Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Final Blog

             According to American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, the term intellectual disability (ID) covers the same population of individuals who were diagnosed previously with mental retardation. Being such a broad population, this means a lot of people either know someone with, or has ID themselves. The reason I feel that more people need to know about the stigma effecting this population is because they are vulnerable and need our help. Those with ID might not know when they are being treated unfairly or are facing prejudice. That’s why it is our job as a society to make sure they have the equal rights everyone else deserves. There are stereotypes associated with those with ID such as being more aggressive, less intelligent, or that they should be feared due to their differences. This should be important to everyone because this population can not fight the stigma alone. They tend to be discredited due to their delays. If this was your family member, you wouldn’t want someone bullying them or telling them they can’t do something that everyone else can.
            We have seen in popular media sources different ways the ID have been mistreated or misunderstood. For example, in the video from NBC News, we see a scene play out that ended with a man being shot by the police. The therapist of a man with ID was shot, even though he was complying with the police, when he was trying to have his patient return to a safe place. The reasoning behind this incident was claimed to be that the officer believed the man with ID was holding a weapon and was going to hurt someone. They were both a part of an oppressed group so the rationality of the officer was dismissed. The underlying issues with this situation were that the person who called the police originally assumed the ID man to be dangerous. There was no threat but when someone is out walking around “being different”, the woman was scared and called police, also assuming he had a gun. This is the way we can see the stereotype of people with ID being dangerous.
            Another source we have looked at were cultural products such as memes, videos, and cartoons. The cartoon I found that is showing a family looking at a house near a psychiatric hospital is interesting for a couple of reasons. Since we can’t tell what the illustrator was thinking when creating this cartoon, I question whether he was supporting the stereotype of ID being a communicable disease or if he was mocking those that did. As a sociologist, I think he should have made his point clear that the mother asking “what if my kids catch schizophrenia”, is a ridiculous and uneducated question. Unfortunately, to a public audience, this might instill fear in them and make them think they actually could “catch” schizophrenia. This is why a sociological standpoint is important to have when looking at cultural products or popular media. It can prevent us from falling victim to propaganda and false claims. Just because something is seen as normal in a society, doesn’t mean it is right or justified. We can see the way people try to keep power over individuals with ID by the way they are underrepresented and the oppression they are put under.
            The research I looked at supported the continuing oppression and stigma that this population face. Most data that I looked at was qualitative, mostly in the form of interviews. This information was helpful because it was giving different experiences people have had associated with stigma. Not only do the individuals with ID face constant stigma, their caregivers do too. Unfortunately, when interviews were conducted, they were mostly given to caregivers or peers of those with ID so no firsthand accounts were given. That is why I wanted my research to expand upon the existing data and interview those with ID specifically. I think a lot of people fear the fact that we aren’t sure if people with ID always know that they have a disability. Being the one to point it out to them could come with consequences such as possible anger from the individual, you could upset them, or cause them to view themselves as being different. This is where my research needs expanding because it would be difficult coming up with interview questions that did not trigger anger or sadness but still got to the information I need. I enjoyed the way Georgiadi et al. conducted their research because it gave students no boundaries on what they were thinking. While this was a good way to be unbiased, the analyzation of the data could be interpreted differently from person to person since they are drawings. This form of data could help support existing data but alone would look fairly opinion based.

            As I have said before, everyone should care about this topic because it can affect everyone in some way or another. Educating others on the stigma that is present and taking action to diminish it is critical. This population needs our help and it isn’t that hard for us to come to their aid. An easy way for you to help is by seeing the oppression or prejudicial acts others are committing. Don’t just stop the act from happening, further educate the offender on why what they did was wrong. Telling a person to look t things from the ID individual’s shoes could help show that the ID individual might not understand why there was a problem in the first place. I also think that patience with those with intellectual disabilities is important because the faster you try to resolve a situation, the worse it could get. Just like with the police shooting the therapist, the officer rushed the situation and caused an even bigger issue and fear to arise. The final and main thing that I think everyone can do is to just treat this population like everyone else. They are human too. There are only slight differences between those with non-intellectual disabilities and those with them. It’s a population that will always be a part of our society so make sure they know they belong. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Blog 3

              When does someone become exposed or falls victim to stigma? While there might not be a set time or reason that stigma might occur, there are ways to prevent it. A study I found is all about the prevention of stigma of those with intellectual disabilities by teaching inclusion at a young age. Childhood is when we learn most of our basic knowledge that we apply to more complex situations or objects as adults. It seems like a no-brainer to teach children why others might be different than them early on then. For some reason, schools don’t teach children about intellectual disabilities until about seventh or eighth grade. This is too late for most kids because by that time, they have been around someone with an intellectual disability already and most likely have their own opinions about them. These opinions could be easily influenced by the way a child interprets their interaction with a peer with disabilities.

