society. A lot of minority youth and students feel a lack of identity, or that they are over looked due to the structure of society that carries over into the structure of their schools. This translates from society to our schools they are looked down upon and aren't held up to very high expectations. So the identification placed on minority students contributes to the lack of expectation (we talked about this in class) that society has.  There's a lack of expectation in performance in various aspects of school, so the students aren't given the proper attentions, encouragement or care. There is an emphasis isn't given to minority students that most students receive, and the only way they get the attention, a care or interest, is through discipline. This is why I feel a lot of minority students are labeled as troubled, bad or as misbehaving, because they are longing for that attention that's says there important, instead they receive discipline.  So the lack of care that society has a whole for minorities or people of color is lacked and replaced with discipline for negative behavior is translated over to our children and the schools they attend.

Blog Post #8

I think what occurs in schools, the forming of groups based on race, gender and class, is encouraged by both inside (within school) and outside (outside school) forces and is a matter of feeling safe and secure within a social group.


When I was in young I attended a public elementary school in St Paul. I formed a group of friends at that school, and also other friends from different schools I had met. I had one particular friend who went to another school that I was close with. As we grew older she got more and more distant, until one day she told me that she couldn't be friends with me any longer, because she had to start hanging out with 'her people'. I was 10 at the time and hurt but also understanding. Her people didn't look like most of the people I was friends with. So instead of questioning why she felt the need to stop hanging with me I let the friendship go.


Since she went to a different school than I did, I can't be positive that school influenced her decision, but with the way classrooms are structured, with kids of like ethnicity and gender grouped together, I can be pretty sure. I also point to outside influences as well, where kids notice racism, segregation and racial solidarity and feel that to be safe, liked and respected they have to stay with their racial group.


This also works for other 'isms', where kids of the same group not only bond together because they have more in common with each other than another class group, but also because of the fear of ostracization from their group. To seemingly rebel against their group by hanging out with people of a different group invokes the fear of being labeled as other within own their support group. The fear of not being accepted in any circle is so pervasive that people become willing to hurt another group to further cement their identity within their own group.


From my experience it has been the older kids get the more conscious they become of inequalities in the world and the stronger the need to conform is. By watching their world outside of school, children structure the classroom in the same way.

Week 8

When talking with education in the United States, I am very interested in it because I didn't attend elementary school, middle school and high school in the US. I don't have my story to tell. However, my cousin's experience is what I thought of.

My cousins were born in the Georgia and her town basically consists of mainly black and some white population and other minority races. My uncle decided to send them to private school after attending the 1st year of public elementary school. The reason was that he felt that the public school in the town is not "safe". There were mainly Black people (who are not from the middle class) that dominated the school. My uncle said they the school environment in public school at the town is not safe as it is too open to people and people from different class behave differently. He noticed that kids in the school did fight a lot and kids didn't behave well. My cousins were the only Asian in the class and the kids in the school seemed like not really like minority. This feeling made them feel like not being valued and helped. Although he wanted my cousins to learn about every race, but the "danger" that he felt from the school's atmosphere has threatened my cousins. As a result, they go to private school which mainly consists of upper-middle class white, black and other minority. There is diverse group of races in the school, but they are within the similar class. The private school has a more comprehensive safety rules and that effectively minimize the "danger" in school. To my uncle, the private school is a more "safe" place for his kids to learn and grow. I think my cousins have less chance to experience the valuable knowledge of learning from different people with different class since school is a place to socialize and to be humanized.

Blog #8

The story I thought of for this assignment were the two 11-year-old boys, Jaheem Herrera and Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, who committed suicide last April after constant harassment from students who called them gay. Herrera attended school in Georgia and was also teased because of his family's status as immigrants. Walker-Hoover attended a charter school in Massachusettes. In both cases, the parents reportedly expressed concerns with school officials about the harassment, but the parents felt their pleas were not taken seriously. Neither boy identified as gay, and Herrera's mother's mother says her son did not even know what it meant to be gay, he just knew the kids were teasing him.

Their story of bullying highlights the ways that danger and safety are connected to race, class, gender, and sexuality in schools. Schools are a place we feel we have a right to be safe, but I think sometimes we feel "safety" means free from physical harm, while ignoring the power of verbal assaults, which quite obviously threatened the sense of safety for these boys. When we think of schools as social institutions that inform our sense of identity, we can see how the "kids will be kids" mentality allows bullying to continue because it reinforces the dominant discourse of social norms. In the case of these boys, the norm of heterosexual identity.

Blog #8

After reading this weeks blog post prompt, I want to address the issue of Native American education.  My home state has a very large Native American population, and we have several reservations.  While we have some schools on the reservations, many Indian students attend the local public schools.  History has shown us that the U.S. Government tried to segregate Indian students when they first forced Native Americans onto plantations by sending them to Indian boarding schools and trying to "civilize" them by white standards.  Over the years, things have evolved, but at my high school, and effort to segregate the Indian students by incorporating a different curriculum plan is still in place.  The idea behind a special program for Indian students was that they are more inclined to not graduate and to get into trouble.  Therefore, the reasoning of the school officials was that they needed a program to keep them on the graduation track.  So they formulated a program that included Lakota language classes, personal counselors, and Lakota history and appreciation classes.  Every class was supervised by a Lakota teacher and the students even had a designated part of the school. 


My boyfriend is Lakota, and having gone to the same high school as me, he knew firsthand about this attempt to "round up" the Indian students.  When I brought up the idea of surveillance to him, he immediately agreed.  He said he felt targeted as a problem child simply because of the stereotype that existed about Indian students not graduating.  He participated in the program for one semester, and found it a waste of time.  The classes, according to his experience, were modified to be easier than regular classes with very little homework and a bigger focus on simply coming to class than excelling. He definitely felt that people, especially teachers, were almost afraid of having students like him in their classes. Now in college, my boyfriend isn't as targeted as he once was in high school but he still finds that the expectation he won't graduate still exists.  However, at least he is a success story of someone who broke through a stereotype to become successful. 

Blog 8 Assignment

When I first read the prompt for this week, it made me think about some of the concepts discussed in a few of my sociology courses, mainly focusing on the idea of the labeling theory (social-reaction theory).  This theory is used in regards to analyzing why crime occurs and basically entails the idea that many people commit crimes because they are already labeled as a criminal from the get-go, so turning to crime leaves them no worse off then they were prior to committing the crimes since they were already treated as though they had done something wrong.  This theory relates to the classroom and education in general as well because it is nearly impossible to view school as a safe or friendly environment when you are not only out-casted and alienated potentially by your fellow classmates, but the teachers and administrators treat and view you the same way as well.  Kind of plays of the old "damned if you do, damned if you don't" concept. 


For example, let's say you are a young black man whose family moved to a small rural town and now you are attending a school that consists of mainly white middle-class students.  You walk into the school and on the first day and the principle stops you and checks through your bag to make sure you don't have any weapons.  They don't check anyone else's bags, just yours.  The principle did this because he just recently watched a news story about gangs in Chicago, and you happen to look just like one of those gang-bangers, so before getting to know you to determine for himself that you are a criminal or not, he just assumes that you are to be on the safe side.  If I were this student, I would be offended and what to fight back against the schooling system for treating me this way for no reason other than the way I look.  Sadly rebellion is not encouraged in schools since the main goal seems to lean toward obedience of children rather than defiance, but I feel as though rebellion by students against injustice based off of their race, gender, class, etc is the rational reaction to the situations many students are going through. 


All in all, students are judged everyday based off of their gender, race, class, behavior, etc and this is done not only by other students and peers, but also by school teachers and staff.  We are taught that we have freedom of speech, but it seems like in a lot of cases, this freedom is left at the door when entering a school.


week 8- schools

            Although I have experienced quite a change in my educational realm throughout my life, the switch from my private elementary school to my first year as a 6th grader in a public middle school was a time of the biggest diversity. During my elementary school years in California, I went to a non-denominational private school from K-5, where my peers ranged from many different racial and religious backgrounds. Although there was a diverse group of kids, mostly everyone came from similar class ranks.

For my 6th grade year, I switched to a public middle school that was closer to my house. It was so much different: not only were there hundreds of more kids, their racial and class differences ranged a lot more on the spectrum than my private school.  This was the first time I saw poor white, black, Latino, Asian, etc. kids all around. I had never been to school with kids who were not as fortunate as I was. It was a very big eye opener. This was the first time I would see kids, usually not the same race as me, acting out and getting in trouble. A lot of this behavior I didn't really experience at my smaller private school. Of course I didn't think of it in a racist way, because I also saw white kids acting out and getting in trouble, too. The only difference is that when the kids opposite one's race was acting up, people got scared.

I used to get nervous because this was also a school with outdoor halls, meaning there is not as much surveillance or "hall monitors" around. This was a time where I feel like I saw a lot of kids doing some "bad" things or things that shouldn't be done at school. Although I was nervous sometimes (because I was shy) about the things I would see, I was interested. That middle school was different and more exciting than the small, private mostly-upper-middle class school I previously attended.

Title IX played a part in my life

I've been out of school for quite awhile and have been able to witness to some degree what it is like for kids to be in schools now.  I've seen some improvements in which there are more support systems in schools compared to when I was in school.  My oldest daughter graduated from high school on 2007.  There were support groups for GLBTQ friends, families and the students themselves.  A.A., N.A., stop smoking groups were also available.  There was one area in particular which caught my attention which did not seem to have much publicity in her high school.  Support for teen moms.  It couldn't be that there weren't any, so where was the publicity for this group of students? 

I was discouraged to find that in our school district, the teen moms usually end up going to the ALC & completing their schooling.  This is understandable, being that ALC's are usually able to be more flexible and accommodating and as is the case in our district, there is a child care center there for the mom's to bring thier child while they are in school.  I asked my daughter about this, if she knoew of any "inside reasons" the high school may have for most of the girls attending the ALC instead of their home school where their friends most likely are and possible the childs father.  She mostly felt that it had to do with safety.  For the mom-to be and then later on for the baby.  The hallways can get rowdy and rough even when there are not fights occurring. 

Why was this such an interest to me?  I had my oldest daughter while I was in high school.  I attended a high school for pregnant girls while I was pregnant, which covered our general required courses as well as pregnancy & child development classes.  This school I attended was in the Saint Paul School District.  This school was very diverse in population ranging from Hmong, African American/Black, Hispanic &  White/Caucasian.  Pretty much in this order of numbers from highest to lowest. Some of the Asian/Hmong girls were even married, which many of the rest of us were suprised to learn.  We all got along pretty well as a group of expectant mom's.  After my daughter was born, I transferred to a public high school in Saint Paul where I stayed until I graduated.  This school had a childcare center in it which served both as a support system for the mom's but also provided child development credit classes for any student who was interested.  We had to attend a class that covered parenting, child development and other topics pertaining to our post secondary acedemic goals(we had to make plans for our futures).  I would not have graduated from high school without this type of support which is a part of Title IX.  I did transfer from my home high school to the ALC my senior year, which is where I found out that I thrived in a non-traditional learning environment. 

Being that the high school I attended was known to be rough, violent and unsafe did not stop the fact that there were girls who stayed while they were pregnant and continued on with their own child in the childcare center.  We had plainclothed security guards walking the halls, doors that locked when the first bell rang in the morning and unless a fire alarm was pulled, only opened when the last bell rang at them end of the day.  There were police squads at each corner surrounding the school property in the morning and in the afternoon.  There was plenty of violence, fights, drug arrests & several reported rapes/sexual assults during my attendance there.  There was also no known reports of the childcare center having safety issues or any injuries to the expectant mom's. Knowing this makes me wonder, why the real reason the school district my daughter graduated from does things differently.  It is a suburban school district, not an inner-city school.  Who's interest are they really protecting in this decision.  I think the support systems that are place now are a great thing.  My high school did not have GLBTQ support groups or groups for drug/alcohol dependent students.  We needed those services just as well as any young girl who finds herself in a position of being in high school and becoming a young mother. 

Blog #8

School safety is one of the most important things in schools, as well as one of the most difficult to establish. In my high school, there were people of different race, gender, religion and sexuality. The security there was minimal, but I did notice some differences between who was getting in trouble and who was on the honor role.
Safety can be defined in different ways; the physical dangers in school (shootings, fights, etc), and safety in the classroom (asking for help, feeling like the teacher believes in you). I noticed that the kids that were getting into more fights and in the lower level classes were mostly minorities, while the upper level classes were filled with white kids. This could mean that the minority kids in those classes didn't feel safe asking for help, or just didn't feel like anyone cared whether they succeeded or not. Also, they could be swayed by cultural norms; if all of their friends didn't feel comfortable asking for help in class, then they wouldn't either. The teachers in my school were all well educated and nice, but because of the trend that minorities were in the lower level classes makes me think that they weren't creating a safe environment where the students could feel like they were appreciated and their opinion is valued.
Physical safely is also very important. There was low security in my high school and I felt as though anyone could walk in if they wanted to. Although we had security guards, they didn't seem to care who was coming in and out of the school. I noticed that more minority students (mostly male) were getting into trouble than white students. This could be because they didn't feel safe among their peers and felt like fighting was the only way to feel that way. Black children may feel like they are not noticed and create trouble just to make themselves feel noticed.
Schools should have safety regulations to minimize the threat of danger; it should be a safe learning environment. But when race, gender, and class are taken into account when it shouldn't be; kids may act out to make themselves feel better.

Blog 8 Assignment

After our discussion in Thursday's class and reading the Lomawaima article, I immediately thought of my high school.  I am from a small northwestern Minnesota town.  If I were to sum up our high school in one word, it would have to be sheltered.  The kids and faculty in my school were majority white and middle class.  The problems in our have never been more then the occasional fight, which very rarely happened, and the student who forget he had his gun in his car during hunting season.  However, during my sophomore year a school shooting occurred in Red Lake, Minnesota a small town about seventy miles from my hometown.  After that everything changed in my school.  Soon there were not only cameras in the parking lots, but they now filled every hall way and entrance.  My school has an open lunch policy, which basically means that kids leave and go as they please especially if you're a senior.  That rule was put into jeopardy because the school realized they didn't know who was entering and leaving our school.  As a result instead of banning the policy, they locked all doors except the main doors during school hours.  My school is very much shaped by local ideologies and policies. Like I said earlier, my school was very sheltered, nobody thought that a school shooting would ever happen.  However, after the Red Lake shooting people's eyes were suddenly opened.  

week 8 blog

In trying to think of something interesting to blog about, I stumbled across this story from cnn.com:  http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/09/03/high.school.put.downs.study/index.html#cnnSTCText .


The piece discusses a study that the University of Illinois did regarding the effects of "put-downs" and other verbal abuse that goes on in school.  I thought that it was interesting because it sort of umbrellas not only the aspects of race, class, and gender, but also the danger/safety, surveillance and rebellion.


As far as race, class, and gender are concerned, the news piece claimed the following: African-Americans are more likely to suffer the effects of verbal abuse than their peers.  There wasn't a huge division among class, as this behavior occurs just as much in private schools as it does public.  Finally, for gender, the study found that boys were more likely to have to deal with verbal abuse than girls. 


The piece is interesting because it also it encompasses the questions of danger and safety, surveillance and rebellion.  The story brought up that while private schools are typically more sheltered, the students within aren't protected from potentially serious emotional harm--how does this deal with surveillance?  The piece also brought up the issue of bullying--how does this deal with rebellion and student safety?


Overall, the piece made me think more about the events that my peers and I experienced during our pre-collegiate education, and the motives and interplay behind it.  In addition, I feel that it is relevant, because I believe that everybody goes through this unfortunate aspect of school, whether someone teases you over something inconsequential during recess or something much more serious and hurtful.

Week 8 Blog

When reading the prompt for this week's blog, I thought back to my high school. My high school was a small school, by most peoples' standards, in rural Nebraska and consisted of white kids mostly from low and middle class residents of the district. The high school was located in a small town approximately 30-45 miles from a large city. Until the Columbine tragedy, the school's doors were always open during the school hours and cameras were only seen in the parking lot and entrance of the school. Students were allowed to carry in back packs without going through security. We rarely thought twice about someone carrying in a knife, gun, or bomb. We knew each other and most had gone to school together since kindergarten. We played summer ball, hung out at each others' houses, and told each other just about everything. There were very few secrets. Diversity within our school was almost non-existent at least in terms of race and class. Gender differences would on occasion lead to a few verbal confrontations especially since the boys' athletic programs received more recognized than the girls' programs. The "no child left behind" regulation meant students were mainstreamed into the regular classroom that perhaps would have regularly spent more of their time with special education teachers. Since many of these kids had been a part of our elementary days, their "differences" were accepted and a normal part of our routine. All in all, our school was fairly accepting of each other. 

Our school was known by the other neighboring schools as having a strict administration and as a result, "our students could not do a thing without getting into trouble".  Our school had rules about cell phone usage in school, our dress and attire, and other small things that we considered a nuance. Skipping school was not even an option and vehicles could not leave the parking lot without special permission. As students, we at times felt we were imprisoned by all the rules, however, except for a few exceptions we chose not to buck the system, but rather abide by the rules. It was much safer than going against them. The majority of us grew up in the district as well as our parents. Our suspicion towards others would go on alert when someone new moved into the district or someone new option-enrolled into our school. What were they doing at our school? Where did they come from?  Look at how they dressed! Many thoughts and suspicions were exchanged between classes at the lockers. Who would be the first to talk to the new student, find out who they are, and where they came from?  Our sense of security was further betrayed if the new student was a good athlete and could potentially push us out of our varsity spot. The students in my school learned how to deal with the strict rules and were accepting of each other. However, we were much slower at accepting change, especially if that change meant a breach in our secure social environment, such as welcoming a new student to our "community".  Over time and with much persistence on the part of the new student, our "school community" would begin to see the newcomer as less of a threat. Once this occurred, our "social community" would be restored until the next breach brought on by a newcomer to the school.


Blog 8

Since I've been attending public schools all my life, I've seen and heard many things of how danger and safety has shape schools, but specifically on shooting, stabbing, and fights that changes the school safety rules.  For instance, in my high school, there is a variety of students with different background. And since my school is located near the city, students has access to threat such as getting killed, stabbed, fighting, and other things. Since violence has been a threat in my high school, the principal and staff decided to be concern about safety of the students. There were new rules about using school IDs to get access to getting inside the building and off campus for lunch. Without the IDs, a fee of $1 is needed to get a temporary one. More police officers were hired in order to secure the safety of students and looking out for outsiders. Just temporarily, students were scan by a scanning device just to see if they were carrying unwanted weapons. But how does improving the school safety help students improve their learning disability? So far from what I Know, it doesn't if more money is used on things that aren't helping students do well in school.

Base upon the race, class, and gender of students in my high school, whenever I go down to eat lunch; I always see the same race sitting with each other. It's not like I hate it, but it's very interesting to see same races being friends and hanging out together. I was the kind of person who wanted to make variety of friends from different race. Although I had Asian friends, I was uncomfortable because it's always the same story they tell and who's better at this and that and competition wise. It's easier to relate to similar race, but the diversity of friends I had made me learn about where they come from and I wouldn't have any misassumptions. 

Blog Assignment 8

The idea that education goes beyond curriculum, performance, and funding is an important one.  Nina Asher in her article, "Made in the (Multicultural) U.S.A.: Unpacking Tensions of Race, Culture, Gender, and Sexuality in Education" discusses many of the Federal laws that have been passed in the twentieth century to address the -isms in this country as it pertained to education.  For example, Brown vs. The Board of Education, which mandated desegregation, was a way to combat racism in public schools.  Also Title IX, which was a way to equal the playing field (literally and figuratively) between boys and girls in education and sports.  Not until the Civil Rights movement did things really move ahead in the direction that these laws were intended to address by imposing tougher penalties on discrimination of race, gender, religion and later sexual orientation to ensure an air anyway of safety.  The more complex issues of culture and identity are something that is tougher to regulate in any curriculum.  Our history of dealing with minorities has been less then stellar.  I love the quote that Ms. Asher included in her article by Audre Lorde (1984) who wrote, "Institutionalized rejection of difference is an absolute necessity in a profit economy which needs outsiders as surplus people. As members of such an economy, we have all been programmed to respond to human difference between us with fear and loathing" (p.187 CP).  It is the "in-between spaces" that Asher talks about with regard to a "closed openness" then, which can appear, on the surface, to be democratically progressive and "inclusive" "(p.189 CP).  I see the segregation, and desegregation for that matter, of Blacks in this country as a perceived obligation by the White patriarchy to provide inferior schools to poor, mostly African American students, thereby ignoring real educational progress and opportunity while still under the scrutiny and surveillance of the power elite.  On the other hand in K. Tsianina Lomawaima's article, "Domesticity in the Federal Indian Schools: The Power of Authority over Mind and Body" Federally sponsored and run boarding schools for Native American kids was a means to an end for Native American culture.  It was a malicious and systematic genocide.  There was more interest in the surveillance of children (isolated from their families) and insistence of their submission and acceptance of white culture so that they may live "moral and spiritual" lives.  In the conclusion of Lomawaima piece s/he states that the government has failed to achieve these goals (p.210 CP).  I was shocked and wondered if Lomawaima has ever visited an Indian reservation.  If you've never visited a third world country you wouldn't have to go very far.  The rates of chemical abuse, addiction, suicide, health problems like diabetes, and domestic abuse are statistically alarming.  Yes, I would agree that " . . . they have created spaces of resistance within the often oppressive domains of education, evangelism, employment, and federal paternalism" (p.210 CP).  I also think there is a lot more that can be done on both sides.  I should say here that my father grew up on the Turtle Mountains Indian Reservation in North Dakota and was shipped off to a parochial school as a boy when his parents could have used him on the farm because they wanted something "better" for him.  He grew up straddling between two cultures, embracing white culture more then his Native American roots. Yes, there is a certain amount of rebellion that is required for survival and that which takes place, however it's hard not to read these articles and feel a little tired at what slow progress we are making.

Blog 8

            There are many things throughout the educational realm that can help or hinder a person's experience and growth within the classroom setting. I have personally seen the effects on myself and others by having a wide range of identities present within a school, but mainly through the classrooms themselves. In my high school, we had people from every type of race, class, religion, sexual orientation and gender imaginable. I consider our high school to be one of the safest considering all of the tension that was present due to these differences. We were able to have a very open door policy with any one of our teachers or the faculty; which, in turn, provided us with every type of resource through after school groups and organizations that addressed these issues. It wasn't just that we had the stereotypical athletic teams or band groups, but we also had an active and well-established GLBT group, religious group, Hmong dance group, and other various groups that encompassed a wide range of identities.

            These types of efforts provided support and assisted in celebrating the differences throughout our school. I think that in most other schools that have more problems with fighting and racial issues are not ones in which these types of groups are well established. This lack of the ability to express one's own culture; therefore, identity to the rest of the student body makes the other students uneasy about these cultures. People seem to be more afraid and intimidated about things that they are uncertain about and how students appear to deal with this are through making fun of other cultures which perpetuates hostility then fights. I think that if schools brought more of a focus to these types of organizations, not just the 'popular' ones (sports, band groups, etc...), then they would be able to lower the level of tension within the social realm of the classrooms which would make these places more safe and less dangerous for everyone involved.

Blog 8 Assignment

Race, class, gender, and religion definitely affect the environment of a classroom.  However, each school is different and the schools that have less diversity most likely have more conservative views on what is socially acceptable.  In my experience, I attended a suburban school where there was a lot of diversity.  My school was very close to Minneapolis so people from different races, religions, and neighborhoods all came together.  There was definitely segregation in friend groups but for the most part, students got along and treated one another with respect.  With regards to Asher's article and the feelings of safety and bravery in the classroom, I definitely can relate to the importance of being brave, being who you are, and most of all standing up for what you believe in.

