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  • 10:36 pm on December 9, 2002 Permalink | Reply  

    Integration Paper on Race and Ethnicity 

    Introduction to Sociology
    Professor Sharon Preves
    Due by December 9th
    Turned in by December 16th (7 days late)

    The U.S. banned the discrimination based on race, sex or ethnicity, through the Civil Rights Act, almost 40 years ago in 1964. However, more subtle, permeating forms of racism are prevalent in today’s U.S. society according to sociologists. Newman argues that to end racism it is necessary to recognize first the artificial nature of race as concept and then to differentiate between the various types of racism in society.

    The relativistic meaning of the word “Race”

    Various sociologists throughout the world have proven that the same color is recognized as different races in different societies. For instance, what in the U.S. might be classified as simply “black” can be divided up as “zambos” and “mulatos” in Chile. To group them together as “black” would make no sense since the term “negro” is reserved for a particular tone of black skin and facial shape. In England or Ireland, any skin color that is not white is considered black. And white in Ireland does not signify the skin color, but rather to be of Irish descent. These kinds of multifaceted terminology around the world prove that race is not a given biological fact.

    Recently, as people with markedly different facial and skin characteristics began marrying each other, to define race has become even more complicated. In the church I go to, the pastor has a Korean mother and a U.S. father – what race does he belong to? He has brown hair and non-epicanthic eyes, but his cheek bones and cranium shape belong to those of the Ural-Altaic people.

    Personal racism, stereotypes, and Prejudice

    Personal racism is manifested through individual contact of a person to another person, in such acts as threats, avoidance, or verbal or physical insult. The use of stereotypes gives an easy solution when justifying personal racism. Stereotyping involves exaggerating certain features in a given group of people from the same race and assuming that a particular feature applies to everybody. For example, since the Los Angeles riot in 1993, during which a large number of stores in the city were destroyed and ransacked by a mob which was, rumors say, mostly black, Korean communities in the west coast assume black people will be violent by nature. I had some uncles in Los Angeles, who kept saying that it was all very evident that black people are poor and hence prone to vandalism and violence. Common reactions are moving to the opposite side of the sidewalk when one sees a black person coming on the other side, or moving to another table (or getting out of the restaurant, to “protect the kids”) if large groups of black people enter a restaurant.

    Stereotypes are hard to break because both the agent and victim of stereotyping are active, not passive, agents of the process. Furthermore, proofs against stereotypes are often refuted with arguments that claim the proof to be an isolated exception, but that the majority of the population keeps being “violent” or “greedy” or “lazy”, etc. In this is the self-fulfilling prophecy theory again applied.
    As seen in an article of past chapters from Newman, victims of stereotyping actively use the stereotype to their purposes. Thus, a group of black kids in ghettos pretend to be more violent that what they are, just to keep people away from them.
    Newman presents the research of Steele, who obtained more biased results when he explicitly told his subjects -black students- that he was testing something related to their stereotyped image – something like intelligence, the students performed in accordance to their expected social stereotyped images. Thus, it seems like there is an unconscious component to the self-fulfilling prophecy in race, because the black students didn’t meant to score lower than when they were not told that it was about intelligence, but rather their societal selves reacted to the suggestion of Steele which reminded them of the pre-existing stereotypes.

    The ghost of “Race”

    On the other hand, it seems like “race” is not a concept that can be easily deconstructed just out of realizing that it was originally a social construct. In some communities, the whole identity of the group falls back on the idea of race. Koreans for example, pride themselves in being a mono-racial country [unlike China, Russia or the U.S., towards which they look down on because they’re “mixed”, and thus “less pure”] For example, the current presidential candidate representing a party that matches the Republicans in the U.S. politics, often recurs to the great mono-raciality of Korea when arguing for the need to defend national interests by increasing military funding.

    But even when “race” does not involve a sense of ethnic belonging, de-framing race seems a challenging task. Movements that counter the discrimination racial minorities suffer in the U.S., carry on the assumption that race exists, because if there was no race there could be no movement to protect a particular race. I wonder if the dilemma of Affirmative Action, which so far I understand is an attempt of the dominant race to purge itself of injustices of the past, is precisely the paradox of solidifying the notion that race exists, while at the same time combating the discrimination arising from the existence of race as a notion. This problem seems directly related to the fact that proponents of civil rights movements were opposed to the integration of the “multiracial” category in the U.S. census form (Mathews), because such blunder would not benefit the traditionally groups protected by such measurements.

    Newman points out that as people from different races mix, the distinguishing features across races are fading, and takes the optimistic prospect that a gradual fusion of races will end the problem of racial discrimination. I should agree with him, even though this idea is again brought from the Melting Pot theory, which happens to be a rhetoric of the dominant class in the U.S.

  • 9:43 pm on December 3, 2002 Permalink | Reply  

    the meaning of being a full-time student 

    I was thinking of how I used time up.. and how much time I had left.

    See, there’s 24*7=168 hours in the week.