             The study, Young Children’s Attitudes Toward Peers with Intellectual Disabilities: Effect of the Type of School is a helpful article for everyone to understand. The purpose of this study is to look at the attitudes of peers towards those with intellectual disabilities and if the school they attend influence these attitudes. In the two schools I went to, some of the disabled kids would be in my classes with an aid there to help them but usually, they were in a different classroom all together. The way this study did their research was by having kids complete a questionnaire and an adjective list and also draw a child with intellectual disabilities along with comments on their own drawings. By doing this, it gave a lot of room for the children to really show their thoughts and views of their peers with disabilities. They found that attitudes tended to be neutral and that the inclusive school kids had even more positive things to say about those with intellectual disabilities. I think that there should be more education at a younger age about what disabilities are, both physical and intellectual. This can help prevent future stigma since a lot of stigmas stem from misunderstandings and lack of experience. I highly suggest looking into this study to everyone, because stigma can be prevented. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Popular Products

Instead of looking at popular examples of our topics in media, we examined different forms of products people have made portraying our topics. Some of these kinds of products can be memes, YouTube videos, advertisements  or political cartoons. We could see throughout the examples my classmates presented, a lack of a sociological view in most cases. My examples were mostly memes that people have made that were mostly just offensive. For some reason, I found the reoccurring theme that it had to be offensive in order to be funny. Some of my classmates had some very interesting political cartoons. We could see through those examples that there was a little more knowledge and thought that went into them. A lot of these sources were lacking any form of sociological knowledge. I believe that a lot of the content we see online or around us, is very pointless. When I was trying to find products about those with intellectual disabilities, I had a hard time finding something with substance to it. This was when I really noticed just how much uneducated. idiotic things we are constantly exposed to. Some advertisements even used the idea of stupidity to make their point! One of my products was a cartoon someone drew of a family looking at a house near a psychiatric hospital. The mother is saying "but what if the wind changes and my kids all catch schizophrenia?" This cartoon can be taken in two ways. A knowledgeable person would look at this and say. "wow that's horrible and she clearly doesn't understand that schizophrenia is noncommunicable." On the other hand, someone that doesn't get that idea would think. "oh no! If I move into a house near a psyc hospital, I'll need to go into one."Of course this is not the case but unfortunately, there are still people in this world that don't realize that. So overall, we need to be careful of how we interpret things, make sure we actually look at underlying messages, and overall, don't believe in everything on the internet. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Popular Media Sources

For this weeks blog post, the class all searched for examples of our topics in popular media sources. As sociologists, we analyzed the way certain media sources portray different social issues. You can see throughout the different forms of media the different impacts they have on viewers. In a lot of the social topics, we were given the contrast of videos and articles being used. I found these two sources to give information in their own way which in turn causes different audiences and emotions to be effected. Videos tended to have more of an emotional connection to them, especially the video we watched on the foster care system. This form of media is often used to show more of the personable side of stories. Articles on the other hand are how people get all of the data across to the public and giving more facts. While some articles were able to find a happy-medium to the stories presented, a lot of the time they are missing crucial parts to reasons behind the story, the data, or the emotion. They also tend to be one-sided stories that don't take into account the opposing sides' perspective. For a sociology major, we can often see these pieces that are missing but for an average person, a lot of the time, they don't get all of the information. 
We have always been told, "don't believe everything you read on the internet," and this can be applied to all other forms of media. While we would like to think that we are getting accurate data from the news and online, we have to be cautious and look at more than one source for our information. This is how sociologists research because we know that there are always more than just one perspective on social issues. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Post #4