In high school, many classmates came out, the homecoming court was mixed (black, white, latino), and many "normal" social identities were changing.  Although some ignorant classmates had problems with this, most of us were fine with it.  Being gay, a different religion, or a different race is part of life and it is important for a school environment to get kids "ready" for these aspects of the real world.  It does not make a difference whether your partner in class is a different race or your teacher is gay.  People who do not fit into a "normal" social identity are no different than anyone else.  This belief needs to be learned as well as embraced.  Our differences make us stronger, smarter, and we can learn a lot from one another.

To end on a side note, I will always remember the following situation I experienced junior year of high school.  I was sitting in the lunchroom with a couple of friends from class who happened to all be black.  After we were done eating, I was heading towards the cafeteria exit when an acquaintance confronted me in the hallway.  She asked, "Kelly, why were sitting with those girls in the lunchroom?"  I simply replied, "They are my friends, why?"  She said, "Oh, they're all black and I didn't think you were friends with them."  After the conversation, she looked at me in a disgusted way and walked into her classroom.  I was shocked.  Who the hell does this girl think she is and how disgusting is it that she would EVER think/say anything like that?  It just made me remember how ignorant some people are.  And if you were wondering about me and my old acquaintance...well, let's just say that was the last time we talked.

Week 8 Blog

I went to a private school made up of white and minority students from diverse financial backgrounds.  However, the school didn't have any diversity when it came to religion, most of the students were Catholic and similar forms of Christianity.  A Muslim girl transferred into my class when I was a sophomore.  It was hard for her to fit in with other kids because people would often define her by her religion.  She would wear a veil to cover her hair and neck, which people were put off by because they thought that it showed oppression.  People also had negative stereotypes of people of Islamic faith.  She eventually ended up transferring to another school.  As Asher discusses the issue of being brave in the classroom, which was a scary place for this girl because you would never know what people would say about her.  As far as the safety and rebellion issues brought up in Lomawaima's article, this girl did not feel safe in a school where her religion wasn't accepted.  It was strange to have such a racially diverse place that wouldn't accept people of other religions.

Week 8 Blog

I grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis predominantly made up of white, middle to upper class families. I attended the same school system from first grade all the way through senior graduation and so did the majority of my school mates. We all grew up together and knew each other very well after spending so much time together. We had very little diversity in our class rooms however, I must say that everyone still seemed to be very open to all races, classes, religions, etc. even though we had little exposure to these differences. There was a small number of students of other races and I don't recall them being treated any differently. Differences in race and religion etc. were completely irrelevant. I remember always being really proud of where I came from because there seemed to be such little discrimination. This impressed me because often when students have such little exposure to diversity; it encourages stereotypical behavior and discrimination. I felt safe going to school everyday, there was very little if any vandalism or major issues and it seemed like everyone was accepted for the most part.


Educators treated everyone equally and with much respect no matter what race, class, gender, or religion they were. We were encouraged to be ourselves and to be successful. They treated us as adults yet still enforced discipline when needed and I think this played a key role in my high school experience being such a positive one. Because teachers respected the students, gave us freedom and little surveillance, for the most part students saw little reason to rebel. Students respected the teachers in return. (Of course there is always going to be a few exceptions.)

Blog 8

I think that growing up in the environment in which I did - largely white, conservative, middle to upper middle class in Southeastern Wisconsin provided for an interesting experience in education. For all intents and purposes, i was hugely privileged. My school had the "Principal of the Year", fantastic graduation rates and university acceptance rates. The few 'minorities' that lived in my town were all fairly wealthy, and their kids were generally on the honors track. I feel like I can make this blanket statement because of how few minorities there really were, or at least 'minority' in the sense that you can tell their 'differentness' visibly so generally,religious or race based minorities. However, I remember one very specific event that resonated with me as a serious limit to our acceptance of all of these different cultures (sarcasm intended).

When my school would nominate students for Homecoming or Winter Ball courts, sports teams and student organizations were allowed to either nominate just one student, if the team/organization was single sex, or nominate both a male and a female if it was an organization with both sexes. I had a male friend, who had recently come out (and in such a small school, everyone was bound to know within hours of such an event), and was also the school's only male cheerleader. On the other end of the spectrum, I had a girl friend who was the only female on our school's hockey team, and was dating the quarterback of our football team. When it came time to nominate students for Homecoming Court, both my male and female friends were nominated as the opposite sex counterpart for their teams. However, our athletic director adamantly refused to let my male friend be on Homecoming Court, while at the same time he allowed my female friend to participate. His reasoning was something along the lines of wanting to make sure there were equal males and females on the court, and since some organizations had only nominated one person, my friend would make it uneven.

Looking back, I wish we had fought harder against our athletic director, who regularly favored his preferred sports and students, especially through the "random" drug testing that somehow was never done on the football and basketball players known to smoke and drink regularly. While I remember being thrilled when my friend came out, and the largely positive response that the student body gave him, it still remained within the educator's realm of power to hold him back, in whatever way they could. In this case, by showing him that he was not equal, he did not have equal opportunity, even for something as seemingly minute as Homecoming court. It scares me that even when a student body may have the potential to work towards a more intersectional educational experience, it is the educator's themselves that limit that potential. I think in some ways, Asher's discussion of bravery and safety in the classroom has its points. While this situation is very different from what she discusses, the principle is the same. It does take bravery to 'out' yourself in an environment that may not respect who you are, and find a way to punish you. I think Asher's commentary on her brave student teachers is interesting, because what she is trying to provide them, may in some ways already be inherent in the students they will eventually be teaching. While she is in many ways condescending to her group of teachers, I think the experience of many students is that sort of openness, while desired and not yet squashed in the mind of the teenager, is not available because the educators have not provided an environment in which it is rewarded. 

Blog 8

I went to high school in a small town which was predominately made up of white middle class students. The boy's basketball team was the most important aspect of our high school because they went to state for seven consecutive years. I saw how race, class, and gender affected the rebellion in schools between this group of white, middle class boys who played basketball. It was expected that they were "good" students since they were in all of the honor classes and the school and local community looked up to them as basically heroes. They used this local ideology to their advantage and rebelled. They were caught numerous times at drinking parties or even calling a teacher and harassing him about his sexuality. Because there was this preconceived notion that the basketball players were "good boys", they suffered very little penalties for their actions. Not only would it mean giving the basketball team a bad name if the boys were punished, but they would also risk not going to state another year. It was the fact that these boys came from "good" homes..white, middle class, and had fathers who owned local businesses...that they were able to get away with their rebellious actions. On the other hand, there were cases where girl softball players were caught drinking and had to sit on the bench for five games. People in other sports were not treated the same because they were not made up of solely white middle class males. Other sports had minorities and women playing for them and had the status of lower class or middle class. The minorities and women and people of the lower class were not looked at as "good people" because their families didn't hold high positions in the town and most were not in the honor classes. They were not allowed to rebel, and school was looked at as dangerous to them. For the boys basketball players, school was a safe zone because no matter what they did, the local townspeople and the school looked at them and thought they were inherently good, so no action they could do would reverse that image. Going along with Asher's feeling of safety and bravery in the classroom, or in even in sports, no one felt that it was a safe environment in my school unless you were part of the boy's basketball team. To stand up to them and the easy way out that they often received would be to challenge the whole town.

Carlisle Indian School and the U of M

After reading Lomawaima's article about the schools for Native Americans in the late 1800s and early 1900s, I immediately remembered a fictional journal in the Dear America series that had been written by a Native American girl at the Carlisle Indian School. It was interesting to contrast this fictional piece of work with the stories that Lomawaima recalls from the alumni about the "bloomers." From the journal I read, the girl was timid, alone, and depressed. The situation at the boarding school made her uncomfortable and homesick; the clothing was uncomfortable and rough. The European underwear was the worst part. Unlike in Lomawaima's narratives, this little girl Nannie Little Rose never belonged, never felt camaraderie with her fellow students, and never felt strong enough to commit acts of resistance. She worried about her appearance because she thought she was turning white. For Little Rose, her experience and position made rebellion seem impossible, especially if she wanted to maintain her safety. Her gender played a large role in her experience because her brother's experience is contrasted in the novel as being positive and enjoyable.

            In adding to Asher's discussion about safety and bravery in the classroom, I recall a course I took last semester in which we did an activity to share life stories and make a connection with the people in the classroom. We would stand up and start telling stories from our lives that related to stories of family, love, and acceptance, and we would interrupt each other when we heard something that connected to one of our stories. It was an interesting experience because I think it relates to Asher's sense of bravery and safety and in the classroom. It was not exactly comfortable to stand up and tell our stories, nor was it liberating. I felt like I was telling personal stories to strangers that were not necessarily entitled to hearing my stories. I did not feel like I was being brave, I did not feel like the classroom was necessarily safe or dangerous, nor did I feel like I was rebelling by speaking about my personal experiences that no one would expect of me. In retrospect, the activity had good intentions, but seemed out of place in the classroom setting. It seemed surreal, forced, and not genuine. Many students seemed to be justifying their privileges by the few vulnerable situations they have experienced. I do not want to take away from their experiences, but the feelings I gathered from the overall experience were disingenuous.

blog 8

Race, class, gender and other aspects of social identity shape and affect the interplay between danger and safety, surveillance and rebellion in schools.  For me, it's been a very long time since I was in high school.  I attended a private Catholic school until 5th grade, when I demanded that my parents put me into public school (I didn't fit in at school because I was one of two or three poor kids that were sort of ostracized as we all got older).  I moved around a lot as a child, and at the end of 5th grade wound up going to school in North Carolina.  It was a much different experience than going to school in Minnesota.  At my Catholic school, it was overwhelmingly white and upper class.  The public school I attended in Minneapolis was very diverse, and I felt way more comfortable there.  Moving to the south was something incredibly different however. 

It was in North Carolina that I experienced racism in a very upfront way.  Perhaps I was naive, and missed some more subtle signs that I can identify now that I'm older, but one incident really stood out to me.  My parents had made friends with a couple who had five children.  For lack of a better term, they were total white trash.  I went with my parents one night to hang out with the family, and had a strange experience.  I was 11 years old, and their children ranged in age from 5 to 12.  The oldest girl came up to me and asked if I would ever marry a black guy.  I responded with a simple yes.  She proceeded to freak out, and run to my parents to "tell" on me.  She repeated what I said to my mother, who responded with, "and?"  The girl questioned her, "well, ain't you gonna whoop her?"  My mom said no, and we promptly left.  The next day at school I was at recess, spinning double dutch with other girls.  I suddenly realized that I was the lone white girl playing with the African American girls.  Before the prior night, it really had never crossed my mind at all, but I remember looking around and seeing how segregated the kids were by race.

Although I hadn't grown up knowing a lot of minorities, I was never made aware that race or ethnicity was an issue.  In North Carolina, I realized that it was an issue - although I don't think I really understood why back then.  I lived in North Carolina for less than a year before my family came back to Minneapolis, but it was an interesting experience.  After that incident I was more aware of how other white students treated me, which I believe was different because I hung out with whoever, and that apparently was a strange phenomena there. 

Week 8 Blog Assignment

Our readings on education- particularly those by Asher and Lomawaima- discuss aspects of education beyond curriculum, performance, and funding. These authors focus on social and cultural aspects of education that reflect and reproduce social inequalities and hierarchies of identity. As we discussed in class on Thursday, an important part of education is the socialization that occurs in schools as students are taught skills and ideologies that reflect social norms.
Asher discusses safety and bravery in the classroom, which (as we discussed) implies that the classroom can be a dangerous or risky place. Lomawaima describes students' resistance to the intense surveillance that they faced in school. In this week's blog post, I'd like you to reflect on how  race, class, gender, and other aspects of identity shape or affect the interplay between danger and safety, surveillance and rebellion in schools. You may use your own educational history as the basis for this analysis, or you may use a news story about schools or a fictional work. Keep in mind from our discussion on Thursday how schools are shaped by local, state and national policies and ideologies as well as Mickelson and Smith's analysis of equality of educational opportunity.

Suggested Length: 200 words 

Readings on Title IX for Tuesday October 27

For Tuesday's class, please look at the materials on this website:

You do not have to look at every page on the site, but please read the pages under the History link and explore the rest of the site, noting pages or resources that are of particular interest, or that are in some way problematic.

Conference on Hip-Hop and Feminism

**** A Call for Workshop Proposals****

Voices Merging Presents:
From Vices to Verses: A New Era of Hip Hop & Action
Feminism, Youth, Politics, and Community Healing through Hip Hop
a Conference at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Friday-Sunday, April 9-11

*FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC (Pre-Registration Required)* Registration
forms to follow.
Attendees will mainly be high school students, college students,
artists, activists, academics, teachers, community members and
community elders.

We invite activists, scholars and artists in all fields to propose
workshops. Specific topics/questions may include, but are not limited

Day 1: I Used to Love H.E.R.: 'Bringing back the love '
Where are women in Hip-Hop?
Do women have power in hip-hop?
Why do women listen to 'poker her face'?
Double standards for MCs? Who made the standards?
How did we get here?
Why is sexism so widely accepted in hip-hop?
Should we blame hip-hop?

Day 2: Remixing Borders Transgressing Generational & Cultural Boundaries
Can hip-hop be used to carry social movement?
How can youth be active through hip hop?
How do "they" (people, organizations, institutions) take advantage of
the youth in hip-hop?
How can we use hip-hop to empower the youth?
How do we address materialism in hip hop?
Is hip hop good for the youth?
How does hip-hop simultaneously define the identities of individuals
as well as the consciousness of masses?
How much responsibility do artists have?
In what ways has hip hop become a universal language? How does hip hop
help bridge cultural and racial divides?
Is the hip hop community global? How far does it reach? What is the
potential for connecting youth internationally?

Day 3: "Us" Community Healing & Hip Hop
Who or what is the hip-hop community?
What defines hip-hop?
How is hip hop is an extension of the Griot tradition?
What can hip hop do to help the community and what can the community
do to help hip hop?
What tools does hip hop give us to help the communities?
What issues do we need to address or re-address that affect our
How can we heal ourselves and our youth individually? How can we heal
our communities as a whole?
**Deadline: Tuesday, October 31st, 2009**
(Sorry for it being so soon!) We will be selecting a very limited
number of proposals and encourage everyone to save the date to be an

Send proposals to: (email is preferred)
Voices Merging at the University of MN onevoice@umn.edu
126 Coffman Union
300 Washington Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN
Please include a short description of each presentation and a one-page
bio/c.v. for each presenter.

Voices Merging
University of Minnesota- Twin Cities
Multicultural Student-Based Artist Coalition

Also, don't forget to add us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/voicesmerging
follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/voicesmerging, add us on
Myspace at
www.myspace.com/voicesmerging1 and watch our videos at
Visit our WebSite!

blog #7 response to Beverly

I really liked your blog, but wanted to comment about racial profiling ('driving while black').  I think people should also know that Minneapolis and St. Paul both have what I like to call "walking while black" ordinances.  These ordinances are technically "lurking with intent" which means you could be out walking, waiting for a bus, or anything and be arrested for "lurking with intent".  The premise is that police can read your mind and know if you are really thinking about committing a crime.  Right now these ordinances are not being used very often because so much attention was given to them and the police use loitering ordinances instead.  The problem with the lurking ordinance is that when the police were using it more, about 98% of the people who were arrested on this charge were young black men.  To me, the enforcement of the lurking ordinances takes racism in law enforcement to a whole other level.

Blog 7 Response to Kapp0081

The O.J. Simpson trial was exactly what came to my mind, as well. I think you do a much better job articulating what I wanted to say in my blog; it's interesting to see your take on it. I think you're definitely right about the Simpson case being sensationalized due to Simpson's famous, wealthy, black status, and the fact that his victims were both white and beautiful.

You brought up a fantastic point about the wrongfully accused black man, and how wealthy, black males pose a threat to whites, which is something I hadn't considered in my own blog. I was only thinking that we, as a society, tend to pin murder on poor, uneducated blacks. Your idea digs a little deeper. I don't recall hearing that people who didn't believe that O.J. was framed were against powerful blacks. Interesting. Good thinking!

You also have a good point about class and the idea that O.J. could "afford to get away with murder." That it had nothing to do with him being black. On the other hand, you mention that some people sided with Simpson purely because he was black; as if finding him not guilty would prove that he wasn't accused of murder based on his race. You're absolutely right in claiming that Simpson was either viewed as a dangerous black man, or as the exception to it.

Race and class were highly emphasized in this case, for obvious reasons. Gender and location also were also factors in this case; they just didn't seem to be as important. Gender played a role just because we typically think of males as more capable, both physically and mentally of committing violent crimes. And location was a slight factor because Simpson was living in an upscale, Hollywood area- which brings us back to class and race.


Comment to dahlm038 Blog #7

I agree with your response about it being "a form of discrimination" and  "people's fear of something different." I think that they should look beyond the point of race, class, gender, and location instead of looking right into it because it causes the families to think negatively and fear those factors. It is a good thing that the Hopkins school district allows the school to bus students from inner-city to the suburbans. This is similar to my blogging in saying that there are more minorities in Hopkins. To make Hopkins more diversified will allow minorities to attend schools in the suburbs ans not just the cities. Even though the suburbs and cities have a different way of constructing their communities, it should be constructed in a way to possibly adapt to everyone's needs. I think that people's fear of something different, which I agree with you, puts them in a different place where they won't face it and change things but instead they try to avoid it and keep it the same. I just wonder if it has occurred to any other suburban schools besides Hopkins.

Blog Post #7

After reading Kenny's article, the first example I could think of was actually the OJ Simpson murder trial. My recollections are largely of what a production it was, how seemingly important this trial was, and what people said in the aftermath of the not guilty verdict. Obviously, being a celebrity influenced the media attention on this case, but I also think him being a wealthy black man and the victim being a white woman lead to the media taking an even greater interest in the trial. Due to the increased media attention OJ Simpson stopped being an athlete in the public eye and and more of a representative figure. To different circles he meant different things. For one circle he became a symbol of the wrongfully accused black man. His class, race and gender meant that he was a target for someone to pin murder on, because wealthy black males were resented by whites and therefore needed to be taken down. I remember certain arguments at the time where people were saying that if you didn't believe that OJ was framed, you were racist, because you didn't like powerful black people.

In other circles OJ Simpson was the perfect example of what money could buy; a white wife, a good lawyer and a not guilty verdict. These arguments for his guilt were not race based, but class based. Nevermind that he was black, it was because he was rich and famous that meant he was guilty, that he afford to get away with murder. Race became a way of excusing why people thought he was innocent; it was because he was black that people sided with him.

In both cases race was used as a way to argue your point as to why he was or was not guilty. Class and location was a way to call attention to either injustices that money and Hollywood-area aroused, or a reason for media fixation and national attention that presumably a similarly accused poor black guy in Queens wouldn't have. Gender is taken into account in "dangerous black man" stereotype that the media strengthened by either saying OJ was, or was the exception to that stereotype. Either way, the media conflated the trial to a point where the trial wasn't about a guy accused of killing his wife, but a trial about race, class, gender and location, and why some combination of these either exempted him or didn't.  

response to brun0064 blog 7

I enjoyed reading this blog because I agree with it completely, and was thinking of this today in class. I think that cases such as Elizabeth Smart, Amy Fisher, and other white middle class girls are so popular because of the fact that the population doesn't expect "bad things" to happen to the white upper class. I just want to call to attention, and I'm sure you agree with this, how many cases with the same shock value and atrocious details go unreported simply because it is dealing with a woman or person from a different racial or socioeconomic background. As an example, I would like to use Laci Peterson. Around the same time that Laci's story came out, there was a woman named Latoyia Figueroa who was an African American woman who went missing and was 5 months pregnant. They found her body and realized that she had been strangled and convicted the father of the unborn child. This was a big controversy because people believed that the reason that this woman's story--which was so similar to Laci's--was not publicized because of her race. I agree with this and think it is sad that the only story that the media thinks is noteworthy is that of the white middle class. We should be concerned everyone who is a victim of a crime regardless of race, class, or gender.

Looks can be deceiving...

The O.J. Simpson case is a good example of a very public ordeal involving a well-spoken and well-liked black celebrity who was tried for the murder of his beautiful, white ex-wife and her white, male friend. The Simpson case is intriguing because O.J. was not the stereotypical lower class gang member that we often associate with murderers. Though he had one strike against him because he was black, he was a successful, college-educated football player and actor.  It was difficult for people to view him as a murderer because he did not (initially) come across as one.


I think O.J. is comparable to Scott Peterson, who was accused of killing his pregnant wife, Laci, along with his unborn child (Connor). The two major differences include their skin colors and the fact that O.J. was famous beforehand, whereas Scott was not. Being both black [inferior] and famous [superior] at the same time, O.J. can be compared to a man like Scott Peterson, who is white [superior] and ordinary [inferior- in relation to someone famous]. They each had something going for them, but also something that hindered them.

They both seemed to be "normal" guys who were incredibly smooth and adored by everyone who knew them. We tend to empathize with them right away because they appear to be innocent; their stories incredibly convincing. In the Peterson case, Scott was not identified as the prime suspect for the first month after Laci's disappearance. His family members maintained their faith in his innocence, and I am sure that the police saw Scott as an ordinary guy, as opposed to a murderer. In Simpson's case, O.J. was determined not guilty of murder, though it is now a generally accepted belief that Simpson did, in fact, kill Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman.


The fear that came about from these cases stemmed from the "unknown." Whereas gang members, for example, are fairly visible and typically hang out in specific inner city neighborhoods, sociopaths like Simpson and Peterson could be anyone, located anywhere.  The media  brought  attention to our inability to look at someone and determine who they are based on their physical appearance, and that terrifies us. We no longer know who we can trust.

week 7 blog

For this blog post I found an article on a controversial issue that occurred in 2006 and has just recently reached a settlement. There were six Imams who were returning to Arizona after attending a conference in Minneapolis for the North American Imams Federation, who were asked to leave a plane due to suspicious activity. This activity consisted of saying their evening prayers in Arabic, their conduct on the plane, and making critical comments on the Iraq war. They were asked to leave the plane and were then questioned for several hours; once they were released they flew home via different airline. Ever since 9/11 some Americans have placed a stigma on all Middle Easterners that they are terrorists and should not be in our country.

In my opinion this whole situation could have been avoided if we were not ignorant to the customs of other cultures. Simply because another passenger didn't understand their language, disagreed with their stand point on the war, and thought it was odd that they pray in the evening, these men were categorized as terrorists.

A stronger example of how location is connected with race, class, and gender is the demographics of Lake St. in Minneapolis. I was raised in the suburbs but went to a private school in the cities, so I spent a lot of time in the Minneapolis area. My parents always cautioned me about not heading to far down Lake St. when I would go to uptown because it was a "dangerous" area.  Lake St. is home to numerous cultures, mainly Hispanic, and is known for its high amount of crime related to drugs and prostitution. Because of the crime taking place on Lake St, we tend to look at these cultures as un-educated and impoverished. Because of the stories we here about the crime occurring in those areas, we perceive people of different ethnicities, class, and gender to be dangerous.   

Week 7 blog

For this week's blog assignment, I'd like to focus on the 9/11 attacks on America and the negativity towards Muslims in America. Not only were Muslims in America looked "down" upon, but it seemed that anyone from the Middle East was suspicious. American flags were everywhere after the attacks and I'm sure people not American felt extremely out of place, especially Muslims. You heard and saw it everywhere- media coverage on tv, newspapers, internet, you name it. For months and months it made headlines everywhere. I chose to use this event because I have a Muslim friend who felt EXTREMELY out of place after the attacks. Of course he and his family had nothing to do with these attacks, but they definitely felt the cold shoulder from people in my predominately white community. It was not something we talked about much, but when it was brought up, he felt very uncomfortable.

