Religious Colleges

Students at religious colleges have an undeniably low percentage of unsavory incidents when compared to students attending secular colleges.  Though there are many reasons why this might be the case, several stand out above the rest. First, in a general consensus, these young men and women have a genuine desire to attend these colleges for the very reason of avoiding the temptations of sex, alcohol, and drug use.  These students have chosen to live their lives according to a standard that they believe is higher than that of man.  In Riley’s article, “How Student Life is Different at Religious Colleges” the students that she interviewed admitted that while some felt unhappy with the “strange” environment at the start, by the end of their time they felt happier than they had been before.

Secondly, the discipline at these colleges is much different from those at the secular schools.  The religious colleges choose to strictly monitor and enforce abstinence from sex as well as alcohol and drugs.  While secular colleges do attempt to limit these last two items, they have such a loose policy that it runs rampant on the campuses.  Christian colleges readily admit that the students on their campuses are not perfect and will occasionally make mistakes from time to time. In Riley’s article she relays how one girl was caught having an affair with a married man at a particularly strict school.  Nevertheless from all appearances the administrations seem to keep all such extracurricular activity to a minimum.

Lastly, as with any school, the key to students’s happiness is in finding the right fit.  In this case perhaps it might be in finding a school with stricter rules.  At some Christian schools, dating is allowing but is more of a courtship.  Chaperons are required to attend with every date and some schools forbid any touching between the opposite sex.  Other schools allow touching such as kissing and hugging while still other schools forbid dating all together.  Seemingly archaic, these rules clearly prevent much of the drama and chaos that is so prevalent on secular campuses today.  These rules help create a more solid structure that enables the young minds of the students to focus more on knowledge and less on the many distractions of the world.  In the end, these students probably end up with the better deal since they emerge from their college experience knowing how to form relationships without sex, knowing how to have fun without getting drunk every weekend, and can think clearly since they haven’t destroyed their brain cells by doing drugs.

Not Getting By in America

Barbara Ehrenreich describes in her article “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America”, her experiences trying to survive while working minimum wage jobs in Key West, Florida. An eye-opening experiment for her and anyone reading her story, it proved just how hard it is for many people to survive in America. I have been fortunate to have found jobs that always paid more than the federal minimum wage. At $7.25 per hour, I would never be able to afford half the things that I take for granted now. Though I have a hard enough time making ends meet as it is, bringing in a paycheck like that every week simply wouldn’t cover the expenses. Consider that $7.25 an hour equates to $290 gross weekly income. I am taxed roughly 20% which brings my net weekly paycheck to about $232. My rent which is very low compared to the average tenant is nearly half that amount. I am fortunate to not have a car payment but I still spend about $35 a week on gas. Not to mention my $100-a-month car and cell phone payments. Further budgeting a measly $50 a week for food, my entire paycheck is effectively exhausted.

A family of four, if attempting to survive on two minimum wage jobs would be far less fortunate than I. They would want to have a 2 bedroom apartment at least, which runs no less than $600 and that’s if you catch a break. A 3 bedroom living arraignment would be upward of $700 for anything with no leaks in the roof or bullet holes in the walls. Throw in daycare, diapers, and an endless number of surprise expenses and one is no longer surprised at the amount of welfare dependents.

I have mixed feelings about minimum wages. One argument states that setting a minimum wage raises the entire economic plane. Or in other words, it drives up the cost of living for everyone, effectively neutralizing the purpose of having a wage minimum to began with. The thinking with this theory is that employers would find it necessary to keep wages at a certain level to compete with other businesses.  On the other hand, if there was no minimum then employers could pay as a low a wage as they wanted. They could underpay more if they were a major employer in the area, potentially leaving a region in a lower standard of living.

I have much experience dealing with bosses concerned with the corporate image of their business. These people suspect that each and every one of their employees are professional criminals and thieves. The slightest misplacement of minuscule items is grounds for thorough investigations and questioning. They expect their underlings to continually work nonstop and whenever they are called. Personal crisis is regarded with annoyance and often consequences if work is missed. In short, they rule with iron fists, generally for reasons they don’t understand, forgetting they often come from the same lowly beginnings as the very people they love to berate and belittle.

