Featured Articles

Classroom Controversy

  • Barack Obama: Made in the USA

    If Obama’s Not an American, Then Neither Are You

    In the days since Osama bin Laden’s execution much of the hullabaloo surrounding Barack Obama’s citizenship has quieted. Out of gratitude for dispatching the world’s most annoying terrorist, the majority of Americans have joyfully re-embraced President Obama as a favorite son. Putting a bullet through Osama’s brain did more to convince the public that Barack Obama is a true-blue American than any deluge of replica birth certificates ever could. [wpbrad id=12] Still, the idea that any US President would be required to flash his ID in order to legitimize his presidency represents a monumental presumption on the part of Obama’s detractors. Please understand, I’m not suggesting that we should treat US presidents like sacred cows. Far from it. Presidents are simply regular folks who have found some way to percolate to the top of the national political hierarchy. As such, being as fallible as anyone else, presidents must be held accountable. This means that presidents should be praised for their successes and castigated for their mistakes. Nothing helps to ensure a higher standard of leadership than exacting public scrutiny. The more, the better. That said, the campaign to paint Obama as an undocumented alien deviates dramatically from the rational road of constructive political criticism. Birthers’ shrill protestations are not intended to help Barack Obama become a more effective president, rather, their goal is to invalidate our forty-fourth president’s mandate: Barack the Pretender, an “other” who lacks the birthright to legitimately occupy the lofty office that he has claimed. Clearly, this claptrap is born of the same spirit that perpetuated Jim Crow well into the twentieth century. In the past, US presidents have never been asked to produce proof of citizenship because, quite simply, they were all a bunch of white guys. And, since white guys have been running the world for a long time, it just seems natural for white guys to continue doing so. Then, along comes Barack Obama, a president who doesn’t quite fit the Mount Rushmore image. Heaven forfend!! Yet, by any measure, Barack Obama is a brilliant political strategist who, in spite of his humble origins, managed to rise meteorically to the very apex of the US political establishment. Certainly, there have been similar rags-to-riches success stories among US presidents and, like Abraham Lincoln, path-breaking political leaders of this stripe tend to be graced with exceptional talent. For example, does anyone recall that George W. Bush dumped the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression on his successor? Though it required a herculean effort, President Obama managed to prevent the worst extremes of that particular crisis: a decade of 20-30% unemployment with Hoovervilles, hunger and every other form of economic hardship stalking the land. Instead, the Obama Administration succeeded in getting the country back on its feet again before the midterm elections. Truly, an historic feat of economic wizardry. Of course, no good deed goes unpunished. Since Obama’s detractors can’t attack him on his record, they’ve had to search for other, more devious means with which to besmirch his character. Thus, stooping about as low as a snake in the grass can go, birthers have raked up the deplorable muck of American racism. None too subtly, birthers have asserted that because Obama doesn’t fit the demographic profile of a typical American president, Obama can’t really be the president. Well, I must admit that birthers and I are in agreement on one particular point: Obama is not a typical US president. He’s a heck of a lot smarter than most.* Obama may not be typical, but I’m happy to say that his is the new face of America, the Land of Opportunity. Birthers may not like it, but Obama’s ascendancy is an illustration of the fact that democracy is not dead. Though democracy will ever and always remain a work in progress, under Obama’s leadership the US has narrowed the gap between our democratic principles and practices. Would that we could say as much about all US Presidents.   *The other post-millennial president leaps to mind here.

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  • The Boy Scouts do not have the right to deny basic human rights and decency.

    Queers Need Not Apply: The Boy Scouts of Amerika Continue to Disappoint

  • Monkey Trial

    The Monkey Wars: Tennessee’s New Monkey Bill Attacks “Controversial Science”

  • Athletes and the ‘Club’: Nothing Good Ever Happens After Midnight

  • Corporate Wisdom and Generosity

    A Bungling Fox in the Henhouse: The Corporatization of Higher Education

  • 640px-20080524_Daley_-_Casey_Pledge_of_Allegiance

    Patriot’s Game

  • happiness

    Universities Produce Happiness

  • Searching For Paulo Freire: Classnotes For My Students

  • graduate.ju.top

    Chico versus Berkeley – And the Winner Is

  • Darwin and Evolution

    Charles Darwin: The Unlikely Revolutionary

  • The Tenor Of Our Times

  • Big Brother is Watching

    Facebook is a Spy Machine

  • 307737-connecticut-school-shooting

    A Sociologist Looks at Violence

Addressing the Academy

Research Summary

occupy-wall-street

The Corporate Welfare State & Growing Inequality in American Society

Unlike a lot of people out there, I am one to say I TOLD YA SO. The current growth in inequality, the current "mess" in the global financial system, the weird political machinations that seem to directly contradict the principles upon which modern democracies were founded, these were all predicted decades ago by Sociologists. So what are you going to do? Well, read this article, but slowly. There's a lot of enlightening Sociology in this article. If it gets a little thick, pop on over to the forums and ask Owen a question. in the global financial system, the weird political machinations that seem to directly contradict the principles upon which modern democracies were founded, these were all predicted decades ago by Sociologists. So what are you going to do? Well, read this article, but slowly. There

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Facebook and family

Facebook and Family  “I was hesitant to add family members on Facebook at first, but I’ve grown to enjoy it.  I’m not very good at keeping in touch with family, so I feel like if I’ve posted on Facebook I’ve done enough”—Mark, a Facebook user from California Facebook is everywhere!  However, the effects of Facebook on society are still unfolding. The company states that “Facebook’s mission is to make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.”  Facebook users create their own profile pages, which contain biographical data, current events, and photographs.