I'm reading a book for an English class I'm taking right now, called The Reluctant Fundamentalist, by Mohsin Hamid. Like the author himself, the protagonist Changez is a Pakistani man living in America. He attended Princeton, has a high paying "American figure" salary at a prestigious New York financial firm, is in love with an American woman, etc. But of course right after the attacks, he felt very out of place. People he didn't know and people he even knew made him feel out of place, or guilty. Before the attacks, living in New York was a very cosmopolitan place, very diverse, liberal, welcoming of others. It was New York City, not necessarily a place in America. In itself it had its own name. Once the attacks happened, it became an entirely "American"place, and all the non-Americans living there faced hardship from their fellow Big Appleians.Needless to say, Americans were so afraid of this other "RACE" that they almost denied their citizenship and friendship from these other people.


Blog #7

One recent event that reflects and reinforces fear about race, class, gender, and location would be about how there have been more minorities in the Hopkins High School in the last couple of years. I volunteer with Hmong Thai students who have come to America in the last 5 years or so and some of these students attend school at Hopkins and some at Wayzata. They talk to me about how they go to a school that is more challenging for their level of education and how they don't blend in with the other students at Hopkins. Most of these students live in North Minneapolis and to go to a school out in the suburbs was different for them.

Since the Hmong Thai students live in the cities, students from the suburbs seem to not welcome them in the school. They tell me that their homework and class assignments are hard and it takes time to understand the materials. Students tease them and push them around in the hallway which makes them uncomfortable, but they have to deal with it. Looking at this situation with the students, it focuses on the fact that race, class, gender, and location does reinforce fear of being surrounded by people different then you. These Hmong Thai students are of a lower class, different race and location and gender based on who's able to adapt to suburban school style. Any person can attend the school they want to go to as long as they don't do anything wrong and you can't always look at the fact that they are different. Since the Hmong Thai students are able to adapt to a suburban school, why wouldn't the suburban student be able to adapt to a new environment that includes students from different race, class, gender and location. Not everything will be the same and will stay that way because things change and more minorities are starting to go to suburban schools besides staying in the city schools.

Blog 7


After this week's readings discussing the connection between race, class, gender and location, I don't know how one can't think of the attacks on 9/11. On September 11th 2001 the media swarmed New York City where the Twin Towers of World Trade Centers were located. Within minutes later the media was quick to recognize that the terrorist that hijacked the airplanes were middle-eastern males belonging to Al- Qaeda an Islamic group. Less than a year later my family and I paid a visit to New York City. We spent a fair amount of time reflecting at Ground Zero. On the plane ride there I couldn't help but to look around and classify any dark male, middle-eastern, or Muslim decent as a possible terrorist. The media put so much emphasis on middle-eastern men that the race, gender, and the location of New York City only shaped my perception of being in danger. I also noticed that many small shops on the streets were selling items such at pursers, clothing, or even food. These were mainly owned and operated by middle-eastern men and families.  Racial profiling was becoming a huge problem because people stopped shopping at their store out of fear. These men were losing jobs and would no longer be able to support their families.

Since 9/11 Arab and Muslim Americans endured a wave of hate crimes, been criticized by the mass media and has been singled out by the government by newly- introduced " homeland security" measures.  When looking at an intersectional perspective of race, class, gender and location the media played an important roll of ones perception of fear in this situation. 

Blog 7

What resonated with me throughout these past readings was largely Amy Fisher's story. I believe this to be because I come from a small conservative town, largely upper-middle class and white, in Wisconsin. Last year there was a Heroin ring drug bust that consisted of about 11 students that I went to elementary, middle, and high school with, as well as dealers and people from Milwaukee and Chicago. It got a lot of coverage in both my small town, and throughout Milwaukee. Though I was up at school, I was being e-mailed and messaged constantly about the horrors of this drug ring. Many people I knew were trying to make sense of the fact that kids they had seen grow up, kids that their children had been friends with, were now being charged with felonies.

However, it's interesting to me that within my town, so many people tried to "other" these kids. While generally speaking, many of them had gotten into trouble with the law and school before, suddenly their socioeconomic status was notable. They were largely lower middle class kids (and the kids that were part of upper-middle class families were suddenly not spoken of as frequently), who had, relatively speaking, had more monetary concerns than did the majority of my town. The drug bust seemed to be this black mark on our town's otherwise 'spotless' record. How could kids from such a decent town go so bad? I can see much of what Kenny spoke about in this event. All of these kids became "Somebody else's kid." They are the kids from the other side of the tracks, they didn't have the affluent, morally superior upbringing that you gave your kids. The "Everybody's kid" label seemed to be given to the boys that were the football stars in their high school hey-day, and someone had led them off the right track. It was difficult to put them in the "Nobody's kid" category, as my town is so small that everyone knew some or all of the kids involved. It was difficult to write them off, or to ignore the situation. But they definitely weren't your kids, and this certainly wasn't a reflection of the values that Pewaukee had instilled in them.

Blog 7

Considering local news, one that I can still recall was a drug bust. "On June 30, search warrants for several Twin Cities locations help seize more than 3,300 marijuana plants worth more than $6 million". Locations included Coon Rapids, Elk River, Lake St. Croix Beach, Ramsey, Savage and Shakopee.  These are some pretty well known suburbs in the Twin Cities and many would find it rather shocking that such an operation had existed for such a long period of time. The article also included all 18 names of the people charged in the account, a whole paragraph was dedicated to provide age, location, and full names. (Example from the article: " Thai Van Ngo, 34, Savage; and Phuong The Cong, 28, Shakopee").  An officer stated, "Buying homes in the nice neighborhoods is all part of the plan. Dealers want to do everything they can to blend in". A neighbor said, "They never really came out...and they had weird hours".  But in the end "Neighborhoods are safer now that this major marijuana grow operation has been dismantled".


This story ties into the traditional myth that Lorraine Delia Kenny was talking about in her essay, the idea that that a suburb is this place of "presumed stability and security as opposed to the urban public arena of conflict" (76).  These dealers took advantage of that perception and were able to operate $6 million dollars worth of marijuana plants. But as one reads into the article, apparently they did not fit into the "normal suburban family".  The fact that race is never mentioned in the article is not necessarily true, the list of names provided is evident as to who these people are and what to look out for. A name like " Vinh Xuan Hoang" is obviously not a western name, and can be associated with Asians, a non-white suburban. The neighbor indicated that they "had weird hours" and those were indeed red flags. They were not like the normal suburban family, due to irregular hours and the lack of socialization with the community, in the end, the article reinforces the myth of safe suburbia with a minor disturbance of the "other".  The officiar said that with this bust, "neighborhoods are now safe". But Kenny would argue that, "class positioning makes it possible for the white middle class to feel protected" (72).



"Massive Pot Bust In Twin Cities Suburbs, 18 Charged" WCCO News.

Liz Collin, July 2, 2009. WCCO. Com

Blog 7

As I was doing my homework on the weekend, my older sister turned on the television, and on the 48 hours Mystery channel, it about the murder of the Orlando toddler name Caylee Anothony. To a surprise that the mother supposedly murder her own daughter, last year in the summer of 2008. It is to a shock because as this murder case is reflected with the gender, race, class, and the location, the mother was a white female women and lived in the suburban area. The mother name Casey was arrested for murdering her daughter. Evidences said that Casey didn't report to police and her parents that her daughter was missing. She waited one month to report to the police and her parents. During the one month period, she was seen going clubbing and partying. Police and other neighbor believed that Casey is guilty of murdering her daughter because why would it take her one month to report her missing daughter, yet go party while she's missing.

It's so sad because the Casey is a women, a white women who has a child of her own. People thought differently about Casey being a white women, in terms of a mother who was not a responsible mother, and reluctantly not do anything to find her daughter. In people's mind, they think that a mother should be concern about the whereabout of their child. Casey's action didn't do anything to search for her daughter. However, Casey's parent were more concern about Caylee's disappearance. A mother going out to party, her child not the biological child of  her husband is hard to believe what kind of a women she is. It is a bad image for white women living in a suburban area supposedly since Casey is looked upon as a white female mother murdering their own daughter. 

Blog 7

When I think of widespread media coverage and Lifetime movies, I think of all the beautiful young white women who have gone missing. There have been many, the most recent one I can think of is Natalee Holloway, who disappeared in Aruba, and I remember clearly Jeanna North and Dru Sjodin from North Dakota. I looked back at some of the articles about Dru Sjodin for this post.


Dru's story is obviously different from Amy's, because Dru is the victim and Amy is the perpetrator, but coverage of both events reinforced fears based on race, class and gender. The media was right on the case when Dru first went missing. Her picture was everywhere. She was described as "beautiful and vibrant." There were huge search parties out looking for her. We received constant updates during the trial. Coverage of Dru would fit her into the category 'Everybody's Daughter' from the Kenny chapter. She was a fun, outgoing college student. She could have been your roommate. And it was such a tragedy that senseless crime could take her away from her family, friends and community.


This tends to be the treatment young, female, middle class, white victims of crime receive from the media. They get tons of attention because their stories are so tragic, their loss is an outrage. I don't disagree with that, but I wonder about the older, male, poor, or non-white victims whose stories are no less tragic, but seem to be less of an outrage. I think the media bias toward covering one type of victim is another example of the positive/negative space Kenny talks about (p. 179). By making such a big deal about women like Dru, and barely mentioning other, less loveable victims, the media shows us who we value. It reinforces our views that losing women like Dru is unacceptable, while losing others is accepted.  

week 7 blog

A recent event in the media that came to mind was the Chai Vang case that took place in 2004 in Wisconsin.  Vang was convicted of killing 6 hunters and injuring two others.  Vang was a hmong immigrant that lived in St. Paul, MN.  The cause of the shootings was apparently over a dispute over hunting land and trespassing.  In the aftermath after this case people in this state were very discriminatory over the hmong population in the twin cities area. This type of media coverege featured immigrants and especially hmongs as a dangerous population that would have no problem killing innocent citizens.  This happened to be one isolated case, but it reflected on the Hmong community in St. Paul.  Now minnesotan's were supposed to fear muslims, black people, and hmongs.  I remember when this event happened and the local twin cities news actually interviewed people in the st. paul area (white people of course) and asked them if they were afraid of their hmong neighbors (especiall the men), and unfortunately many said yes.  The media made this story not into an unfortunate murder but a story of the hmong people as a whole and that they should be feared because of what happened even though many white people commit murders every year.  It became a story and a fear narrative of a community based on a single incident.

Week 7 Blog

Recently, I have heard a great deal of the news and reporters covering the Annie Le case. Le was a female Yale graduate student who was last seen entering a laboratory on campus. Her remains were found five days later shoved in a wall in the lab that was meant for hiding electrical wires and pluming. This story provides examples as to how perceptions of danger are shaped by the intersections of race, class, gender, and location.


The first connection I drew included class and location. Being that Yale University is an expensive Ivy League school; I think it is common for many people to believe that only the rich attend the University. Or that everyone that attends Yale is brilliant and determined to succeed, therefore, something this tragic just simply would never occur on the campus of Yale. News coverage seems to center a lot of there reporting time on stories like these, as if it is so much more heartrending and unexpected because the homicide occurred in a high-class, well educated community while stories of lower class and lower education murders are left in the dust.


The second connection I drew included gender. Annie was a 4'11, 90 pound female which was clearly stated in many of the news reports and they stressed how simple it would be for Annie to be victimized. When it comes to gender and the media, stories like these receive much more coverage when a female is killed assuming that the female is always the victim. When men are killed, it often seems to be more accepted and receives little coverage.

Blog 7

I started thinking about what events I remembered and the Matthew Shepard crime came to mind.  I started looking through old news clippings about the killing and they describe him as a nice, middle class white kid who was beaten and left for dead at his college campus because of a hate crime as he was gay.  The interesting thing is that there were news reporters who said they knew this was gonna become a hit news story and he would probably now become the "poster boy for gays." I was astounded when I read that, they turned a ridiculously awful event into a "poster boy" instead of seeing the victim for himself.  As I read through more articles they constantly mentioned him as coming from a good home in a small town, and that nothing like this had ever happened before.  One article quoted a woman saying it really hit home for her because the midwest was not a place where hate exists.  It is incredibly sad that they took this boy and set him as the example of how no place can be safe, especially white suburbia college campuses.

Blog Entry # 7

There are undoubtedly plenty an example of media hype surrounding urban crime, particularly as it pertains to and involves people of color.  It's what sells because it captures people's attention.  The media plays on the stereotypes white Americans have of inner city depravity.  The fear and paranoia is that "colored people" will bring down property values as Patricia J. Williams experienced when buying her house.  She wrote so eloquently in her article, Of Race and Risk that, "It is a dispiriting message: that some in society apparently not only devalue black people but devalue themselves and their homes just for having us as part of their landscape." (p.169 CP)  Speaking as someone who lived on 32nd and Chicago Avenue in South Central Minneapolis for eight years as a homeowner I can speak with confidence how people from the "outside" viewed my neighbors and neighborhood.  Yes, we had problems like all neighborhoods do, but there was a commitment and solidarity by most everyone who lived there to improve their lives along with the vitality, and safety of their community.  We were in it together.  You can't bury your head in the sand and pretend bad things don't happen or that there are injustices in the world.  And yes, living on Chicago Avenue I was confronted with the disparities in our society but I would argue that it makes you a better citizen.  In the city you have to stay connected.  There is energy and a passion that I would guess you don't find in the suburbs. I agree with Lorraine Delia Kenny on some level in her article Daughter of Suburbia: Growing Up White, Middle Class, and Female that there is a false sense of normalcy and a twisted view of superiority when looking in from a culturally white, "middle class" (the meaning of which being a whole other topic of discussion) glass house.  Ms. Kenny talks about the "Insider-Other" whom live insulated lives within the suburbs, and about the false sense of emotional, and physical security by those who live there.  


Contrast this to the perception people have of people of color who no doubt get more media attention when they are involved in a crime. They are also targeted to a greater degree.  And when they enter the criminal or civil "justice" system are treated disproportionally more harshly.


I'm sure we've all heard the term, Driving While Black (DWB) as a reason that African-Americans are pulled over in higher numbers then whites by the police for minor infractions or simply as an excuse to check someone out that they deem as suspect.


When I was online looking for a news article that highlights this weeks reading I was struck by the fact that the United States has the largest prison population in the world.  There is no clearer example of our institutionalized racism, and classism.

With regard to men who are incarcerated here in the United States according to a 2002 report by the Justice Policy Institute, 10.4% of the African-American male population ages 25-29 are in prison, more then are in college.  Then compare this to 2.4% of Hispanic men and 1.2% of white men within the same age group.




I found this at the Huffington Post online, which I thought, was perfect too.


"Then there's the feminization of poverty and racial stereotyping. More than one out of three black women jailed did not complete high school, were unemployed, or had incomes below the poverty level at the time of their arrest. More than half of them were single parents.

While black men are typed as violent, drug dealing "gangstas," black women are typed as sexually loose, conniving, untrustworthy, welfare queens. Many of the mostly middle-class judges and jurors believe that black women offenders are menaces to society too."


"There is little sign that this will change. The public and policy makers are deeply rapped in the damaging cycle of myths, misconceptions and crime fear hysteria about crime-on-the-loose women. They are loath to ramp up funds and programs for job and skills training, drug treatment, education, childcare and health, and parenting skills. Yet, this is still the best way to keep more women from winding up behind bars."


Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/earl-ofari-hutchinson/why-so-many-black-women-a_b_35409.html



Blog Post #7

There is a very recent story that's gotten slot of press and publicity is the story of 16 year old Derrion Albert who was beaten to death. The media begins with describing Derrion  as great kid with hopes and dreams, he was a wrestler, basket ball player and even a grandmas boy. This normalizes Derrion to make him seem like you average normal well behaved 16 year old.
Then the focus switches in the articles, and there is constant repetition of where the crime took place on the Southside of Chicago.  Along with who committed the crime kids. This reinforces the idea that one the south side, where it's already known specifically for the crime that takes place there, is where horrible crimes happen to innocent normal good people. To top it off the continuously focusing  on the fact that the people that beat Derrion to death were kids, placing another stereotype of the kids that live and grew up in this area are violent and capable of murder.
This story in a sense uses this tragic event to bash this community and paint a picture that says this Southside community is dangerous with inhuman destructive kids.. As the issue grows it suggests that the communities are the problem. A lot of communities like the one Derrion was in are committing these horrible crimes and are full of violence. The people that usually live in these communities are one mostly African American and low income, so they don't have a choice but to live there. So the media is thriving off of this tragic story and still reinforcing the stereotypical nature of society that places violence directly in the center of low income areas where the majority of the people are African American, which results in no one having an interests in the areas soothe African American are the only people that continuously occupy the area.

Blog #7: race, class, gender, and location

There was a very high profile news story from 1989 in Boston that came to mind for me. Charles Stuart and his pregnant wife, Carol, were on their way home from a child birthing class. Stuart drove her into a predominately African-American neighborhood, shot her, and removed her jewelry. Stuart had planned the crime ahead of time and had his brother meet him at the spot he had chosen to kill his wife. The brother did not know he had planned to kill her until he arrived and saw her bleeding in the car (he thought he was going to hide the jewelry to help his brother commit insurance fraud). Stuart gave his brother the jewelry and the gun and told his brother to hide them; he discarded them in a nearby river. After his brother had left, he shot himself in the abdomen and called 911. When the police came he told them he and his wife and had been robbed "by a black man." Stuart's wife died less than 24 hours after being shot, and their son, delivered via caesarean section, died a little more than 2 weeks after the shooting.

Although the only other description he could give the police was that he "had a raspy voice," the police scoured the neighborhood for weeks looking for a suspect. Eventually a black man with a criminal record who was picked up on other charges in the same area the shooting had occurred, became the prime suspect. Eventually Stuart's brother came forward and confessed his part in the murder, and that Stuart was responsible.  Before police could question him, Stuart committed suicide by jumping off a bridge.

This story demonstrates on so many levels how fears of class, gender, race and location are exhibited in our society. Stuart's recounting of a black man shooting a nice, white, suburban couple in the course of a robbery was taken at face value. A black man was in custody and police never considered Stuart a suspect (largely because of the extent of his injuries, which were greater than he had meant to inflict), even though police are aware that a large percentage of murdered women are killed by their husbands or boyfriends. Stuart was able to play on stereotypes of race, class, and gender, pointing the finger at the proverbial black man with a gun, which he knew he could make more believable by committing the crime in a neighborhood of poor, African-Americans.

  Time Magazine perhaps sums up the intersection of race, class, gender, and location best, saying,

A stunned city is left to wonder which is worse: the ease with which it embraced Stuart's lie that a black mugger murdered his wife for a bit of jewelry, or the knowledge that evil can wear an expensive suit, hold a respectable job, own a house in a pleasant suburb?[1]

[1] Margret Carlson. "Presumed Innocent." Time Magazine. 21 June 2004. <http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,153650,00.html>

Week 7 Blog

While reading Daughters of Suburbia, I was reminded of the media's enthrallment with Casey Anthony (http://bit.ly/nJevx has a timeline of events for anyone unfamiliar with the case).  Since the disappearance of her daughter Caylee in 2008, the media has closely followed and scrutinized every detail of Casey's life (here's an article about how she's gained weight in prison: http://bit.ly/Z79It ), in the process creating a crime narrative not unlike Amy Fisher's.  What makes Casey's case and narrative unique, however, is the relationship and cultural juxtaposition between her and her Caylee.


While Casey embodies the term "unlovable" in many ways--she is the unlovable insider Kenny describes due to her sexual deviance and single motherhood, while also deviating from the social norm through the alleged murder and cover-up-- the sweet and young Caylee was the apple of white, middle-class suburbia's eye. This comparison begs the question of when the transformation from "insider" to "insider-Other" occurs. After all, according to Strathern's cultural greenhouse theory, Caylee was just not-yet-matured replica of Casey; "in a replicating system, children are their parents" (p. 73).


Sure enough, the fascination with the relationship between Casey and her daughter came to define her narrative; the media began to refer to Casey almost exclusively as "Tot-mom".  The title, however, was never followed with ways in which Casey was a good, caring mother, but with accusations of neglect and mother. Instead of defining a traditional, conservative mother, this narrative projected an image of unstable mother, reinforcing fears of young, single mothers and their inability to provide for their children.  

Blog 7

When reading the Kenny article, I couldn't help but think of the Elizabeth Smart abduction controversy that has received media attention since 2002.  Like Amy Fisher, Elizabeth was a white girl who lived in a suburban neighborhood, therefore nothing "bad" could ever happen to her.


To make a long story short, Elizabeth was kidnapped in 2002 and was held captive a few miles from her Salt Lake City home. During her nine month detainment, she was subjected to horrible treatment including assault and rape. She was eventually discovered and returned to her family. 


Although Amy committed a crime, and Elizabeth was the victim of one, there are similarities in their respective situations.  As mentioned before, both women were white and lived in suburban neighborhoods.  Both were of middle class stature (though Elizabeth could be considered upper-middle class).  Both of their crimes occurred near their hometowns (Long Island and Salt Lake City, respectively.  Both homes also carry certain stereotypes, such as "Lawn Guyland" and those associated with the Mormon faith that is prevalent in Utah, that affect the way that the people of those cities are perceived.  Furthermore, it goes without saying that both women witnessed horrible things, regardless of whether she committed the acts herself or was merely affected by them.

Interestingly, both women's stories were made into made-for-tv films.


To conclude, the reason that these stories captured such media attention is because of the gender, class, race, and location which surrounded the central figures.  In both cases, females, middle class upbringing, being of the Caucasian race, and from a suburban neighborhood set the circumstances in order. Or rather, out of order. The fact that such occurrences could happen to suburban white girls was so unbelievable, that it caused media frenzy.        

blog #7

This weeks reading told some stories about how race, class and gender are related to location. The main argument was that fear of these aspects were related to the location they live in. While I was looking at local stories on Startribune.com I found a lot of stories involving crime in Riverside Minneapolis. The story I will mention is one about a set of robberies that they police has a suspect for. The suspect is a black man between 25 and 40 years old. He is between 5 feet 7 inches and 5 feet 9 inches with a medium build and wears a hat when robbing. He has been a suspect for 14 robberies all over the Riverside area. This is a typical (though a little more severe) police story about crime in Minneapolis; it always seems to include a black male between 25 and 35 years old. The police are still looking for him, but have constructed a drawing of him in order to help people identify him.
    This is an example of how fears are reinforced by gender, class, as well as location. There is a common stereotype that black men who live in the city are dangerous. This is reinforced by the socioeconomic status, because this man would not be stealing if he didn't absolutely need to. Although this is not the case all the time, most people who resort to stealing are in dire need of money. This is in great contrast with Kenny's article of white suburban girls, because this is a black man who does not have privileges like some people living in suburban homes. The intersectional aspects of this story is that because the suspect is black, male, and living in the city makes people more fearful than if the suspect was white, female and living in the suburbs.

