By Friday, November 1 (11:59 p.m. EST), students will be required to post a blog journal entry about a particular social problem/issue on a weekly basis related to the theme(s) discussed during the week. The post will thoroughly address the following: 
  1. A social problem or issue related to the theme of the week;
  2. A justification of why this particular social problem/issue was selected;
  3. An explanation of how this social problem/issue is relevant to the student AND to society;
  4. A description of the actions taken/that could be taken by the student to personally address/work on this social problem/issue; and
  5. Pose a question to classmates and instructor that is relevant to the blog post for the week.

Peer responses to this post are due on Wednesday, November 6 (11:59 p.m., EST).
 


Allyn Achah
10/31/2013 15:15

According to studies of the 633 parliamentary delegations in Great Britain, Dr. Elise Whitley and colleagues found that social isolation is one of the top causes of suicide. It is important socially, emotionally, and psychologically to have people around you to connect and rely on. Without having these people, it can seem quite impossible to move on. Many wonder what the cause of this suicide epidemic is but at the root of this severe problem lies with the social isolation which is caused by loneliness and depression.
In recent times, the correlation between suicide and social isolation is inevitable. In the 1980s and 1990s societies with high levels of social isolation had high rates of suicide compared to areas with low levels of social isolation. Suicide is one of America’s top causes for death takes the life of about 30,000 Americans every year. It is the 11th leading cause of death in America, and the 3rd leading cause of death of 15-24 year-old Americans. In 2004 there were estimate 811,000 suicide attempts. In addition, rural cities and states such as Montana (which has the highest rate of suicide in the United States ranging as young as 13 and as old as 92) have the highest rate of suicide compared to cities like Washington DC where there is a lot more interaction between people and activities to participate each day.
Being that most of the students in this sociology class are between the age of 15-24 years of age and live in the society where social isolation is a constant struggle, it is necessary to pay attention to this problem and try to solve the problem in our own little way starting with the people around us. I personally started to pay attention to how much time I spend watching TV and browsing the web, compared to the time spent with my family and I decided to make some changes. Simple actions like trying to know the people that live in your neighborhood or trying to take yourself away from the internet every day to have a an hour or two with family members each day is a little effort that can make an immense change.
PS. I would like for each person to respond based on their personal opinion.
Question: Why do you think suicide a huge phenomenon in the population between the ages of 15-24?

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Rachel Zelaya
11/01/2013 14:11

I think suicide is a huge phenomenon between the ages of 15-24 because those are the ages when people crave the most social interaction or attention. They also seem to be the ages of people who are on social networking sites the most and seeing other people get more "followers" or "likes" can make them feel detached or invisible leading to loneliness. When you don't get the attention you want, you start to feel as though something is wrong with you and that feeling can eat at you.

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Dakota Ayers
11/04/2013 01:01

In my opinion, suicide has become more prevelent in society as the cost of living and standard of living has increased. Young people are highly concerned with topis such as; money and media. Social media provides a fasle representation of how active or how interesting someone may or may not be. Allowing youth to compete and subconsciously become jealous and envious of things they see scattered over the internet of what it means to be "cool" or "sexy" "desired" or even "HAPPY".
Even without the internet young men and women were already self-conscious, depressed and insecure. Now with the ability to compare yourself to 100,000 other people in 1 week of surfing the web, i'm sure it leaves most of us putting our devices down and thinking "I really wish I had that instead of....."

Not to mention the cost of everything is on the rise including a formal education, so I believe that the pressure to succeed both financially and socially will always find a way to fuel our desires.

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Gema
11/04/2013 22:49

I think that suicide is a huge phenomenon in the population between the ages of 15-24 because that is the age when young people are trying to find themselves in many ways, therefore making their lives more vulnerable. I have sisters who are 14 and 12. I strongly see how they are influenced by others. This includes their peers, media, and celebrity lifestyles which are on display almost everywhere, and is a topic of discussion in most conversations by young people. The absence of the parent working crazy hours can affect the self-esteem of the young person who needs true guidance and interaction with a loving and present parent. Though they may seem happy with their peers and idolizing celebrities, the most important relationships can be void in their lives causing the feeling of loneliness and alienation inside.

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Nandi
11/06/2013 16:00


This group of people (15-24) tend to very vulnerable to depression. This is the most common reason young people commit suicide. Severe depression is always accompanied by a pervasive sense of suffering as well as the belief that escape from it is hopeless. The pain of existence often becomes too much for severely depressed people to bear. The state of depression warps their thinking, allowing ideas like “Everyone would all be better off without me” to make rational sense. Even though depression is almost always treatable, young don’t receive treatment because they’ve trouble expressing themselves or communicating. They’re crying out for help, and don’t know how else to get it.

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Adwoa
11/06/2013 22:31

I think suicude takes a big part in society but it has no age limit, most people just feel like taking their stressful lives away would be much easier when it isn't. They fail to realize the stress they would cause on others

Teddy Mesidor
11/06/2013 20:19

I think drugs play a huge role in suicide cases of people ages 15-24. I believe this is the age range where most people take drugs if they ever choose to in their life. Also, it is very easy to commit suicide from drugs simply by over dosing.

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Ifiya R.
11/06/2013 21:48

I think there are a lot of reason why between the ages 15-24 suicide cases are high.This is the ages of immaturity. Where you may find your self the most vulnerable too. Also this is the time where you are still trying to find your self and identify with who you are and what you stand for. Bullying plays a big roll in leading to suicide, relationship failures, family matters there are so many reason. I think its really sad to take your life, without giving yourself the chance to fulfill your purpose on earth. Good thing is your spirit,name,memories etc. will still live on. There are recent finding that says the mind does not fully mature until the age of 25, when your allowed to legally rent a car!

Jordan L
11/06/2013 23:23

I agree that drugs may play a large role in suicides for such young ages, as well as depression. At such a young age it may be hard for someone to be able to even realized they are depressed and get the help they may need.

Ajani Irish
11/09/2013 11:40

I agree, children of this age group our more likely to use drugs and are more apt to feel the pressures of conformity and/or the results of non conformity. People who may not be in the "cool" or "in" group our more apt to deal with bouts of depression. especially while dealing with the pressures of school, young relationships and bouts of depression. At this age its difficult to deal with these multiple pressures and suicide is a possible outcome.

IfiyaR
11/06/2013 21:49

I think there are a lot of reason why between the ages 15-24 suicide cases are high.This is the ages of immaturity. Where you may find your self the most vulnerable too. Also this is the time where you are still trying to find your self and identify with who you are and what you stand for. Bullying plays a big roll in leading to suicide, relationship failures, family matters there are so many reason. I think its really sad to take your life, without giving yourself the chance to fulfill your purpose on earth. Good thing is your spirit,name,memories etc. will still live on. There are recent finding that says the mind does not fully mature until the age of 25, when your allowed to legally rent a car!

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TyGrayWes
11/06/2013 22:09

I think suicide is a major problem between the ages 15-24 because from teen years to your mid 20's we go through a lot of pressure interacting with the real would and as we get to know our self-identity. There is a lot of stress you deal with, whether it is poverty, inequality, health, employment, family, educational, peer pressure, bullying, and etc.. If you do not have any or enough positive situations in your life, whether it’s family, friends, a person to talk to or form a positive relationship with, or any other reasons, you can turn to social isolation. Social isolation in a way is in all of us because we isolate ourselves for many different reasons throughout the day, from family, friends, neighbors and so one. So the right amount of stress that turns into the right amount of depression can lead to suicidal thoughts. Being less socially isolated each day, being more kind to one another, listening and trying to help people that show signs of suicide, can make a big difference. I know I will personally try to do so because I would hate to hear that news about someone in my life.

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TyGrayWes
11/06/2013 22:11

I think suicide is a major problem between the ages 15-24 because from teen years to your mid 20's we go through a lot of pressure interacting with the real would and as we get to know our self-identity. There is a lot of stress you deal with, whether it is poverty, inequality, health, employment, family, educational, peer pressure, bullying, and etc.. If you do not have any or enough positive situations in your life, whether it’s family, friends, a person to talk to or form a positive relationship with, or any other reasons, you can turn to social isolation. Social isolation in a way is in all of us because we isolate ourselves for many different reasons throughout the day, from family, friends, neighbors and so one. So the right amount of stress that turns into the right amount of depression can lead to suicidal thoughts. Being less socially isolated each day, being more kind to one another, listening and trying to help people that show signs of suicide, can make a big difference. I know I will personally try to do so because I would hate to hear that news about someone in my life.

