It's all about perspective

Archive for April, 2010

Tim Wise: Imagine if the Tea Party was Black

Tim Wise: Imagine if the Tea Party was Black.

I’ll let Tim say his peace. He is a much better man that I.

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Similarity is not Equality

It’s Roller Derby time boys and girls. Yet while I waited patiently for that 7pm whistle last sunday which started the rekindled sport my mind wanders to thoughts of gender equality. I know, boring, but hear me out. I’ve been noticing an upswing in articles related to the oppression of men and this all-women sport has rekindled my interest in the subject. Now before you go off laughing about how its impossible for men to be the subject of oppression based on their gender, I would have you stop and think about this for a moment.

I am, due to my own history with the state and childcare, an unflinching supporter of Father’s rights. In this instance I am absolutely convinced there is a biased view of parenting in this country which favors the mother. Does this happen all the time? Not hardly. Does it happen enough that it should be investigated? I say a resounding “yes.” While going through the custody process myself I encountered several avenues of assistance that were available to the mother, that were not available to me, which were based solely on her gender. Furthermore, the prevailing child development model at the time was one that claimed children were developmentally disadvantaged when separated from their mothers. This standard was absolutely biased against fathers and thankfully is beginning to change.

In part, I believe it is changing because of the drastic difference in education based on gender. Last year I read several articles and blog posts about how the current model of education; one that many believe is detrimental to boys’ learning, is not being studied on that basis of gender [1]. In my own recent attempts to join the K-12 teaching ranks, I have found a great emphasis on race and class, but no one is talking about gender. For this reason alone I feel there should be an open discourse about it.

Now, it appears this may actually happen. (more…)

A little bit of housecleaning

I’ve decided to move the more personal stuff over to a different blog, as I really don’t think they belong here anymore. So if you can’t find a blog post that was here, you can now go to my other blog: Uncle Jim.

And before you go “really, Uncle Jim?” Kiss my ass, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want with it. 😛

Study shows genetic disorder leads to lack of racial stereotypes and social fear.

Williams syndrome children show no racial stereotypes or social fear | Not Exactly Rocket Science | Discover Magazine.

So we find ourselves another study claiming that, essentially, racial stereotyping is natural and genetic. Only with genetic disorders can we truly get past these natural urges.

What a crock. This study is based on the “Preschool Racial Attitude Measure (PRAM-II), which is designed to tease out traces of gender or racial biases in young children.” It does this by showing young children a picture of two people. These are made different by color, gender, or both. The child is then told a story about the two pictures and asked to point out the person they feel the story is more likely about. Bias is determined by the how often the child points to the gender-same or ethnic-same people when the story uses positive adjectives versus when the child points to gender-different or ethnic-different people when the story uses negative adjectives.

This measurement is faulty for a couple of reasons.

1: The children are only shown two choices so there is bias built in to the measurement. Add a third choice for “neither” and a fourth choice for “feel equally about both” and the test might actually start measuring something.

2: While the test is measuring prejudice, it is not measuring stereotype. A prejudice is a preconceived judgment or opinion. Since the test uses positive and negative adjectives as a measurement tool, you are asking the children to apply a positive or negative judgment to the pictures. Stereotyping, on the other hand, would be measured by the children’s willingness to classify people without those value judgments. Now then, the real question becomes, “are these children assessing values because they feel one gender/race is superior to the other, or because they are simply more comfortable with one over the other?”

So what then does this study show? Not much really. It is fascinating in that it attempts to look at the genetic foundations of prejudice and may even be applicable to group-think studies. I’m definitely going to keep my eye out for the finished paper and will likely be doing a full critique of it.

White Backlash

Take a glance over to the right of this blog to the Blogroll widget. You’ll see a link to The Color Line. It’s a blog ran by Contexts, which is the online home of the magazine of the same name. It is a quarterly magazine dedicated to the exploration of sociological topics made relevant to the non-sociologist. (e.g. a haven for making sociology more public)

The Color Line’s most recent post is concerning White Backlash. The feeling that, as a group, whites are becoming increasingly threatened and destabilized by developments in political power, globalization, and shrinking of white population.

It is a great article that touches on many of the topics I’ve covered in the past about race. It also touches on how each of the above influences have combined to create a very white group of very angry people. I’ve been wanting to study the Tea Party group for the very reasons the article brings up. As I have seen no evidence of how these people are anything less than a more politically-correct version of the KKK. However, that has been my experience with the news and we all know how accurate and unbiased the news is.

Also, I’ve started to restructure the site a bit, in preparing to move to my own domain social-context.org. (To the three random people who check out my little spot on the web every week, look for it soon.) I’m moving definitions to their own page, Social Dictionary, rather than as a subset of the FAQ.

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