Blog 7

The Abu Bakr as-Siddique mosque, and a female community activist, Abia Ali, has  been under suspicion by the FBI of being supportive of recruiting terrorists. Some of the young Somalian men who have been missing since 2007 and are suspected as being recruited to become terrorists also belonged to this mosque.  Ali collects donations at the mosque to send over to Somalia for the sponsorship of children who are in Somalia and in the need of medical care.  This has lead to many in the community being afraid to contribute donations for fear of being targeted as Ali has been. The mosque is the center of the Muslim community and provides outreach services to teens who are involved in gang violence.
Many Muslim Americans, when they return from overseas describe being treated as Ali was. She was subpoenaed, questioned for two days and had to appear in front of a grand jury.  All of whom were white.  This group of people are being targeted because of their race, class, and location are tied together.  Gender is not regarded as much as their being Muslim Americans.  Our fears since 9/11 and terrorism have caused many to be unable to see that these people are honest and good citizens, just as we are. 

Red Lake Indian Reservation Shooting

The event that I immediately thought of was the shooting at the Red Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota that occurred while I was in high school in Minneapolis. Ten were killed in the shooting; a headline from Fox News reads, "Red Lake Indian Reservation Rife with Poverty," suggesting that the shooting was connected to the poverty on the reservation. That particular article then goes on to talk only about poverty, with a random mention of the shooting at the high school seemingly disconnected with the story on poverty on the reservation. With the mention of high school, the article finishes up with a paragraph on how poor the school is doing regarding its performance and ability to pass standard Minnesota tests. In this article, race, class, and location are tied together as affecting each other without any connection as to how they affect each other. It is assumed that the reader will know that being Native American and being on an Indian Reservation makes you poor, which therefore makes you uneducated, and these all add up to making you more susceptible to shooting up your high school.

            Other articles discuss possible motives, based on the shooter, Jeffrey Weise, and his social activity in school. He was deemed an "outcast" by classmates, often got in fistfights, and was expelled from public school after a supposed threat to shoot up the school over a year prior to the actual shooting. Given these possibilities, Jeffrey's reason for killing nine people, injuring more, and committing suicide, cannot be simplified to his race, class, gender, location, and socio-economic status. Many other stories open new possibilities, including Jeffrey's family life, as his father was killed in a shooting against the police on the reservation. After living in the Twin Cities with his alcoholic mother, she suffered brain damage and went into a nursing home, so he had to go back to the reservation. Jeffrey had many similarities to Kenny's story of Amy. He was an unlovable, maybe not in the same way that Amy was an unlovable, but he was ignored and considered a loner at school. He was another high school student who fell through the cracks.

Week 7 Blog

After reading these articles I thought of the presidential campaign from last year.  There was much discrimination from voters and other candidates towards Barak Obama.  Race was an issue because no other president had been half black, however the media failed to report that he was half white too.  Another issue was his religious background and people thinking that he practiced Islam, which is false.  I think both of these ideas scared people because here we never had a president who wasn't fully white or a president who was not Christian.  From personal experience, my former roommate said she wouldn't vote for Obama because he was Muslim and was going to hell.  This rumor along with others, for instance the whole birth certificate issue, created a lot of fear among some people who fit that white-middleclass-suburban idea.  Even now as our President, Obama faces a lot of unnecessary criticism, I believe more than any president so far.  He also faces a lot criticism from voters, who were hoping to see change right after his election.

Week 7 Blog Assignment

When I first read the prompt, I too automatically thought of 9/11.  After some careful searching afterward, I found a different example that seemed perfect for an intersectional analysis regarding our fears about race, class, and gender; "octo-mom". Nadya Suleman, termed by the media as "octo-mom", is a 33 year old woman who used fertility drugs and ended up giving birth to octuplets, the second set to be born in the United States to date. She was publicly scrutinized and condemned because not only did she give birth to eight children, all whilst being a single mom, but she also already had six children at home at the time, bringing her child total to a whopping fourteen children.  Oddly enough, her having this many children was not the main grunt people had about octo-mom, it was that she has these children while she was unemployed and on financial assistance.


So, not only is Nadya a minority woman (her father stated publicly he was from Iraqi decent), but she is also lower/working class, on welfare, and a single mom on top of that.  The reason that this news frenzy embodied our fears about race, gender, and class, is because it gave people an open forum to condemn ALL welfare recipients and single mothers, based solely off of Nadya's story.  It reinforces our middle-class fear of our tax dollars being spent on single minority women who abuse the welfare system, a story that is far too familiar in the mass media.  Sadly, Octo-mom sort of media whored herself in regards to her situation doing various talk shows, radio interviews etc, but had I been condemned by not only the media, but society in general if I were in her situation, I might have done the same thing.  Octo-mom most definitely embodies the "unlovable" as discussed in Kenny's piece.

Week 7 Blog

After reading through Kenny's article about Amy Fisher and being reminded about the Columbine incident, the Von Maur shooting in Omaha back in December 2007 came to mind. Although I haven't thought about this incident for a while, I realize the event made quite an impression on me. Similar to the Columbine shooters, the Von Maur shooting concluded with a middle-class, troubled white teen committing suicide after first terrorizing shoppers in an upscale department store in a popular shopping center in quiet Omaha, Nebraska.  The media coverage of the incident while it was occurring, the aftermath of the shooting and the weeks to come as pieces of the planned event was discovered and revealed reinforced to the citizens of Omaha that while Omaha may be small in comparison to other large U.S. cities, Omaha is not immune to random, senseless shootings. It also revealed that not all senseless random shootings are gang or race related, or will occur in North Omaha or South Omaha (higher poverty and crime areas of the city). What was once a popular shopping mall with several upscale department stores literally turned into a morgue for eight innocent holiday shoppers and employees and a hall of terror for many others. The media's coverage of this incident served only to carry on the fear of that dreadful day.


Robert Hawkins was a white male, 19 years old. He walked unnoticed (as he would since he was "white" in a "white" part of town in an up-scale department store) into the Von Maur store at the Westroad Shopping Center on December 5, 2007. He killed eight innocent people and injured a number of others before turning the gun on himself. There was no motive as to why Hawkins walked into this large elegant department store and opened fire. What was left behind was a suicide note from Hawkins stating that he wanted to go out in style and be famous for it. Here we have a young white man, in his late teens, which had "seemed" to be depressed to his friends. He had quit school several years earlier, had recently broken up with his girlfriend, lost his job at McDonalds, and was not getting along with his family. He lived with a family in a middle-class neighborhood. He was offered help to turn his life around by his friend's family. He was not perceived as a person who would simply drive to the shopping center, walk in with a gun under his coat and begin unloading the gun on others. This is not what a white, male teenager in Omaha Nebraska would do. For that very reason, that very perception, the local and national news media instilled a sense of fear and mistrust in the citizens of the city. "Why didn't anyone notice this young man walking in the mall with a long black coat (it was in December in Omaha Nebraska)?" "How was it his friends and family had no idea that Hawkins was planning this?" Question after question was asked by the news media attempting to link drugs or gangs or a bad home life to the reason for the shooting. The media coverage stirred up fear in those who lived around the Westroad Shopping Center, those completing their holiday shopping at other shopping centers in Lincoln and Omaha Nebraska, and in the neighborhood where the young man lived. Unfortunately, there were no answers. In this particular case, this particular incident, the citizens of the state could not connect the dots with race, class, gender, or location as the scapegoat for the killings. What we have grown to be so accustomed to in terms of justifying an incident in Omaha just did not fit this case.

What came to my mind was the murder and aftermath of Jon Benet Ramsey.  This case involves disgusting, almost inhuman individuals. It is terrifying to know people like this exist and yet the media and some of the population feed off this fear, whether to make profit, have something to talk about or even derive a sense of excitement or something to be passionate about. I make a point to not buy these magazines or watch these shows yet somehow, I have managed to hear the whole story. Standing in the checkout line at the grocery store I always end up right next to the sensationalized newsstand. I don't want to hear about. It is not that I don't care about the actual situation or other fellow human beings but it seems these are all publicity stunts to provoke fear and suspicions (stereotypes) and, I readily will tell you that it has worked! The classic "good, white, male neighbor" who never bothers anyone is actually a violent, malicious, sexual deviant who will hurt any woman or child if given the chance and, experience absolutely no regret. Intellectually, I know there are decent men out there yet when I am honest with myself I have to admit that there is a part of me that believes every last bit of it. Males who are white, young or middle adult are harmful and NEVER to be trusted. If I don't want to be a victim myself then I have to remain informed (medias selected information designed to make money, not the actual truth) and the only way I can get this info is through watching T.V. shows like Inside story and reading magazines like People and yes, Newsweek. Yes, I said Newsweek and I would venture to say most all media is situated to make money off of fear. They can tell us who to trust and who not to trust, any question? The solutions in the next article. I realize this is a very broad accusation and there are many fine details not discussed. All I know is that I have a lot of people to be scared of white men, black men, middle-class, upper, lower class the list goes on and on. Who can I trust? Well to be honest I don't think I really trust anyone. How do the employees that stand to make profit in instilling immense fear in the public regarding (insert anything here) sleep at night. I hope its worth the 1.99 plus tax.

Angry Blog #7

Blog 7

            The number one person that comes to mind when thinking of an event that reflects and reinforces the fears about how race, class, gender, and location are tied together is Ed Gein. He was a man that grew up with his brother, mom, and dad in a farm house in Plainfield, Wisconsin on the outskirts of town. His father was an abusive drunk (died soon after they moved to the farm house) and as a result, his mother made sure that her sons were protected by the outside world. She did this by making sure that they had no friends or that they were able to do anything but work outside of the farm house. During a brush fire his brother was killed, but the investigators later noted that Ed brought them right to his body, which had been severely bruised and there were no signs of fire on the ground. There were no formal charges against Ed and the speculations of foul play were dropped. Soon after this incident, his mother passed and his world came crashing down. He lost his one and only friend and person that he felt truly loved him.

            Formal charges were filed in 1957 against Ed after he was suspected of a local hardware store employee's death; that was later found hung up-side-down in his shed, cut open, and "dressed" like a deer. He later confessed to her death along with having unburied the bodies of women that resembled his mother from the local grave in order to make a "woman suit". The rest of his life was spent in a mental institute because he was deemed legally insane and unfit to serve his sentence in a normal cell.

            Ed's story has been exploited within the media and reenacted in various horror films (Silence of the Lambs, Psycho, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc). The now classic horror story involves a person (usually a woman) that gets stranded in some secluded part of town (in farm country) and has to go for help. She then finds trouble leering around the corner and ends up getting chased by some huge figure (usually a man) holding a knife seeking fresh blood for one reason or another. These types of ideas about men of lower class in a secluded place mark them as someone that appears to be threatening and anything less than a normal individual and more of someone to be exploited and stereotyped. It is stories like Ed's that make people think that the towns along with the people that are located on the outskirts of what we deem as society as something to fear, even though they are some of the safest places to be. It is the perpetuation of this fearful stereotype that instills thoughts into people that would otherwise feel perfectly fine in said circumstances. It would bring light and peace of mind to these types of places and the people that inhabit them if society were to look at and re-shape this default and feared figure.  

Blog 7

When talking about fear of inner cities, I think of the shooting of Tyesha Edwards.   If you recall, she is the 11 year old girl from Minneapolis that was shot while doing her homework at the dining room table in 2002.  A stray bullet hit her while Myon Burrel was shooting at a rival gang member.  Myon Burrel is a young Black male, and he was automatically categorized as being a gang member.  There was not an article or media coverage of this event that didn't state "gang member".   Yet nobody commented on the evidence to prove that Myon Burrel was in a gang.  

This type of media coverage is all too familiar to the American public, "Young Black males harming our society".  It also stereotypes inner cities being dangerous and unstable.  "That image is largely perpetuated by media's portrayal of street violence as non-white, poor, and male" commented Lorraine Delia Kenny.  This media coverage makes our society ignorant and influences fears of minorities being "dangerous".   It also makes our society believe that minorities commit more crimes than whites.  This media coverage, as in most media accounts about our young Black males harming America, is ridiculously filled with discrimination and an absurd fear that inner cities are dangerous.      

Blog 7 Assignment

For this weeks blog post I would like to focus on an event that happened forty-five miles away from my hometown in a smaller city called Grand Forks, North Dakota. The town's population is roughly 65,000. It was always considered to be a safe place to live up until the fall of 2003.  Dru Sjodin was abducted on November 22, 2003 as she was leaving her job in the local mall.   She was twenty-two years old and a student at the University of North Dakota. The man that abducted and killed her was a level 3-sex offender named Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. who later was found guilty and sentenced to the death penalty.  This is a very sad and tragic accident, but it is also something that happens frequently. However, what was unusual about this case was where she abducted at; in the middle of the day in a public parking lot in a city that has never had any serious crime problems like murder. This story got tons of local coverage, however, it also became a national issue. The story was featured in the StarTribune, People, and on TruTV Crime Library to name a few. It also prompted the creation of the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Registry.  

I think this event reinforces fears about how naïve small town people can be. Growing up where I did, I never ever worried about being abducted or anything like that. However, after this happened everything changed. People realized that something like this could happen anywhere during anytime of the day. The fact that she was a white female who lived in a smaller city and attended college had a lot to do with why this story got as much attention as it did. Like Kenny stated, "Would the three major television networks really have produced three movies-of-the-week devoted to Amy if she had been, for example, an African American girl from New York City or a Latina from South Texas? I think not." This quote directly ties in with the Dru Sjodin's story.  She like Amy was not considered the norm person for an abduction and murder to happen to. However, it did happen to her and the story got a lot more media attention then the hundreds of other people who had very similar things happen, but perhaps because of their race, class, and/or location it didn't end up on the cover of People magazine.  I personally think that the media needs to focus more on stories like Dru Sjodin's despite race, class, and location and less on which celebrity got liposuction. That's the only way we'll ever find these people.  

Blog 7 Assignment

For this blog post, I want to focus on a subject that has affected my school district and many others in the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul area.  Many suburban school districts in the last couple years have passed statues in the school board that allows schools to bus inner-city students into suburban schools.  For example, I attended Hopkins High School in Minnetonka and the year after I graduated the school started a program that bused students from North Minneapolis to and from the school everyday.  This greatly increased the number of minority students at Hopkins while raising the number of students per class and lowering the average G.P.A., which at one time was the highest in the state. 

Many local families were upset with the new program happening at Hopkins because of their fears about race, class, and location.  This was very upsetting to me as a Hopkins graduate because I think this program is a great idea.  Like many new things, the program needs time/effort/support and tweaking to be completely successful but I applaud the idea of making Hopkins more diversified.  I think it is imperative for students to be around other people that are different from them in regards to class, religion, race, etc.  In the real world, not everyone has the same type of family, same life experiences, same amount of money, etc. and students need to recognize that (in fact, the earlier they do, the better).  In my opinion, parents who have a problem with the program are ignorant.  Now because "poor minority kids" are attending the school the parents worry about the safety of their children as well as the school's curriculum.  To me, that is absurd and a form of discrimination.  I blame it on people's fears, fears of something different, fears that allow people to stereotype others.

Week 7

When talking about media coverage and  how it affects the way that people think and creates fear, the September 11 attacks popped up in my mind. I remember that when 911 attacks happened, I was in my home country watching drama on the TV and the horrifying new suddenly popped up on the screen. All of us know the seriousness and disgracefulness of this attack. Because of the advanced technology, the media had obsessively used repetitive image of the 911 attack to illustrate the horror of the event. Also, the media always focus on the identity of the terror group and that had gradually indoctrinated us to associate Middle East and Muslim with terrorist because of this attack. Obviously, this created anxiety feeling among the American Very often.

Also, I remember that my teacher in high school told us that the media focus of 911 gradually shifted to wars, such as WWII and religious wars, after a certain time. I think this has also reinforced public fear as they started to relate the attack with wars. The hostile attitude that the media had toward the middle east had deepened by all the news which talked about the conflict about middle east and the US. However, it's a mutual thing. The Middle East people are hostile to the American because American had keep depicting the negative side of the Middle East world. Also, the media associate the terrorist with religion. As a result, Muslim was misunderstood to be a dark religion. I found a very informative short video about Islamic which asserts how this religion has badly affected after the 911 attacks. It criticize that "Islamic terrorist" was then become a part of this religion because of the bias and the injustice idea that the media indoctrinated the public.

It is really obvious that Islamic people or people who come from Islamic countries are always subjected to be checked just because of their religion and countries. Now, it's not only about Middle East world but also all the Muslim related thing. It is like the US government and public have already been indoctrinated an image of "middle east and Muslium=terror". Ridiculously, my friend needs to report to the immigration department wherever she moves just because she has a Malaysia passport and this just to help the government to keep track on what the Islamic people are doing.

Youtube Video:


Blog #7

For my blog post this week I am going to look at the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States.  I would argue that no news story or event was covered, and continues to be covered, than Obama's Presidential campaign and election.  As everyone knows, Obama is the first black man to be elected president of the United States, and the news coverage that followed him and his campaign platform focused on this more than anything else during the months leading up to the election. When it comes to the  office of the President  of the United States, three factors are usually always present in the candidates.  They are white, upper class men. .  Obama was black and came from a middle class family. I think that it is safe to say that Obama might not have been elected if he had come from a poor background.  Yes he broke the race barrier, but he also still fell into the other two categories I mentioned earlier, male and upper class. The media flaunted every angle of Obama being black during the time leading up to the election, during the election, and even now.  Obama represented everything that America was supposed to stand for, and the reputation he got from this media coverage gave him a godlike image in the minds of many around the world. 


But fears about the fallout of electing a black man as president were also present in the media, and in the days following his election, the media reported about threats made to Obama's life and the anger that was felt by many racist citizens in America.  People worried about assassination attempts and whether or not the United States had made a mistake.  As we have seen, Obama rose above all of speculations and expectations that formed around his race and has proven so far to be a dignified leader who is doing all he can to make America a better place. The news still follows Obama's every move and action, but I would argue that the media pressure is more than with any other president in our nation's history. Obama has the great expectation of our country to change things for the better. As I mentioned before, he has the stigma of being godlike, and I am of the opinion that the American people expect so much out of him that they will never be satisfied with what he does, and that they will always be left wanting and expecting more from this man. While some feel that Obama marked the beginning of a new age, others fear the ending of an era that had a social structure that had been present for hundreds of years.  

Blog #7

For my blog post this week I am going to look at the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States.  I would argue that no news story or event was covered, and continues to be covered, than Obama's Presidential campaign and election.  As everyone knows, Obama is the first black man to be elected president of the United States, and the news coverage that followed him and his campaign platform focused on this more than anything else during the months leading up to the election. When it comes to the  office of the President  of the United States, three factors are usually always present in the candidates.  They are white, upper class men. .  Obama was black and came from a middle class family. I think that it is safe to say that Obama might not have been elected if he had come from a poor background.  Yes he broke the race barrier, but he also still fell into the other two categories I mentioned earlier, male and upper class. The media flaunted every angle of Obama being black during the time leading up to the election, during the election, and even now.  Obama represented everything that America was supposed to stand for, and the reputation he got from this media coverage gave him a godlike image in the minds of many around the world. 


But fears about the fallout of electing a black man as president were also present in the media, and in the days following his election, the media reported about threats made to Obama's life and the anger that was felt by many racist citizens in America.  People worried about assassination attempts and whether or not the United States had made a mistake.  As we have seen, Obama rose above all of speculations and expectations that formed around his race and has proven so far to be a dignified leader who is doing all he can to make America a better place. The news still follows Obama's every move and action, but I would argue that the media pressure is more than with any other president in our nation's history. Obama has the great expectation of our country to change things for the better. As I mentioned before, he has the stigma of being godlike, and I am of the opinion that the American people expect so much out of him that they will never be satisfied with what he does, and that they will always be left wanting and expecting more from this man. While some feel that Obama marked the beginning of a new age, others fear the ending of an era that had a social structure that had been present for hundreds of years.  

Blog 7

I would like to explain race, class, gender, and location in regards to crime and how it is widespread throughout the media that lower class black males in the inner city commit the most crimes. In the media, there is always coverage that depicts and singles out lower class black males and the correlation to crime rates. I recently read a book called "Streetwise" and the chapter that illustrated this point very clearly was an issue regarding how police target lower class black males in the city, thinking that they disproportionately commit the most crimes. It talked about the lower class black males have to change the way he dresses and acts so police do not think that they are a part of a gang. "a young black male is a suspect until he proves that he is not"(Anderson 192). Most police officers represent the middle class suburbs and believe that they are keeping the white population safe by patrolling the inner city and keeping crime down. They think that the heart of crime lies in the inner city connected to lower class black males. Simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time could lead to a black male being unlawfully arrested because he fits the stereotype of "someone that would most likely commit a crime". Rarely do the police focus on the fact that crime is committed by people of other races in all socioeconomic classes. The disproportionate arrests leads to media coverage and therefore scares the population thinking that they have to keep an eye on someone who is of a lower class, black, and male. This reinforces the fear that crime is largely committed in the inner city specifically by lower class black males. The narrative that grew around this preconceived fear is, I believe, the war on drugs. Black males are six times more likely than white males to be admitted into prison in their life for drug offenses. This relates to the crack cocaine vs. powder cocaine sentencing disparity. One can go to jail for 5 years for possessing 5 grams of crack and for possessing powder cocaine, one can go to jail for 5 years for possessing 500 grams of powder cocaine. The two substances are pharmacologically impossible to tell apart minus the fact that crack cocaine has baking soda in it and powder cocaine does not. I think that the reason that this sentencing policy was introduced was racially biased. Crack cocaine is typically cheaper and found in lower class inner city neighborhoods whereas powder cocaine more expensive and stereotypically the drug of the upper class. So because people are sentenced to prison for longer with crack cocaine sentences, it makes it appear that these people commit the most crimes. The people that are sentenced for the long prison sentences regarding crack is the lower class black male. People recognize the other crimes that go along with drugs such as murder and robbery, and the media starts playing in on this image scaring the whole nation that lower class black males are inherently motivated to commit crime, when really the explanation can be traced back to a sentencing policy that is extremely racially biased.

blog 7

This might be broad, but I immediately thought of September 11th and the narratives that grew around the hijackers (and continues until today).  After 9/11, Muslim and/or Middle Eastern men were increasingly targeted for 'looking suspicious' and more violence was directed at this group.  Media coverage of the hijackers reflected and reinforced fears about race and ethnicity.  The actions of these few men made all men of Middle Eastern descent a possible criminal (or at minimum someone who might not be American enough).  The ties that mainstream media focused on between religion and race/ethnicity created an even larger misunderstanding of Islam and its followers.  This could be seen in the paranoia and questions regarding Keith Ellison (and the first Muslim elected to Congress) all the way up to Obama's election and the questions regarding his middle name, and people questioning his citizenship.  The narratives that were constructed in media and popular imagination about men of Middle Eastern descent and/or followers of Islam have had a seriously negative impact.

Week 7 Blog Assignment

This week's readings discuss connections between race, class, gender, and location. Specifically, the authors point out ways in which our perceptions of danger are shaped by the intersections of race, class, gender and location. WIlliams' efforts to secure a mortgage were hindered by perceptions that black homeowners make neighborhoods unstable. Kenny describes how  perceptions of cities as dangerous led to the creation of suburbs, which then became culturally marked as the sources of other dangers, such as cultural isolation and familial disruption.
Kenny focuses, in this selection, on media coverage of Amy Fisher and how that coverage reflected and reinforced fears about the instability of white suburban girlhood. In this blog post, I'd like you to similarly describe an event that has received widespread media coverage locally or nationally that reflects and reinforces fears about how race, class, gender and location are tied together. Like Kenny, I'd like you to describe the narrative that grew around an individual- e.g., the Columbine shooters or the Unabomber. You may rely on your recollections of media coverage (the strength of these narratives tends to imprint them strongly in our memory) but it may be helpful look up a couple of articles or video clips regarding this event.