    56 sleep
    21 meals
    13 church (4 sunday worship +6 friday bible study+ 1.5 mac christian fellas + 1 bible study group)
    12 class (4 classes)
    4 talks 1.5 (reading circle) +1 (marx series) + 1 (other random talks)
    1 music
    10 work (4 spanish tutor + 6 infodesk)
    Which makes a total of 107 hours.

    51 hours are left. If 11 hours can be taken as free time, the remaining 40 hours/week correspond to being a full-time student! I discovered the truth!

  • 11:34 am on November 25, 2002 Permalink | Reply  

    Integration Paper on Social Class and Inequality 

    Integration Paper on Social Class and Inequality

    Introduction to Sociology
    Professor Sharon Preves
    Due by November 18th, 2002
    Turned in by November 25th, 2002
    Yong Ho Kim

    Any large enough society in the world today faces problems of individual and social inequality among its people. In chapter 10 of his book, Newman has addressed this issue through different approaches and mentioned theories from other sociologists who have talked about the poor class.

    Two opposing views on inequality
        Structural-Functionalists argue that inequality is unavoidable given the way society works. Some occupations, such as health and teaching, exert an important influence on society. Therefore, these occupations need to be occupied by talented and responsible people, and the only way to encourage those people is to offer them better rewards in the form of money and prestige. Through an analogous reasoning, if anybody, regardless of talent, could serve in a position, then that position needs not to be rewarded as highly, since somebody will fill it up anyways.
        Of course, the idea of competitive individualism is permeated in this thought, since the assumption is that since most people want to occupy important and influential positions, they will work hard to obtain such goal. And this idea, that people only need to put effort into their work regardless of their initial conditions to get those positions and thus “succeed in society”, is what competitive individualism is about.
        Conflict theorists state that there is a starting difference for people that is almost impossible to break given the desire of the wealthy and powerful class to maintain their status. According to conflict theory, since people will try to get their best out of the circumstances, the very rich simply exploit the better chances they have of making higher profit because of their initial resources.
        Marx divides people into three classes depending on the factors of ownership and control of labor. Those who don’t neither control nor own labor, are called proletariat. Those who own labor but do not control it, are called the petite bourgeoisie. And, those who both manage and own labor are called Capitalists. However, as capitalism evolved and systems of production became more complex, there was a need to add the managerial class into the model, who are those who control labor but don’t own it.
        I was vaguely aware of the Marxian model of class, but couldn’t really place my family – or my parents – neatly in the opposing proletariat-bourgeois model, until I found Wright’s model which included the managers. From the strictly social point of view, my parent’s job as missionary involved hiring people using resources of the supporting foundation. I could glimpse the dilemmas of the managerial class (and the ambiguity they represent to the rest of the social divisions) as my dad had to fire several people who opposed foundation-led local projects. He would have built close-knit friendships with co-workers, but still it was him who decided their hire.

    Absolute/relative poverty
    According to Newman, absolute poverty and relative poverty are different concepts. Absolute poverty refers to the absolute minimum to sustain life. Relative, on the other hand, refers to the standards of “minimum” as defined by the particular culture the poor person is located in. Strictly speaking, for example, not having a bathroom at home would still be considered above absolute poverty levels.
    This leads to the issue of inequality across countries around the globe. Various sociologists point out that the gap between developed and underdeveloped countries in the world keeps on increasing. Newman to several authors who point at the causes of such increasing gap as colonization and other factors, but I think it’s more extended.
    Tak points out that there are numerous and various regulations in the international arena today than there was two hundred years ago. Back in the 1800s, while Europe and the U.S. was undergoing the intense process of industrialization and development, no country slowed them down with concerns of the growing deterioration in the ozone or health care and minimum wage rights of the workers. Stabilization of worker’s living standards and environmental concern rose only after a firm industrial base for mass production was already grounded. Tak is a Korean philosopher, but I believe many third world country politicians do think this way too. It is unfair, hence, that governments of developed countries point at third world country industries, charging them of deterioration of the ozone cap when the current hole has mainly been produced by the western circle’s contaminants in the past century, and this way slow the process of development down and in check with the developed country’s own interests.

    Enduring disparities in income and wealth
    Sociologists agree in that the difference between the upper and lower class is becoming bigger through the years.
    I can recall a clear example of this during my half year stay in college in Chile. I enrolled in the math engineering program, and a close friend of mine went to medicine (in Chile, as in most other countries, medicine is an undergraduate program). The annual tuition for math engineering is $1500, whereas medicine is $2800. Most of the entering class in math eng. were often too poor to pay the tuition in an annual basis, so they paid monthly with an interest fee. Some of them could have gotten into the civil engineering program (which pays more after graduation) but couldn’t afford the tuition, which was $230 higher.
    Later in the semester, students from the engineering division, along with the humanities and forestry division went on a campus-wide strike because the state financial aid didn’t meet requested need. The medicine division didn’t join the strike, since no med students were under state aid. Once this body of students graduated, the ones who paid most during it would be making more money out of their respective jobs, and the opposite was to happen to those in the lower end. This is how I could see that a poor family would almost eternally be driven back to the cycle of being poor, simply because better paying jobs would require college degrees that cost more.

    Social benefits of poverty
    The structural-functionalist approach can reason further in the usefulness of the poor class. First of all, society can hardly function without a group of laborers on a very low wage. Few people are willing to work on time consuming activities that don’t pay well. Thus, having people pushed by their daily necessities to work in conditions otherwise intolerable serve the interests of the bourgeois class. On the same line of argument, the poor purchase goods that wouldn’t be acceptable in regular conditions, such as food that run a high risk of being corrupt or houses without a window, or worn out clothes. Inability to be on an insurance plan is frequent.
    The poor depend on a welfare system that requires a specific (governmental or otherwise) bureaucracy, which generates employment for middle-class laborers such as economists, doctors, social workers, and urban planners.

  • 4:39 pm on November 16, 2002 Permalink | Reply  


    Yongho Kim: I drink coffee for strictly caffeine absorption purposes
    Sung Kyu Lee: i once drank 5 coffees in one sitting and got really sick, diaharrea and everything
    Yongho Kim: I got diarrea too out of eating two meals of cereals in a row
    Sung Kyu Lee: ahahaha
    Yongho Kim: green stuff
    Sung Kyu Lee: oh man
    Sung Kyu Lee: that’s nasty

    • 조작된흰색 7:29 am on February 6, 2005 Permalink | Reply

      에스프레소를 세 잔 연속 마셨더니 정신이 혼미하고 손이 떨리더군요.. 살아 계신 것이 다행입니다..T^T

    • Svinna 9:30 am on February 6, 2005 Permalink | Reply

      신검 받기 전날…
      혈압을 높인답시고…
      커피를 주전자체로 끓인다음…
      주전자체로 먹은적이 있었죠…

  • 10:34 pm on November 11, 2002 Permalink | Reply  

    Gender – China 

    Intro. To talk about current issues of gender inequality in China is to talk about the consequences of a quickly developing socialist society with a patriarchal, agriculturally intensive and confucianist tradition.

    (More …)

  • 10:31 pm on November 11, 2002 Permalink | Reply  

    Critical Book Review of Tracing the Veins 

    History of Modern Latin America
    Profesor Javier Morillo-Alicea
    November 11th, 2002
    Yongho Kim

    The book Tracing the Veins: Of Copper, Culture, and Community from Butte to Chuquicamata by Janet Finn is a study of two mining societies owned by one company. She intends to break off from the traditional way of viewing local histories as the stories of nations, and to instead approach a company, Anaconda, which exercised heavy influence over both Butte and Chuquicamata, as the analytic unit. By doing so, she is arguing that to bracket objects of study in terms of nations is not as obvious as we might think, but that it even produces confusion in places like Chuquicamata, in which the prevalent social issues not only arise from the local situation but of a larger situation.

    In her first two chapters, Janet outlines the history of Butte’s laboral movement in relationship with the Anaconda Corporation. She then proceeds to define the history of Chuquicamata, the background of the region as a producer of nitrates and later copper. The particular domestic political history of Chile and the international background of such events as the Vietnam War are provided as a reference to domestic situations, ending with Salvador Allende’s nationalization of the mines, and the following military government. In doing so she follows a more or less official storyline along with remarks on superficial social inequalities within the mining industry, particularly Chuquicamata.

    In the next chapters, Finn delves into the daily lives of the people and the organization of the labor movement in both Chuquicamata and Butte. She describes the propagandistic methods of the Anaconda Corporation to create a contrasting image of developed Yankees and underdeveloped Chileans, and the tradition being continued after the nationalization, the military government, and the “democratic” civil government. Particularly, I believe the author had more to say about the chapter on “the crafting of everyday life” but she chose to omit for political reasons or lack of particular examples.

    The author’s thesis, although not explicitly stated in the introductory pages, seems to be a reaffirmation of contemporary anthropological concept of approaching the non-western civilization just as a sociologist would approach the western civilization.
    Still, the way Finn approaches the two societies says something about the current pre-conceived idea of history as a discipline in many history students. She struggles to bring the individual narratives of working women and men up to the sociological meticulosity of those living in Butte. Despite her efforts and a much better result than classical anthropological writings, I still read a notion of “them” towards the people of Chuquicamata who talk in Finn’s book. They’re given special consideration throughout the argument, and it’s good that Butte’s people are represented as thoroughly as their Chilean counterparts.

    But Butte’s people are portrayed as a certain standard against which Chuquicamata people must be compared. For example, the labor movement in Butte has an intellectual basis but in Chuquicamata it does not seem to be so. The beginning of each chapter has a citation to one person from either community, and one social theorist who will always be either European or North American. Also, the interviews seem to have been carried in such a way that the miners in Chuquicamata will sound in more simplistic, or less learned ways. I don’t know if this is because of a rough translation, or the disposition of the interviewed people, but this definitely comes to reaffirm the stereotype that latin American people enjoy raw nature and dancing while “Westerners” are serious workers. In this sense, then, I would question the author’s claim in that she overcame the cultural bias prevalent in the western social sciences.

    In sum, the book challenges and breaks the notion of nation as an analytic unit, and contributes to a better knowledge of the so-called underdeveloped societies by describing the complexities and similarities of such societies to those considered western.

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