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Jen B
11/06/2013 23:52

I believe suicide has much to do with the fragmentation within out society. One major factor that our articles discussed last week in class was the issue of individualism which can lead to isolation. Isolating one self from society and community causes a disconnect to the world. Having a disconnect to society and your immediate community leads to depression and loneliness. On another note, I believe suicide specifically targets individuals ages 15-25 due to the generation this group is being raised in; a generation where there is more connection of people thru technology versus quality time with family and friends that creates true connections, which in turn creates true deep rooted connections with others.

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Dakota Ayers
10/31/2013 23:48

Most recently there’s been an increase in civil disobedience. Evidenced by; tax cheating, littering, running stop signs, vandalism, the failure to pay fines and other indicators that may suggest civic decline. By participating in defiant activities one not only refutes the regulations set by the government, but disengages their concerns from their community thus creating a distant attitude and mentality towards their community. Fragmentation isn’t only enforced upon us by factors such as income inequality or social status but also by our actions. Intentionally running a stop sign, vandalizing a public structure you find “meaningless” or “insignificant” or even failing to pay a fine that was well deserved, implies more than the offender may be aware of. A certain type of dissociation from your local counterpart arises and we begin to use words like “them” instead of a more inclusive term like “my neighbor” furthermore segmenting ourselves from our society and developing antisocial habits. Each of these examples are activities we are familiar with in some shape or form and may even be guilty of committing at one point in time. Taking responsibility for our actions and being less self-oriented can encourage a more inclusive community. Simple activities such as coming to a full and complete stop in residential areas can encourage unity and kindheartedness amongst those around you.
Pregunta-How often do you feel you seclude or fragment yourself away from society?

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Tmerella
11/06/2013 18:29

While I do not seclude myself from society by civil disobedience, I do find myself at times avoiding contact with some people in my neighborhood. The reason I do this is being black in a mostly white neighborhood. The neighborhood emails that go around are always stereotyping some minority just passing through the neighborhood. This in turn has made me seclude myself from contact with most of my neighbors. I didn't necessarily make this a conscious decision, but I have done it subconsciously.
In reference to what you said about someone failing to pay a fine, I feel as though more fines are given especially in the DMV that are not well deserved. I am specifically referring to parking tickets, the people who administer them have to meet a certain quota of tickets each day. This means giving tickets is a business that is making a lot of money. And unfortunately I feel as though people are often given fines that are not worth the amount given or not deserved at all. With that being said, I believe people should pay tickets if they are in the wrong, but if not, they should definitely take the ticket to court.

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IfiyaR
11/06/2013 22:47

This was a really good point that made me sit back and think "hmmm how many times have I sped pass and car accident in a rush while everyone rubbernecks" Would that be considered a fragment away from society? Why do you feel the need to stop and look? I mean, i can understand if you may know the person of just concerned with the incident but i cant even count how many times i tried looking at an accident and almost crashed myself. Its a safety precaution yes slow down but to rubber neck is also inconsiderate. But when it comes to tickets and vandalizing and just being flat out misfit is just not love.

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Jen B.
11/06/2013 23:57

I personally make it a point to engage myself and family in our community. I believe it is important to feel a tie to your community and engage in community efforts for the better of oneself and for the community. I believe when we don't allow ourselves to engage within our community we start to isolate ourselves and become selfish. Once individuals start to pull themselves apart from society and lose respect, fragmentation occurs. When fragmentation occurs we feel not included; thus a rebellious attitude may occur leading to breaking laws, etc.

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Teddy Mesidor
11/01/2013 16:16

Religion is a strong fragmentation of society that can potentially promote social change but can also cause social inequality. From my understading, most religions involve faith and prayer in hopes of a higher power. As a Christian, prayer can be very encouraging, but if you are not proactive about the problems around you then you are therefore minimizing the problems of this world. Muslims, Christians, and Catholics are all segregated religions that divide many peoples beliefs across the globe. The sacred suspense of religious beliefs also encounters intimate relationships. In other words, it would be a social problem for a Christian man to marry a Muslim woman unless one converted to the other religion. Personally, I do not believe religion should be taken so seriously. If we all have faith and pray to the same God then religion should not have the power to separate us. I have already prayed about these social problems regarding religion and I look forward to grasping more information on why religion is so important amongst people.

Question: Why are people so deviant from others because of religion?

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Jetzabel Velez-Melendez
11/01/2013 20:50

In my opinion I dont believe its deviant, I think its practicing discernment. When you are worshiping a higher power, your ultimate goal is to be like them. As Christians we seek to be "Christ like" , Buhdists seek inner peace through non violence and lots of meditation., and so on... Now when you are seeking a certain lifestyle you have to surround your old self in that lifestyle, which unfortunately gives the impression as stand offish to some. But correct me (with facts of course) if i'm wrong no religion says to be deviant nor unkind to someone with another belief. Even when being taught that that religion is THE only true religion one is supposed to pray and teach another in hopes to convert them into that truth.

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Allyn Achah
11/01/2013 23:12

I believe people are so deviant from others when it come to religion because within each congregation of different religions, there is this belief that although we all serve the same God, our personal choice of religion is superior and in comparison to others, we obey the commandments of God better than the next.

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Sesan Mudashiru
11/04/2013 06:41

Religion was suppose to be a vehicle for good deeds; love thy neighbor, sanctification, benevolence .....and every other nice and humane words we can think of but it is often reversed in practice. If we dig deeper, we would realize that all religions actually preached or have these humane characters enshrined and engravened in their "holy books" or foundations but because we human are inherently selfish, we have interpreted some of their teachings to suit our agendas and selfish inclinations. Again, you made a good point, religion was suppose to help us live together in peace, harmony and to be conscious of a higher power in our dealings with others but it has unfortunately become a polarizing factor.... makes you wonder how beautiful life would have been without complications and divisiveness of religions.

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Gema
11/04/2013 22:56

I think that some people are so devoted to their religious beliefs that that is enough justification for them to allow themselves to judge, discriminate, or segregate others depending on opposing religious beliefs. They'll ignorantly say things like, "oh they just don't know" and "I feel sorry for them, they don't understand". They can't see the injustice they are committing because their souls are so deep in their own religious beliefs that they don't realize that they are creating a separation from other human beings and they are being disrespectful the religious freedom of others.

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Nandi
11/06/2013 15:02

I think one of the reason people deviate is because of ethnocentrism.Ethnocentrism is a major reason for divisions amongst members of different ethnicities, races, and religious groups in society. Ethnocentrism is the belief of superiority is one's personal ethnic group, but it can also develop from racial or religious differences. For example America was founded on Christian principles and beliefs. Based on these strong beliefs, there are commercials inviting nonbelievers to become Christians and encouraging others to follow the teachings of Christ.

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TMerella
11/06/2013 20:26

Well for one, I think religion has been used in many situations as a form of control. In times of slavery, slave masters read the bible to slaves but made up their own version of what was written. They would say that the bible said that they were less than them, and deserved getting whipped and basically abused. They were able to use this as control because they prohibited slaves from learning to read or write, so unless they secretly knew how to read, then could have been easily influenced by what the master said because it wasn't like they could learn on their own and correct him. So if you are a slave that believes in God and does not know any better, you might believe that God's purpose for you is to be a slave. The reason I think that people put down others who have different religions than them, or put down people because they have certain biases against religious people, do this because they are ignorant, if more people learned more about the history of different religions, they might be more open, and realize they have more similarities than differences. And if people who have biases against religious people educated themselves more on the fact that not everyone apart of a certain religion is the same and doesn't necessarily take everything within their religion literally, then they might be more open to religious people. I think biases have been created against religion when there is violence and oppression in the name of a religion. And also keep in mind that not everyone believes in a God, and that they have a right to their own views, the one thing we all share is humanity.

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Gisele
11/06/2013 23:10

I agree that it is interesting to consider the fragmenting effects of religion in the context of American slavery and racism. As you point out, slaves were initially taught Christianity by white masters so that they might accept slavery and become more docile. This was an attempt by whites to counter the profoundly fragmenting effect of enslaving an entire race of people within their society; therefore, it is no surprise that the attempt to bind slaves to their masters through Christianity never functioned as well as whites meant it to, because white masters had done permanent fragmenting damage to society and race relations by enslaving nearly all American blacks. Slaves instead developed an understanding of themselves as a persecuted people much like the Israelites of the Bible, who are enslaved by the Egyptians and driven from their homeland on several occasions. Slave spirituals of this time make references to the trials of the Israelites and allude to crossing the river Jordan or being carried home by heaven's chariot; while these spirituals did have powerful religious significance (the Jordan and chariot were symbolic of dying and being "freed" in heaven), they were also used by slaves to speak metaphorically of escaping their masters on the Underground Railroad. In this way, slaves subverted their masters' intentions of pacifying them with Christianity, and the religion became a vital link to the outside world for them.

