Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Reflecting upon our April 8th, 2010 class I have found some interesting things about how peoples’ social identity in gender and
peoples’ ethnography are related.

After watching a movie about Giddy Worm, the class broke into groups to discuss each other’s ethnography. The main point that I got out of this video is that when working with clients as social workers we need to work with client’s culture and how the client views their culture or in this case one’s ethnography. However, like in many other cases that we have recognized this year, we need to know ourselves first. To do this the class broke into groups to discuss our ethnography. Ethnography, as defined in class, is the study of a particular culture or group to try to understand the culture from the perspective of its members.

When I was thinking of my own ethnography I realized that it related back to my social identity as a woman, what my gender roles are as woman, and how I am always doing gender roles. People are doing gender even when we talk! Gender roles in communication are what Deborah Tannen calls “Genderlect Styles.” Generlect is, “A term suggesting that masculine and feminine styles of discourse are best viewed as two distinct cultural dialects” (Griffin 430).

In my life I did not know how much gender roles affected me in my everyday life and how much gender roles are linked to one’s ethnography. For instance, when communicating with the opposite sex, I often found myself having gender roles in my conversation or Genderlect. I often used the term, “I’m sorry” for a situation, such as when the person I talked to has had a bad day. Men thought I meant “I’m sorry” as an actual apology when really it was not. This distinction of “I’m sorry,” is one of the Genderlect distinctions
suggested by Deborah Tannen.

In my communications with people I have constantly participated in gender roles without knowing it. This communication is seen all over in American culture and therefore is part of the American ethnography. From our Rothenberg book, I also found gender roles to be part of our ethnography when Author Judith Lober says: "Everyone does gender without thinking about it…Gender is such a familiar part of daily life that it usually takes a deliberate disruption of our expectations of how women and men are supposed to act to pay attention to how it is produced. Gender signs and signals are so ubiquitous that we usually fail to note them—unless they are missing or ambiguous." (Rothenberg & Lober 54)

Having gender roles in communication is something that is a part of peoples’ daily encounters with others, which is linked to peoples’
social identity of gender and peoples’ Ethnographies.

Griffin, Em. A First Look at Communication Theory. 7th. New
York: McGraw-Hill, 2009. Print.
Rothenberg, P.S. & Lober, L. Night to his day the social construction
of gender. 8th. New York, Ny: Worth Publishers.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Society Run by Technology and Control

Recently we were talking about cultural assumptions and values. Our society today is rushed and is constantly putting pressure on its people to be successful. When filling out the “Summary of Cultural Assumptions and Values” sheet, I found myself marking entries related to how our society is fast paced, stressful, goal driven, and achievement is everything.
The recent episode with the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano demonstrated our dependence on machines. This tiny island in the middle of basically nowhere put a stop to a large sector of the global community and global economy. It is obvious that our society values money. The television coverage of this volcanic eruption spoke often of the millions and even billions of dollars lost by the airlines, travel industries, agricultural products and more. Businesses are in a panic worrying about the cost of business expenses for employees stranded in many European cities. These employees are costing the company money, but they are not conducting any business transactions nor making sales for the company. Essentially, they are on an all expenses paid vacation from the company. What is the driving force in our society? It is to achieve success and make money whether for yourself or the company you work for. European governments and many businesses are upset because they could not control the situation. We like to think we can control nature and become frustrated when we must submit to fate. The dominant US culture has continued to believe that we can wrap nature around out fingers and tame it. As we continue to do this we only hurt nature more and more. How many people will lose their job because their solution to the suspending of air traffic ended up costing the company money? The eruption of this volcano has only shown that we do not have control over everything especially nature.

Stewart, E.C., Danielian,J., & Foster, R.J. (1998). In M.J. Bennet (Ed.). Basic Concepts of Intercultural Communication: A reader. (pp. 157-172). Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press (Selections)

Stewart, E. C., & Bennett, M. J. (1991). Perception of self (CH 7). In American cultural patterns: A cross-cultural perspective (Rev. ed),(pp. 129 - 148). Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press (Selections)


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gender Roles within Society

While in class and while learning about gender made me realize how important it is within our society. It was never brought to my attention that gender has its very own big role. I have always viewed gender as something that’s very complex, a boy is a boy, and a girl is a girl. Our society everyday teaches little girls to be girls and little boys to be boys almost everywhere. A great example of that is on cards, which you can find anywhere at your local stores. The cards enforce and strictly make girls into stereotypical “girls” and boys into stereotypical “boys. Even before their births, during baby shower events parents receive cards for boy and girls which differentiate in many ways.

