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 pursuit of a college education is often seen as a surefire path to a better life and social mobility. Yet for black families the story is not so straightforward. When selecting a college, black families utilize a number of strategies such as self-censorship while contending with how minority scholarships or enrollment to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are perceived. We sit with Dr. Deborwah Faulk, a race scholar, to learn more about the impact of anti-black racism on college selection for black families.
Keywords College selection, Black culture, Racism and Anti-Racism, Higher Education
Penn and Ellen are avid fans of Bon Appetit’s YouTube channel. ‘Gourmet Makes,’ ‘Back to Back Chef,’ ‘It’s Alive with Brad’, and that one where Chris recreates dishes blind-folded– WE LOVE THEM ALL. But at the start of June, it was revealed that there is shocking inequality in Bon Appetit: white chefs appearing in videos were being paid for their time, while chefs of color were not, and leadership was engaging in other racist practices. So, we had to get together for a breakaway and talk about this drama, and how the culinary industry is rife with inequality. Tune in here!
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.
Note: This is a re-release of an old episode we did back in November 2017. While we were not discussing resistance and social movements in the context of George Floyd’s murder and the #BlackLivesMatter protests, we still believe the content is relevant today.
Resist! It’s such a buzzword with deep historical roots, but what exactly is resistance? What does it mean to resist and to struggle? How can we resist? What are some strategies or ways to resist? Many social issues are now at the forefront of the global conversation, especially with Trump’s presidency, from racism to sexual harassment, to basic human decency. Resistance is a difficult and long-drawn out process – it’s not for us, it’s for our children. It’s not for today, but for tomorrow. Change can’t happen without resistance, so join us this week to learn more!
Sociology, resistance, social movements, social change, protest
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.”
Andddd we’re back with part two of our series on stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination! In this episode we take a close look at institutional discrimination. First, we explore the sociological concept of the ‘institution’. Next, we look at how discrimination can plague an institution, and why it is that sometimes we don’t even know that we’re participants in this type of biased behavior. We end the episode with some ways that we faulty human beings can reduce and prevent discrimination. Tune in here to learn more, and don’t forget to subscribe to us wherever you get your podcasts!
A review of some of our basic definitions from this episode:
Stereotypes: “To assign identical characteristics to any person in a group, regardless of the actual variation among members of that group.” (From Elliot Aronson’s The Social Animal)
Prejudice: “A hostile or negative attitude toward a distinguishable group based on generalizations derived from faulty or incomplete information.” (From Elliot Aronson’s The Social Animal)
Discrimination: Unfair treatment of members of a stigmatized group that denies a member their rights.
Institution: “Stable patterns of behavior that define, govern, and constrain action. An institution is an organization or other formal social structure that governs a field of action.” (from Oxford Bibliographies)
What is institutional discrimination? It is when an institution puts into place discriminatory policies and practices that favor the majority group and disadvantage minority groups. These policies and practices are embedded in the existing structures of our society in the form of norms!
Some of the laws and policies that we cited in this episode were:
19th Amendment (1920): Gave women the right to vote “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
Civil Rights Act (1964): Protects employees and job applicants from employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin
Title IX (1972): Enforced by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Protects people from discrimination based on sex in education including, “recruitment, admissions, and counseling; financial assistance; athletics; sex-based harassment; treatment of pregnant and parenting students; discipline; single-sex education; and employment.” in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance (ACLU)
We discussed the rampant prejudice, discrimination, and institutional discrimination against Micronesians here on the islands of Hawaii. Here are some articles we cited and relevant links:
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.