Week 6 Blog

This week's readings have led me to believe that government regulation of families needs to be revisited. I believe that the government has no right to define family, and therefore municipalities should no longer have the right to establish zoning ordinances that inherently define family through household size regulations.


The zoning policies that currently exist are rooted in a social discourse that tries to "control" what many described as the pathological or dysfunctional African American family. However, according to Carothers, a "new scholarship," instead "identified strengths, stability, and cohesiveness of Black families," rejecting the old discourse that "emphasized Blacks' difficulties in achieving position, power, or prestige and viewed the family as a major source of weakness" ( 233). She instead argues that there are many middle class black communities that are strong and stable, and contributes their success to the strength in family structure.


The only response to these arguments is to reject what Ritzdorf calls "the ethnocentric view that assumes that the only acceptable norm is a nuclear family" (170). The only way to do t his is to stress to legislators the importance of not allowing communities to adopt/ enforce these normative definitions; they need to take action to reduce the trend of communities defining families in their ordinances.


I do believe the government should regulate some aspects of household operation, but only when it addresses the issues of family-run businesses. I believe residential areas should be zoned as such, and because there are tax implications to working out of your home, the practice should be regulated. I do, however, think leniency should be granted in the licensing of child care in regards to locations, as Ritzdorf cites this as a specific problem minoritycommunities are facing.


I have some personal experience with the restrictive definition of family. When I was in high school, my mother moved out of the school district, but I moved in with extended family for my senior year of high school. Halfway through the school year, one of my teachers learned about my living situation and challenged my eligibility to remain a student because neither of my parents had addresses within the district. I had to fill out a form requesting to remain enrolled in the district, and was told I was only given permission because I only had a few months of school left.

Blog 6 Assignment

If I were asked to advise future government regulation of families, I would highly suggest that they look at this ideological family term, and take into consideration the historical contributing factors of the nuclear family, and not base it on traditional English Law in which a marriage is suppose to be between man/woman. Ritzdorf argues that "lesbian couples and their children have often fall outside the category of traditional family...thus allowing for local zoning" (177). This just reinforces the "ideal American family" thus discriminating those that do not fall under it.  It is also important to mention that all Americans are not heterosexual, white, and middle class.

A call for homosexual rights to adoption, same marriage rights, and benefits in all states would be ideal. Legislators need to realize that "equal opportunity" is not just based on ones skin, sex, and race, discrimination still comes into play if they insist on the regulations of families, especially on the terms such as these. What should be left to individuals to decide is who they love and what family is to them. Adoption in some cases can be more difficult in cases such as these as Solinger has argued, and that is where some government regulation needs to intervene so that a child is not stripped away from a family intentionally. All in all, goverenment regulations of family is wrong, and Ritzendork, Chauncey, Solinger, and Briggs make this case and point through their examples. 

Blog 6

"For most Americans, a family is a unit from which they draw their nurturance and sustenance. It is not a particular form, nor is it a simple, symbolic image." (Ritzdorf 180) When one thinks of a perfect family in the United States as the white nuclear two- parent family, I believe that is a bit outdated. The majority of Americans are not raised in this situation but rather having blending families, living with single parents, grandparents, or even being adopted by another family. I don't think the government should be able to control any part of the family composition. The United States is becoming too diverse for the government to have any control on family issues.

            If I were to advise the government on regulations of families I believe the only thing the legislators can control is the health and well being of the individuals and protection laws to protect families against violence and abuse. They cannot discriminate families because of race, gender, or class. Homosexuals, low income, and minority families should all have an equal opportunity to raise a family as long as they provide the essentials of living. Who is to say that two men can't raise a child as well as a heterosexual couple? Or black parents with a low income compared to wealthy white individuals? As long as they are responsible care to their children the government should have no regulations on families in the United States and the family composition should be left to the individual families. It is your right to how many children you want or whom you live with.

Week 6 Blog

            In light of this week's readings, the elimination of government's role in family life is necessary to create an equal and fair place for people to define, create, and raise their families as they please. I personally think the current "definitions" of families in the US (and elsewhere) are extremely outdated and (in my opinion), incorrect. An institution such as the government cannot possibly place a definition on what constitutes a family, because to each person, family may mean a completely different thing. This is what I would say to legislators: putting a narrow term, or definition, on something like what constitutes a "family," you further oppress these groups of people who do not fit into the nuclear-family unit. Things like zoning laws/boundaries, the rights of gay and lesbian couples, etc., are all examples of basic human/civil rights taken away because of a higher-institutions definition on what THEY think is family. This is not fair. For example, a gay and/or lesbian couple has the EXACT amount of capacity to love and nurture a child as a hetero couple would. Is it fair to deny this to a couple that wants to enjoy raising a child? I don't think so. My question is WHY they care so much about who is "GAY" or "LESBIAN," personal (sexual) matters in the bedroom are, once again, PERSONAL, and it really is no one's business anyway.

I personally think government should "check out" of family matters except a small change in adoption laws. I think government should at least require birthmothers to supply information about them selves, so the child of that birthmother has easy access to obtain this information, even if the adoptive family wishes against this. This may already be a law, but once again I feel that government really should not regulate family life at all. I don't think they deserve this power.

            I believe that gay marriage is one of the most pressing issues going on in our society today. Once again, people are allowed to love and "marry" whomever they wish, regardless of what their sexual preference is. It is no one's business, ESPECIALLY the government's, to know what type of sexual partner one chooses. In this context, there should be absolutely no regulation on what constitutes a family, so not letting gay couples adopt is an absolute violation of human rights. Many people may be opposed to same-sex marriage because of their narrowly defined concept of family. Without the nuclear family unit, MOTHER and FATHER (with kids, dog, etc.). people may think same-sex couples cannot possibly teach their children without the knowledge of both sexes. As Chauncey illustrates, "Marriage is more inviting-indeed, more imaginable-for same-sex couples as the sharp differences in the roles assigned by gender to husband and wife declined" (p. 66). It's clear that domestic and out-of-home responsibilities are not necessarily gendered anymore.

Blog 6

I would definitely bring up zoning. As Ritzdorf mentions, "alternative family patterns still create feelings of unease among community residents, and therefore they are explicitly disallowed in most zoning ordinances" (179). I would attempt to convince legislatures that "feelings of unease" is a lame reason to not allow "alternative" families into neighborhoods. There should not be a limit to the number of people in one home because, for example, African Americans' "situations" are dramatically improved when extended family is near. It is not fair to lower class, non-whites that our society is made for white, middle class people. 

The government should only regulate mistreatment in the home; sexual abuse, physical abuse, and neglect. As long as the home is clean, the noise level is low, and the children are being provided for, the government should stay out of it. It should not matter how many people reside in a single home (up to, say, forty people, depending on the size of the home), and how those people are connected; whether they be friends, lovers, extended family members etc.

I would want legislatures to keep intersectionality in mind when revising and/or developing new laws. I think it is easy to forget that we are all very different and come from very different backgrounds. What is best for one family may not be best for another. As much as we like to categorize and regulate, family issues should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Blog #6

If I was given the chance to advise the legislators about regulations of families, I would tell them that a family is not based on a white nuclear two-parent family. There is more to a family then just looking at them and saying they live this way or should live a certain way. Families should be able to live their lives like any normal family and if they can't then what is considered norm for any families. They have values, tradition, lifestyles, history, educational backgrounds and many more things that make them who they are. Losing those true meanings within their family would make them feel like they are not a true family. Families grow up in different environments and they operate differently than others do, so why focus on a white nuclear two-parent family. Not every family is the same and you have to look at their race, gender, class level before judging any of them saying they are right or wrong.

Families should not have to live like the white- two parent families because someone says they have to. If families have to give up any values, lifestyles, etc to be considered a norm family, then there should not be any regulations put upon families who cannot meet those regulations or expectations. The economy is changing and families change their way of living within those time span, so of course the government has to change the regulations each time, but why not make it easier by letting the families be who they are and let them choose the path they want to lead themselves in. The legislators should not focus on making every family lead the same life or even think it would help families, it will just make things more complicated by limiting families with little opportunities.

Blog #6

If I were to talk to legislators on the regulation of families in America, the first thing I could do is start by broadening the definition of what a family is.  I would have them get rid of the "white nuclear" family as the end all be all of what a family is.  This current definition as mentioned in the Carothers and Ritzdorf article leaves out the majority of families in the U.S.  I would make sure that this new definition includes more non traditional families that consist of gay or lesbian couples, families who consider extended familiy members as part of their immediate family, as well as single-parent families. I would suggest that gay and lesbian couples be allowed to marry and gain access to the legal benefits that marriage offers as well as the option to adopt a child and not be discriminated against in the adoption process.  I would also suggest that this non discrimination in adoption also be applied to people wishing to adopt of different races and family makeups.  The family is a private matter, and I don't believe the government has the right to judge that the only family who will benefit an adopted child is the typical white nuclear family.  How can they say that this family fosters the child's greatest interest?  There may be many thing this child misses out on by being given to what is seen as the "norm" in american, that in truth doesn't actually exist as the norm.

As far as what the governemnt should regulate, I think it should be in charge of providing single-parent or low income families with monetary needs to help ensure the family staying together.  No single mother should ever be forced into giving up their child as read in the Solinger article.  The government should be able to provide them with access to certain programs so that they're not forced into making the decision of adoption based simply on economic situations.  This same holds true to lower income families who may be forced into adoption.  I also think the government should be more involved in regulating international adoptions.  In the Briggs article she discusses the problems of illegal adoptions when americans are "saving" the poor children of the world, and in doing so american white families somehow gain some new third world perspective.  I think these types of adoptions should be monitored very carefully and our judgments of of the birthparents in other countries as unfit or not should not rely on our ethnocentric view of what we think works here in america.  Finally, I believe that the government should intervene when it comes to situations of abuse and or neglect in families of all races and makeups.  If abuse in any form is reported or witnessed these accusations must be taken very seriously and if they are true children should be placed in the best situation, foster homes should be examined very closely because these agencies have caused sometimes more distress on the child in the past.  

blog six

i do not think it should be up to the government to regulate what a family is. Instead it should be up to an the individual families to decide what they are since they have the best understanding of what it takes to run their family. Some families are the type A nuclear family, but most are not. My mother was a single mother and my aunt raises her child living with her parents (my grandparents). Even though both of my family situations lack the father head of the household does not mean that they should not be seen in as legitimate families in the eyes of the government.

I do believe that the government should play a role in legislating aid and benefits to all families. This can be done in many ways from legalizing gay marriage and letting all couples become legal spouses and allow them the benefits of married couples. the government should also provide free childcare for families - especially single parent families. Finding childcare can be a taxing ordeal and expensive at that. By providing the option for free childcare it would help remove some of the stress and worry that goes into being a parent. There are many things the government can do to help families instead of regulating and defining them.

Week 6 Blog

If I were given the opportunity to advise legislators on future government regulation of families, I would first and foremost address the supposed definition of what a "family" is. The issue here is that this definition is constructed based on the norm of a white nuclear two-family according to the articles we read for this week's discussions. Times are changing and it is important that legislators as well as all citizens embrace the changes and make efforts to change as well for the better of the community. This white nuclear two-parent family bias in my opinion is in no way helping our society. Family's come in all different shapes and sizes. We should be focusing on regulating whether these families are healthy, responsible, and supportive of their children. The safety and well being of the children in a family should be of much more importance to legislation rather than what color the family is, where they come from, whether it is a single parent family, or what sexuality both the parents happen to be. If the well being of the children is being jeopardized, I think this is when it is most important for government to intervene and regulate.

Blog Post # 6

After our discussion in class last week I was reminded of how inhumane and racist we can be in this society.   We have a history of discrimination, eugenics, red lining neighborhoods, and generally barring access to opportunities of all kinds for minorities in this country.  This also includes people who have physical and mental disabilities, which further prohibits their ability to live up to their full potential.  Then, to add insult to injury, we question those who have not been afforded these opportunities because of our biased notions that they lack the fortitude to rise above -- despite all of the challenges barring their upward mobility and accuse them of laziness, immorals, and subversive behavior.   I truly believe that mobilizing people through grass roots organizing is the most empowering and effective.  However, if I had the opportunity to talk with legislators (which we do via, letters and emails) about the importance of supporting families in this country first and foremost would be to support Universal Health Care.  It comes down to a matter of civil rights.  No, it's more basic then that for me . . . it's a matter of human rights.  If we don't have the foundation set in place to ensure that all people have the right to marry who they choose, have access to education, health care and safety we risk alienating more people, and the concept of "Family" (which is dynamic and ever changing as we've learned from the historical readings that we've done for class) will collapse.    

I was less impressed with Rickie Solinger's article because, I assume, it pertains to a small segment of our population who were forced or at least coheres to give up their children.  Albeit tragic, it sounds as if there were enough waiting parents who were more then happy to adopt their white children and give them the kind of stable, loving home that social service agencies, legislators and the courts deemed socially acceptable and suitable verses allowing these children to be raised in a "broken home" or by a single young women who had few alternatives to raising their own children, no thanks to the same people who wanted to take them away.  It does raise several other questions for me with regard to adoption that I think the legislature and social service agencies could do a much better job addressing.   Reduce the cost and bureaucratic maze for families who want to adopt domestically.  Do a better job at supporting families, whether "nuclear" or "extended" by recognizing them first and foremost.  I appreciated how George Chauncey in his article outlined these four steps that all legislators should keep in mind, 1) The fundamental right to choose one's partner, 2) The changing roles and makeup of married couples, 3) "The allocation of public and private rights and benefits", 4) To keep the minority special interest groups (neo-conservatives, and some religious organizations to name a few) from interfering with the rights and benefits of all. 

blog 6

Blog 6

My advice to legislators would that the laws set forth about regulating different aspects of families should be eliminated.   These laws are very discriminatory and outdated.   Why do these laws have to exist?  And who are they to tell us what is normal for a family?  The norm of being a white middle class nuclear family isn't really the reality anymore.  According to Ritzdorf, "a census report in 1992 revealed that 50 percent or 32.3 million of all American lived in a nontraditional family that contained people other than the biological parents and their offspring."   The social norms are slightly changing with time, but it seems that the laws aren't moving as fast as they are.   I think that most individuals who want children and marriage know what's best for their families, not necessarily the government.  In addition, politicians are mostly of the upper class, what do they know about being a poor family? I mean it would be ignorant for me to say that when it comes to children abuse or worse, that government doesn't need to intervene.  So obviously depending on the situation of the child's welfare, the government should intervene.    

Before Ritzdorf I never thought of "zoning".  When I look at suburbs, it's weird to think that they were initially set up to have a perfect neighborhood in which others of not your class most likely wouldn't live there.  "The more isolated one's residential environment from the work place, services, and those with a different socioeconomic status, the "better" the neighborhood" (Ritzdorf, 179).  This zoning made a clear discrimination towards African American poor families; it kept the gap larger between working class and middle class.   

Week 6


After reading the articles, I was shocked as I realized that the government controls how family structures, runs, and develops. If I were asked to advise the legislators on future government regulation on family, I would suggest them to rethink about the literate definition of how a family constitutes and ask them if it really fits the current society's changing norm. Today's society is very complex and the traditional "American" family is no longer the dominant structure. I would suggest them to legalized same sex marriage and allow gay and lesbian couple to adoption as they are able to form a "family" as the traditional family does. I believe that a "family" should not be limited and restricted to a certain people and culture; and it is ridiculous that government have the legal power to control and determine which group is not capable to adopt children. Basically, gay and lesbian couples have no difference when comparing with heterosexual couples in terms of parenthood as they are able to perform what mom and dad should do.


Also, look back to Solinger and Brigg's articles about adoption. Personally, I think that the government should watch the adoptions more closely because different kinds of adoption may cause some social problems. The government should have better enforcement regarding the open and close adoption. However, I think all adoption should be remain as close adoption. When the birthmothers give up their right of raising the children, they should not have the choice to have an open adoption because they have already given up their right to be "mothers". Even if they have the chance to trace back their child, it only causes confusions to the children's identity. The biological mother should have the right to be the adopted children's only mother. Thus I think the legislator should look at the right of birthmother and biological mother more profoundly.


However, I think "family" is a private issue and government should not step in too much as it would only prevent family to grow and change. "Family" may differ by different culture and tradition. Government interventions and regulations on family issue sometimes are too offensive as "family" should be an individual party to give family members a place to be in this society.

Week 6 Blog


The definition of "family" today is not the same definition as the definition of "family" of yesterday. It has evolved over time. Historically, a family consisted of a father (the head of the household), a mother (the primary caregiver) and the children.  Most families consisted of multiple children with the boys assuming a "provider" role and the girls assuming a "caregiver" role. Families also consisted of other members including grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and grandchildren. Culture and ethnicity played a key role in the definition of family. Members of "the family" took care of each other. Over time, however, the definition of the "family" has eroded. While some cultures still view the "family" as a mother, father and multiple children, the social trend is towards relaxing the definition. Unfortunately in some cases and in my opinion, fortunately in other cases, the definition of family in the eyes of the government has teetered more towards the conservative and politically careful definition of family: a father, a mother and children.

If given the opportunity to share my perspective on government regulation of families, I would present to legislators that there is a real need to preserve the definition of family as there has been a rapid erosion of the "family". However with this being said, I would continue by sharing with legislators that the family structure or family definition of today is indeed different from the family structure of yesterday. As noted in the article written by Ritzdorf, today's family may consist of the politically correct definition of a father (head of the household), a mother (the caregiver), and multiple children. However, given the social acceptance of divorce, adoption into single parent families, teenage pregnancies, "test tube babies", interracial marriages and gay/lesbian couples, today's family more likely will not follow the government's definition of "nuclear" family.

It is time that legislators face the need to make and form policies and regulations based on what is good and right for the people in terms of the health and welfare of the children of this country. In saying this, I would present to legislators that there continues to be a need to regulate and enforce health and welfare programs intended to provide for the youth of this country including programs such as Aid to Dependent Children, Food Stamps, Child Support payments, subsidized school lunch programs, etc.  These programs should continue to be provided to those who qualify for the program without regards to race, gender, and the "family" definition.  Likewise, government regulations to protect the innocence of our country's children, such as regulating adoptions and providing safe-haven policies should continue to be enforced. In contrast, however, I would present to legislators that regulations enacted by communities via zoning and urban planning by-laws have overstepped the boundaries and in a sense have forced segregation. As noted in Ritzdorf's article, communities where certain races are "not allowed" or where the family "dwellers" must meet certain requirements have resulted in discrimination of today's definition of family.  Yes, communities or subdivisions should maintain bylaws or covenants which protect the safety and welfare of their "neighborhood". However, restrictions of who can move into the neighborhood, i.e., no single parent families, no families of color, no interracial families, etc., should not be supported by the courts.

As noted earlier, the definition of the "nuclear family" is changing.  I would present that a "family" is not defined by a number. A "family" is defined by the members of the family unit - those who are dependent on the head of the household for their health and welfare. The head of the household may be a single parent or may be a female. The head of the household may be a teenager living on their own caring for their own child or caring for their siblings who have been orphaned by an absent parent. The family may consist of a husband and wife and their children from previous marriages now joined together as one family. The family may consist of a man and a woman and their aging parents, who no longer are able to care for themselves. The definition of a "nuclear family" in today's society has many meanings and because of this, makes it very difficult for the government to regulate. For this reason, I would suggest to legislators that the definition of the "nuclear family" take into account the "dependency relationship" when determining regulations for purposes of the health and welfare of the children of this country.

Blog 6

If I were asked to advise legislators on future government regulation of families, I would tell them to not define family base upon their gender, class, or race. Not all family operation in similar manner, and that each family encounter different situation. But what it seems to me is that the norm of a perfect family constructed with both father and mother, with two children (Ritzdorf). In today's society, there is a variety of family that does not have the norm. Family with two mothers or father, single mother or father, grandparents as guidance, adoption, foster care, and the list goes on. Government officials should realize that it is not right to regulate families just because they do not fit the family norm, and that even thought the family comes from different background, whether they are Black, White, Asian, or any other races, they too can not fit the norm.

The aspect of family composition and operation that I think the government ought to regulate would be the care a child receives such as violence because if they lived in such an environment that give them harm, they should be taken out of the environment and into a safer environment. Another one would be lack of shelter and food because if parents are unable to provide those needs to their children, the child itself either starve and die. But if government does not regulate children's need of a good environment from violence, food and shelter, then they are not taking responsibility to regulate laws to help children who really need the help they can get to be in a safer place.

Blog post #6

"Family definitions thus remain relevant because communities continue to adopt and enforce them", according to this the government works to enforce and uphold the social norm of families and what a real "family" house hold should look like. I personally would love to see legislators embrace the exact opposite and instead encourage various type families and improve their assistance. I would hope for legislators to regulate and improve on the assistance given to the non traditional families. These families could be single parent homes, families with grandparents or aunt/uncles or other family members as parents.  I think that families should be able to form any sort of family necessary to maintain a stable environment, and still receive any available assistance. So I would advise the legislation to develop a number of options and opportunities for different families to receive different assistance based on their separate needs. There should be different types of assistances to specifically fit different families. Whether the assistance is extra income, food, clothing, or extra assistance in schools, or for work, the ultimate goal should be to except these sorts of non traditional families into society, and assist them in gaining all the equal opportunities that the traditional families receive from society.

Blog 6

The main thing to be considered is that in all elements of government regulation, it is important to make sure all regulation is as unbiased and integrated as possible, i.e. all citizens should have equal rights.  Primarily, I believe that there should be laws to protect families, particularly laws against violence, sexual or other abuse, and regulation providing protection in times of need, extreme illness, death, etc. Also, there should be regulation that protects the freedom of families, particularly in how they are created.  This includes adoption rights as well as reproductive rights.


On that note, people should have the rights on whether or not/how they create a family.  For example, a woman may choose to prevent creating a family biologically via abortion.  The government should not interfere with this method of family composition.  Likewise, if a single parent or a homosexual couple decide to adopt a child, the government should not interfere simply because it wouldn't fall under the category of the "stereotypical American" family. 


I found that two of the readings particularly helped in shaping my opinion on such family matters.  For example, there is the comparison of what entails female reproductive rights in Solinger on 116.  Can there be a world where reproductive rights include both the right to terminate a pregnancy and the right to be a mother?  I was equally interested in the segment discussing the John Hancock ad that depicted a lesbian couple adopting a baby that was in Briggs. Why is there so much controversy about the sexual interests of the parents?  Shouldn't the focus be on how devoted they are to their child?  It is reasons like these that perhaps it is better that the government doesn't have the final say on what constitutes a family.          

Blog #6: Regulation of Family

The "regulation of family" could be interpreted in many different ways and each of them contributes to our collective and internalized family identity. Current regulation of family reinforces the social norms of marriage in various ways: from the age, gender, and sexual orientation of the American "nuclear" family, to regulating interactions between spouses and between parents and children. Thus, the ways in which family is regulated has a profound impact on the social construction of family and our sense of self-identity as it relates to family (and whether or not society "legitimizes" that identity).


I believe government does need to regulate family on some level. Domestic violence laws, for example, reinforce social norms most people in our society (regardless of class, race, religious, or political affiliation) agree are worth promoting. If I were asked to advise legislators on government regulations of family, I would suggest that only regulations that speak to widely agreed upon social norms be reinforced. Essentially, I believe in a country that values freedom of choice and a separation of religious ideologies from legislation, only regulations that protect people from physical and emotional harm should be instituted. Regulation on what legally (and thus "legitimately") constitutes family should be eliminated, such as limiting marriage to heterosexual relationships.

