Miami University Race and Inequality in America Discussion Questions


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 submit your responses to the questions below

 Some people are able to express their thinking better through writing, while others are better able to express their ideas through talking. Regardless of how you submit your responses, I recommend that you keep a copy on your computer or somewhere else until you receive a grade for the assignment just in case there are technical problems and your responses don’t make it through to me. If you have any questions, let me know. 

Here are your questions… complete Parts A, B, & C below:

  • Part A:
    1. American Families in Social Context,” a topic that spans both Chapters 1 and 2. Here we go…
  1. Watch this 5-minute video, “American Families in Social Context, P1,” by Dr. K introduces the perspective of thinking about individuals and families in context and, specifically, how historical events have had an impact on family life:
    1. And now watch this 5-minute video, “American Families in Social Context, P2,” by Dr. K as she continues talking about the impact of certain historical events on American families:
      1. This 5-minute video, “American Families in Social Context, P3,” shows Dr. K finishing up historical events as a social context and introducing INC #2:
        1. Pause here to complete your “in-class” assignment, INC#2 (due by 11:59pm, Wednesday, February 3rd; instructions provided in video lecture above), and submit responses via Canvas.
        2. Watch this 5-minute video by Dr. K, “American Families in Social Context, P4,” to begin talking about age structure as another major social contextual factor:
          1. Keep learning more age structure and also begin learning about economic context by watching this 5-minute video by Dr. K, “American Families in Social Context, P5”:
            1. Watch this 5-minute YouTube video, “Child Poverty in America – Marian Wright Edelman,” to learn from one of our nation’s leading experts on and advocates in the fight against childhood poverty. As Marian Wright Edelman (who spoke at Miami a few years ago!) is describing “our American family today,” especially be listening for the stereotypes and myths that she looks to dispel:
              1. To wrap up our first day of lecture for this week, watch this final 5-minute video by Dr. K, “American Families in Social Context, P6”:
                1. Below are some optional study guide questions for you from Chapter 1. As I think I mentioned last week, I do provide study guide questions before each exam. Here are the ones for Chapter 1:

                Chapter One- Introduction and Making Family Choices in a Changing Society:

                • What social trends and changes in demographics have occurred in the U.S. in relation to family life (as discussed in class and expanded upon in text (pp. 8-9 & 11 especially)?
                • Be familiar with the composition of households in the US (i.e., in Figure 1.2 of the text); what is the most common household type?
                • How is “family” defined? What is a “nuclear family,” what is a “traditional” nuclear family? What percentage of households fit the traditional nuclear family definition today? What’s missing from a purely structural definition (e.g., “mother, father, and kids”) of family? What is the U.S. Census Bureau definition? Who is left out? What is the textbook’s definition? (see Figure 1.1 for opinions) What are some family functions?
                • What are the “family decline” and the “family change/adaptation” perspectives? If you were a person speaking from each of these perspectives, what are some things you might say?
                • “The Freedom and Pressures of Choosing” (pp. 22-23): How do social factors influence personal choices? What are three components or aspects of informed/knowledgeable decision-making?
                • What are “individualistic” values versus “familistic” values?

                Families in Social Context (from lecture but also see pp. 12-22 of text):

                • Historical Events: What trends in family life did we see during the Great Depression, during and after WWII, and during the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and currently?
                • What are the consequences and advantages/disadvantages of the changing age structure in the US?
                • The Economic Context: Describe the unequal distribution on income (wealth disparity) in the US; how many children in the U.S. live in poverty?
                • Definitions of race, ethnicity, and ethnic/racial minority. What does it mean that race is considered to be primarily a social construction? Racial/ethnic minorities make up what proportion of the U.S. population? Why is it important to be aware of the diversity that exists within racial/ethnic groups? What are binational and transnational families (p. 20)?
                • What do religion/spirituality/religious institutions provide for families, and in what ways do they have an influence on families?
                • What are the advantages and disadvantages of the impact of technology on family relations (e.g., parental monitoring and communication); do all families have equal access to technology?
                • What is family policy, and why might it be important for political decisions/policies to be “scrutinized through a family policy or family impact lens?” (pp. 21-22). 

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