Not only do cards emphasize girls as “girls” and boys as “boys”, television shows do too. As younger kids are growing up, our television shows prepare younger kids to attend school and be ready. However, in this case there are many shows and cartoons also differentiating the differences between males and females. Girls always wear pink or light colors with long hair or shoulder length hair with dolls, and boys are usually dressed in blue or dark solid colors. They are also shown to be bald with no hair. , Also, characters shows with short hair – who are seen as boys – are sometimes shown destroying materials. They make boys strong and tough, while they emphasize girls to be weak and sweet, always waiting to be rescued. Not only that, but girls make high screams when they are in fright and trying to escape danger. But for boys, they usually growl back and fight back. “Gender Socialization begins early as girls and boys are encouraged to act in different ways, play with different toys, and perform different chores around the house (like washing dishes rather than cutting the grass) and send a powerful early message about the gendered division of labor in the family.” (Marsiglia & Kulis, 2009, p. 67) Everywhere is being gender taught, whether you notice it or not, it’s everywhere.

Reference: Marsiglia, F. F. & Kulis, S. (2009). Diversity, oppression and change: Culturally grounded social work. Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books, Inc.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

America: Only For White Immigrants? By Deidre

I am planning on going to Mexico next spring through this social work program, so I have been very interested with Mexico/USA relations. Today I heard something interesting while I was at work. An American man was murdered in Arizona by an illegal Mexican immigrant. So of course many people got angry at border patrol policies. Now people are putting up more fences on the Mexican border. Currently, there are hundreds of miles along the border that have no fence or security. The fences that they are putting up in some areas now look kind of like barn fences; made of a couple of planks and about three feet tall.
I have heard numerous comments and conversations throughout my life of people saying there needs to be more border patrol, but only on the Mexican border. This recent rush of new fences has made me think a lot about American opinions. I have never heard anyone say there needs to be more border patrol on the US/Canada border. Why is it that no one really cares who goes to or comes from Canada? Is this because most Canadians are white? Is it because the people of Mexico are, on average, poorer than the people of Canada? And why are Canadians considered American after only one generation, but Mexicans are always considered Mexican-American now matter how many generations of their ancestors have lived here?
There are also frequent comments such as “Mexicans take American jobs!” With this statement, I wonder many things. Why does no one say, “Canadians take American jobs!” or “British people take American jobs!” This brings me back to what we have talked about in class and read about in numerous articles. Does being “American” really mean “white”?
I don’t think so many people should be concerned about the Mexican border; after all, we are all people. All people deserve to live where they choose, isn’t that the American Dream? Or is that just the White Dream?


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Discrimination Against Obesity

While searching online through interesting articles I came across one that really stood out to me. The article is called “For Obese People, Prejudice in Plain Sight” found in the New York Times. It’s something that’s been brought to my attention a lot lately. People are all talking about how obesity is rising in America yet I haven’t heard much about obesity in the work place until now. The article goes on to explain people’s discriminatory actions, including this one said by Dr. Delos M. Cosgrove, who is a surgeon and a chief executive of the Cleveland Clinic. He told a New York Times Columnist that if he could legally get away with it, he would refuse to hire anyone who is obese. The moment I read that I was instantly appalled. If someone were to say the say the same thing only involving skin color, or sexual orientation, class status, or any other identities we learned about, he would probably be in huge trouble. But the comment was seen to be taken lightly which in my opinion isn’t okay. People seem to think that when people are obese, it’s all their fault and it’s more of a personal choice. This makes people think it’s okay to be more outspoken on the issue and say whatever they want to no matter how offensive it is, which in my opinion is really wrong.


-Nicole Gorr

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Self, the Person, and the Individual

During this week, we discussed about The Self, the Person, and the Individual. This discussion really amazed me a lot and furthered my thought about myself and how others think about themselves and the roles that we change or play in society.