Blog #6

The government has control over many aspects of our lives; there are many institutions that we are all a part of. One thing that the government should not try to control heavily is the definition of a family, and who is able to take care of the family. If legislators asked me my opinion, I would change the policy restricting gay marriage, because they are like anyone else and should be entitled to the same legal benefits that heterosexuals do. As long as the family is a place of nurturing, caring, and safety, it should be regarded as a family for that reason alone.

As Ritzdorf says in her article, change needs to be brought to the government definition of family. The nuclear family that they have in their definition is ancient as cannot account for the diversity of our society today; and making race, class and gender a factor in who can create a family is just wrong. Homosexuals can create a family just as well as a heterosexual family can. When considering social workers and taking children away from families that are deemed not to be able to care for the children should not have anything to do with race or class. If there is a real problem in the house (like domestic violence) then social workers should be able to control it. Although, if the family has a low income (non-white are usually targeted), but can still provide for the family then it should be left alone. The main thing that I think the government should regulate is the health and safety of families; it is illegal, not to mention unethical, to ill-provide for your family.

Comment to knuts467

I definitely agree with your thoughts on Brigg's and Sollinger's criticism of the adoption process, especially in terms of discrimination of couples that wish to adopt.  There are so many children out there without homes and the idea that they would do better in foster care jumping from family to family rather than in a stable home with a couple that happens to be homosexual is pretty ridiculous.  I am a little confused however on your thoughts on closed adoption.  I agree that that if a person gave up their child (willfully of course) that they should not be able to track down their child, even if they change their mind and choose to do so.  A closed adoption is a closed adoption and should remain that way.  Very similar to the saying "you made your bed, and now you have to sleep in it."  But, I think that this street of no-contact should apply to the child as well.  Sometimes in closed adoptions, it is the biological mother that doesn't want to have any future contact with their child which is why they sign up for closed adoptions in the first place.  The biological mother has rights in terms of privacy as well so I do not think that the child should be able to contact them without any trouble if it is a closed adoption.

Week 6 Blog

The nuclear two-parent family is no longer how the majority of American children are brought up.  According to Ritzdorf, fifty percent of American children live in a "nontraditional family that contained people other than the biological parents and their offspring."  Legislation should consider these lifestyles as families and give them the same rights as other families.  I would advise to take immediate action considering same-sex marriage and adoption.  Chauncy writes that most people oppose these things on a religious basis, which is in opposition to the separation of church and state.  Considering same-sex families as legal families would give people more benefits from the state.

However, in instances like the ones written about in Solinger's article, it is unclear how legislatively the rights of birthmothers should be handled.  Today in the United States, birthmothers can have open and closed adoptions, however there can be little enforcement giving the birthmothers no rights at all.  This would be a matter that would be tough to control legislatively unless adoption agencies became government run, so I believe the action of adoption should be run by individuals.

blog 6

                If I were asked to advise legislators on future government regulation of families I would tell them, in general, it's none of their business on most levels.  Ritzendorf, Chauncey, Solinger, and Briggs critique government regulation of what counts as a family and all of these authors raise important points that address critical issues regarding race, class and gender.   I think the government has no business whatsoever regulating the composition, operation, or definition of a family. 

                Government regulations of family are an unnecessary intrusion on private matters.  I would also stretch this to adoption.  While it is important to respect culture in other countries, in regards to regulating who is able to adopt because of whether a family fits the government definition is unnecessary.  The criteria for who can adopt should be flexible, and non-'traditional' families should be able to adopt as well.  There should only be assurances of whether those adopting can provide emotionally and have a safe place for the child(ren).  I say this because my mother is a social worker, who deals with placement of foster children (and potential adoption).  There are a ton of children that need adoptive homes and government regulation of what a family is decreases potential placement for these children.  I wish people were more interested in fostering children here, and adopting domestically.  But many are not because of negative connotations associated with fostering, and because most people who adopt internationally want a baby (whereas many children available domestically are older).

                The government should be able to have some power in terms of child abuse, neglect, endangerment and the likes, but other than that I don't think they should be involved with technical definitions of family.

blog 6

When creating laws that affect the formation and operation of families, governmental officials are not taking into account the various cultures that make up the U.S. population.  Marsha Ritzdorf supports this point when she says "At the heart of this historical policy debate about appropriate family life is the ethnocentric view that assumes the only acceptable norm is the nuclear family consisting of a husband, wife (who, in the best possible case, stays home), and one or more children" (pg 170). Not every family consists of this nuclear ideal, I know personally coming from a large Hispanic family, made up of single mothers, divorced parents, and remarried spouses.  There was even a point in my life where my family had to move into our grandparent's house because both my parents lost their jobs and we couldn't afford to live in our home anymore.

Ritzdorf talks about how these regulations only serve as a way to segregate traditional families from no traditional families, and white middle-class from poor African Americans. If I were to guide legislators in making future government regulations I would say that we need regulate neighborhoods in ways, other than regulating the family.  Does it matter how many people live in a home as long as the property is maintained? There are no noise complaints or domestic complaints? I would suggest that the government focuses on things like putting in place laws that prevent overcrowding of vehicles on one property, laws that keep up maintenance on properties, and laws that prevent people with extensive criminal backgrounds ( ex: child molestation and theft and robbery) from residing in certain areas without undergoing treatment.

I don't think government should be able to control any aspect of the family composition; the U.S. is too diverse to have a set of regulations and laws that can be applied to each family. Issues like the number of children you have, the number of people you share your home with, and whom you live with should all be left up to individual families.

Blog 6 Assignment

After reading Marsha Ritzendorf's article I would agree with her points of criticism.  If I were to advise legislators on future regulations of families, restrictive zoning ordinances would be changed.  I would change them to fit the needs of the changing patterns of people's lives.  I believe that people should have the freedom to share their home with the choosing of their choice.  It is their home, therefore, they should be able to do what they see fit with it as long as it doesn't affect others around them in a negative way and as long as it does not hurt the people living in the household. 

I would have to agree with Brigg's and Solinger's criticism of the adoption process.   I think the government ought to regulate adoption to a point.  For example, if it is a closed adoption I feel that the government has the right to make sure the person/people who gave up the child cannot reconnect with the child if they want to in the future.  However, the child should be able to contact them with no trouble if they wish to do so in the future.  Also, if it is an open adoption then the government should have little involvement with the matter.  I also think that there should be no discrimination towards homosexual couples that wish to adopt.  An adoption should be based off of if the person/family would be a good parent to the child, not on sexual preference of the people wishing to adopt.
I think the government should regulate how families raise children to a certain point.  For example if the child is in danger or is not getting the proper care that they should, the government should have the right to step into the situation.  I believe the government has the right to take the child away form their family if it is beneficiary to the child.  I personally don't think these situations are regulated enough and there needs to be changes to the system.  

Blog 6

From what I gathered, the government regulates how many related/unrelated people are allowed to live within a specific household, what types of people are allowed to get married, who is allowed to keep their children, and who receives these 'unwanted' children, and where specific groups of people are allowed to live. The fact that there still are this many regulations on what constitutes a family and a home, shocks me. I don't think the government can possibly regulate what constitutes a family. Similar to the days of slavery, where regardless of legality, slaves had marriages, children - family; regardless of what the government says, people claim families of all varieties today. The gay marriage debate is hot and heavy, and while I whole-heartedly believe in marriage equality, I would claim that people will create families of all sizes, colors and backgrounds, regardless of what the law tells them they are allowed.
             I think the most important regulator should be the safety and well-being of the persons in a family or home. As Ritzdorf says, "For most Americans, a family is a unit from which they draw their nurturance and sustenance", regardless of blood or marriage ties. So adoption as both a choice for the birthmother, and a choice for the adoptive parents, without American transnational political power-plays, should be better regulated - to the benefit of the child in question. The government's claim that marriage is only viable as one man and one woman is an absurdly close-minded attempt to regulate love, and should be lifted. Ultimately I think that the only way to effectively 'regulate' families is in regard to the health and welfare interests of the family at hand. The idea of the 'traditional nuclear family' should fall away as America's majority doesn't fit this narrow mold at all anymore.

Blog 6 Entry

           I think that the laws passed by government officials are passed in order for them to regulate the definition of family, when in fact they should not be able to. Chauncy constructs an overall framework of the history of marriage in her article and offers a definition of marriage that was brought forth by the Supreme Court after the Loving v Virginia case stating: "Marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man, fundamental to our very existence and survival...under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not to marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State" (p65). This would be something that I would bring to the legislators if I were asked to advise them on future government regulation of families. It encompasses many dynamics of the family that surpasses time and the popular societal thought processes due to the fact that it states freedoms granted by the Constitution. This can be transformed to cover all other aspects of the family, not just race, in which people are unable to exercise their own rights due to their gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic standing or religious views. I would inform legislators that we have an obligation to uphold the rights granted to us and everyone within the United States by the Constitution because without it, we wouldn't have a nation in the first place. Ritzendorf is another author that expresses the racial issues that African American families face, but shows evidence depicting the fact that there are zoning laws set to keep them in certain areas. This is because they are seen as being dysfunctional due to their "lack of morals and family values" (p121). These facts would be some other things that I would bring to the attention of the legislators of our nation in order to fix the societal views and regulatory laws that oppress what is seen as being the minorities throughout the nation; anything other than heterosexual, Caucasian, middle-class, and Christian practicing individuals.

            On the other hand, I think that the government should only be allowed to regulate some aspects of adoption proceedings, age of marriage, arranged marriages, and the human rights between individuals when looking at the composition and operation of families. Briggs discusses the problems that encompass illegal adoptions in which children are kidnapped from one country and are smuggled into others for material gains. This would be something that I would suggest the legislators to keep regulating because I think that when it is not a 'legit' adoption between all parties involved, people are stripped from their rights as parents, biological or not, as Solinger capitalizes on. Solinger points out that the notion of motherhood, in specific, is something that is socially, not biologically, constructed and practiced. The government has been able to control and define this term by regulating who can and cannot become parents based off of their standings within the 'normal' society, but some regulation is needed for the safety and well-being of the child involved. Other aspects that I think government should regulate are the ages that people can marry and arranged marriages because in most cases the people involved have no choice in the matter. Lastly, I think that the government has an obligation to enforce laws that make sure people are not practicing and performing actions that are morally and ethically wrong (child/sexual/spousal abuse and/or neglect) that put all individuals involved within the family system in direct harm internally and externally.

            Overall, I think that the things that should be left to the individuals are who they want to start a family with and who they consider to be family. It is the right and an evolutionary aspect of all human beings that they choose companions based off of their innate feelings and intuitions. This is an unexplainable function that people try to regulate, but is something that cannot by physically taken from one person to the next because it is within the individual. This innate characteristic should be celebrated, not controlled by the government when people use it to define what they believe to be their family.


Blog 6 Assignment

If I were asked to advise government officials about future regulation of families, I would start by eliminating any discrimination towards a family because of race, gender, class or marital status.  With that being said, regulation should not be enacted because parents are a minority, low class/low income, or homosexual as well as transgender.  It does not matter whether a child has one parent, gay parents, poor parents, or black parents; what matters is a child should have a proper home, food, shelter, and clothing as well as parents who are responsible and loving.  

However, I do believe regulation should be used in matters of child neglect, child abuse, and improper living conditions.  If a child does not have a safe home that is clean and healthy for that individual the government should take necessary action.  The government should have some control over family operation but NOT family composition.  The government cannot say one set of parents are better or worse because of their composition.  There are many loving homosexuals, minorities, and low-income workers that would make perfectly suitable and responsible parents.

Many articles argued against discriminating families because of race, class or gender, which I completely agree with.  Ritzdorf believes that a child should not be taken away from his/her parents because of race or social status.  I completely agree with this argument.  As long as a child has responsible parents and necessary living conditions the government should not be able to intervene.  Also the Briggs article on adoption mentioned parents should not be denied the right to adopt a child based on race or gender.  I agree with Briggs point as well, who are we as outsiders able to say only heterosexual couples make good parents or only white people make good parents? That is absolutely ludicrous, not to mention, morally wrong.  

Blog Post #6

If legislators asked my advice concerning government regulation of the home I would say several things. Firstly I would ask that they immediately begin dismantling the regulations against homosexual marriage. Marriage has special economic and legal rights that are mandated by the government, that should be available to all. I would ask that legislators not discriminate against color, gender or sexuality when rewriting marriage laws, and make it available to all who want it and can consent to it.


I would also ask that zoning laws be dismantled, which seemingly, according to Ritzdorf, exist only to discriminate against anyone not white, middle class and heterosexual. I would ask that the definition of "family" be redefined in government regulation. Clearly, many types of families exist that are not white and heterosexual, and zoning regulations retard racial and social integration and promote an unhealthy and segregist view of the American neighborhood that people internalize as normative. I understand that for economic reasons, there has to be a government definition of what a "family" is. The new definition of "family" could be any group of people that are registered into the same family. Registering into a family is a good way to equalize what a family is, because it does not look at numbers, gender, race or social class. It adheres to what individuals describe as family; therefore the new definition of family is governmentally anyone in the same register, but publically differs from person to person.


There are, of course, problems with the idea of registering into a family. There would need to be laws regarding consent and age. There would be the need to insure that the government does not use registering as a way to prohibit entrance into a family, and there would be a great need to see that registering is not abused by the government. However, if done correctly, registering could change the public view of what a family is. With so many kinds of family on display and accepted by the government, we might be a few steps closer to dismantling racial, classist and sexist definitions of what a family is and how one should run.

Blog Week 6

I believe that the definition of "family" should not be constructed based on the norm of a white nuclear two-parent family. The government has no right regulating an issue such as family because I believe that it is private. I also do not believe that they should try to squeeze people that define themselves as families into this perceived "norm" and everyone else that does not fit into it is not what they consider a family. If I were given the opportunity to advise the government on future regulation of families, I would first address the issue about teen parents. The government has a preconceived notion, along with the majority of society, that a teen parent is not fit to raise children by themselves. I do not believe that someone's socioeconomic standing and age defines if they are equipped to raising a family. I believe that a family is based on love, support, and development. If someone who defines themselves as a family is able to provide what I just listed, I do not think that the government should intervene and declare teen parents as "unfit". A girl I went to high school with had two children before the age of 18 and was able to provide for her children, but received a lot of criticism from outside sources saying that she was unable to raise her children because she was too young to know "how to be a mother." I do not think that this is right. I would also address the topic of gay marriage. Chauncey points out that "four fundamental changes in marriage since the nineteenth century have made the right to marry seem both more imaginable and more urgent to lesbians and gay men. In its own time each of these changes seemed as momentous as the prospect of same-sex marriage does today." I believe that he has a valid point. Since marriage laws and the definition have evolved over time, the next logical step would be to include same-sex marriages into the agenda throughout the United States. I think that if two people love each other, they have the right to get married and to bring children into the equation without interference of the government. Someone's sexual orientation should not determine whether or not they fit into the category of "family". It does not determine if they could love their children or each other better or worse compared to the "normal family".

I agree with Ritzdorf as well when she says that we need to redefine or concept of family and make in more diverse in order to move into a more "egalitarian future and away from the continuing and escalating racial tensions in our communities." Only when we start to view things in our society such as family as not specific to one race, class, or gender, will we be able to move into a society where everyone is equal. Individuals should be able to construct a family regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender, class, creed...without government regulation.

Government Involvement in Family Life

Given the various arguments by Chauncey about gay marriage, Solinger about birthparents, Briggs about adoption, and Ritzendorf about zoning and family definition, each instance argues for the removal of the government in regulating families. I strongly believe that government's definitions for families are outdated and discriminatory, especially in regards to Chauncey and Ritzendorf's arguments. Their arguments also complement each other, as Chauncey's gay couples are not a family given any of the legal rights of a married couple, and would neither be considered a family that can life together in many states, researched by Ritzendorf. Two loving parents with children (however many children they wish to have or adopt) are a family, regardless of marriage or the nature of the parents lives. The government has no right forcing their notions of the nuclear or traditional family upon people. At my current household, my roommates and I have "family" dinners, because we have become a family for ourselves. This is how we define ourselves and thinking of being told that I am wrong about whom I am is infuriating.

            The discussions of birthparents and adoption are a little more complicated, but the definition of family is the choice of the people. If women like Lee Campbell identify as mothers, regardless of if they raise children, no one can take away that feeling from them. It can be compared to mothers who lose children at childbirth or early on due to illnesses; would these women be denied their status as mothers as well? I doubt it. Adoption is difficult as well, which I think should be regulated by the state, which Brigg's argues for more regulation. The U.S. government's loose laws around international adoption allow for many of the money making schemes that Briggs describes in Guatemala.

The welfare of children and the family are important; one issue that none of the authors discussed is abuse. When it comes to child abuse or spousal abuse, it is often a situation where the government or the state needs to help or intervene. Often times the level of abuse legitimizes the removal of children from homes, or restraining orders to the abusive father or mother. Without intervention of the state, physical and psychological damage to the children and family will continue as the abuse continues. Related to abuse is the necessity of the government to regulate who is allowed to adopt children, which we discussed in class on Thursday with the history of adoption and adoption laws. Placing children into an unsafe or unfit family will not help anyone and can only do harm. The definitions of unsafe or unfit include resources of the family to add another child and any history of abuse of any kind, whether physical or mental. It is obvious that the government is needed in some familial matters, but more often than not it is better if the government does not force its own morals upon other people.

Blog 6 Assignment


I think that if I were asked to advise legislatures on future government regulation of families I would say that we need to develop a broader definition of what a normal family is rather than basing the definition of a family off of outdated and unrealistic vision of a traditional nuclear family.  I agree with what Ritzdorf said near the end of her article, "Sex, Lies, and Urban Life", "For most Americans, a family is a unit from which they draw their nurturance and sustenance.  It is not a particular form, nor is it a simple, symbolic, image.  The development of planning policies that build upon the strengths of plurality of family forms will be necessary as we continue to undergo demographic and economic changes that affect out racial/ethnic composition, the structure of the labor market, and changing gender roles."  The system that we have for defining what a family is just doesn't cut it and is something that needs to not only be addressed, but changed. 


In terms of what aspects of family composition and operation the government ought to regulate, to be honest, I do not think that the government should be able to regulate any aspect of family composition or operation as long as the families involved abide by safety, health, and fire code standards.  Why is the government the sole determiner of what is to be considered a family and what isn't?  We live in a very diverse world with many different types of people and families and the idea that there is one standard by which all families are based off of is pretty unrealistic. 

I think that the government should not have any say on who one has living in their house, as long as the parties involved are not acting illegally.  We pay for our houses, our land, and pay to maintain of both of these and the idea that the government can tell us we are not allowed to have a certain amount of people live with us seems rather unfair and intrusive.  This issue is also heavily race and class based because these are the people who often depend on their families and living with multiple people as their only means of survival.  The government is acting irresponsible and unsympathetic to its citizens when they create zoning plans and patterns based off unrealistic family structures that rarely exist in this time and age.


Blog #6

If I were to advise legislators about regulations on families, the first thing I would address is getting rid of any regulations that are imposed for gay and lesbian couples that are trying to adopt and to prohibit the formation of such regulations in the future. The formation of a family is a personal and private issue, and government should only be allowed to intervene when extreme circumstances arise.  Gay and lesbian couples are no more unfit to raise children than straight couples.  By having regulations in place that make it hard for gay couples to adopt children puts the government in a position to make moral judgments about citizen's lifestyles. The government should have no jurisdiction when it comes to deciding who gets to have children and who does not.  This being said, the government also should make legislation making it illegal for adoption agencies to discriminate when it comes to who they let adopt.  Prohibiting gay couples from adopting children should be a federal offense as it infringes upon the civil rights of citizens.


I would also advise legislators against allowing social workers to be able to separate children from their parents on the grounds of economics and single parenthood. Children should never be taken away from their parents because their income isn't considered high enough to raise a child. Unfortunately, this is a problem especially in the black community, a fact I was not as aware of until reading Ritzdorf's article. As Ritzdorf says in her article, "no matter how 'middle class' black families became, in both economic and social terms, they were closed out of the opportunities available to other (white) Americans." Black single mothers, or single mothers of any race, should not have their children taken away and put into foster homes or have their parenting skills questioned because of their paychecks or race. 

Week 6 Blog Assignment

This week, we conclude our unit on families. Marsha Ritzendorf critiques government regulation of what counts as a family, as do  Chauncey, Solinger, and Briggs. All of these  authors are critical of how government definition and regulation of family impact people who do not fit the perceived norm of a white nuclear two-parent family, and the authors tie these critiques to broader discourses and ideologies of race, class, and gender.

In light of this range of criticisms of governmental intervention in the formation and operation of families, what would you say to legislators if you were asked to advise them on future government regulation of families? What aspects of family composition and operation do you think that the government ought to regulate? What should be left to individuals, outside the realm of government regulation? Use the readings listed above as starting points for your advice, either agreeing or disagreeing with the authors' specific points of criticism, but feel free to address other areas of government regulation as well.

Suggested length: 200 words(+)

Comstock Lecture 11/5

Professor Rose Brewer will present the Fall 2009 Ada Comstock Distinguished Women Scholars Lecture on November 5, 2009. "Colorblind, Postracial, or Not? Exploring Race in the Obama Era" is the topic for the event in the Cowles Auditorium of the Hubert H Humphrey Center. Professor Brewer will share the results of her research and invite us all to become involved or re-involved as progressive social activists. The Ada Comstock award honors a University of Minnesota woman faculty member's exceptional research, scholarship, teaching, and leadership contributions via a public lecture. For more information about the Ada Comstock award visit the University of Minnesota Women's Center.

Comment to Stephanie Sarberg's blog

The notion of the age of couples when they get married was intriguing to me when I was looking through the blogs for this week. It is something that I hadn't considered to a great extent, but I think it would be really interesting to research about. Given Chauncey's article on "How Marriage Changed," it is obvious that "[m]arriage is constantly changing" (59). We used to see marriages of young women with old men centuries ago.  Various cultures look at age in different wage, which might also have an affect on when marriages occur. Given all of the changes in marriages in today's society, age seems to have gone by the wayside. People get caught up in their lives and professions and find less time for marriage and family, so by the time they're ready to settle down they might be in their 30s or 40s. Looking at the reasons for early or late marriages might also be interesting, given the discussion by Robertson of young girls getting married due to loss of virginity or unplanned pregnancies. Comparing those numbers to possible marriages today based on unplanned pregnancies might also be interesting. If this research project ever gets completed, I would love to read about the information discovered.

Rafael Casal

Hi everyone!  Keeping with the theme of class and identities, I wanted to post this you tube clip.  The artist is Rafael Casal and he is a member of Def Poetry, a hip hop poetry group.  This poem is called "Barbie and Ken 101."  Casal speaks about the jaded messages our society and the media send to men/women and especially teenage girls.

Also, just a warning there are some swear words so watch at your own discretion. :)

Hope you enjoy!  I am having trouble posting the link so you may have to cut and paste it. FYI


blog 5

For my intersectional analysis of marriage I want to look at domestic violence in the home. The Strib recently had an article about a women who took all the necessary steps because she feared that her husband was going to kill her (here). In the end she was killed by her husband of 22 years. I would go further and look at records like Robertson did and see how likely it would be for a victim of domestic violence to receive the necessary help like Pam Taschuk did. Are these services offered in low income communities? What classes and races are more likely to seek help? How does domestic violence play out in same-sex relationships? My roommate told me about a women in a lesbian relationship whose partner kept her locked in the basement during the day. She lived in a rural Wisconsin and had little options for support. I would like to see how race, class, gender, and even geography play into domestic violence.