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Research Commentary

no-racism

Requiem for Trayvon Martin: When Will America Stop Destroying the Lives of Black Boys

Introduction: From time immoral, history has provided us with myriad examples of the mistreatment of one group of people by another.  The Old Testament reminds us that the people of Moses were abused and enslaved by the ancient Egyptians. The period that inaugurated the rise of the empire building  nations of Western Europe, and the conquest of the global economy by capitalism, gave rise to pogroms in Western Europe (during the period of the Black Death) and Russia targeting Jewish members of the human family. 

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report-child-abuse

Sociology versus Psychology – The Social Context of Psychological Pathology and Child Abuse

What does Psychology, Sociology, Behaviourism, and emotional, psychological, physical, and spiritual abuse have to do with each other? A concern with uplifting the human being, transcending pain and suffering, and moving towards holistic health and wellbeing. Or not. Sometimes it is just about command, control, and fitting people into the System. But not here, and not from now on. The winds of change are blowing, a hurricane is coming, and no amount of self delusion, self deception, or social propaganda are going to turn those winds away.

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To boldly go...

Living the Dream: Transcending the Boundary between Sci-Fi and Reality

Visualization and imagination create the world. Or, as Dr. Tim says, reality starts with fantasy. Or, as I like to say, as above in consciousness, so below in matter. No where is this more clear than in the area of science fiction where reality consistently lags behind fantasy only by a half century or so.

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Ding Dong the Alpha Male is Dead

Is our socialization process a process of ideological indoctrination? As part of our socialization we learn "how the world really works." Our religions teach us of a cosmic "fight" between good and evil, science teaches us about the struggle for survival and "survival of the fittest," and everybody talks about how its OK for the "winners" to dominate the "losers." It is all part of the natural (or divine) social order! But is it really, or is it just indoctrination. You be the judge.

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Commentary

A Biracial Journey to Understanding Identity

I can remember at about the age of eleven being at one of the many Arabic parties I would attend growing up.  The women were all laughing and dancing, their head scarves off, no men in the room.  They wore beautiful dresses and their hair and makeup were fully done.  They looked so elegant as I watched them belly dance effortlessly.  I remember wishing my hair was as dark and as thick as theirs.  I also wished my skin was as tan and my eyebrows as pretty.  Why did I always have to feel like the white girl at the Arabic party?  My cousins, aunts, and grandmother often introduced me as such:  “ This is Amira, Mazen’s daughter. She’s American.”

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Terrorist groups and European fighters in Iraq

  At present there is no independent Kurdish state but the ‘land of the Kurds’ crisscrosses Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran. However, the Iraqi Kurds have been able to gain autonomy from Baghdad. Kurdish aspirations for an independent state stem back to the days of Empire and the post First World War treaties, which carved up Ottoman territories. The two treaties that concern the Kurds are: Treaty of Sèvres signed in 1920, which mentions an independent Kurdish state and the Lausanne Treaty, signed three years later in 1923 that makes no mention of a Kurdish state.

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Obama, human rights and ISIS

Western leaders have suddenly woken up and realised that ISIS is a regional global security threat. This realisation has also forced policy makers and security experts to abandon their orientalist monocles. The desire to act ‘now’ by launching airstrikes on ISIS targets and by providing military and humanitarian aid to the Iraqi and Kurdish authorities raises questions about the ‘real’ motivations. Justifications for intervention President Obama’s reasons to intervene in Iraq, as he has said is to stop ‘these barbaric terrorists in order to protect Americans and prevent an act of genocide.’ He added, ‘the terrorists have taken over parts of Iraq and have been brutal to religious minorities, rounding up families, executing men, enslaving women, and threatening the systematic destruction of an entire religious community, which would be genocide’.

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Psychosis_5_0

Getting Ahead: A Case Study of Social Class in the USA

This photo of my parents reveals much about their personalities (hers vivacious and outgoing, his withdrawn and closed off), their relationship (little real contact), and also the times. The typicality of their lives reveals much about the USA. My mother was a farmer’s daughter whose father lost the farm to the banks, and they had to scrabble along in the slums of the big city, St. Louis. All her life she yearned for her bucolic childhood when everything was “nice.” My father was a coal miner and the son of a coal miner from West Virginia. He hated the mines so much that after the Second World War he stayed in the military as a professional soldier.

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