We discussed about the different multiple selves that everyone has. According to information discussed in class, one of our multiple "selves" is "The Self", which is defined as the process of knowing and the one who is known. The use of Self, in Social Work is a very needed skill in applying it to others. Another related concept is "the Person". It is defined as the mask – Hiding the true you. We do not say “be true to your person” but instead “be true to yourself”. "Identity" is another concept of our multiple self. It signifies a close likeness to oneself. The last concept is the "Individual".

When talking about the Self, the Person, and the Individual, it makes me think about how everyone has more than one mask. One is your true self, the other in front of others, friends, co-workers, family, etc. When talking about being your true self, I believe that in each category that you put yourself into; you put a piece of yourself into those categories. Every day and every hour we put on masks in front of others. I feel that having multiple masks is a good thing to have in our society. We can be the silly person in front of friends and the serious at work. I remember during class discussion, Professor Rodenborg said that clients come in with different backgrounds and we need to understand where they are coming from. They may have different ways in trying to help solve the problems. We need to understand from their culture’s points of views that sometimes our way of our culture differs from theirs. It is like we have to put our mask into what they are seeing.

“In contrast, most cultures do not share our concepts. We may in fact be quite strange...” (Powerpoint)

Pang Khang

Monday, March 29, 2010

Racism in Spring Break

During my spring break I went out on Friday night with my girlfriends. We all decided to go to a club called 7 which closes at 2am. When we got there it was around midnight and there was a long line. Because we go there often we became friends with the people who worked there. As we kept walking closer to the door and not in line, one woman commented by saying, “look at those Asian girls they think they can get in, please.” I also heard another remark, “look kung pao chicken!” I was so angry at the racial comments that it almost ruined my night. I thought about it until we all laughed because we ended up getting in right away. Many people use racial remarks for different reasons. In this example the people that said those racial comments did it as an insult, because they were angry at what my friends and I did.
Sometimes people think that they can say something racist around their friends, because they think they can get away with it. We talked about this in class which is called Micro-aggression (2007). For example a few of my friends in high school have given me the name “chop sticks” since middle school. It happened in one of our classes when one of my friends decided to blurt out chop sticks to get my attention. I thought nothing of it, because I didn’t think it was that extreme. I did not start thinking about it closely until the teacher was so angry he yelled at everyone to stop and said that racial comments were not allowed in his class.
In our class Diversity and Inequality in Professional Practice we continue to talk about racism and diversity. It is a primary topic during dialogue discussions. What I encountered during spring break was very shocking to me, because someone said a racial slur to my face. After this incident, it made me think about a lot of other times when a racist comment has been geared towards me in the past. However, every time something like this happens to me I tend to let it go.

(May-June 2007). Examples of Racial Mircroaggressions. American Psychologist
Amy Phengsavath

From school Disrimination to Transgender

Boonchan Khamda:
This week in class we discussed the issues with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgenders. This sparked my interest because I had read an article about a girl who brought her girlfriend to prom and the school decided to cancel prom due to the issue she wanted to wear a tuxedo and bring a girl. After the school canceled prom she filed a law suit against them saying they violated her first amendment. Now she is being made out to be the poster child for gay and lesbian teens that stand for their rights and way of life. She is receiving numerous supports from famous people and others of the same sexual orientation. This article is showing how some schools don’t support the gay and lesbian choice. The controversy behind this is that she made the effort to go to the school for permission first and instead of giving her an answer they decided to cancel the entire prom altogether. This caused some backlash against her because it ruined prom for everyone else.
This relates to a speaker we had come in and talk to the class. The speaker was a transgender person who faced discrimination against him because of his sexual preference. He shared with us his story about how he had lost his job because of his identity. He had also shared the hardship he had with his family. Growing up he explained that when his father would introduce his partner to their friends his father would say that it is just his friend. He shared with us ways to talk to people who are transgenders and gay or lesbian. He said to be honest with them and ask straight forward about their sexual orientation. This would make it easier for the both of you to understand each other. A few definitions I found interesting about his speech was when he said that gay and lesbian is a sexual orientation, and transgender is how you identify yourself.
I think it’s unfair for the student to be punished because of their sexual preference. I also think it’s very unfair to cancel the prom because someone wanted to bring someone of the same sex. This kind of discrimination is happening too often. If anything her case brought awareness to the discrimination we all still see in the world. Having our speaker come in and share his experiences with the class really broadened my mind on gay, lesbian, and transgender people. This really shows what we are learning in class, how we deal with discrimination and how we can raise awareness.