Melissa
11/06/2013 21:36

I think people take religion very seriously because it becomes part of their way of living. Incorporating prayer, and attending masses in their daily life is a big thing so we tend to be over protective on what we believe in. I completely agree with you we all look up to one God so why not just praise him and put all our differences aside. Strong religion believers act like football rivals, only difference is that their weapons are words and phrases from the bible.

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Jen B.
11/07/2013 00:02

I believe religion is key to building a sense of community and establishing relationships. I believe those individuals that are extremist within their religion whether that be muslim, catholic, etc. aren't grasping the true value of what religion is based on. All religions preach to be loving and act with empathy to others; do to others as you would want other to do to you. I believe there is a divide among religions once a person tries to manipulate teachings for their own personal profit and that in turn is what deviates people from others of other religions.

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Ajani Irish
11/09/2013 11:53

This is a good question, because it shows the irony of religion. The idea that we are all Gods children and that he loves us all. The idea to love thy neighbor and that we all are humans are not exemplified in the world today. What i really see is separation amongst people and cultures. Also it creates a mind state that ones better then the other as well as more fortunate and heaven destined the other. As much as we ignore these discreet forms of separation, they exist and create separation and because of this deviance is a result.

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Jen B
11/01/2013 17:09

In the United States, sex screams everywhere; it seems as if Americans use sex to glamorize anything and everything. Yet, when it comes to politics the topic of sex still seems “taboo”. The recent government shut down affected many people directly and indirectly, especially women. A major cause that led to the government shut down is the famous “Affordable Care Act” (ACA) that we are all tired of hearing about, but maybe we should all be listening a little bit closer. Although the United States’ government is operating again and “back to normal,” the shutdown had no effect on the Republicans’ efforts to block women’s access to health care, and by that I specifically refer to birth control and preventive health care services. According to Politico, Republicans are currently trying to push a bill that would allow companies and employers to deny having to provide healthcare coverage for women on the grounds of “moral objection;” that means that if an owner of a company opposes birth control, he or she could deny that coverage to female employees in that company. Furthermore, that female employee’s birth control prescription would no longer be covered by her health insurance plan. And same thing goes for breastfeeding support, domestic violence counseling, HIV testing and other preventive care (Politico).
Once again, women are being backed into a political corner. We must all get involved, men and women, by exercising our rights because it will affect all of us. If you are having or planning to have sexual relations and a child is not in your immediate future, than you as well will be affected. Ways we can contribute into revoking this bill is by voting for the right individual to represent us in Congress, raise awareness of the issue by spreading the word, and calling our Representative in Congress to express our dissatisfaction collectively.

Question:
1. In your personal opinion do you believe this is just an issue that just affects women? Or do you believe this is an issue that affects men as well and why?
2. Why do you believe that women’s’ voices in Congress still are not as strong as men’s voices?

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Emily Blase
11/06/2013 10:29

Birth control is not an issue that only affects women, but I think it is easier to target women as they carry the evidence of a child - planned or not. I think part of the reason the birth control debate affects women negatively is due to the fact that we are the ones who carry the responsibility if something goes wrong. I think the other factor is that the onus of responsibility has not been placed equally upon men to be responsible for their sexual conduct. When talking about birth control and Planned Parenthood (or similar organizations), the debate often centers around female birth control, and it is not as often mentioned the bags of condoms Planned Parenthood makes freely available. Women are expected to be responsible for their own sexual health, and the same does not go for men - not to such an extreme degree.
As for why there is less female representation in Congress, this is a topic we just covered in my American Government class. One theory (aside from living in a patriarchal society etc.) is that incumbents tend to win elections at an absurdly high rate; around 90%. Women are getting a louder voice in Congress - since 1921 (one election cycle after the first Congresswoman was elected), female representation in Congress has grown every election cycle to the point where women represent about 19.1% of Congress as a whole. Women enjoying the incumbency advantage are more likely to get reelected; as male Congresspeople retire and leave open seats, women have a nearly equal opportunity at getting one. The balance is shifting, but it's a slow shift.
For those who don't have my textbook ("We the People"), this is a pretty interesting article related to women in Congress:
http://www.smith.edu/insight/stories/candidates.php

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Jordan L
11/06/2013 23:18

I agree that sex is a very common topic in the United States but when it comes to politics they are not like the rest of the population. Also I think this problem affects men as well especially dealing with birth control and pregnancy because there as to be a man involved in the situation as well. I believe women's voices aren't as strong in the senate because they only represent 20%

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Allyn Achah
11/07/2013 15:15

I believe that this issue affects all of us whether man or woman. The decision on whether to have kids or not does not entirely rest on the shoulders of the woman. They say it take two to tango lol but no doubt the mother is left with the responsibility of raising the child. So in fighting this battle I believe we need to include men as well. When it comes to congress, mens voice are still very strong because they are the dominant population in a place like congress. There are less women to represent the female population in issues like this.

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Nandi
11/01/2013 19:05

As Professor Eitzen states, “ever increasing diversity is a fact of life in our society. If we do not find ways to accept the differences among us, we will fragment into class, race, ethnic, and sexual enclaves.”

Even those I’ve been here only about two years, the divisions are obvious and seem to be growing. Coming from Kenya, this concerns me greatly, because I’ve seen what can happen when a society starts to divide literally—along ethnic and class lines. Like the United States, Kenya is a country of many groups, although most are indigenous. Like the U.S., on the surface, people are united as Kenyans. But in fact most people identify along ethnic lines, rather than as Kenyans first.

Sociologists talk about how fragmentation can lessen stability, and I’ve seen it:
The particular time was during and after the 2007 presidential election, which pitted, as all countrywide Kenyan elections do, two major ethnic groups against each other. The results were contested, as they often are. Amid calls of foul play, the country erupted in violence and flames as each of the two major groups claimed victory and also shouted to protect “their” territory of the “other.” More than 1200 people died and over 5,000 were forced to flee their homes. Many are still in temporary camps, afraid to go back.

Year later, despite lots of talk, no real efforts have been made to promote national unity. The groups seem further apart than ever, politics and social media to a large extend continues to create deeper divisions among the major ethnic groups. Although I know the U.S. is not the Promised -land, I would still hate to see more and more extreme fragmentation among rich and poor, and ethnic and racial groups. Once people start to identify more with their own group rather than with the nation, the nation is in real trouble.


Questions:
1) More and more sociologist suggest that American society is becoming increasingly fragmented. Where is our society headed?
2) What are some basic actions, if any that can be taken to lessen fragmentation?

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Sharifur S
11/06/2013 22:42

I don't necessarily see this as getting worse per se, but more along a trend. Fragmentation is usually more common during economic downturns, where the inequality is very evident among communities whether its ethnic or racial. That's when the popularity for right wing or extreme organizations or parties go up for their short term solutions. Where our society is headed... I honestly don't know, but I believe that we're heading to a more tolerant society as same sex marriage is now legal in a few states, including Maryland.

The situation in Kenya is similar in some ways, but also very different to the US. America is a nation of immigrants and we have a stable political atmosphere here as well. For instance if a democratic president wins the presidency, the average republican would not riot in the streets and call it invalid as well as vice-versa. I do think the mass media likes to over exaggerate the fragmentation by making it seem bigger than it is by usually only posting negative news.

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Sharifur S
11/01/2013 19:23

One major fragmentation of society is the decaying family unit that is the one of the root causes of social problems. The average American works full time 40 hours a week or more which is called overtime. The work culture in the United States is at the point where we prioritize "convenience over healthy" and "work over family" in order to pay the bills. However, this is causing the family unit to fall apart when both parents are working full time out of necessity, while the children at school or a babysitter for the most of the day. This leads the lack of social bonding between parent and child can lead to children becoming depressed when their support system (the parents) are not there for them when the child needs them the most. Families are no longer able to eat dinner together anymore due to these work ethics. When parents are gone for the good duration of the day, the children are left for the most part to their own devices for good or bad. The biggest influence in a child life are the parents, then friends, then school, then institutions. More work usually means more stress at home and children will unfortunately be the outlet of this stress for some parents. More work also means a lower quality of life that an individual could spend with their family, friends, relaxing, taking care of the home, enjoying our hobbies.

Choose one to answer.
Question 1: Do you think the family unit is in decline in America?
Question 2: Do Americans work too much?

