What is “humor” and what is “comedy”? Do these terms mean the same thing? Today we answer these questions with the help of Dr. Raul Perez, author of ‘The Souls of White Jokes’ and scholar of what exactly “funny” is and “funny” does. Tune in to learn about the purposes that humor serves in society, stretching back to feudal times to the current Cancel Culture era. And don’t forget to grab a copy of his book!
The way neighborhoods are transformed as investors, capital, and newcomers arrive cannot be understood without talking about cafes, lattes, food security, avocado toast, and race. Dr. Alison Alkon and Dr. Joshua Sbicca join us this week to discuss how food is both a gentrifying force and gentrified itself. The conversation was initiated by a new edited volume by our guests (and Dr. Yuki Kato who could not make it) titled, A Recipe for Gentrification! Tune in to learn more about how neighborhood foodscapes change, and how these changes warrant sociological analysis. All you food and environmental justice peeps, this one’s for you!
We’re continuing our #BlackLivesMatter miniseries and exploring what it means when people demand that we defund the police. Annually the U.S. spends around $115 billion on police departments– an amount that has tripled over the past 40 years. So supporters of #BLM are calling for divestment from police as one way to combat police violence and aggression. What does defunding look like? How would it happen? And wait, wait, wait, with less police won’t crime go up?! Tune in here to learn more.
#BlackLivesMatter, social movements, race, racism, police brutality, police violence
Check out this article from the Guardian “What does ‘defund the police’ mean?” that finds that over the past 40 years, the budgets for police departments across the US have tripled in funding amounts to roughly $115 billion this year.
The #BlackLivesMatter social movement has been gaining momentum after the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota on May 25, and protests have been seen around the world and in every state in the U.S. We here at the Social Breakdown have been trying to figure out how we can do our part in the movement, and this miniseries is one of the results. So, the first episode of our #BlackLivesMatter miniseries is about the BLM movement itself. Who created it? How is it organized? What is BLM calling for? And why should you not say, “But, but, don’t All Lives Matter??” Tune in here to learn more.
You can find the transcript for his episode here. Big ups to Sam Yuan for helping transcribe this one for us!!
#blacklivesmatter, social movements, protest, police, race, racism
The Pew Research Center recently published an article titled, “10 Things We Know About Race and Policing in the U.S.” where they found, “Black adults are about five times as likely as whites to say they’ve been unfairly stopped by police because of their race or ethnicity (44% vs. 9%), according to the same survey. Black men are especially likely to say this: 59% say they’ve been unfairly stopped, versus 31% of black women.”
Also, do your part and email, call, and tweet at the Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron and Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher and demand the arrest and charging of the three officers who killed Breonna.
Ellen ended the episode with a quote from an NPR Fresh Air episode where Queen Terry Gross interviewed Historian Eric Foner on the Reconstruction period, which you can listen to here:
The insightful quote from Dr. Foner: “ I think African Americans have a very different view of what freedom is than most white people, and that’s because of different historical experiences. I think – this is a gross oversimplification, which you can find many exceptions to, but still I think a lot of truth in it – most white people in this country think freedom is something they have and that somebody often is trying to take away from them. Most black people in this country think that freedom is something they are aspiring to achieve. It’s a process. It’s something to be fully gained in the future. And that is a basic difference which affects their views on many, many aspects of our society, whether it’s the law, the criminal justice system, the economic system, et cetera.”
Self-esteem is a major concept in Social Psychology and it is majorly interesting! That’s why Ellen and Omar got together to discuss it this week. With the help of writing from academics Morris Rosenberg and Leonard Pearlin, they talk about how race affects self-esteem, and why Asian-Americans routinely report the lowest self-esteem among all races. They also ask, is sociology’s current way of measuring self-esteem the best one? Tune in to hear the convo!
Also don’t forget to subscribe and rate us on your podcasting platform. Thank you!
self-esteem, social psychology, race, mental health
A foundational reading from Rosenberg and Pearlin (1978) on self-esteem that we mentioned is, “Social Class and Self-Esteem Among Children and Adults”. It touches on how both race and class can affect self-esteem and how it does.
Also, Morris Rosenberg’s (who wrote a TON) book Conceiving the Self is helpful in understanding the roots of self-esteem and the self.
If you wanna get a primer on how certain aspects of your life (like smoking, delinquency, happiness, early sexual experiences) can affect your self-esteem Baumeister et al.’s (2003) “Does High Self-Esteem Cause Better Performance, Interpersonal Success, Happiness, or Healthier Lifestyles?” from the Psychological Science in the Public Interest journal is a good place to start.
Article cited when talking about which races report higher and lower self-esteem:Bachman et al. (2011) “Adolescent Self-Esteem: Differences by Race/ethnicity, Gender and Age”
“Large-scale representative surveys of 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students in the United States show high self-esteem scores for all groups. African-American students score highest, Whites score slightly higher than Hispanics, and Asian Americans score lowest.”
This supports other more recent findings that “African Americans seem to consistently report higher levels of self-esteem than Whites, whereas Asian Americans report the lowest levels.” Despite African Americans experiencing more and harsher stigmas and discrimination than other races.
Leonard Pearlin, the pioneer of the Social Stress Process Model, argues that a disadvantaged social status (e.g., low-income or negatively valued racial group) will be associated with lower levels of self-esteem, higher levels of distress, and more likely to be exposed and vulnerable to stressful life circumstances.
Michael Hughes and David Demo in 1989 in their article titled, “Self-Perceptions of Black Americans: Self-Esteem and Personal Efficacy” found that “black self-esteem is insulated from systems of racial inequality, while personal efficacy is not, and suggest that this explains why black Americans have relatively high self-esteem but low personal efficacy. The belief that racial discrimination, rather than personal failure, accounts for low achievement among blacks is irrelevant to personal self-esteem and personal efficacy”
If you wanna find anymore sources on self-esteem, just shoot us an email or Facebook/Twitter message us and we can point you in the direction of some great stuff!
February is Black History Month (BHM), which means… we gotta talk about it! This week we dig into the history behind BHM, talk about the founder of the holiday (the fascinating Dr. Carter Woodson), and tackle the many critiques and debates surrounding the month. Like, why the heck is BHM on the shortest month of the year?! Why do we usually only celebrate a select few Black figures this month? Is BHM a productive event? Oh also, did you know that race is a social construct? That’s right! Join in to hear the conversation and let us know what you think!
Omar: I meant to say melanin and NOT melatonin when discussing the social construction of race.
Omar: Barrack Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, was an American anthropologist. She is not from Germany. In fact, she lived in Hawaii and studied at the University of Hawaii-Manoa. Though I said “I think,” I was wrong. [We all should have known that!]
race, racism, black history month, social construction
What is a “Social Construct”?
An idea or concept that is created and accepted by members of a society. These are ideas that are not “natural” or universal across all cultures and societies.