Please copy and paste link, the hyperlink doesn't work.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Diversity, Segregation, Prejudice&Social Contact Theory withing the Youth

Last week we had our midterm exam so the term diversity, segregation, prejudice and idea of the Social Contact Theory are very fresh in my head, as it should be being a social work major. This weekend I found a great example of diversity and segregation within a group of high school athletes. This experience proved to me that diversity, segregation and prejudice is everywhere and the Social Contact Theory is always in effect, at any age.
On Sunday, February 28, 2010, a few friends and I volunteered to work as student athletic trainers for a basketball tournament held in Kennedy Center at Augsburg College. This event is called the Augsburg College Church Youth Basketball Tournament. The tournament has been occurring for the past nineteen years and is increasingly growing. While working the tournament I observed the diverse groups of teams and noticed that they were all segregated by the church they attend; therefore they only associated themselves with others from their church. As the tournament went on, I noticed more and more of the high school kids breaking out of their comfort zone and socializing with other players and teams. This transition took at least two to three hours, but in the end I was amazed that even high schoolers experience diversity and segregation, though they may not realize it. It also amazed me that so many people with different identities and backgrounds came together because of a single commonality, but wouldn’t associate with outer groups. This is when I noticed the Social Contact Theory was in effect.
The Social Contact Theory works to eliminate prejudice in a large diverse group, such as the one I observed. Though the first step to eliminating prejudice is to be aware of your own prejudice, the process of the Social Contact Theory is still undergoing. According to our PowerPoint, prejudice can be reduced in five ways: with equal status, pursuing a common goal, see “others” common humanity, contact must be sanctioned in an appropriate institution and creating potential friendships (Allport, 1954). Knowing these five conditions of eliminating prejudice through the Social Contact Theory gave me something to compare my experience to. When observing the basketball players at Augsburg College Church Youth Basketball Tournament, I saw that all of the conditions were met. I can assume that all of the athletes were of equal status, at least during their time in the tournament, because all were dressed alike (student athletes) and all were the same age group creating a greater sense of unity. Also all of these student athletes were striving for a common goal, winning the tournament and sharing the love of game. As I said earlier, this tournament has been reoccurring for the past nineteen years, this means that there is a long enough time to see “others” common humanity. The institution where the tournament took place was appropriate because all of the teams could be observed and with time, prejudice and segregation began to decrease. Finally, by the end of the tournament I could see that friendships were being created. After completing the Augsburg College Church Youth Basketball Tournament, I have realized that my volunteer work was worth the experience and that not only is diversity, segregation and prejudice everywhere, but the Social Contact Theory is always in effect.

Allport, G. W. (1954). The Nature of Prejudice. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Pettigrew, T. F. (1998). Intergroup contact theory. Annual Review of Pstchology, (49), 65-86.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Navy Fires Foul- Mouthed ‘Captain Bligh’

Navy Fires Foul- Mouthed ‘Captain Bligh’

The Star Tribune put out an article on March 8th about a woman Navy captain fired because of her “foul mouth.”(8 March, 2010) This article starts by making this woman sound like she did something terrible; someone being fired from a Captain’s position would surely have to have done something so horrific to be let go from the Navy. This woman was fired because of her foul language. As I continued to read I found myself wondering what this woman was doing that was different from any men in the Navy. The Star Tribune interviewed a couple of people that were under her command; it was said that this woman was verbally abusive and one man said that she degraded him by putting him in “time out.” I believe that this article brings up a major gender issue. The Army, Marines, and Navy are notorious for their harsh behavior when preparing people to get into the field. I find myself very confused that a woman is fired for a “foul mouth” when I believe that when a man does this it’s not even thought about. This also goes to show that even in the Navy a woman still must act like a lady or else she may face the consequences of being kicked out. I am extremely frustrated with this article because I believe that in the Navy everyone should be held at the same standards, everyone’s signing up for the same goals, right?

Anonymous (2010) Navy Fires Fouled Mouth ‘Captain Bligh.’ WWW.Startribune.com. 8 March, 2010.