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Urban_Mason
11/02/2013 14:41

Answer to your first question is that yes the family unit is on decline in the United States. Many factors contribute to this decline including the move by many younger people from landscapes that are spread out, to city centers that are built up. This move to more urban city centers by young people -and in many cases, also older people- means that although you have neighbors above you and all around you, you may still be very much alone. This clustering of the population has inadvertently made the average American oblivious to their neighbors and their own families. With Americans sucking on the tit of convenience and instant gratification they have forgotten to take time out of their days and actually sit down with family, neighbors and their communities; communities which have turned in to boxed neighborhoods located next to a public transportation stop.

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Dakota Ayers
11/04/2013 00:25

I believe family unity is on the decline, simply because a lot of us don't have breakfast, lunch or dinners together, we don't show genuine interest in one-anothers daily activities, and we also tend to focus on building larger social lives then securing family ties within the household.

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Emily Blase
11/06/2013 10:41

I think it's really interesting that you refer to the decline of the family "unit" as a source of fragmentation in today's society. This post reminded me of a time when I was in the fourth grade, and my friends told me I wasn't allowed to sit at their table because it was only for children of divorced parents or who only had one parent who showed up for them. My parents have always made time to have dinner as a family, which makes me feel really lucky - but should it? I absolutely agree that the family unit is in decline in America. I also agree that where we live is where we get our major sources of influence that shape who we are going to be, but if we don't get enough constructive time with the people who are going to shape us, we will get influence from outside sources, for better or for worse.

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Teddy Mesidor
11/06/2013 20:13

Yes, I do think some Americans work too much but they work in hopes of a better future. Americans believe in the "work hard, play harder" motto, we strive through the pain to gain the goods.

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Melissa
11/06/2013 21:20

Yes I strongly agree that Americans work to much but many see it as not having a choice. Many are not satisfied with the thought of just being comfortable Americans want and crave more than they actually need. Due to these extra hours traditional family time is being affected and the children are also being affected. By not receiving the parenting affection and soon will find it difficult to know what it means to socialize with other humans.

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TyGrayWes
11/06/2013 22:41

For question 1, yes I do think the family unit is in decline in America. Those parents have no choice but to work those long hours, to provide for their children. It’s a sad thing that the children ends up suffering, but all the little time you do have with your children does matter, when you’re in those situation. Make every second matter and even though you work those long hours, it’s still your job to make sure your kids are taught the right way so they can be more in life.

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Melissa
11/01/2013 19:30

Sexual Orientation can be distinguished as a social problem in more detail we can focus on being a "lesbian" or "Gay". This is a social problem because there are many "non believers" of same sex marriage or even the thought of demonstrating affection towards the same sex in public. These people are looked upon as a type of people who should not even be considered normal or human just because they are not like everyone else. Then again what is being normal? who can honestly say "hey I am a perfect example of normal". This problem may not be a huge one towards myself in particular but the separation and discrimination of being gay begins in the school systems. I will have to be honest, things got so bad at a point that I believed that the students who were different were terrible people. Until a conversation came up with my mother and she explained that there is nothing wrong with being who you feel and believe you are. Not all parents would react the same way we live in a prejudice world and we have to accept that there are humans that will feed their children their ignorance. A way I can minimize this fragmentation is by stopping the ignorant comments and try to talk so sense into their head. If that's the way they choose to live then let them be they are not affecting your life in any shape or form. This social problem also connects to bullying and teen suicides as well. These issues are parted from society as a bad image of us Humans but yet again no one is perfect so no one has the right to degrade a human being for being "different".

Can you identify a "normal" human being?

Have you witness this kind of fragmentation?

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TMerella
11/06/2013 19:24

I have witnessed this kind of fragmentation, I have a guy friend who is gay, and is very feminine. Every where we go people stop and stare, while some people are accepting of him, there are still a lot of people who react as if they are extremely uncomfortable by him or appalled by him. It is a problem because it makes like much harder when you feel like you need to hide who you are because society says your not right. People being misunderstood in a society that claims to be open and diverse is a problem because it does cause some people to commit suicide, and to seclude themselves from others. I personally believe that it is even harder for people who are gay and dress as society says the opposite sex is supposed to dress. From being children we are geared into gender roles, " girls love pink, and boys love trucks." Where is there space for children who have no interest in what society tells them they should have interest in. A lot of times those kids are bullied. I think that it begins with the parents, if like you said,parents were more open-minded and allowed their children to express themselves as they are, and taught their children to be open to all different kinds of people, because at the end of the day we all are human, then there might be less bullying.

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Teddy Mesidor
11/06/2013 20:24

I witnessed this kind of fragmentation when I was in high school. I knew people who physically bullied gay people. Even I made sure I never spoke to gay people because as a young teenager I felt that it was out of the norm and was not cool at all to do so.

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Melissa
11/06/2013 20:45

Do you personally feel you have over came those thoughts about interacting with gay people not being a social norm. I understand what you mean about Gay people being bullied especially by the popular people, but I think who are they to say they can`t be human. Another thing is I believe the experiences are different depending on what kind of school you attend. Personally I attended a public school for two years then transferred to an all girl catholic school where a lesbian was a social norm. The girls were so accustom to the sight and talk about female relationships, I in the other hand had to learn to deal with this being a social norm.

T.Merella
11/01/2013 19:42

A social problem I would like to discuss is the inequality in funding of schools that aren't in wealthy counties. I selected this social problem because I feel that education is one of the most important things a person can have. As James Madison said “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance.” Equal education is important because denying education has been used as a tool to oppress others throughout history. In slavery times, it was against the law for slaves to learn to read or write. This was because of the power that knowledge gives, if you don’t know any better it is easier to be controlled and taken advantage of. In the reading “Fragmentation of Social Life”, the author talk about how individualism has made people feel superior or not obligated to help others. He says” Consider the way we finance our schools. Schools are financed primarily by the states through income taxes and local districts through property taxes. This means that the wealthy states and the wealthy districts have more money to educate their children than the less advantaged states and districts. The prevailing view is that if my community or state is well-off, why should my taxes go to help children from other communities and other states?” An example of this is Montgomery county schools vs. PG county schools; Montgomery County is a wealthier county, which means more will be put into Montgomery county schools. As the author states “Excessive Individualism”, doesn't help inequality as people are becoming more and more for themselves and could care less about others. I believe that a way to address the problem is to get more people involved in fighting against inequality in the education system, I’m not really sure where to start, but the more people are involved and aware, the closer they can get to some type of justice.
1. What do you think would be a practical solution for inequality in funding of public schools?

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Urban_Mason
11/02/2013 15:06

Two major things a government must provide its people are education and healthcare. Unfortunately, in the United States we are struggling in both those areas. I feel if the U.S. were to accomplish providing proper education to its citizens then it must scale back many of its Federal spending endeavors, most of which is going to funding this military complex and America's empire. When the U.S. has scaled back its spending, it can start to allocate those funds to the education system (and the space program [resources are abound on other planets]). As for the inequality in funding of public schools, unfortunately for now it is a necessary evil. American school systems create a curriculum based on the community and its beliefs. To Federalize the school system would ultimately create a unitary curriculum which would be prone to corruption and potential brainwashing by a rogue state, should America ever become one.

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Sharifur S
11/06/2013 22:59

A practical solution would for the US to cut military spending and put that money into education. Although I am against nationalizing education system or at least the school curriculum. Every community has their own needs and wants, so a "one-size-fits-all" model would not be probable since some communities may need more help than others due to their circumstances. The competition between schools is only possible because of these differences. Students want better education so they compete for spots, schools want more students so they compete for reputation.

Also, Individualism is not always bad because it allows diversity and more freedom. By freedom I mean an individual can choose to inherit a family business or pursue their own field of study. Individualism brings about independence and a sense of pride in oneself.

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Tram T.
11/01/2013 20:04


Affirmative action is defined as an action or policy favoring those who tend to suffer from discrimination, especially in relation to employment or education. In the U.S today, minorities are the people that benefit the most from affirmative action. It helps them and motivates them to strive higher. Affirmative action is an act that has been very much an issue that is fragmented it separates minorities from the non-minorities. Minorities mainly include African Americans and Latin Americans, while non-minorities include Caucasian and Asian Americans. If a Caucasian girl was to apply for college with a 3.4 gpa and SAT score of 1740 and she gets rejected it would be likely that a minorities with the same gpa and SAT score would be accepted into the college. The act of affirmative action, in a way, degrades minorities potential and doesn’t allow them to fully show their potential in their work. It also generalizes non-minorities and says that all non-minorities are capable of be successful without any help. It is an act that makes assumptions on ones work ethnic according to their race and ethnicity. Many people in the society today don’t benefit from this act, they think its unfair and that it should be changed so that more people can benefit. This social problem shouldn’t be exclusive to specific races and should be something everyone can benefit from. Not many actions can be taken, but more need to be aware of the unfairness with this act.