This week, I've picked out three different news articles that exemplify the lack of concern and attention, those with special needs should be receiving. In each of these articles, we can see the unfair treatment of those with mental disabilities and the effects they have on those closest to them. 
I started off with a story about a boy named Cal who was attacked by another student with special needs on a school bus. The problem with this story is that neither the bus driver or bus aid seemed to report the incident. The reason this story made the news was because the parents found out much later than they should have of what really happened to their son. The situation was under explained and was made to sound like Cal just fell and got a cut. When watching the videos, you can clearly see it all took place right in his seat. The reporting aspect of this story was actually pretty thorough. I believe this story, while being a very brief one, gave all of the information without any bias or misuse of terminology. The two offenders didn't receive the punishment I believe that they should have.
The second story I analyzed was about two child care workers who were caught degrading a child with autism. Watching the videos attached to this article made me very angry and upset at the fact that some people don't see a problem with treating any child like they did. From my own experiences when interning for a company that hosted a day-habilitation program, I never saw anyone mock or instigate one of the individuals. For my short time there, I still had to go through a small background check, get fingerprinted, and also drug tested. I still had very little access to what i could and could not do while I was there but it was all taken very seriously. This story failed to give more information on the girls and their process of how they originally got their jobs at this facility. A lot of this story ended up focusing more on the two offenders rather than the victim of the hate crime. 
Sociologically, you can see the difference between the two stories I have just gone over and see the different punishments the offenders received. In the first, the offenders are the bus driver and aid that did not report the incident. In the second it's the two girls that fully committed the offense. I think that they each got the correct punishment of getting fired from their jobs immediately but one has to understand the racial aspects of these stories. The bus offenders were both (presumably) white while the two day care girls were both (again, presumably) black. Race is always an aspect that we have to look at while analyzing articles due to the variation in treatment between races. If the two girls were white, I wonder if the punishments would be lighter and vice versa with if the bus workers were a part of a minority group. 
The third story seems to tie all of these ideas together and it's where we see many more problems and the intersectionality really come into play. The third article I wanted to analyze is of the story of a behavioral therapist named Charles Kinsey. The first thing I want to point out is that no one but the police officers involved was armed in this situation. The police had received a call about a suicidal man walking around with a gun. This said person was a patient in a nearby center that just happened to walk out and had a toy truck in his hand.This call was completely inaccurate and ended with a very serious crime. I believe that whomever made that initial call was scared of the man with a disability and therefore called police. This information was assumed to be true so the police had the thought going in that they had to have their weapons ready. Even though Kinsey was on the ground with his hands in the air, he was shot. The police should have been concerned with the disabled man and just trying to get him home safely but they then turned to Kinsey and assumed he was dangerous. The police officer tried to use the excuse that he "was trying to fire at the autistic man, who he believed was armed". This statement shows just how quick police are in using deadly forces when there is only ASSUMED threats. 
Overall, these articles show not only the lack of focus on the victim of the situations but seem to leave out any help or therapy the victims receive after the trauma. The news coverage seemed to display the offense that happened and what happened to the offenders. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Post #2

              For this week’s post, we looked at a variety of articles from different sociologists. Each of these articles pointed out how sociology is very underrepresented. Collins’ article pointed out mainly how sociologists are forgotten in society when it comes to new ideas. She expresses her frustration of not being able to use what she knows and what she has learned to help the rest of society as much as she should. Patterson went in a similar direction in his post by saying, if sociologists had been referred to when making new plans and programs, they could have worked a lot better. In Fabio Rojas’ article, he says that a cause for sociologists being forgotten is because we are too busy trying to learn how to do research instead of using that knowledge to make changes. He expands on his statement by saying academics and activism need to go more hand-in-hand as opposed to go to school first, then act. Karen Sternheimer also pointed out that sociology isn’t opinion based. I think that this is a huge misconception in society that it’s just “what we think”. She tells of her experiences as a sociologist that has been reached out to for some of the wrong topics. I found it funny how she said that in an interview, the interviewer said “you haven’t answered my question yet” because Karen hadn’t done research in that topic. It was better for her to not answer than to make something up, which I found very important. I think that my favorite journal was by Nathan Jurgenson. He proposed ways that sociology could come into the light of the public and how to get more people interested in it. All while saving money and gaining access to more information. I think that they all agree on the fact that sociology is misunderstood and they want to use their degrees in their field useful to the world.
                Making sociology more public is a main goal of most sociologists. How we do so is still a difficult question or task. Jurgenson gave the two main ideas of accessibility by availability and accessibility by design. I think that these two approaches are the easiest to accomplish first. Gaining access to all journals is a main key because then we can continue to expand our research in ways others might not have thought about doing before. The design of the journals, while very informational already, is lacking visual appeal. As a college student that grew up in the age of technology, I understand completely that just looking at a journal is nauseating sometimes. This is where new forms of media are very useful. Writing research on the form of tweets, posts, or blogs just like this one are a lot easier on the eyes and can be easier to understand. I think that C. Wright Mills would be impressed with all of these articles and the opinions stated in each. In terms of what he would say to the questions I was given, I feel as though he would be the one to ask them. It’s our job, just like it is for any other concentration, to expand our knowledge and expertise to the public and make more people aware of the world they are living in.

                Being the type of person that will talk to everyone I come into contact with, I think that some of the best ways to feed people information is to just talk about it. Giving examples of sociology and putting it into terms that everyone understands is an effective way of learning. Also, relating it to the person you are talking to and making it known that they are experiencing sociology all of the time makes people interested. Keeping it simplified while still being knowledgeable is my main goal when I talk to others about sociology. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Week 1

As you can tell from my blog title, I focus on the population of people with special needs or handicaps. This focus is important to me because I see the way that people stigmatize and oppress those with disabilities and how most of the time they cannot fight for themselves. One of my main goals is to help those with handicaps in any way that I can to give them fair chances in life like everyone else has. To me, sociology is the way we observe how others use their experiences in situations and why they differentiate across situations. I also like to refer sociologists as “professional people watchers” because we’re always observing and studying peoples’ social interactions.

Sociology is an important study because it is how we can make social changes and hopefully results in a better society. When someone practices sociology, it helps question people’s social interactions and targets socially incorrect statements/ attitudes. This happens on a daily basis and across all environments. Whether we know it or not, sociology is being applied all of the time. It doesn’t have to be in an academic setting or just with other sociologist.