CEO fired for racist email

Recently in the news, we’ve heard racism occurring everywhere. I found an interesting video clip of a CEO who was fired for forwarding racist images comparing the first lady, Michelle Obama and a chimpanzee, not to mention that along with the images was a quote from Larry the cable guy, “I don’t care who you are, this is funny.” Walt Baker, the CEO of the Tennessee Hospitality Association who forwards the images claims that this was only supposed to be between him and his friends. He says that he is not racist but I think others see it differently. Jerry Maynard, a Tennessee city council man spoke out against Baker and made it clear to the public that the people of Tennessee are not like Baker .Baker is aware that his action caused him to lose his friends and possibly his job according to the Convention Business Bureau. There was another case that involved a senator forwarding a group image with one image that is plain black with two eyes floating. It is clear that the issue of racism is still at large and it seems to get worse rather than getting better. I found it funny how Baker claims that he is not racist yet he was willing to forward these racist images to his friends. In my opinion, I think these actions were done to reiterate what group holds hierarchical position or known as racial formation; to establish a hierarchy and target certain groups for discrimination” (Marsiglia 2009). Another thing I want to point out is that looking back on the history of racism, Martin Luther King Jr. made a very good point in how people should be judge; “People are judge by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin” (MLK, Rothenberg 2010).It’s obvious that Baker and the secretary ignored this. In addition to past history, race has been conducted through scientific processes and found nothing to prove any differences yet, Baker and the secretary seems to ignore the facts and continue to perpetrate the idea that there is a distinction between the groups based on their phenotypes (Marsiglia 2009) in which people of color are then continued to be oppressed.
-Maikou Vang


Marsiglia, F. F. & Kulis, S. (2009). Diversity, oppression and change: Culturally grounded social work. Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books, Inc.

Rothenberg, Paula S., (2010) Race, class and gender in the United States: An integrated study (8th Ed). New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Peace, Prejudice, and Poverty

This past weekend, March 5th and 6th, was the Peace Prize Forum held at Augsburg this year. The main title for the weekend was “Striving for Peace: A Question of Will.” The last year’s recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize was the key note speaker, Martti Ahtisaari, from Finland. His main idea was the question of will, and that in order to obtain peace you have to want it. He was a mediator between opposing sides at war to help and resolve conflict. This brought me to the contact hypothesis circumstances on reducing prejudices. The groups that are fighting usually start fighting due to some type of prejudice or oppression. I think that through this mediation and these guidelines for reducing prejudice we can help reduce oppression and also poverty. It is all so much more complicated and intertwined than this, but this could be a start. The sides need to come together in a way that allows a) an equal status common ground, b) cooperatively pursue common goals (peace), c) lets them meet long enough to see their common humanity, d) contact sanctioned by an accepted institution, and c) potential for friendship may occur, or in this case, peace. (Allport, 1954) By doing this repeatedly, touching on the emotions, or reason for fighting, and changing the stereotype of each other, peace can then be accomplished. If we can get mediators like Martti Ahtisaari in more and more countries where there is war or conflict then maybe a result will be peace. By achieving peace and reducing prejudices or working out oppressions then this can also help with the poverty levels, especially countries that are warzones, of those people who are being oppressed. This sounds so simple, but unfortunately it isn’t. To find mediators willing to put themselves in those kinds of situations is tough and also getting leaders from both sides to agree to civilly work towards peace can be very hard to do. I think that world peace and poverty can be reduced through trying these processes and guidelines. I wish I was brave enough to become a mediator in those kinds of situations and help other countries resolve their conflicts, but I’ll stay on the small scale level with individuals and small groups as a social worker.

Allport, G.W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Why does Facebook allow Prejudice Groups to Exist?