Question 1: Do you think affirmative action should be revised? Why?

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TMerella
11/06/2013 19:42

I don't believe that the white student would be rejected, and I don't think affirmative action really affects the students who are not minorities.(my opinion) I think that affirmative action is unfair to minorities because it makes them just a number to meet a certain quota. I think that schools that have a lot of white students have to let in a certain amount of minority students based on a quota. Which means there are still more white students getting in than minority students, the minority students are just sprinkled in so the school can meet that quota. I believe that there shouldn't have to be affirmative action at all, but if you look at this country's history, affirmative action exists because to this day is it still harder for minorities to get certain opportunities based on their skin color. It should be that any child no matter what race, that is smart and works hard should have an even playing field. In some ways minorities do benefit from it, but at the same time, their opportunities as a whole are often times not equal to those who are not minorities. To address this problem, I think that inequalities in the education system need to first be addressed.

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TyGrayWes
11/01/2013 21:20

Last week I witnessed a guy walking across the street holding his daughters hand, dragging her along basically at the speed he was walking, on his cell phone. He did not look up once; his face was glued to his smart phone, as he crossed the busy main street, across Georgia Ave, DC. As I watched him, I thought he would not have time to react if he or his little girl were in any danger being that distracted. There was also a train that crashed at Takoma station because the driver was on her phone. We hear crazy stories all the time about some accident because someone was distracted by their smart phone. People are so wrapped up in their own lives and technology is distracting, and people do not realize or care how many people they are putting in danger. This is a major fragmentation of society, when we thing about how technology is everywhere and all these social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on, that takes away a lot of time from your family and real friends, and it has got to the point that you rather risk someone else’s life while driving to look at these social networks that you checked 10 minutes ago. The problem is not just the personal isolation but in public and the power technology has on us, the main problem is the danger it bring. I think this affects us all because too many accidents are happening because of technology like smart phones and me personally I am going to make sure I cut out a couple hours off my iphone daily and be more aware and safe when I’m in public or driving.
Question:
1) Have you seen or been in any dangerous situation because of your smart phone and do you think this affects you in anyway?

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Melissa
11/06/2013 21:49

Yes actually today while I was on my way home I see this lady with a van full of kids, I guess they were hers. While she was driving she was on Facebook on her smart phone the only reason I could see so clearly was because it was dark and she had the phone close to the window. If anything were to go wrong on the road her children's life would be at danger as would mine.

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TyGrayWes
11/06/2013 23:06

It is scary how things like that happen every day; we can’t keep being that careless when our choices affect others.

Allyn Achah
11/07/2013 15:20

Yes I have actually been in such a situation because of my iphone. Recently my friends and I were going out and she decided to post her location on facebook and who she was with.Lets just say people I was not expecting showed up and I got into a little situation.Posting can be a lot of fun bt it can also be the kind of fun that hunts you someday.It may not be evident or hurt you as a young adults but your future employer may look you up on facebook and find derogatory information that can affect a decision like you getting a job or not.

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Ifiya R.
11/01/2013 21:44

A social problem of today that I would like to discuss is technology. Living in the age of technology is both beneficial on so many levels, but it also has caused so many problems and fragmentation. This is relevant because students, children, and adults are no longer seeing the need of social interaction face to face, this is an issue because children are not knowing how to use simple manners. No one says hello or good morning as they pass another. Or they will bump into someone without saying excuse me or sorry. There is also an issue with students when it comes across in writing or texting, the art of abbreviation can hinder our progress to excel. Instead of writing the whole word out they write it in short hand, "idk" or "ttyl" in stead of saying "i don't know" or "talk to you later". Unfortunately being glued to your phone,computer and video-games has also lead to lack of activity. This is creating a generation of unhealthy individuals who will end up with potential health problems, like obesity. Technology helps us makes things convenient but it also distracts us.

1. What is your opinion of today technology, is manners a thing of the past? Could kids get more involved to decrease obesity rate in America? Why?

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Tram T.
11/06/2013 22:26

I absolutely agree with everything you have stated. Majority of the time people are glued to their technology and it isolates them from society. Im sure many people are familiar with using your phone as a distraction so you wouldnt have to face the awkward conversation with a stranger. It's not only adults even, little children are glued to technology, i recently went to a family party and my little cousins, all under the age of 7, were on their tablets and iPads the whole time. Back when i was young i actually played with other kids and interacted. Now all you see are people on their phones and tablets to entertain them. I am half and half on the manners is a thing of the past, because there is a wide range of people who still have the every day basis manners, whether it be a hello to your neighbors or the excuse me when you bump into someone. But there are also those people who zone their surroundings around them cause they are staring at their phones. I think the obesity rate in America can blame technology for a portion of it, but i definitely think its the processed food. Technology is part of the obesity rate because instead of playing outside and being active, people now a days lock themselves in their rooms on their devices.

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Jetzabel Velez-Melendez
11/01/2013 22:34

Fragmentation in communitites- Your sexuality is none of my business!


From the times of the Christian Bible homosexuality has been frowned upon by heterosexual men and women alike. Thousands of years later the right to choose your sexual preference is still a hot topic everywhere. It is now 2013 and most all of the 50 states in the US have legalized gay marraige, allowed gays to adopt children and join the military without hiding ones sexual preference. But my problem is when did a persons sexual liking become their identity? People in the LGBT communities have generated this voice that has helped them overcome a lot of unnecessary obstacles, for instance hate crimes have gone down and social acceptance is rising. But again, does who you like to be intimate with make you who you are? As a heterosexual female I would feel so awkward discussing my interest in black men, so why do I need to know that you are a lesbian or bisexual. Could that be a reason hate crimes came about is by feeding already ignorant individuals something they are not familiar with and wanting them to accept it. I think the less one tells about their sex life the better. Legislation can be changed, equality is being reached but we as a group have become too candid on the topic of sexuality. And I think that is stunting our growth on tolerance and acceptance. I believe that if you show a closed minded person how similar you are without discussing what sexual preferences you have, that person could see you in a different light. Sex is an important factor on our lives, but it should not define who we are as humans.

My questions for all who have taken the time to read my thoughts:
A) Do you think disclosing your sexual prefernce to the military or other jobs can be beneficial or can create problems in the workplace and everyday life?
B) Is simply not disclosing your sexual preference a good way to deter predjiduce in schools, workplaces and other social spots?

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Urban_Mason
11/01/2013 23:00

To answer your question A, disclosing ones sexuality to the military is a must, as far as civilian job, probably not...depends on the circumstance. In the military its a different story because you do not want one who is estrogen dominant to be heading missions that are testosterone dominant. Nor do you want feminine males conducting missions which may be commanding and detrimental. In civilian life, being gay or not is no problem .

To your question B, being who you are will always save you whether you are gay or straight, yellow or blue. Being yourself will let people know what you stand for and how you carry yourself in life. While you may receive negative response for who you are, at the end of the day you stand true!

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Dakota Ayers
11/04/2013 00:41

Unveiling one's sexual preference can be both beneficial and detrimental to the workplace, but to disregard or not mention one's sexuality wouldn't deter prejudice, if anything it would make it more prevelent.
Imagine being at work or school and watching and hearing others talk and share stories of what they and their significant other had done the previous weekend, while you sit in silence because as a gay male you feel out of place saying "boyfriend" which would lead you to hide or simply omit a part of your life.
In order to deter prejudice the judgemnetal individuals need to asses themselves and react with respect.
This is a perfect example of what we learned in class, classic "blaming the victim"
As the victim of prejudice it shouldn't be that individuals responsibility to tailor themselves to the world, but for those with the problem to realize that yes this is 2013, inclusivity is in demand

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Gisele
11/06/2013 22:09

I agree with Dakota's point here - asserting that gay people should "tailor" themselves in order to make heterosexuals comfortable seems rooted in victim-blaming. You ask if one explanation for hate crimes might be gays "pushing" their identities on people who aren't accustomed to the gay community; I think that the explanation for hate crimes is the hatred that has existed against gays since Biblical times, which you acknowledged exists at the start of your post. You've answered your own question - the cause of hate crimes is age-old close-mindedness and intolerance, not a gay person daring to be themselves.