BY/; Jess

Invisible Privilege

1. Privilege is a hard concept for many people to grasp. This is because they were born into well-to-do families and never had to come to terms with it. Or perhaps they labored hard for their success but eventually forgot how far they had come. Without a doubt, the most privileged type of people are caucasians, specifically white males. Throughout history they have cemented themselves as the dominant group, both in the gender and race arenas. They are not exclusive to this group; also included would be anyone born into riches or given many opportunities to succeed over others. They can often go their whole life without ever realizing the tremendous edge they have over everyone else.
Privilege is always recognized,envied, desired, and hated most by those who have the misfortune of not having experienced it as richly as others. Whether they be Black, female, gay it is inevitable that they will be less privileged in some way from the so called “more acceptable” people. These are the people who can appreciate seeing their hard work pay off and watching their privileges rise with that success. They know what it’s like to be deprived of that status and they have an honest desire to acchieve the same as those they see who enjoy it, though most likely in complete and total oblivion.

2. Andrea seemed to be uncomfortable in Jewel’s house for several reasons. She was apparently overwhelmed by the interactions between Jewel’s family members. Though not in another country, Andrea was experiencing minor culture shock because she had never witnessed people talking to each other in that manner in her own culture. She expected conversation to follow a pattern she was used to and became uncomfortable when it didn’t match her expectations. Andrea was also distressed by how dark the house was because her privileged life she was unfamiliar with having to be conscious about saving electricity. She was shocked by the second toilet in Jewel’s basement, which she had to use in the dark. She was so used to her standard of living that she couldn’t get past the differences in her friend’s house and just have a good time.

I believe that people can overcome these social differences. Though the differences might be shocking and hard to deal with at first, it’s important to remember that we are all people no matter what color or class we are from. I feel like Andrea should have focused more on being Jewel’s friend and catching up on lost time than being concerned and even frightened by the new environment. Paula S. Rosenberg blamed three hundred years of race, class and various other differences as the reason why her daughter couldn’t maintain a friendship with Jewel but it was really more simple than that. Two eight year old girls don’t care about those issues as much as adults do. Andrea simply couldn’t look past her friend’s lack of privilege.

3. I have become more aware of my privileged life the older I get and the more people I encounter. I have my own place to live, a car to drive, two jobs and I go to school. I’m a white male which automatically gets me further than other people could attain in certain situations. I’ve been made very aware of these points especially since my girlfriend is African American. I had never grown up with racism directed toward me. I had never been openly judged because of my skin color. As my relationship has progressed with my girlfriend I’ve had many multicultural experiences where I have experienced a life style that is far different than mine. Though other people may have less privilege than that of myself, I have never let that affect my view of that person. I’m aware of my so called “edge” over other people but I try my best not to let it get in the way of being their friend.

Women and Sociology

1. Generally speaking, when discussing the origins of a science or study, a frequently heard term is “the Founding Fathers”. This phrase right off the bat implies that the most important leading figures in that early history were males. Indeed while a large portion of notable sociologists were men there were 15 women whose names have been “edited from the text” so to speak. Though recognized and respected by their male contemporaries for the work they submitted and for their general high social standing, it would appear as if the following generations gradually lost more and more respect for their contributions until finally excluding them from the record all together. The text from Lengermann and Niebrugge-Brantley does not implictly state why these names were erased but in my opinion, implies a mixture of forgetfulness, lack of respect for women through the years, and of course, politics.

2. These women shared common issues and ideas that would play a crutial part in forming the young science of sociology and establishing its place in the sciences. Each of these women realized the importance of their work and that of their contemporaries. They often collaborated together to create essays and papers on issues of their times such as race and lynching. As American women in that time had yet to be given the rights they now enjoy, many of these women were involved with establishing cooperative housing for working women, gaining access to better employment, and overcoming the gender barriers that were all just a ‘normal’ part of life at that time. Though they all had their own sense of what the science of society should be, they understood the need to unite and made it their moral responsibility to do the most they could from their various walks of life.

3. Fortunately, while they may have been ‘written out’ of the standard history of sociology, we still have much information not to mention the thousands of books, essays, and articles written by these ‘Leading Ladies’. From the establishing of the Hull House by Jane Addams to the helping of organizing of the NAACP by Ida Wells-Barrnett to Women and Economics written by Charlotte Gilman, these accomplishments are well worth our study and respect. Indeed, much of the work done by these ladies is in the very basis and framework of what we know sociology to be today. It is every bit as much a development of women’s minds as is it men’s. Though erased in part, these women’s work will stand and speak for them for centuries to come.

By: Jess