By: Elizabeth Jeska

Many people including me use Facebook on a daily basis. According to the statics on Facebook’s website there are more than 400 million active users. Active users spend an average of 55 minutes a day on the website-keeping in contact with friends, playing games, and joining groups or becoming fans of pages (Statics, 2009). Facebook stats say that more than 20 million people become fans of pages every day. Groups and pages can range over a wide variety of interests, including things such as sports teams, college and high schools and groups like if I get 1 million fans my wife says she will let me turn our living room into a pirate ship. Many of groups on Facebook are pointless and they are for fun. It was not until recently when I was looking around Facebook did I realize that there were prejudice groups being formed and many people becoming fans and supporting these. According to Marsiglia and Kulis 2010, “A prejudice is an irrational and unsubstantiated negative feeling towards members of different cultural groups, such as racial and ethnic groups, women, gays and lesbians, people with disabilities, and certain religious groups, which generates stereotypes about those groups (p.38). A few of the groups I have come across are: We Want a White History Month with 133 people supporting; this group discusses how it is unfair that there is a whole month dedicated black history and no month for white history. All people on welfare should have be drug tested; which says that all people on welfare are drug addicts and that they should tested before they are allowed support. It’s not rape if... in which then people comment with reasons it wouldn’t be rape. These are just a few of the Facebook pages I have come across. I find it interesting that a website with this many people is allowing such groups to exist, especially when a rule against such is written in Facebook’s rules and responsibilities. The rule states, “You will not post content that is hateful, threatening, pornographic, or that contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence” (statement of rights and responsibilities). Why is Facebook thus letting such groups exist? There needs to be a better way to regulate the types of groups that are allowed on. Facebook should not be a place where people have to deal with prejudices and hate speech. Facebook groups should respect the rights of others and realize that other ethnic groups, social classes, and sexual orientations are online as well. Facebook should be a place where all people are allowed to connect with each without having to deal with prejudices.

Statics. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics

Statement of rights and responsibilities. (2009, December 21). Retrieved from http://www.facebook.com/terms.php?ref=pf

Marsiglia, F., & Kulis, S. (2009). Diversity, oppression, and change. Chicago, Illinois: Lyceum Books

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Why is prejudice hard to change?

Rather than ignore the facts we may as well accept the truth; we all have been prejudice in our lifetime.

As we discussed in class prejudice is hard to change because:

1. We are unaware of our own prejudices.

2. We must want to understand.

3. We must desire change.

4. We are socially conditioned.

5. We are scared and need support.

Allport (1954) proposed a hypothesis: Prejudice is reduced if people meet under conditions of equal status.

1. Equal status

2. Cooperatively pursuing common goals

3. Meet long enough to see “others” as common humanity

4. Sanctioned by an institution that is accepted by contact situation

5. Friendships are potential

I applied these factors to my service learning experience as a tutor at the Franklin Learning Center, which is an adult education program. The Majority of the students with whom I work come from Islamic backgrounds. We have learned that the above conditions can be hard to achieve because of power and resource differentials between dominant and minority groups. Research has shown that if we interact with people different from ourselves we can broaden our ideas and gain more experience. When doing so prejudices can be reduced. For the past month I have done 24 hours of service learning, and I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learned to the above conditions. So far, I have met conditions 2-5. The first assumptions I had about each student came from negative stereotypes that I associated with his or her culture group. After meeting for the past month those assumptions have been replaced by more positive perceptions of the individual. Students and I work toward achieving the same goals, whether it’s preparing for the citizenship or GED test. Although, the “equal status” condition is not met, AllPort’s hypothesis has proven to be true when applying it to my service learning experience. Not meeting the “equal status” condition supports the idea that the theory tends to work even when the contact conditions are not all met.

-Alicia Fowler

Allport, G. W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Racism, taking a reverse role

Blog By: Thomas Orbison

In Diverse and Inequality in Professional Practice class, we have covered many topics. One topic that is heavily discussed is racism, prejudice and excluding people of another color. Because of the interesting topics we learn, I always tell my friends at home what we discussed in class. One of my friends told me to check out an article online. It is about a Stepping Contest in Arkansas. (Online Debate Rages Over White Team's Step Competition Win, March 2nd, 2010) Stepping is a form of dance where the dancers stomp their feet and clap their hands to make rhythmic sounds and beats. This dance originated from the black Greeks and has been in African American culture for a long time. It is seen by many African Americans as a “black only tradition”. In Atlanta the Coca Cola Company held the stepping competitions and Greek sororities came to compete and white Sorority Zeta Tau Alpha entered the competition to try to win. They made it all the way through the beginning, the quarter finals, and the finals. When it was all over, the white sorority had won, beating 5 other sororities who were made up of all black members. Because of this, there is a hot debate over the win. The article doesn’t say too much, but some people said the judging was unfair. It never said outright that it was unfair because the girls were white, but it was certainly implied. Also, due to all this uproar and tension within the black community, Coca Cola has decided that the runner up, Alpha Kappa Alpha will share the win and receive the same $100,000 in scholarships. I find this is very interesting because most of the time we only focus on when a minority group is being treated unfairly or excluded from something. Also, there is never really much talk about what is usually called “reverse racism”, which refers to when a white group is perceived to be treated unfairly or excluded from something. This may be because it does not happen to often. Because of this fact, the white sorority has to share first place when they won the competition out-right. It was also said that some people felt their culture was being taken from them. I do not see it as that. I think in this situation it may have occurred because step dancing is becoming popular. Because of this people of many races will get into it and try to become good at it. This sort of thing has been happening for many years and will continue to happen. It’s a good thing, I think, that other cultures want to learn stepping. So, I say let it happen and be happy for the winners.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Social Contact Theory