It's worth noting that the Bible is not the be-all end-all it seems to be in the timeline of human history. Hugely significant faith traditions existed before Judaism/Christianity and continue to exist today, and some of these don't have a word to say, good or bad, about homosexuality. Non-binary gender expression dates back at least to Ancient Egypt; indigenous cultural practices in Mexico, India and Southeast Asia involve third genders. Most people in the world are heterosexual; however, heterosexuality as a dominant orientation doesn't necessitate a built-in cultural hatred of minority orientations in every society. European/American Bible-based views of homosexuality are just one unfortunate example of how quick people can be to turn against minorities. The right question to ask is not, "When did gay people begin determining their identities based on sexuality?", it's "When did heterosexuality become an excuse for bigotry?"

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Urban_Mason
11/01/2013 22:44

A social problem facing America today that is helping to fragment the populous is the cutbacks on food stamp funding. This problem was picked because in recent news the House Republicans were successful in making social welfare more stringent; food stamps taking the hardest hit. As a past Food Stamp recipient I was only collecting $16 a month, this decision to cut the program significantly has resulted in families seeing a $36 cut and singles seeing a $11 cut; which in essence if I was still on Food Stamps would mean I would receive $6 a month in benefits. The rest of the country who is already receiving a great amount of these benefits will be impacted as well, being as though they have budgeted themselves on these scant funds. An action to combat this would have to start at the federal level of Government. Unfortunately, because this United States of America is built now on a system of debt and excessive income tax, the steps the Republicans have taken is a necessary evil. At my own level, I have recognized that this system is corrupted in its own sense, and for one to rise above means you must become a master of "want" and "need", those that go to school are hired by those who have a knack for money and business albeit if them themselves went to school or not.

Question posed to my fellow class mates:

1.Could a capitalistic country like the U.S. take control of the economy and force companies that have outsourced work to pay taxes?

2. Would the Founding Fathers of the U.S. have come after Roosevelt and considered him a traitor for his acceptance of the private American Centralized Bank...the IRS


To my instructor: In a country that was built from ground up, in the middle of beliefs that have sustained the beginning of time, where do you believe Americans stand?

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Rachel Zelaya
11/01/2013 22:47

Unequal funding in education is a big social issue. A lot of people always talk about how certain counties have a bad reputation when it comes to formal education but they never think about the underlying issue. A district that is wealthier will have more funding than one that is less well off. Less funding means less resources, and possibly, less hope. Education is supposed to be used to reconstruct society, but how can we better society if funding in schools isn't equal? “Inequitable funding of U.S. public schools contributes significantly to the under achievement of our low-income and minority students. It’s something we have to fix if we are to progress as a society,” Cynthia G. Brown, vice president of education policy at the Center for American Progress, said in a statement. Education is such an important thing for a person to have; without an education, you put yourself in jeopardy of being oppressed. Society puts out this image that you will not be successful unless you are formally educated, but not everyone gets the same quality of education. Limited resources can also affect the environment in a school. Schools with less funding usually have failure associated with them as well as high drop out rates. If a school is always associated with failure, the students and teachers will eventually give up and no longer believe success is possible. Minorities usually feel the effect of inequality in education the most. "The report finds that a black or Hispanic student is nearly four times more likely to be enrolled in one of the city’s poorest performing high schools than an Asian or white, non-Hispanic student," said Valerie Strauss in the Washington post. Nowadays everyone's mindset is "every man for themselves," and that is why the education system is the way it is since school funding comes from taxes. Before we try to fix the problem of unequal funding in education, we must first focus on changing the selfish mindset. Although I cannot think of a solution to fix the funding problem, that does not mean there isn't one. We must work on our funding for education now so that future generations have a stronger chance at reconstructing society.

What are some small steps would could take that would lead us in the right direction to making school funding more equal among districts?

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Nafisa Ahmed
11/01/2013 23:13

A huge fragmentation in society is this idea that the Islamic religion is violent. It is viewed this this way by many countries, but mainly in the U.S. Here, it is painted as terror- driven towards society and abusive towards its women. The media, usually conservative sources of news, helps to build this propaganda by strictly exposing its audience to a one- sided view of things. This perception of the religion and its followers has a great impact on the fragmentation of society by making non- Muslims afraid of Muslims. After the U.S. went to war with Iraq and especially after 9/11, people began feeding into the media coverage portraying all Muslims as dangerous. This is detrimental to a society because it is causing its people to form pre- conceived notions of people they have never met individually. This exacerbates another social issue that professor Eitzen discusses in his address, The Fragmentation of Social Life; the issue of heightened personal isolation. Fragmenting one group of people and judging them based on stereotypes will lead to people being "isolated from their neighbors, their co- workers, and even their family members." The social problem, being afraid of Muslims, also directly relates to myself, personally. I remember how much more difficult it was for my family and I to travel before 9/11 than after, and I remember being teased about being related to terrorists because of my last name. This also caused myself to become more isolated and more individualized. I could definitely be more active in volunteering with Islamic peace groups and organizations like Muslims for Peace, already founded to address the social issue. This interesting thing with this type of issue is that many actions can be taken to fix it. It could be anything from pushing the media to cover full stories, to relating non- Muslims and Muslims to one another, to even people in our society just being more open- minded to their diverse population.

Question: Do you think it is possible to completely change society's perception towards a particular group of people within it once this perception has already been formed?

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Gisele
11/06/2013 22:41

Clearly, you're right - the U.S. has a huge problem with how the Islamic religion and individual Muslims are represented in media. I thought of the Boston bombing incident when you mentioned news coverage - initially, law enforcement officials believed the suspects were much more dark-skinned, in line with traditional stereotypes about the appearances of people who practice Islam. The bombing was described as a "terrorist" attack; however, the Sandy Hook and Navy Yard shootings, committed by a white and black man respectively, were not described this way. The media represents Muslims as dark-skinned people with long, draping clothes, beards, turbans or hijabs. This is harmful to all American Muslims and to other groups as well: those Muslims who are dark-skinned or do wear hijab or burqa are viewed as "terrorists" and searched in airports; those who are light-skinned or not visibly Muslim are looked at askance when they reveal their religion; and Sikhs, who wear turbans, are viewed as suspicious because of their "Muslim" appearance and are targeted with violence (as in the case of a recent shooting at a Sikh temple in Michigan). Dark-skinned people who "look Muslim" are profiled. Americans' definition of Islam is dangerously narrow and bigoted, and this results in unjust racial profiling and unforgivable acts of violence.

To answer your question, I think that while society's perception of groups often does change, new perceptions are sometimes flawed as well, and older, more harmful perceptions take far too long to die off. In the 1950s, Americans were hugely suspicious of communism and China, two things they saw as inextricably linked. Mao's China, the Cultural Revolution, and the Chinese people themselves were seen as conquering forces to be feared and hated. Much of American suspicion towards China was tied to the Cold War. When Chinese immigrants came to the United States in the mid-twentieth century, they were indeed often poor and suffering the from the lingering effects of the Cultural Revolution. This wave of immigrants was seen as unsophisticated, ignorant and still indoctrinated into the "poisonous" ideology of communism. However, China began to change culturally, and as it morphed gradually into a capitalist system from the 1980s onward, it became more to Americans' liking. Today, Chinese immigrants are viewed as industrious and intelligent; many come to the U.S. seeking higher education or high-paying jobs. However, this has resulted in new stereotypes: the pervasive idea that all Chinese Americans are good at math, that Chinese parents practice domestic violence against children to drive them to achieve, and that they are a dour people obsessed with money and success. While there has been a shift away from the idea of Chinese immigrants as culturally and financially impoverished peasants (among younger generations of Americans, this idea is gone to the point of near extinction) new ideas about China continue to harm Chinese Americans.

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Tram T.
11/06/2013 22:59

I think the media is why so many people perceive the Islamic religion as violent and dangerous. People in the society make an automatic assumption about these people. Nowadays, whenever people from the middle east or whether they are Islam, people think of terrorism. In high school, people would be cracking jokes about it but what they don't realize is it generalizes Middle Eastern and Islamic people. The view of seeing these people as dangerous is past on to our surroundings and is usually show in the media. I think it would be a hard to completely change society's perception toward a particular group because so many people already have there mind set and assumptions toward that group of people. It is possible but its a challenge and a step that society needs to take. Society has a way of constantly labeling people and having assumptions towards them.