Blog 5

My research project would take a deeper look at what weddings symbolize in our society today; how the meaning of marriage has changed over time, yet still holds on to some older beliefs. I think it's important to recognize that marriages and weddings are two separate concepts.


While many Americans are choosing to hold off on marriage until their lives and/or careers are stable, numerous individuals are still marrying young. I believe this is partly because there is a ton of pressure on young people, especially women, to settle down and have kids pretty early on.


I recently saw an episode of Tyra where a woman in her thirties broke down crying due to her mother and sister insisting that she find a man, and soon, because they want babies from her and because she needs a man to take care of her; as all women do. This woman was a successful, career-driven individual who, despite trying to convince her family to be proud of her for being so independent, was not good enough because she wasn't living up to their expectations. Her family was afraid that she would lose her chance at marriage if she wasn't actively seeking a man.


I see this in my own life, as well. I have been with my boyfriend for five years, and his family will not leave us alone about getting married. There are two reasons for this: First, similar to the scenario on Tyra, marriage to my boyfriend's mother means she will get her grandchildren. Second, marriage to my boyfriend's other (female) relatives is code for wedding; bachelorette parties, dresses, cakes, decorations, etc. I rarely hear any of them actually say that my boyfriend and I make a good couple, but rather that we "look good" together, and that we would make "cute" babies. My friend's aunt wants us to get married so that she can be the photographer. It all seems so artificial. The focus becomes more on the wedding than the marriage itself. What would happen if weddings and all the hype around them did not exist? Would less people decide to marry? I don't hear of many people choosing to marry in court, but the people who do are probably the ones who are truly in love and whose marriage will last a lifetime.


In my research, I would extensively interview couples and families (on an individual basis) to better understand each person's perspective on both marriage and weddings. I would thoroughly examine how race, class, religion, and sex play into people's views on marriage/weddings. I would also take into account other factors that people feel have influenced their views on weddings/marriage, which may direct my focus. This would definitely be very time-consuming and tedious, but it would be helpful in understanding the hype around weddings and what that means for marriages. After all, we all know that over half of all marriages end in divorce. Could marrying for the wrong reasons have something to do with this?

Blog 5

As the Chauncey article describes a marriage culture in which "the sharp differences in the marital roles assigned husbands and wives has declined" (59-60), it begs the question of what happens to the family structure with the absence of the strict sex roles that are detailed in Syfers' essay. While maybe the line has blurred between the roles of the husband and wife, groceries still need to be bought, dinner still has to be made, and the house needs to be cleaned. I think, then, that an interesting research study subject would be heterosexual weddings in which the "traditional" gender roles are reversed; marriages in which the woman works full time and the man is the primary caretaker.

The concept of a househusband is emerging in popular couture. In response to the popular "Real Housewives" series, for example, there is a show called "Househusbands of Hollywood".  This reality show is giving us one of the first looks into what it is like when men stay home with the kids and have responsibilities that were once expected of women. So, I think it would be interested to expand this interest into the weddings themselves, and examine how the gender roles change before and after the act of marriage.

The intersectional analysis would be in the analysis of the possible class differences between the men and women. It is likely that the women would be a higher class than the men going into the marriage if the couple is in a position in which the woman keeps her career when starting a family. For this study, I would want to do research of white, working and middle class heterosexual marriages. I would ask them questions about their weddings and see how those might have differed in experience and planning than weddings planned by couples who ended up with traditional marriage roles, such as those in the Syfers article.

Blog 5

The assignment for this week's blog mentions 'bridezillas', and it occurred to me that you never hear about groomzillas. Wedding planning has become all about the bride, all about making sure that her day (not their day) is everything she has always dreamed of. But I realize that when I think of bride-centered weddings, I am thinking of white, upper middle class, heterosexual weddings. So an intersectional analysis of wedding planning might be an interesting project. How many hours does each partner spend planning, how much do they do together, and how much do the families and friends of the bride and groom contribute?


It would be a statistically based study comparing percentage of time spent by each partner in different race and class categories. The obvious question is whether time is more equally distributed in homosexual couples where the gender difference is not a factor. Then the number of bride magazines could be compared to the number marketed for grooms. How many professional wedding planners are women, how many are men?


This project could investigate the socialized desire for the perfect wedding day as marketed to girls rather than boys by tallying the number of wedding related toys for girls versus boys. Certainly, the bridezilla is a recent phenomenon, and it would be interesting to know more about it.

Wedding Apparel

In doing a research project that looks intersectionally at some aspect of weddings, I would foreground the attire worn by the bride, groom, and wedding party. From an intersectional perspective, this can look at class, gender, and sexuality, among other parts of a couples' identity. The most important kinds of resources would be newspaper articles documenting weddings, but looking into stories and pictures of weddings of friends and family can also provide useful information. I think that some of the most interesting things to focus on relate to sexuality and gender performance. In a same-sex marriage, will both men want to wear tuxedos and will both women want to wear dresses? What are the varying reasons for pick a dress over a tuxedo or vice versa? If a man identifies as a man, but prefers wearing women's clothes, will he wear a dress down the aisle? Will his soon-to-be wife accept that he wants to wear a dress as well, or will it come off as a joke? Does the price of the attire matter? These are all questions that I would think about in doing a research paper on this topic. It is interesting to consider how much someone's identity can, and will, affect what is worn on his or her wedding day.

Week 5 blog

When discussing the topic of weddings through intersectional analysis research, I would like to focus on arranged marriages, outside of the US. Many cultures today arrange marriages for their children at a very young age. Of course, this mostly benefits the man of the household. Many times girls are pre-teens or teens when they are chosen a mate, and the males are much older. Already the male has domination over the female. And because America is not the only country with a patriarchal hierarchy in place, women at a young age already know their "place" in a man's world. I think I would choose India for my place of research, since arranged marriages are prevalent there today. Sometimes they are arranged in favor of their daughter, based on "match compatibility," other times it's for the convenience of the family- mostly the father. In conducting this research I would first examine the families' motivations behind this arranged marriage situation. Which family, the male or females, does it benefit more? Is it for money, social class, or greater male domination over females?

            Next I would interview the male, female, and their parents separately. Since it is very common in cultures to arrange marriages, what is the girl's perspective on this? Was she expecting it? Is she upset? What about finding "true love" rather than have someone do it for you? Would you want your children to have an arranged marriage? For the male's perspective, I would ask him this: why do you want an arranged marriage?

            Research on different culture's perspectives on marriages is a very important aspect when looking at the intersectional analysis of marriages. Class identities would be the most obvious kind of "identity" in this project because many times the marriages are arranged because of a benefit to one's class, trying to marry into a better class, etc.

Blog #5

If I were to do a research project that looks intersectionally at some aspects of weddings, I would focus on getting information about how culture and class plays a role in the White and Hmong American marriages. If they were to be low-income or high-income families, would there be a difference in how they interact with the society and how their children would deal with it. How do they construct themselves socially or culturally with each other at work, school, around their neighborhoods and places they would spend most of their time at.

I would look further into details with these families on their race but focus on two, White and Hmong Americans. It would be interesting to find out about the marriage process of the different culture and how their culture can change their class level such as maybe being white would have higher-income and being Hmong would have lower income, etc. It may cause some families to struggle in society and can't live up to the expectations of the society and how the economy is changing while others are living their dreams. I would also have to look at the locations because depending on the locations such as the cities, suburban areas, or different states, there will be different results for this research.

It would be interesting to find the outcome of this research that is looking at the ways in which marriage can change. Marriage is different for the two cultures and they have different aspects of society and how they should portray themselves to others who are different then they are. I would conduct surveys to have couples complete it and interview different families of cultures and their class. There would be a lot of information that is needed from these families and hopefully get as much to complete the research.

Week 5 Blog

           If I were to create a research project on weddings, I would look at the motivation to marry in the first place. This partially comes from personal opinion, as I am not sure I want to get married, or understand marriage as an institution. Motivation to marry could easily incorporate an intersectional analysis of age, race, gender, class, religion and sexual orientation.  There are those women who still marry for the economic gain (ie: 'gold-diggers'), men who marry to have someone care for their household, and couples of all backgrounds who marry for love. It would be fascinating to see if there are any relationships between gender, sexual orientation, class and race that play into the desire to marry.
                This topic comes up in each of the readings for this week. In "Why I Want a Wife", the motivation to have a wife stems from the desire to have someone else take care the household and daily tasks, so the man can focus on his own needs. In "Making Right A Girl's Ruin" the motivation to marry is based on the moral 'necessity' of the late 19th and early 20th century  valuation of a female's virginity and purity. Finally, in "Why Marriage?" the issue of motivation is placed front and center. Marriage is drawn into history from an economic trade to a more egalitarian institution based on the mutual companionship and goals of the partners involved. It is recognized in some cases by family and friends alone, in heterosexual common law marriage by their allocated civil rights and in the case of those heterosexual and homosexual couples married - by the law as well. 
                The motivation to marry seems to come from many different places, and while Chauncey puts forth the assertion that marriage is becoming more gender-neutral, a "nexus for the allocation of state and private benefits"(71), and less religiously-imposed, my guess would be that a lot of these slowly dwindling factors in marriage still play a part in the motivation to marry, and may be influenced by an individual's different life experiences, whether based on sexual orientation, gender, race or class.

Blog 5

I'm more focus on doing a marriage research relating to how religion and culture plays a role in the couple life when one person believes and the way they live their life is different from their partner if they did get married to a person with opposite beliefs and customs, and does it cause conflict. Questions that I would want to know is does the religion and culture affect the couple's lifestyle? For example, if the wife is a Christian believer and the husband is Atheisms, does the husband have a hard time adjusting to what his wife believe? And does that problem cause both couple to argue about the belief, which could lead to divorces? Using the same example, when the wife's side of the family is having a church event which always happened every year, and she wants her children to attend the event because she grew up getting involved in the church, but the husband won't let them. Does that also affect the couples to argue about the wife's culture? It may be easy for some couples to adjust to different religion and cultures, but sometimes I do see couples who argue about it and refuses to change the way their partner has been accustomed to what they grew up base on their religion and culture.

When it comes to wedding, I would want to research on which culture would be appropriate to celebrate because if one family wants to have a Muslim wedding, but the other family wants to do a Jewish wedding, does that affect conflict? However, if one of the other families is willing to adjust to having a wedding in Muslim and Jewish, would that cause less conflict?

To go about the research, I would conduct an interview of a few couple who have different religion and cultures, and ask those questions of whether or not their religion and culture differences causes conflict when they were married and when they plan their wedding. Also, asking their own family of how they felt about their son/daughter getting married to a person with different beliefs and accustom.

Blog Assignment 5

Personally, when I think of weddings, I think of the bride's dress. How is it going to look like, to what is she going to incorporate into her wedding to make it more personal. A question of cultural incorporation arises, and location of the wedding does as well.


Weddings would be an interesting study from an intersectional perspective in many ways. Already with the questions that come to my mind, I am already focusing on race (cultural incorporations), to class (location and dress). The cultural incorporations that I refer to is based on whether or not she would be wearing any "traditional" ethnic clothing at her wedding, to whether or not she is going to make it a thematic wedding as well. One example of this is a friend of mine who is Indian. She wore the typical white dress, and for the reception, she put on a beautiful traditional red sari. For entertainment, there was a location during the reception where people could get henna tattoos. Focusing on class now, depending on the couples income or families, location weddings that fly the whole party out to Jamaica is out of the question, and extravagant reception halls are as well if you are of lower middle class. So a small wedding can take place in the local community center with decorations the bride has come up with on her own, versus having a wedding planner and fine china at a 5 star hotel.


Some research that can be done when considering these two possibilities, is focusing on class income and the couples background. George Chauncey writes about the "banning of interracial marriages" (63) during the Civil War, and he talks about how marriage has come far from then. One way to conduct this research is by looking at interracial marriages today and looking at how it affects the family. Whether they are approved or not, to how the bride/groom constructs their wedding. In a sense, a lot of fieldwork would have to be done to show evidence of cultural/class clashes to research on traditional roles of the culture.


The identity that would be foreground in this research is a generation gap between the parents and their 1st generation children. Chauncey's says that "marriage is a fundamental right" (60) but he also says that "some parents interfered with their children's decisions" (60). Take for example arranged marriages and many forced marriages in some cultures that still happen today.  Although marriage today is suppose to be a civil right, some may forget about those other cultures that still are very traditional, and so Chauncey is right, marriage does have "enormous variation among cultures" (59).

blog #5

I think an interesting project would be the study of interracial marriage practices in different Socio Economic communities. It would also be interesting to compare and contrast the ideals that men are held up to versus the expectations of racial marriage for women. Additionally, I would be curious to look at the age of the participants and track any correlations I might find. Sources would come from census documents and previous statistics developed regarding similar research projects on race, class and marriage. Ideally, I would love to conduct open-ended interviews with people from various different backgrounds concerning their personal notions about marriage and, how they think the general populace would want them to view interracial marriage within different classes. Again, I would like to conduct these interviews in two categories: what is expected from the women? What is expected of the man?

blog #5

If I were to do a research project examining an intersectional aspect of weddings or marriage I would want to study the ages of couples that are getting married across gender and race.  I would want to see if couples of different races tend to get married at a younger or older age and more specifically if there are any large age gaps between men and women and the median age of marriage.  I think it's easy to see in today's society that people are getting married at older ages than in previous generations, but I wonder if this notion holds true for people of all races.  In order to study this, I would first begin with a literature review of weddings in the baby boom generation and maybe even older generations.  I would study how marriages operated in these generations to uphold the values of the society at the time.  I would then gather statistics and figures from different censuses and see if there is a significant trend towards later age of marriage (or younger) within the last 100 years.  I would note if there were any main differences between men and women's ages of marriage as well as if there seemed to be any trends among couples of different ethnicities.  My final stage of the research process would be to conduct interviews with recently married  people who fit into the trend if there was a significant one found and hear their reason for getting married at their particular age.  I think it would be very interesting to see if a true age gap was found across generations, gender, and race for the age at which marriage takes place and some individual reasons people have for this decision.

Week 5 Blog

When brainstorming research project ideas which would look intersectionally at some aspect of weddings, I would enjoy conducting a research project involving same sex marriages. More specifically, I would look at the family and marital roles along with the division of labor assigned to each individual in the marriage. This topic was mentioned in the How Marriage Changed article written by Chauncey where he explained that "the sharp differences in the marital roles assigned husbands and wives declined, so that it became easier to imagine a marriage between two people of the same gender." I think it would be interesting to research how these roles of labor are distributed within the relationship and how the couple chooses who does what. Are responsibilities shared equally? Is one person more inclined to perform the "husband" or "wife" roles over the other, and if so why? I believe the best way to conduct this research would be through a great deal of interviews. However, it would also be important to search for written sources regarding this topic as well. It would be important to foreground gender differences in the research being that a female same sex marriage may go about this differently than a male same sex marriage. I would imagine that there is no one simple answer to this question. Same sex couples are not all alike and many may deal with this issue differently.

Blog 5

Marriage is constantly changing. As Chauncey stated, "Once concerned primarily with the control of labor and the transmission of property, now it is supposed to nurture happiness and mutual commitment" (59). If I were to conduct a research project that looks intersectionally at marriage I would like to look at people from different classes.  I feel it is common for people to marry someone of their same class or similar backgrounds for financial reasons. There is often pressure from parents to marry with in one's social class.  This is a problem my family is experiencing now, so conducting this study I believe would be beneficial. In my study I would take an upper class male, which Ostrander might describe him as something he was born into. The male has both a college degree and a background of money. The female in my study comes from very little money. Both of her and her parents are of the working class. I would like to conduct a study to see if and how long this marriage will last, and if marrying into a different social class will have an effect on the relationship.  As Chauncey stated on page 69 "only husbands were required to support their wives" and because of this it was the female's responsibility to cover wedding expenses. Because our society is obsessed with weddings and everyone wanting it to be their special day is class conflict is only going to affect the bride and groom but their families. Not only witnessing my research first hand I would also survey the couple before and after the wedding asking them questions if coming from different classes added additional stress because of financial obligations.  This study will be conducted over a long period of time following this couple to see if there identity has changed and which social class this couple has now fallen into. I would survey again at their 5 and 10 year anniversary to see if the marriage has lasted and how they dealt with their class differences to keep their identity. Not only surveying and observing the couple I would take into consideration both the bride and grooms families and friends. I would want to see if they have noticed a change in their son or daughters personality before and after the wedding and what the families thought of the marriage both positive and negative. It would also be interesting to look at divorce rates and how many of these were because of marrying someone of a different class where you feet like you can no longer keep your identity. This survey would be conducted at various locations throughout the United States.

Blog Post #5

I am interested in taking a closer look at the intersectionality of marriage with race and religion. My main focus would be on Christian white men with African American muslin women.  I would focus on this intersectionally because there is a huge difference in the race and cultural aspect, and an even larger gap in the religious aspect.  My first focus would be on the races and how the interact, and intertwine with one another.  The sources for this information would come from statistics and some interviews. Then I would take a closer look at the individual couple and how their specific interaction takes place in relation to their races, this data would come from specifically from couples.  Another angle too approach this would be to gather information from the families of the couple and have them reflected on the interaction between the two based on their separate races.

                As far as the religion aspect I would have to take a closer in depth look at individual religions apart. I would determine why they live by this religion, what values or morals they have, and why its so important to the individuals separately.   This sort of information would be found from studies on the two religions and statistics as well. Once this information is established then I would dig deeper and start to determine the differences and reasons for the different. Most importantly I would examine the opinions of the individuals involved along with their families opinion about the marriage and the obstacles that may arise because of this sort of marriage. 

Focusing on this sort of intersectionally is important because most individuals identify a marriage as a union that identifies two individuals as one.  In order for this to take place their separate identities must join. So I personally think taking a closer look at what components makeup their individual identities and how they intertwine is key in determining how they intertwine as one in a marriage.

Week 5

Some American men "buy" their brides from Asian countries. I observed that many old American men marry young Asian young women in America. From intersectional perspective, I would like to look deep into their motivations and development of their marriages according to their race, class and religion. The men that buy bride are always working class men with low income, and they cannot find a partner because of their social economic class. The only possible way to get marry is to "buy" foreign women from a poor country. This is similar to Robertson's article about the forced marriage due to economic and moral reason. This is not only about interracial marriage, it also involves cultural and class' value of marriage. It is interesting to find out what type of wedding they would have and how their marriage will be like. Today, most of the people get marry because they find their loved one. This kind of marriage contradicts the popular reason of getting married today. However, this kind of marriage is similar to the old "blind marriage" or the "arranged marriage" that the couples do not have any "love" relationship before marriage.


It would be very informative and interesting in investigating this unique type of marriage. I think observing weddings that combines with two races, cultures, class and religion would give us refreshing idea of wedding. To start this research project, I would first gather data about the history of this kind of "buy bride" marriage. We need to look at which race and class of American men are more likely to have this performance. Also, we can look at which class and race of women they choose to marry. After that, we can find some couple with this condition and ask them their background information. Interview and observation about their value of marriage is important. We can look at how the couple with different cultures would organize their wedding and how they cope with the culture and language gap. Because the couples are not come from the same background, it would be different from the vast wedding ceremony. I would expect to find that, the brides come from poor places and are more likely to be subservient to their groom. Instead of both bride and groom participate equally in organizing the weddings, their weddings will depend heavily on the groom's side.





Blog Post #5

If I was to begin a research project on weddings and intersectionality, I would probably focus on marital rituals and their social importance.  The observing of ritual for marriage is vast and differs greatly between race, religion and class. Additionally, there are different rituals for different genders. Therefore researching multiple inter-racial, engagements/marriages between two people of different social classes would be the most beneficial to my project and give me the widest range of data to draw from.


I would start by interviewing several different couples, both married and engaged to be married. I would interview both hetero and homo sexual couples, although because gay marriage isn't legal in Minnesota it would be much harder to interview gay married couples, so I might have to resort to people who had commitment ceremonies. Therefore I would additionally look at how marriage between hetero couples and commitment ceremonies between homo couples differ.


I would aim to look at 4 couples, one hetero and married, one hetero and engaged, one homo and committed and one homo and engaged. I would look at how race, religion and class affects their rituals, whether there is problems between the families because of them and how that couples work around this. I would study the differences and similarities between the couples and the impact the couple's have on their families.


I say I would like to research marriage rituals, partly because I felt that the readings covered very little in regards to this, and I felt it was somewhat of an oversight. It was almost as if everyone was one race and religion and social rituals played no part. Robertson covered some very briefly, but I would have liked him to expound more. Cultural rituals are an important part of what comprises marriage because cultural and social rituals are an part of what makes up our daily lives. I would like to see the interest in social rituals intended to separate groups of people, switch to an interest in how these rituals harmonize with each other. I mean, what's more ideally harmonious than marriage?

blog 5

A point of interest for me is children that grow up in families where their parents are not married, and how that affects their desire to be married when they are older. If I were to do a study I would look at whether growing up with parents who are married, or separated (not living in the same home) has an effect on whether their children marry. Other aspects I would take into consideration are ethnicity and earnings to see whether there is a higher rate of single parents amongst certain groups. My research would determine first and foremost whether having parents that are not married affects the child's desire to be married, and secondly whether there is a higher rate of unmarried parents amongst different races and economic classes and how that affects whether you marry or not.


I would gather data by distributing surveys amongst a variety of different geographical locations so I can be sure to include a diverse population. I would include questions that would help determine their economic status and their life growing up, for example if their parents were ever married and what occupations their parents held. I would also conduct one on one interview with people whose parents are and are not married, asking them specific questions pertaining to their parent's relationship and if that affected their desire to marry. I think it would be interesting to see if the sort of family you grow up in has an impact on the family you want to have when you are older.


In the Robertson article we read this week, it talked a lot about how family has a strong impact on a woman, and whom she marries. Robertson talks about being forced into certain marriages due to issues like economic stability and maintaining a certain image, and although parents no longer have the power to force marriage upon their children, it would be interesting to see if there is any sub conscious impact on children who don't have parents that are married. 


Blog 5 assignment

For my research project on marriages, I would focus on if certain interracial marriages are more "taboo" than others.  For example, is a White and Black couple's marriage more societal condemned than Native American and a White's marriage? Also I would include the societal norms being changed over the last 20 years on this "taboo" on interracial marriages.  The initial thought of interracial marriages, since the founding of this country, is that the marriages should be banned and are against societal norms.  But within the last 20 to 30 years the ides of interracial marriages has changed.  I would also hope to add in the dominance in Black/White and Native American and White marriages.  Are there more Native American and White marriages or more Black/White marriages?  Which ones have increased more in the last 20 years?    Including the class of each marriage would make it intersectionally analyzed. 

Primary research would have to come from legal documents containing marriage licenses, and other public documents about the marriages.  If all possible it would be interesting to get an interview with some interracial couples in the study in order to get a firsthand account. 

Blog #5: mock research project on weddings

 I think a case study of weddings from different classes would provide an interesting intersectional analysis. For an intersectional analysis, several weddings from many classes would have to be performed, and to identify if there are strictly class differences or if and how race/ethnicity plays a role in weddings, each class examined would have to include couples from several racial categories. In a case study like this, it would also be important to interview participants on the circumstances leading to the wedding (how they met, how long they dated, what factors lead to their decision to get married) as well as the types of weddings (religious and/or "traditional" weddings, size of the wedding, etc). Class identities would be the most obvious in a study like this, and making sure to include people of varying races would highlight any similarities and differences in racial identity. To understand what role gender plays, the experience and interpretation of the wedding could be explored through conducting separate interviews of the brides and grooms. Heterosexual identities must also be explored in case study of weddings because today most states only recognize marriages of heterosexuals. Therefore, the majority of people being studied are likely to be heterosexual couples. Examining the heterosexual identities may also provide some interesting insights into gender identities within marriage.