This week we have been discussing contact theory and it's effects on our lives. In my group we talked a lot about how we were limited in our contact with people who are different from us. We go to a private Lutheran college which could leave out people of lower income and possibility people of other religious backgrounds. When reflecting on my contact list I noticed that most people I have contact with are almost mirror images of myself. In order to change this I am going to have to make conscious decisions about my actions. As a social worker you have to come to terms with your prejudices and try to change them. Having contact with various groups of people helps to do this. In our class PowerPoint we discussed the five circumstances prejudice can be reduced through contact. There must be equal status, pursuing common goals, have long enough contact to see humanity, have contact sanctioned by accepted institution and have the possibility for friendship (Allport, 1954 & Pettigrew, 1998). This was very helpful for me to learn and I will be able to use this to reduce prejudice in my life.

This week I had an interesting realization when volunteering at the East African Women's Center. On the way back to school I was able to debrief with a fellow classmate about the experience. I said how awkward I felt being the only one not understanding Somali and not being able to communicate. I often take my language for granted and in this situation I have been forced to realize that I am privileged in this country by speaking English. The way I feel for four hours of volunteering each week is how people might feel everyday in a country that does not understand them. I am able to leave the center and have signs written in my language and easily find a person that I can freely communicate with while they may not be able to do the same. I now have a little taste of how overwhelming and disheartening it is to be not understood and able to communicate. I think this is a really important to be understanding of people who do not speak the same language because they have the added stress of trying to get people to understand. As a social worker it would be important to figure out how they have been adjusting to the culture to be able to help them better. I am really glad I have been able to have this experience volunteering and would recommend others put themselves in this situation.

Elizabeth Patten

Allport, G. W. (1954). The Nature of Prejudice. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Pettigrew, T. F. (1998). Intergroup contact theory. Annual Review of Pstchology, (49), 65-86.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Valentine's Day Thoughts

Valentine’s Day… is it a day to be reminded that you are loved or is it a day to remind you that you are lonely? Well I don’t know.

My boyfriend sent me some flowers and a card. I really liked it and I was so happy. The flowers were so pretty and they probably cost a lot of money. The day went on and I really had a great day. Suddenly someone knocked on my door and the one I go to internship together with gave me a little pink bag with a card and some chocolate. I really didn’t expect that and I don’t know how to put it, but I think that things mean more if you don’t expect it at all.

Later that day I went to the movie together with my friends and of course we saw Valentine’s Day. It was funny to see all the balloons and flowers the girls had. There were no men walking around with any of those things. I think it’s funny that we ladies scream out for justice and want everyone to be treated equal. But we still expect our boyfriends, husbands and dates to pay for us and make us feel like queens and princesses. ϑ We want it all.

On a day like this I think that a lot of men don’t feel that they have the opportunity to give their date what they want. Maybe the people who are gay or lesbian make it a competition between themselves? Maybe to show who has the most money? And for women this day is all about getting a date or getting some flowers and chocolate.

I have always thought that a good Valentine’s Day for me was to get some get some flowers from someone who is gay, lesbian or a different sexual orientation than I am or that someone took me to a restaurant. After the movie I realized that your Valentine doesn’t have to be the “hottest” guy or someone with a lot of money. It could be your friends, your grandma, or your child. It just has to be someone who makes you feel good, one you like to hang out with or one you like to be quiet with. As long as you feel good around the person. Love has no borders. Only you decide what love is for you.