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Gema Diaz
11/01/2013 23:16

The social problem that I think is worth blogging about is unemployment. Yes, this is an obvious choice, but you would be surprised by how many people, including myself at one point, initially don't realize that unemployment doesn't just affect those who are unemployed, but rather it ultimately affects all of society and of course the economy. The high unemployment rate is definitely a predominant social issue in the United States. Personally, I have been affected by unemployment. My own mother went through extremely hard times when she was laid off from her job and struggled to pay her rent and bills. She went months looking for a new job, and to no avail. Eventually she was depending on government assistance because she couldn't get back on her feet without a job. She suffered through depression and isolation, which in turn affected her relationship with others, most importantly her children. With the cancellation of her health insurance, it was hard to find adequate medical attention. Thus, there is a link between health issues and unemployment. It is surely possible that other families in the many communities of society have dealt with or are dealing directly or indirectly with the effects of unemployment, such as my family did. Unemployment can affect a society when the unemployed or those personally affected become desperate enough that crimes, including violence crimes, are brought into communities. Crimes such as theft, prostitution, become an option to ends meat because if unemployed long enough, crime may be the only way they see to make it possible to keep their homes, pay their bills, feed their themselves and/or their families. For some it may even be important to maintain the facade of a particular economic status, and thus turning to crime to do so. The stress and anger built up from the problems that result from unemployment can lead to domestic violence or violence against others in the community. The economy suffers due to unemployment because when one has no income, they have no money to spend and so businesses suffer, ultimately preventing the prosperity of the economy and society. Poverty and homelessness are without a question possible results of unemployment, and of course are social problems of their own. So to sum up some of the ways unemployment affects society we have health issues, social isolation, crime, poverty, homelessness, and economic depression. Problems that affect society as a whole. Sadly, for many it is shameful to be in such positions of need, and many seek no help or support. In my personal experience, I found that it was important to get educated about the resources and options available inside and outside of the communities, to know and stay up to date with what the government is doing to try and fix the situation, to find ways to get involved with helping the unemployed find jobs, and offer support, both emotional and in form of meals and/or monetary etc. to help those in need.

Questions:

1) Are there any particular ways in which you feel high unemployment rates have affected you?

2) Are you aware of any efforts or organizations inside or outside of your community that you could potentially refer somebody in need to?

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TyGrayWes
11/06/2013 22:59

For question 1, I feel because there is a high unemployment rate, a lot of people like me are stuck doing jobs they hate, only because they need the money to provide for themselves and their families. Finding a second job to replace your current job is already hard in itself, but because you’re a student like me your time is limited. Most employers want an employee available at all times, whenever they need you, and seasonal jobs are temporary.

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Emily Blase
11/01/2013 23:48

Music was once a unifying force within society, but has become increasingly fragmented as technology and ease of access for the audience and self-promotion for performers expands. I picked the topic of music because it is an example of how the things we as individuals are interested in can both bring us together and drive us apart for seemingly arbitrary reasons. Whenever I meet and start getting to know somebody new, inevitably one of the first questions we ask each other is what kind of music we are interested in. This is a question which, as I'm sure we've all experienced, can either make or break a relationship. An article published in 2007 in the New York times ("The Segmented Society", David Brooks) posits that what type of music we listen to is also fairly telling of our socioeconomic class and status in society. The example that he mentions is Carl Wilson's theory that indie rock is "the genre for the liberal-arts-college upper-middle class." When country music is mentioned, the common image that pops into one's head is usually of an uneducated beer-swilling, gun-toting, red-blooded 'Murican from the Southern states, or somebody pretty similar.
I have noticed in my own life that I have stopped telling people what music I listen to - at least until it's somebody I have gotten to know BEFORE we delve into our musical interests. If I do answer what music I'm into, I have found myself basing at least part of my answer off who I am talking to. I will begin my answer with a generic statement about how I really love all types of music, and then try to focus in on a genre I think they will relate to. If I'm with an intellectual liberal-arts major, I usually mention how formative Death Cab for Cutie was in my adolescent years; if I'm talking to my hippie friends, I'm more apt to bring up folk. This seems to be a common theme throughout society - like-minded individuals run in packs, and the type of music we listen to really illustrates how far we fragment ourselves. Punks hang with punks, ravers with other ravers, etc. By granting permission to define ourselves by the type of music we listen to, we lose out on an opportunity to diversify the scope of people we associate with, and consequentially are potentially missing out on the opportunity to expand the ideas and views we are exposed to.
In order to combat the issue of fragmentation, we could begin by expanding the range of musical genres we listen to in our spare time. When I find others with tastes in music that I haven't explored yet, I try to delve into their style and will at the very least give it a try. I have found that doing this exposes me to new (to me) ideas about how to view the world and our role in it. We could stop asking one another what kind of music we are into before passing judgement on a person. We can also recognize that people who listen to certain genres of music do tend to run in packs, and seek out those who have up until now run in a pack different to ours.

Question: What kind of music are you most interested in; how do you think that affects who you are, who you hang out with, or how you see the world?

[I personally go through genre moods. I genuinely try to give every genre a try; some weeks I'm in to EDM, and other weeks all I want to do is listen to every single song made from 1990-1999. I have found that my baseline or genre that I am most continually drawn to tends toward the indie variety. The genre of music I am in to at the moment affects how I react to the world (I only study efficiently when I listen to classical music, and am immediately less calm if I'm been listening to angry music all day) down to how I base my outfits for the day.
I absolutely immediately relate to those who like indie music too, and have found that our conversations are more likely to be a left-leaning political discussion than those who tend toward other genres.]

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Tram T.
11/06/2013 23:14

I agree with how are interest in a certain genre of music defines our surroundings. The different interest in music allows people to form groups and cliques because they all have a similar interest. People are so familiar with that one type of genre they dont really want to explore the others. I've known many people who constantly bash country music, but when asking them, they haven't even tried listening to one song. I have a wide range for my interest in music, I listen to country to rap to indie. Honestly, anything that has a catchy tune is something that i will listen to. I think this effects affect who I am because in a way it allows me to be open to people and not judge them just because of their interest. It effects who i hang out with cause although i have a main group of friends I also have people outside of that group who are completely different from me but they are also considered a good friend. People in society really do need to expand their range in music before they bash it.

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Ifiya R
11/06/2013 23:22

Interesting I never thought music would classify who you are depending on what genre you listen to. Me personally dont have a specific genre nor does my self- worth depend on your acceptance of me. I love all kinds of music from number one reggae, old school hip hop, dubstep, R&B soul, jazz, oh the list will just go on! But i can see how this can be a social problem cause you prolly wont find rap music as elevator music or during a doctor visit. Certain music puts you in a certain mood. Like when i get ready to work out i put on my upbeat music to get me pumped or before i practice yoga ill have a zen/feng shui genre playing. Could you imagine the world without it? It would be so silent, certain places use sounds as a way of communicating to one another. That's the aesthetic of music.

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Gisele
11/01/2013 23:56

The availability of abortions is one social problem increasingly facing American women and their families. In recent months, there was a furor over contraception, normally an issue of zero contention, in American politics. With this in mind, it is sobering to imagine the views of American politicians, particularly Republicans, on the legality of abortion.

One state which has fielded much controversy over abortion is just across the river - Virginia. In his race for the governor's seat, Republican Ken Cuccinelli, has continued his long tradition of anti-abortion politics established during his years as Virginia's Attorney General and as a state senator. Cuccinelli helped pass numerous pieces of legislation intended to dissuade women from getting abortions, including, recently, a bill that imposed strict rules on the widths of clinics' hallways and rooms (a bid to shut down clinics, many of which fare poorly financially and cannot accommodate the restrictions). In the state of Virginia, a woman must undergo a vaginal probe and endure an ultrasound where she is forced to listen to the heartbeat of her "child-to-be" before she can obtain an abortion. This legislation is not only invasive and vindictive, I would argue that it is actively harmful. Given the rural nature of much of the state and the consequent difficulty of obtaining an abortion (which is expensive even if obtainable), it seems likely that many women in Virginia, particularly the rural poor, will begin resorting to unsafe home methods of abortion if Cuccinelli is elected and continues his campaign against this important woman's right. Virginia is a leader among Republican states and influential during election years, and if Cuccinelli is allowed to get away with quasi-legal abortion restrictions, Republicans in other states may follow the precedent he and other Virginia Republicans set.

It frightens me that in many "red" states, including Virginia, it would be very difficult for me to obtain an abortion in case of accidental pregnancy. Young mothers are faced with a host of social obstacles that women their age without children do not experience: they graduate high school and college at far lower rates, and the financial burden of supporting even one child means they must work longer hours, often holding down two jobs. The decreasing availability of abortions, and the move towards legal-only-in-name abortion policies, threatens the financial and social well-being of women, particularly young women, in America. This includes myself. And when young women are made into young mothers by a set of circumstances offering them no ready alternative to motherhood, gender inequality and child poverty are perpetuated. Thus, the availability of abortions not only affects women, it affects all Americans - women encouraged by these legal circumstances to keep unwanted pregnancies, men who may end up paying child support to these new mothers, and children whose mothers must work longer hours with less education to support them. These children are crucial; they will grow into the next generation of Americans.

