Understanding Others – Behavioral and Social Sciences Newsletter

Behavioral and Social Sciences Newsletter Spring 2021 - Fifth Edition

Understanding Others

What do Human Services, Psychology, Sociology, and History have in common?  They are disciplines that help us all to become better citizens of our world, engaging us in the vital work of UNDERSTANDING OTHERS. CCSJ’s Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences is pleased to present highlights of student work from

2020 – 2021.  These writings reflect our students’ progress toward meaningful careers in their chosen fields, as well as their growth into “citizen scholars.”  The latter growth is an ongoing process that they share with all of us.  We congratulate them and welcome readers to our fifth issue.

 

 

 

As a Catholic college in the tradition of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Calumet College of St. Joseph affirms the right of students to privately and publicly dissent with ecclesiastical teaching, provided the student understands the rationale for these teachings, and acknowledges that one’s opinion does not necessarily reflect that of Calumet College of St. Joseph.  

 

 

 

American Civilization

Professor Pennanen

13 September 2020

Two Remarkable Women

When examining the inspirational lives of Phillis Wheatley and Anne Hutchinson, it is clear that there are striking similarities along with vast differences in who they were and how they lived. Anne Hutchinson was a white woman who lived during the 1630’s. She was a wife, mother, midwife, and a religious freethinker who held weekly Bible studies and discussions in her home. This offended the Puritans in Massachusetts Bay Colony who were upset by the fact that Anne interpreted Holy Scripture by herself, claimed to speak directly to God, and criticized clergy for suggesting that performing good deeds alone was enough to get into heaven. She was eventually accused and charged of blasphemy, sedition, and breaking the Fifth Commandment and was banished from the colony, along with her family and followers. Today, we have the transcripts of her trial where she delivered a dazzling self-defense that highlights her intelligence and the strength of her faith.

Phillis Wheatley came to America on a slave ship (named after the ship that brought her to America) and was purchased in 1761 by the Wheatleys. She was very young during this time and was put to work as a personal attendant for Mrs. Wheatley. Realizing the depth of her intelligence, the Wheatleys decided to give Phillis a first-class education, which was something that most slaves did not have the privilege to experience. The Wheatleys’ teenage daughter tutored Phillis in many subjects, and by the time she was a teenager, Phillis had begun to write her own poems. Mrs. Wheatley worked to promote and publish Phillis’ work and her poems could soon be found in newspapers, magazine, and pamphlets. Not believing a colored slave could produce such amazing literary art, a panel of prominent white men had her tested and eventually agreed that the writing was, in fact, Phillis’ original work. The Wheatleys eventually sent her to England where she was able to have her poems published in a collection. She began to push for her own freedom, and the publication of her work helped her gain support for freedom. She was freed by the Wheatleys in the fall of 1773.

Perhaps the most obvious difference between these two women is their race; