Studies

 The Ranger Online had this article header below that tends to make me cringe when I see the "value of cultural enclaves" being taught in an academic class:

Open house showcases sociology courses, careers Classes teach value of pluralism, cultural enclaves in society

 I did like this professor's observation about two of her students:

With its diverse student population, this campus represents an interesting microcosm.

"I remember one class where I had a dual-credit, 15-year-old, home-schooled student and a 60-year-old, retired woman who was studying just for fun," sociology Instructor Terri Slonacker said.

Three generations apart, the two students sat next to each other, exchanging projects and ideas — "and in what other college can you find this?" she said.

That diversity is the perfect setting for answering the question: What is sociology?

"A sociology course allows to see beyond the labels and helps to acknowledge diversity as a positive factor of society," she said.

I don't know.  It seems to me that some studiers of people had to create the labels first.  Then they could tell us how to throw all that to the wind.  I'm not crazy about people labels, even though my kids say I can be a bit judgmental at times. I'm especially uncomfortable with homeschool studies.  Sometimes the very notions are disturbingly bizarre.  This New American article's author, Bruce Walker, pondered new studies after a medical journal,  Pediatrics, shared its results from the NYC Youth Risk Behavior Study:

What would be more interesting is a study that showed the rates of promiscuous sex among religiously serious families and among irreligious families, between families in which the teenager was born out of wedlock and the general population or in which the mother of the student was on welfare. Another very interesting study might be the incidence of sexual intercourse among home-schooled children or the number of different sexual partners home-schooled students had as well as the incidence among them of homosexual sex, rape, and dangerously unprotected sex.

It would also be fascinating to compare the sexual activity, sexual violence, and sexually transmitted diseases in public schools with the same rates in parochial schools, yeshivas, and other religious schools. It might also be helpful to compare questions about dangerous and destructive adolescent promiscuity and the respondents’ beliefs about the sinfulness of fornication and of homosexuality. What these sorts of studies might reveal is some groundbreaking social research such as: (1) abstinence protects teenagers from diseases, emotional disorders, violence, and pregnancy; (2) serious marital commitment leads to happy, healthy, and financially secure families; and (3) strong religious foundations are the best means of achieving these desirable results.

Perhaps these will be in the next study commissioned by bureaucrats in the City of New York.

Curiosity killed the cat.   I've always wondered about the benefits of being studied, as well.  I guess they have the money to burn for such a study. 

Another example was this "experiment" described below which has always troubled me a bit.  From the Frontier article:

The "Frontline" video called "A Class Divided" features a two-day experiment in which a third grade teacher provides an object lesson about discrimination on the day after the murder of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King in April 1968.

She divides the class into blue- and brown-eyed children. The kids are allowed or forbidden to do things depending on their eye color. Some of them receive privileged treatment and others don't, just on the basis of appearance.

The program remains one of the most requested episodes of "Frontline" and can be found in a link on the home page of the PBS series at www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/.

"This experiment is very controversial and somehow painful," Slonaker said.

It is uncomfortable to see children being mean to each other, she continued.

Indeed.  But the experiment's procedures on the little 9 year old psyches were to do just that.  It's not nice to experiment on little children in such a manner. But that's just me. 

But in general, the video is well-received by a mature college audience because it clearly shows how easily social labels lead to prejudice and discrimination.

It can leave one like me to sigh about the fact those 3rd graders were not mature and were likely already torn up about Reverend King's death.  I was actually starting out in a positive manner because the 60 year old and 15 year old homeschooler were appreciating each other so much.  It reminded me of the senior citizens' activities we went to when the kids were younger, like the Planetarium visits. 
But then I kept reading the article. 


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