Telecourse Writing Assignments #3 & 4

Select two (2) of the following assignments –no more than one from each category. In each case you will be visiting one or more web sites that contain information that builds upon and supplements the materials presented in the text and telecourse videos. Each essay has multiple parts and your answers should be roughly 750 words (3 typed pages, 12-font) in length.

These assignments must be emailed to me at no later than Monday, November 7th.

Communities, Societies, and Nations

(1) Go to CensusScope: Racial Segregation Statistics and read the brief explanations of “Neighborhood Exposure By Race” and “Dissimilarity Indices.” Using the “Charts” and “Ranking and Comparisons” tools located in the left-hand column on the page examine the extent to which segregation exists between racial and ethnic groups in various locations in the United States.

Beginning with “Charts”, use the “Choose Metro” pull-down tab and compare information on “exposure by race” and “dissimilarity indices” for Dallas, TX and two other metropolitan areas located in different regions of the United States – i.e., New York, NY, Montgomery, AL, Salem, OR. Describe and explain the differences you find.

Next, using the “Choose State” and “Choose City” pull-down tabs, describe and compare information on “exposure by race” and “dissimilarity indices” for Plano, McKinney, Allen, Frisco, and Dallas.

Last, use the “Ranking & Comparisons” tool, click on “cities,” choose Texas from the pull-down tab, and select three “dissimilarity indices from the pull-down tab (i.e., White-Black, White-Asian, etc.), and report how Plano, McKinney, Allen, Frisco, and Dallas compare to other cities in the state.

Discuss the implications of the data you have examined.

Social Stratification and Social Class

(2) Go to Cornell University’s Center for the Study of Inequality.  Take the interactive IQ –  “Inequality Quotient” – quiz.  Is there anything that surprised you? How did your score compare with those of others who have taken the test? What are the implications of the fact that the average score indicates widespread ignorance of inequality?

(3) About 24,000 people die every day from hunger or hunger-related causes – that is one person every 3.6 seconds. This is down from 35,000 ten years ago, and 41,000 twenty years ago. Three-fourths of the deaths are children under the age of five. Go to “The Hunger Site.”   Browse through this site and read about world hunger. Be certain to look at “Hunger & Hope in Africa” and  “Daily Results” located in the column on the left side of the page. Summarize and comment on this information. How do you account for the fact that more people “click” daily on the “Animal Rescue Site” (check this site – it is listed at the top of the web page) than the hunger site? For additional context, go to “How Rich Are You?

(4) Go to “Child Labor in America 1908-1912: The Photographs of Lewis W. Hine.” Click on and read “About these Photos” and then view the photographs. Indicate how one’s social class affected one’s life-chances in the early 1900s. To what extent has the situation improved?


(5) Go the website “Stonewall and Beyond: Lesbian and Gay Culture,” an online exhibition at Columbia University.

Read and view exhibit cases 1-9.

Describe the events at Stonewall Inn, 1969. How was the event portrayed in the newspapers at the time (see also,  Jerry Lisker, “Homo Nest Raided, Queen Bees Are Stinging Mad,”reprinted from "The New York Daily News," July 6, 1969).  How does the reporting differ and how do you account for these differences? Why does the Stonewall riot play such a prominent role on gay/lesbian history?

Historically, what changes have occurred in the views of sexuality and homosexuality? How have the images of lesbians and gays changed in popular culture? How does “queer” culture differ from mainstream gay and lesbian culture?

What are some of the gay and lesbian themes found in Hispanic literatures and culture? How do these differ from mainstream gay and lesbian culture? How is this difference explained?

(6) How is gender socialization affected by popular culture? Explore the history of “Barbie.” How has her history reflected the changes in women’s roles since she made her debut in 1959? What impact has she had in shaping the sex-roles of generations of girls? Now that she and “Ken” have split, what does the future hold?

Race and Ethnicity

(7) This exercise is designed to indicate the extent to which members of society have biases that they do not explicitly recognize. Go to the Implicit Association Test. Take both the race and gender tests. Each test will take approximately ten minutes. After you have finished each test a results page will appear indicating whether you have an “implicit” or hidden bias and, if so, whether it is strong, moderate, or weak. More important, the results page will present a frequency distribution of all the scores of tests that have been taken by others visiting this site.

Summarize and then discuss the implications of the data presented for all of the test-takers – I am not interested in your score. Next, discuss how these findings might affect programs that attempt to reduce the extent to which bias and prejudice exist in society.

(8) Go to the PBS site, "Is Race For Real."   First, click on “Sorting People” and then do the exercise (“Begin Sorting”). How many correct placements do you make out of twenty? What criteria did you use? What are the implications of these findings? Next, click on “Explore Traits.” What did you find?

Last, click on “Human Diversity” (from the main menu) and take the quiz. Discuss your results after you look at “Explore Diversity” located on the same page.

(9) Visit the“Virtual Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia.” After reading “Who” and “What” was Jim Crow, view the caricatures and cartoons that are on exhibit. How have these images shaped beliefs and attitudes about African-Americans in the United States? How are they linked to prejudice? To what extent do similar images exist in contemporary society?

Deviance and Social Control

(11) Take “The Death Penalty Quiz.” What did you learn? Next, visit the Death Penalty Information Center AND a “Pro-Death Penalty." Browse each site and compare the information found in each.

(12) Visit the “Southern Poverty Law Center.” Click on “Intelligence Project” listed along the top. Summarize the history of this project and then view the “Hate Groups Map” and read “Hatewatch.”

Next, visit the “The Hate Directory: Hate Groups on the Internet." Write a “sociologically informed” opinion of the materials you have found at both of these sites.