Love Camilla


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dose Health Care Care?

Does Health Care Care?

I was going to write about immigration and how discrimination might affect it but, after some searching, I could not find any current articles on the subject. In the process of looking I did find an article that is relevant to the current debate of public health care and discrimination. With new technologies being developed, more is being learned about genetics. We are becoming better at being able to look at a person’s genes and understand the information that is carried within the genes. Specific genes that attribute to health problems can be pinpointed and found in a person before any physical effects are visible. How we use this information is what is important. There are already several cases in which health insurance companies have discriminated against people because of a specific gene they have. If this becomes a more consistent policy, it is possible that a whole race of people might have a hard time getting health insurance or even a job simply because they carry a gene that creates a higher risk of a certain health issue. This has caused several people to even withhold information or refuse tests that could help their health because the fear of what their insurance companies and employers will do. “The first, much-anticipated benefits of personalized medicine are being lost or diluted for many Americans who are too afraid that genetic information may be used against them to take advantage of its growing availability” (Harmon, 2008). So even if a public health care system is created, this issue may arise as another obstacle to get around. Technology can be useful but all societal factors must be considered before full implementation of the technology is carried out. It would be unfair to deny a person health coverage simply because they may have a genetic predisposition for certain diseases. If we are attempting to give equal health care to all people, separating and labeling groups of people due to their genetics will only do the opposite and destroy any chance of equality. I have a feeling that genetic tests will be used as just another way to justify the oppression already in place throughout society. These are some of the factors to consider when looking at social policy and understanding the ways it can be used for good and bad.

Harmon, A.(2008, February 24). Insurance Fears Lead Many to Shun DNA Tests. The New Times. Retrieved February 13, 2010, From

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/24/health/24dna.html?_r=2&ex=1361509200& en=b9977c2d397372ee&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=a ll

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Being pulled over by the police

By Catharina Furnes

This Saturday I went to a friend’s house in St. Paul. We had a great night, and she gave me a ride back home after midnight. After driving for a couple of minutes a police car came up behind us. Not realizing it was us he wanted to talk to, we tried to get out of his way but he kept following us, putting on the lights and siren and we stopped He walked to our car and asked for drivers license and registration. He told us that we took a wide turn and that we were driving on a red light, which we were not. When he saw my friend's drivers license he said that registration is not neccesary. He asked how long we've been here and told us to drive safely and have a good night.

My thought after this went back to the article we talked about in class the other day about the numbers of people being stopped by the police in New York City (Herbert, 2010).

I wonder if he would have given us a ticket if we weren't white women from Norway. There was obviously a reason why he felt he had to stop us, and for some reason he let us go very easily. Would the same thing happen if we were two African American men? Would he give us a ticket for what he meant was driving on a red light? He just looked at us, did not do an alcohol test, did not look at all the papers he should have looked at and he did not give us a ticket. After the dialogues and lessons we've had in class it made me think that this was discrimination and that I was lucky to be a white girl in this situation.

It also surprised me that it seemed like he made up a reason to pull us over. I know that you can't do random check ups in the States so I feel like the police just made up a reason to do it. In Norway the police can stop whomever they want and do random alcohol tests or whatever they want. I believe that this can prevent a lot of traffic crimes.

My conclusion is that I do believe that we got of easily because we are white girls, and maybe also because we are Norwegian. I do not believe that this would have made any difference to the police in Norway but on the other side I don't think they would have pulled us over in the first place. If they were driving next to us and saw us driving on a yellow light I do not think they would care. The only reason why they would have stopped us is that they had a random check, and they don’t do those if they are driving. The way they do it is that they park their car somewhere and pull over random cars to either check that the driver has a drivers license or do an alcohol test (http://www.brake.org/). I find it interesting that American police have to have a reason to pull someone over. I think random checks make people think twice about drinking and driving because they know that there is a chance that they’ll be pulled over even if they drive “carefully” (http://www.executiveplanet.com) (This link gives a lot of interesting facts about Norway and how we do things, but the two last paragraphs are about drinking and driving).

Herbert, B. (2010). Jim Crow Policing. Opinion. New York Times. 2/1/2010