Group Category???

Is anyone else still having trouble accessing the group project category?  I choose it and it only goes to the info Professor Moscow posted about creating the group project category. 

Maybe I'm not doing something right? 


Blog 5

I think that an interesting marriage research project could be the comparison between the marriages between first generation Indian immigrants (to the U.S.) and their children, the second generation.  Since the caste system (and the subsequent marrying within it) is well-known as a major part of the Indian culture, I think that it would be interesting to see if the second generation (who had been born or at the very least primarily raised in the U.S) was heavily influenced by their parents' respective arranged caste marriages. Did they too stay within caste? Did they marry other second generations? Or did they completely stray from the caste/cultural marriage guidelines?  Which had more influence: family or Americanization?  I feel that this topic would be interesting from an intersectional perspective because it involves all three aspects of intersectionality: race/culture, class (it would be important to look at all castes), and gender.


As far as research is concerned, both primary and secondary research is important.  Primary research could be conducted via looking at immigration records, interviewing both first and second generation members, reading first-hand accounts via journals, personal essays, etc.  Secondary research would include reading material regarding Indian marriage customs, caste structure, Indian culture, religion, etc. 


In light of the readings for today, certain aspects of marriage should be considered: morality, economy, and duty.  Such aspects need to be discussed particularly since this research study is a comparison between two specific generations. Specifically, the following questions should be addressed. How has Americanization changed the moral reasons for marriage...or has it? What are the differences between the moral cores of Indian and American marriage? Do younger generations follow the economic principles of marrying within one's social class/caste?  What happens if you do...what happens if you don't?  What are the roles and duties of a husband or wife according to Indian custom?  How do they differ from American customs?  Do second generations apply both cultures' customs to their marriage?

Blog Assignment 5

I think that it would be interesting to do a research project based off of the marriages of couples whose families practice two separate religions and how that comes in to play in determining the type of wedding ceremony that the couple has.  Marriage ceremonies differ so much based off of culture and religion, and it would be interesting to see not only which religious practices would be involved for the ceremony (ex. Traditional catholic versus traditional Hindu marriage), but also the process by which the couple chose one religion over the other in regards to their ceremony.  In terms of studying weddings from a bride and groom who practice two separate religions intersectionally, gender would come in to play in terms of whether it was most often the bride or groom's religious affiliation that the wedding ceremony was based off of.  Class would also come into play because it is often the case that the family who is higher class plays for a larger portion of the wedding since they can afford it, which also might mean that the family with the most money (whether it be the bride's or the groom's) would be the decider of the type of ceremony the couple has since they are the ones paying for it.  Race would also have an impact if the couple is interracial as to whether the majority or "dominating" races' ceremony was based off of that family's traditional religious practices. 


The research involved would first require you to find couples who are either planning their wedding or are already married who both practice different religions. I would want to conduct interviews with the couples, but I would want to interview them away from their partner as to not let that influence their responses since a lot of the information and opinions would be on the other's family.  I would ask them not only about the type of ceremony they had, but why they chose to follow that specific religious practice rather then their partner's.  I would also want to conduct interviews of the couple's families, at least their immediate family members that helped plan, pay for, or had any part in deciding the type of ceremony the family had.  I would also want background information on both the couple and their families including income, level of religious affiliation, etc.  After collecting all of this data, I would go through and analyze the patterns and see whether class or gender would play the .  Although I have not conducted and don't plan to conduct a study like this, my hypothesis would be that class would have a largest impact on which religion was chosen for the couple's ceremony.  I think that there is potential for race and gender to play a role as well, I think that money speaks pretty loud in regards to a ceremony because weddings aren't cheap.


A follow-up to this study could also focus on whether, if the couple decides to have children, what religion they teach and actively practice with their child (and whether the couple's families have any say in that as well)



Week 5 Blog

This week's readings were all about marriage.  How the idea has changed over time and how gender affects marriage.  Robertson's article focused on how women have grown throughout the history of marriage, when their parents picked their spouses to today when marriage is consensual.  The Chauncey article focuses on gay marriage and compares it to other groups who have had oppressed rights when it comes to marriages.  Gay marriage is so current that it would be easier to write a paper that includes an intersectional analysis.  Specifically, how race and class affect marriages for gay couples.  For sources I would look at academic databases, because new articles get written about this topic every day.  For example, I could look at an interview with Elton John about his wedding to David Furnish, and compare it to news articles about courthouse weddings where many same-sex marriages take place.  This would be a good way to look at how class and wealth define weddings.  I would also try to find two couples to interview about how their class status affects their marriage.  The two couples would be of different races and economic statuses, but with the same religious perspective.  This would show how couples have different marriages based on economic issues.  Another good way to look at it would be to have couples of different races but the same economic statuses.

Blog Assignment 5

While reading these articles, I found out just how many definitions marriage has, and not many ways it was can be exploited. If I were to do an experiment on marriage I think I would focus on the intersectional analysis of the difference between a marriage that was forced, and a marriage that was completely voluntary.
     What I would do is attend both of these weddings and observe family interaction, as well as bride and groom interaction. Stephen Robertson wrote the article Making Right a Girl's Ruin where he talks about when a girl has sex before marriage (regardless of whether it was consensual) they couple would have to get married in order for the girl and her family to be accepted into society again. What I would expect to find in the forced marriage would be two families who were not happy for the occasion. Depending on race and class, they may not get a long. If the man who "ruined" the woman was of a different race than the woman and her family, it may cause even more tension during the wedding process. I think I would also find that the two families would not intermingle and get to know one another because the wedding has one purpose, and that is to "right the girls ruin" according to Stephen Robertson.
    I would then contrast these findings with a marriage that is supported by both families, as well as the bride and groom. I believe I would find that the two families are excited to get to know each other and mingle a lot. I would look at this wedding in a very intersectional view, meaning that the families would act differently if the couple were not of the same race or class. Some people view certain races and inferior, and this would greatly impact how the families viewed the wedding. This varies when you move from north to south United States. In the south, they may be less accepting of interracial marriage than the north, and thus having a different opinion on the wedding whether it was consensual or not.
    Many things change the viewpoint of the family when a wedding is performed. This can range from whether it was forced or voluntary, and depending on what race and class they are. All of these aspects can determine the relationships of the two individuals, as well as their families.

Blog 5 Assignment

After reading this weeks articles and looking at the assignment I immediately thought of the show "My Big Redneck Wedding" on CMT.  The reason this came to mind is because I'm from a rural town in northwestern Minnesota and the people on this show could relate to the people in my town and surrounding area.

For a project I would first look at the typical wedding in my hometown.  This would include a white heterosexual couple that gets married in a church with traditional wedding vows. I would look at their religious backgrounds, nationalities, and income.  Typically they would either be Catholic or Lutheran and of the middle class.  They would be of some sort of Scandinavian descent with some German mixed in there.  Then I would observe another wedding in my hometown, however this time either the groom or bride would be of a different race and religion and social class.  This is uncommon where I am from, yet it obviously does happen just infrequently.  I think it would be interesting to first go to the typical wedding and observe the people.  I know the people would be very similar to the guests on "My Big Redneck Wedding."  Everyone would be socializing with one another, dancing, meeting new people and so forth.  I then would go to the other wedding and observe the people again.  I would expect to find, because I have personally witnessed it, a divide between the groom's side and the bride's side.  For example if the bride was Indian with a Hinduism religious background and the groom was a white Lutheran male there would be a divide between the two wedding parties.   It would be interesting to note everything from mood change of the wedding to what type of flowers they had.  

I think observing a wedding that intersects different races, religions, and social classes, especially in a place is not use to it would be very eye opening.  It would show how every single detail of the wedding is changed because the community is not used to viewing marriage that are not typical.  

Week 5 Blog Assignment

From an intersectional perspective, I think it would be interesting to study all marriages that involve crossing cultures.  Whether it is mixed ethnicities, religions, and/or gender.  Due to the currency of gay marriage, it would be thought provoking to focus on same sex marriage and the trials and tribulations people have had to go through to become "legally" married.  In my opinion, gay marriage should be legal and banning marriage between two individuals is simply ludicrous but the reality is different; the topic is controversial and will be debated for a long time.  If I were doing research on gay marriage, I would look for sources in the media as well as the community.  First, I would research the history of gay marriage, when was it first debated, who were some of the first to challenge it, etc.  I would research the politics behind gay marriage, courtroom trials, prosecutions, bans, opinions, etc.  After I had most of the hard facts, I would go out into the community and talk to people.  I would talk to legislators both pro and con, people of the gay community, the right wing conservatives, and basically anyone who could give me a valid opinion.  It is important when arguing a topic to have facts and opinions, whether you agree with them or not.  It is also vital to use numerous sources, not just a book or an article, but go out and talk to people and listen to what they have to say. 

It would be interesting to look at homosexual identities, as well as transgender identities, and how ethnic/religious identities view gay marriage.  Are some religions more against gay marriage then others?  Also, how do varying cultures view gay marriage?  For example, in the black community, is gay marriage viewed differently than in most white communities?  Or how is gay marriage viewed in Latin, Asian, or European cultures compared to North American?  There are so many different aspects to look at and many varying cultural views when the topic of gay marriage is discussed. 

In my opinion, the article that stood out this week was Judy Syfers, "Marriage in the 1970s."  This article was intriguing because it referred to women as typical "housewife" material.  The role of women in the home should be doing the dishes, cooking, flipping the laundry, taking care of the kids, etc.  In the 1970s, men and women played specific roles in the family and it was uncommon for women to have careers and be viewed as successful.  As our society is changing, women are going to college and becoming lawyers, doctors, teachers, etc.  The typical "housewife" is not as popular as it once was.  In fact, in many families, the role has flipped (including mine).  It is interesting to look at how these roles are changing and how it is transforming the role of women in society.  In addition, how do these so called "roles" affect gay marriage?  How are roles different, if they are, in same sex marriage?  As you can see, there are hundreds of questions we could ask when discussing this topic.  Marriage is a beautiful thing but unfortunately our society puts "norms" on what is acceptable and what is not.  How can we change these views and not discriminate against same sex marriage?

Week 5 Blog

When reviewing the articles on marriage and intersectionality, I think about the concept of "couple" and what it means to be a couple.  From early teenage years through adulthood, the emphasis on being "a couple" surrounds us. Doodles on a bathroom stall, or articles in a Fashion magazine, or scenes in a movie or TV soap opera are constant reminders of the fascination of becoming a couple. But when this fascination leads to marriage, especially at a young, "teenage" age, one must question the reasoning for the marriage. For this reason, I would focus my research project on heterosexual teenage marriages. The research project would study the historical practice of "arranged" marriages where the marriage of the teenage daughter has been "arranged" between the fathers of the "lucky" couple.  The research would also study the impact on the couple and their marriage when the marriage occurs to minimize embarrassment of the family name. Lastly the research project would study statistics of marriage and divorce rates of couples married as teenagers. Cultural and socio-economic aspects of the teenage marriage would be examined as part of the research as marriage at a young age carries with it many obstacles and challenges.

This research would involve a look back in history when arranged marriages of teenage children were more common. Were arranged marriages more common in a particular culture or ethnic group? How does social and economic class affect the number of arranged marriages? How prevalent are arranged marriages today of teenage children? How do one's religious views affect arranged marriages and the institution of marriage? Obstacles and challenges of the "married couple" would also be researched. 

Likewise, research would be conducted on teenage marriages when they occur on account of a desire or requirement from the family head to minimize embarrassment of the family name. Reasons for such marriages and the challenges and obstacles faced by the teenagers will be researched. This research can be conducted through interviews and observations of teenage couples who marry to save the family name and keep the family from becoming disgraced. Social and economic classes will likely be a factor as will race and cultural classes. Lastly, statistics of teenage marriages to divorce rates will be studied. Utilizing available statistical information, an analysis will be made to determine a connection between race, ethnicity, social, and economic classes. Statistical information on interracial marriages will likely be limited or not available due to the fact that acceptance of interracial marriages is a more recent phenomenon.


Blog 5

By looking at the overall topic of intersectionality and marriage, I would look at the subject matter of blended families and marriage as a cultural critique. More specifically, I would compare and contrast the American culture to one that appears to have very different views than ours about the overall topic of blended families. Then, I would try to find specific information in order to help link and show how similar this concept is from one culture to the next. I would attempt this because I think that as a society, it is very easy to pick out the differences over the similarities of 'other' or more different cultures than your own. This would help people to come to a more concrete understanding that people are really not that different from us. More importantly, it would also help us better understand the freedoms we posses and the inequalities that emerge around the subject matter of marriage and in this case, multiple marriages experienced by one person.

The type of resources I would want to use would be marriage statistics and first-hand family interviews. I would look at records, if there are any, showing the number of divorces and marriages occurring per year in each country and the laws that go along with marriage as a whole (whether or not people are allowed to divorce; therefore, allowed to remarry, custody of children, if pre-nuptial agreements exist etc...). The interviews I would conduct would be with the people in which were re-married and all the people involved: family, friends, children, etc... I would ask these people their thoughts about getting married again versus their thoughts on their last marriage, and how the other people thought about their decision. This would show how the families of these two different cultures support or disagree with the concept of blended families.

The types of identities that I would uncover in this while doing my research would be: religion, race, gender, and the family structure. I would uncover the identities of family structures and the beliefs or religions that surround the idea of blended families of a different culture because it would allow me to answer questions like: Are certain religions 'allowed' to marry, then divorce, and re-marry over others? How much influence does the families beliefs have on the people re-marrying and are they allowed to? Are both marriages arranged by the family due to their religious backgrounds?

Also, being that race in our culture has been, historically, one of the things that have propelled the oppression of what we have seen as the 'other' I would look at the historical context of what have been the dominant race and then the two dominant races that have practiced this idea of blended families. This would allow me to uncover if and when there have been times in which certain races were not allowed to exercise such rights and if they are still unable to today.

Another identity that would be uncovered would be gender. I would see if men are more able to divorce and re-marry over women or if women have more power in this matter over men. Also, this would help me decipher which gender has more influence on the concept of marriage within that society as a whole.



Week 5 Blog

I think that I were to do an research study, I would choose a couple in which identity, class and possibly race would be the main areas that I would be studying from an intersectional perspective.
The white male would be from a middle to upper class household.  Both of his parents have at least a B.A. His parents were supportive of his choice of earning his B.A. they believed that the only way a person truly appreciates their accomplishments is by putting in 100% of the work involved in completing it.  With no "handouts" from mom or dad, he not only had 100% of the full tuition costs to pay off, he had his degree and the pride that went along with it. 
The female in this picture comes from the class known as the "working poor". This female is a single mother, with some college, but has not completed her degree.  She has put her educational dreams on hold  to do what she needs to support herself and child(ren) she supports on her own. She is the head of her household, she makes the financial decisions as needed, she is fulfilling the role of both parents to her child(ren)to the best of her ability.  She feels proud of her ability to care for her child(ren) and herself despite her low income. Her own parents are in the same situation as her.  Having jobs that sustain their needs but little to no extra income to borrow out to others.  Most people in her family are married at the courthouse. 
The details of a wedding could be daunting.  Being that the female is frugal and does not see money being something that gets wasted may actually be happy with a smaller non-traditional wedding.  Her parents would probably agree. 
The males parents may have higher and more expensive expectations of what the wedding should be like.  Especially the males mother(aka mother-in-law).  They may feel that their identity of being well-off may be threatened if they allow their son to be married"cheaply".  The males parents may have some resentment having to help pay for a more expensive wedding.  Especially when their son has supported himself though college yet chose to marry someone outside of his class level.  Causing a financial burden to them.
I can see where there will be areas where identity will come into play and cause conflicts between the couple.  The male has been brought up to achieve a higher level of living.  He has been raised to be the breadwinner and decision maker.  He is the "king of the house".  To be the one in control of his family.

The female, although she is treated with kindness, may not be completely accepted by his parents and other relatives.
In addition to the children she already had, they also have their own.  Which is what being married is about. Procreation, having children, off-spring who will carry on the male's family name.
She becomes a homemaker since her income would be swallowed up by the high costs of childcare for the children.  In doing so, she has lost her identity as one who handles the finances and supports her family.  As much work as it really is to take care of the home and children as homemakers do, the recognition is pretty much invisible in the eyes of those who are the family breadwinners. Adding race to this picture I think would only complicate it more.  With race comes another culture, a way of being and believing, just as those who come from different levels of class. 

The Syfers article could sum up this scenario pretty well. While the Robertson article has numerous stories and statistics to back them, it is unfortunate that the men who "ruined" these young girls were given choices where the girls' were not. Who was actually a recipient of being protected and taken care of in these stories. 

blog 5

I think it would be interesting to look at the wedding of two people from very different economic classes from an intersectional perspective.  I would preferably like to focus on two religious white people - with the woman coming from no money, and the man coming from money.  I think this would be interesting because from my knowledge and experience, the bride's family is supposed to help out more economically than the grooms.  I would want to interview couples and their families about the wedding and stressors.  I would also want to know background information to see what values they have and what their experiences with weddings have been before. 

I would focus on the class aspect of identity, but would include aspects of religion, heterosexuality and racial identity as well.  It would be very easy to expand this research and contrast different weddings (or partnership formations) with one another - examining differences and similarities.  For example, it would be interesting to contrast experiences of parenthood and ideas of marriage across various races and ethnicities. 

Blog Assignment 5

In Stephen Robertson's, "Making Right a Girl's Ruin: Working - Class legal Cultures and Forced Marriage in New York City, 1890-1950" I thought his article was well researched however long to make the point of his thesis, which I believe from his conclusion was to understand the evolution of girls' -- who he classified as being under the age of 18 (the age of consent) sexual modernity in New York from 1890-1950.  The title " . . . Class legal Cultures . . ." really pertains to the working class rather then any other class, although he does touch on what might happen to a middle-class girl entering the system.  I assume then that little data is known about the middle-class as they kept those kinds of secrets private.  He goes into great detail about the legal systems in place (criminal and civil) that were charged with regulating and interpreting whether or not a girl and consequently her family were "ruined".  There were state agency's as well that took some of the burden off of the family's and courts, like the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC).  Ensuring that girls got married was a way to ensure stability of society and family.  To maintain the Victorian ideal of a woman's virtue, never mind that she may in many respects be exploited by men and society at large.  Regardless she should maintain her role to be a good mother and wife.  I guess this leads to the question of marriage, which this blog is supposed to address.  I liked the perspective taken by Judy Syfers, written in 1971.  She questions the production and benefit of marriage to women.  She outlines all of the things she would love to be able to do if she were free.  Free to pursue school, vacations, careers and even extra marital affairs without obligation or guilt to her wife.  And in George Chauncey's "Why Marriage?  The history shaping today's debate over gay quality" Explores the history of church doctrine over secularism as it pertains to marriage.  The history is much more interesting in this article, possibly because it is more applicable to current events.  I appreciate the intersectionality of his thesis too.  There are many reasons to get married as outlined in the previous two articles, however here when you weigh in gay marriage it becomes a great touchstone in order to change the discourse surrounding marriage, as we know it.  It challenges all of the preconceived notions about how, who and why people get married.  The right to chose who you marry is a civil right that should be endowed with all the private and public benefits that we now recognize There is a certain amount of pomp and circumstance when it comes to weddings in general.  I think there is pageantry about marriage that is artificial in a way.  When I say artificial I mean that the ceremony itself has been co-opted by a huge commercial industry that has little to do with the commitment and ideal of marriage itself. 


Blog Week 5

From an intersectional perspective, I would like to look at marriages between two different classes and races of people. Specifically between a minority working class man and a white upper class woman. I would find this interesting because it seems after reading the Ostrander article, the women from the upper class defined it as something that you must be born into. I would find it interesting to see if an upper class family would support the marriage of their daughter to a man with a working class status who is also a minority. In the Ostrander article, it explains that the upper class was homogenous and only made up of "people like themselves." I would want to examine what the white upper class family thought of their daughter marrying a man who was a minority and part of the working class. Since the upper class is generally looked at as homogenous, would it be accepted? I would find it interesting to examine how this new married couple would be looked at, and which identity they would associate themselves with. In order to conduct this research, I would first interview people with a white upper class identity and ask them questions such as "How do you see this new married couple? Do you think that because one came from a white upper class family and one from minority working class family, that they will be able to keep the upper class identity?" I would also ask the two sides of the family what they thought the new couple's future would look like and what type of jobs the married couple would pursue. Looking at the jobs would be an important aspect for each identity because the upper class identity is made up of white collar work, and the working class is made up of manual labor. It seems that women from the upper class are dependent on their husbands' work. So it would be interesting to see if the husband kept manual labor as his primary job, what the upper class woman would do. If she was dependent upon him, would she still be viewed as an upper class woman because her family is? I would do a longitudinal research study to see what field of work the husband partook in at the beginning of the marriage and as it progressed. I would also look to see if the woman had to get a job. Along with this observation, I would interview both families and see which identity they thought the man and woman fit into both at the beginning of the marriage and as it advanced.

Blog #5

When looking at the topic of intersectionality and marriage, I would like to focus on the topic of inter-racial heterosexual marriages.  To specify even further, I would like to look more about the combining of cultures through marriage as opposed to just a joining of two races.  This would be interesting because when people from two different cultures marry not only do they have the obstacle of living together while having two different personalities but they also face the challenge of bringing together two cultural lifestyles that may contradict one another.

You would have to look at closely at the culture of both the bride and the groom. This would require obtaining sources that could give background information about culture and a narrow focus on the specifics of the institution of marriage within the two separate cultures.  Research into the lives of the families would be needed to determine what cultural traditions were followed and if any prejudices exist.  Interviews and observations between the couple about how they conduct their day-to-day lives would be necessary, especially if they do not live together. Religious differences could be a huge source of conflict between a couple as well as cultural expectations about gender roles.  Male dominated cultures could prove to be a problem if the culture of the bride is progressive and open to gender equality. Gender identities come into play in a marriage when subjectivity to a dominant partner. Different views about this are often linked to racial and cultural traditions and beliefs. Class may have minimal impact on marriage but should also be looked at.  I don't see class differences as having a sizeable impact on marriage because once married, one social class status is obtained. However, if culture and class are linked, the impact on marriage will be more significant.




Week 5 Blog

Note: The Robertson article is lengthy, so please carefully read the beginning- pp. 199-205; pp 215-224; and the conclusion, pp 228-30. Skim the rest as you have time.

This week, we begin our examination of families with two readings on the history of marriage in the U.S. and one on being a wife in the 1970s. Robertson focuses on the moral aspects of marriage, Chauncey on marriage as an economic relationship, and Syfers on marital roles.

We live in a society that is fascinated by marriage and almost obsessed with weddings. Reality shows feature "bridezillas" who fanatically plan every detail of their "special day"; paparazzi are paid big bucks for sneaked photos of celebrity weddings. Wedding fairs, magazines, and stores abound. Photographs and video of the first same-sex couples marrying in various states are gushed over by sympathic news anchors.

In this week's blog post, I'd like you to imagine a research project that looks intersectionally at some aspect of weddings. What about weddings might be interesting to study from an intersectional persepctive, and why? What kinds of sources would you use and/or what research might you conduct?  What sorts of identities would you foreground in your research? Keep in mind the facets of marriage that are discussed in this week's readings as you formulate this mock research project, but be creative, and do not feel compelled to address something as broad as these readings do.

As you start developing your midterm paper topics, I hope that this assignment will help you to think about the process of developing a paper topic, picking a focus, selecting sources, and utilizing an intersectional framework.