A simple first step that can be taken by all Montgomery College students is to protest the presence of anti-abortion protesters on the college's Rockville campus. The protesters set up a large booth next to the Humanities building, disrupting the learning environment by standing amongst students handing out flyers and displaying large posters with graphic color images of aborted fetuses. The protesters have had a spot on the Rockville campus for years and discourage the facilitation of reasonable, non-inflammatory discourse and conflict resolution with their polarizing presence. According to one campus librarian, the best strategy is to complain first to the Counseling department, and then to the President or Vice President of the College. If the influence of one such inflammatory group over college students is removed, perhaps other colleges in the region, including Virginia, will follow suit.

A question for this week: How does the discouragement or prohibition of abortion contribute to fragmentation in the context of the family, the community, and society at large? And what is the difference between personal (religious, moral) definitions of wrong and legal definitions of wrong in a secular society?

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Conlan
11/02/2013 12:39

Fragmentation In Syria

I chose to write about the the rebellion against the government of Syria due to the nature of their political system and the fragmentation and social cleavages within Syrian society. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad took power in the year of 2000 following his fathers 30 year rule. Syria already consist of a population of many religious and ethnic ideologies, 70% of people are Sunni Muslim and constitute the majority of the population. However since the 1930s members of the Alawite sect consist of a mere 12% of the population but hold a vast majority of the wealth and power positions within the government. Although 70% of the population is Sunni Muslim their are many Armenians, Christians, Palestinians, Druzes, and Kurks, and as of 2011 a rebellion has started among the people of many sects and ethnic groups to overthrow the corrupt, selfish, and predominately Alawite government who aren't doing their job to protect the liberties and rights of its people, the government has even formed a secret police, gang-like organization known as the Shabiha used to arrest and intimidate anti-government protesters. I selected this problem because its a political hot topic and its a strong example of what fragmentation can do to a society (coupled with political corruption). Even among the rebel groups their is fragmentation, according to BBC news their are an estimated 1000 rebel groups who along with fighting to coup the government, fight among each other creating a war torn state. This topic is also very relevant to societies in the world especially among middle eastern states because it shows the problems that can arise from a government that is biased and operates in an area with many different groups of people where it becomes increasingly hard to come to a consensus to social problems and issues, although is this case the Syrian government tended to ignore its citizens in general. My question to the bloggers is how should neighboring nations and those with the ability to aid war-torn countries (Namely the U.S.) and help bring security and peace to a place with so many different people to please, is it possibly without the state fragmenting into different governments and ruling powers?

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11/02/2013 13:05

I chose this issue because its something i've noticed and pondered on as a current DC resident. From the fall of 2009 when i first moved here, to now, i've witnessed a drastic increase in new development, new residents and new capital flowing vibrantly throughout the city. Many are happy about this growth but i wonder how this is affecting the residents and business owners who have been here and are now being ousted out by the numbers. They have to witness the growth of their city from the outside and must deal with the idea that their departure is a benefit to the city. Though economically this is good for D.C. the same issues with education and poverty for these individuals still exist and one could only think that they are now someone else's problem. An bordering counties such as Prince George's and Montgomery County are likely destinations for these individuals leaving this issues in the hands of new .
One of the biggest actions i feel that can take place at this point is to really address this issue that media tends to ignore. Society is effected by this issue economically, socially and educationally. Before an this can be solved, people must understand the significance of this because answers to this will require more than one person. The people most affected by this tend to lack the resources and in many cases the education to effectively combat this problem so i feel that it would be best to bring this issue up amongst the masses to create a collective effort in addressing and correcting the problem.
My question to you is do you feel this is a problem? or just a result of economic growth? and have you or anyone you know been affected by this?

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Gema
11/06/2013 10:42

I think that you bring up a very good point with your argument. I think there is validity to the fact that there are residents and/or small business owners in these areas of large development in areas of DC that are greatly affected in negative ways by the changes of the community. Who is looking out for them? Who CARES whether or not they will be ok? In reality, I think you might be right about the fact that they are more likely to be expected to close up shop, pack their belongings and find somewhere else to live out their lives. It's truly unfair and unfortunate for them. Though there are some benefits for the economy because of the new projects and development, those benefits are not spread out fairly to everyone who resides in these communities.

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Jordan L
11/06/2013 23:02

Being born in DC, as well as living there until last month I have definitely noticed the changes and development around the city.These changes are very drastic, but expected because it is a result of economic growth. I do see it being a problem for local small business because the city now has Costco, and plans to allow Walmart to open a location in the near future. I also see you mentioned Prince Georges county which is where I live now. It also has much development right outside the city recently opening the National Harbor in the last few years. They are also beginning construction for the new casinos coming soon.The construction for the new Tanger Outlet malls in my area causes a lot of traffic in my area but other than that it does not affect me personally. In my opinion its all about the money that will be made for the are.

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Kenny Calvin
11/04/2013 20:37

Public schools are overprescribing children who are put on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). I chose this topic because I feel public schools are giving this drug to some children simply because their brains work differently than those of most children and the schools or they may show normal childhood restlessness. It is a social problem because it has to many side effects an puts thousands of kids health at risk. Parents and teachers need to learn how to approach a child who has a strong personality and use it for good. Instead of putting your child on drugs so he/she can follow the leader use their outgoing personality to their benefit because ADHD can change a child’s life long success self-esteem. Parents of ADHD children need to first try to look for viable alternatives to prescription medications.

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Adwoa
11/04/2013 23:07

I believe peer pressure is a big social issue in society today. Most individuals are so caught up with being liked by their peers that they are willing to do any and everything to maintain that image. This is also a way for good apples to become bad apples. Peer pressure also comes about when the individual does not want to look bad in front of their peers so they do whatever they are told.True friends will like you no matter what you decide to do.

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TMerella
11/06/2013 19:59

I think that peer pressure is a social issue as well because I believe that it can lead to bullying and putting down others who are not in your circle especially in schools. I think that a lot of times the problem with peer pressure is students(specifically in high school or lower) are trying to find themselves and can be easily manipulated by others. Students who try to control others are usually unhappy with themselves and use that control to make themselves feel better. Students who are being controlled or peer pressured also may be unhappy or uncertain with who they are, and feel better going along with what that person or the crowd does. If a person or group who is controlling wants to bully someone, people involved may not say anything even if they know it is wrong because they are too worried about how that will make them look. And in a sense they are being bullied themselves by giving into that peer pressure. And the problem with bullying is that it has led to teen suicide, and usually many people are involved in the bullying.

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Jordan L
11/05/2013 14:47


An example of social isolation, would be video games therefore making them a social fragmentation. Grand Theft Auto 5 by Rocksta games, is one of the most controversial games ever created was released September 17, 2013 and earned over $1 billion US dollars in its first three days. This game has sold more than any other video game created. This game is not like the average sports or war games most commonly sold but combines the two and allows the player to do almost any thing capable in the real world(i.e. Drunk Driving). What makes this a sociological problem is players spend hours even days at a time working in this fantasy world, working to make money and build fake relationships. This is a problem because grown adults end up putting this game above real life relationships. This may not seem like a problem to someone unaware of this game and its effects. In actuality this game has led to failing relationships, people skipping work, and even dumping a partner to spend more time leveling up. Some people often feel the realism of this game desensitizes people to crimes, as well as causing people to commit crimes in the real world. I play this game myself and it very much so enjoyable. I do not necessarily believe the games should be taken off shelves, but many people and organizations including the media do feel the game needs to be edited. For more about such arguments visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/uloop/a-defense-of-violence-the_b_4173854.html or http://www.rockstargames.com/V/news

Do you believe violent video games such as Grand Theft Auto cause people to commit crimes or violent acts?

Do you believe such video games should be taken off store shelves and not available to the public?

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Sharifur S
11/06/2013 23:10

We had this discussion in Psychology Class last year and we concluded that violent videos does that immediately cause a person to commit crimes, but it exposes them to it. For instance, if I watch a tv show that curses frequently on a regular basis, then I am more likely to curse in real life.

This type of social isolation not only applies to video games, but also mmorpg, the internet, or just social media (anonymous chat site like 4chan or a forum). I consider it as more of an addiction like drugs than anything else. And these addictions usually start out of stress in most cases to escape the real world.

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Sharifur S
11/06/2013 23:12

We had this discussion in Psychology class last year and we concluded that violent videos does not immediately cause a person to commit crimes, but it exposes them to it. <-minor typo




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