Monday, February 1, 2016

Advantages and Disadvantages

In our world today, certain demographics have an advantage over others. This seems to be true in all social levels, really makes a difference in the lives of those who barely have enough money to survive. In Nickel and Dimed, Ehrenreich talks about this, saying she has many advantages over others living in the same situation. She's educated, healthy, and white, which provides her a leg up compared to many other people. In the book, she also talks about how certain jobs are predominantly white, others mainly black, and others filled with any uneducated people. These traits, (or lack of them), creates certain advantages and also impacts what job they wil have and where they'll live. This is unfair for those who don't have an education, or something similar, as they are forced into even worse situations.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

In(visible) Effects of Poverty

Minimal food. Inadequate shelter. Lack of education. There are many things connected to a life of poverty that everyone can see. These also seem to form the base of our perception of poor people everywhere, which may ignore a larger picture. The working poor are suffering from more than lack of money, which has been shown multiple times in the book Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehreneich.  The self-esteem of the working poor is much lower than the average middle or upper class person, which honestly isn't too surprising based on how they are treated. In Nickel and Dimed, when Barbara, (dressed as a maid, a low paying job), walks into a diner, and is completly ignored by the workers behind the counter. "A maid's uniform has the opposite effect..translatable into: What are you doing here?" (100). After enough encounters like this, someone's opinion of their self would definetly go down. It isn't fair to treat someone differently based on the money they make, yet it seems that the working poor experiences that everyday.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Be Yourself

In our society, there is a lot of pressure to fit in with everyone. At New Trier, for example, almost everyone dresses and talks the same everyone else. Although we are told a lot of the times to “Be creative” and “express yourself”, the images put forth by society are the exact opposite. If you want to fit in, you must be the same as everyone else. Many people spend their lives trying to live the same way as everyone else, but this is not really the best way to live.
While I was in my basement the other day, looking for an old soccer ball to use, I came across a pile of old posters. The top one was a thirty-six by thirty-two drawing of nine people, and a quote underneath. Eight out of the nine figures are all wearing the same black clothes, standing in the same position. On the left side, there is one figure doing something completely different. He is wearing a different style of clothes, in a different color, and standing in a different position. The quote underneath them reads, “To believe your own thought--that is genius...” It was written by a thinker by the name of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who had a lot of ideas about self-reliance and not conforming to society. I put the picture on the wall, and thought about Emerson’s quote. Everyone is doing the same thing in the picture, except the guy on the left. He is the only one not conforming to the rules of society. In today’s world, people may find that a weird, or just not normal. When someone does something different from typical behavior, most people hear about it and discuss how the person was crazy, or just a little strange. A good example of this is Chris McCandless, a man who left society to adventure in the wild. In a book about his exploits, we are shown multiple letters saying how McCandless is not a good example for other people, and was unprepared and dumb.  Yet Emerson, the man who wrote the quote, might say that McCandless was “genius” to break away from society, and do his own thing.
This is similar to the conversation about conforming we had in English class. At our own school, everyone conforms to things that we just find normal, such as pink shorts or Ugg boots. Because everyone is doing those things, an individual is just transformed into part of a bigger group. This might be considered good for some people; they get to blend in, be a part of a group of people, and not have to think about how they are. But this is not good for people like Emerson, and nonconformists everywhere, who want to do their own thing, and live a life free from the confines of society.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Doing the Right Thing

While many people throughout the world live comfortably, many more people do not. Things we take for granted could really help those in need. So, in Canada, a group of people did their part to help out people who need it. They went around their city, and put out coats on light posts. Now, this seems like a small gesture to us, and also wouldn't be that hard for us to do. But really, its an incredibly thoughtful idea that really means a lot to those who need these coats. I think that we need to do more things like this in our lives, and its really cool how these kids gave back to their town.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

What is going on today??

Right now, the world is having a problem. Shootings have increased drastically. In our English class, over half of the blogs contain at least one post about shootings, whether about school shootings or in general. Our blogs talk about shootings everywhere, but lets just focus on the United States right now. A post on pointed out the U.S. has had more school shootings than China, France, Germany, China, and Russia. Combined. The Forbes article also mentioned a study done by Harvard: Between 1982 and 2011, mass shootings happened a little more than once a year, about 1 every 200 days. Now, in the U.S., it averages one shooting every 64 days. It seems difficult to figure out why this is happening, but researchers are trying to figure out why and how they can stop it. There are several ideas for prevention right now, and it's time to start considering some of them. One solution is stricter gun laws. Now, this does not mean getting rid on every gun, and banning them outright. What it does mean, is better screening processes, and better enforcement of that process. Another is screening for risk factors. Usually, people who commit these acts have different views on things than typical people, and sometimes have violent tendencies which go unnoticed. The third solution is less glorification of the shooter. With the media and attention today, shooters are getting a lot of recognition. This inspires many other people to do the same thing, per the article, which leads to more problems.
Overall, the problem of mass shootings is still rising, but hopefully we can do something about it to prevent them in the future.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Wage Differences Today

When looking for possible topics for our Social Injustice Paper, I came across a page about the differences of pay between men and woman today. The first stat I noticed was one I knew of, but still shocking. For the past 8 years, women have made around 77 cents for every dollar men made. This changes based on location, race, and age, but men always make significantly more. Obviously this is not fair, but compared to 50 years ago, this is still an improvement. Back then, women made about 60% of what men made. Now if we had made the change over a span of five years or so, that would've been acceptable. But, for it to raise from 60% to about 80% is a very slow rate of change. Today, people have tried to do small things to change this wage gap, but none have been affective. Per, the equal pay act has not been changed since 1963. The equal pay act basically discussed how sex discrimination is not allowed. Though this exists, there is still a difference in pay, which some consider to be not only unfair, but also discriminating against women.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Oregon's Hero: Chris Mintz

Last Thursday, another school shooting occurred. Yes, another one. These horrific events are starting to become more and more popular, and make headlines across the United States. The most recent shooting happened at a community college in Oregon. A 26 year old man walked into one of the buildings, and started shooting through another door at those in that specific room, killing nine people. In the midst of the shooting, Chris Mintz, a student and army veteran, attempted to stop the shooter. Mintz repeatedly told him to stop, and put the gun down. He was shot five times, and is now recovering in a hospital. He had gunshot wounds, and two broken legs. I think it is incredible how Mintz reacted to the shooting. He showed great bravery, and deserves to be rewarded for that. Luckily, many people support him through his recovery, and everyone is grateful for his service in the military, and his dedication to protecting those in his country.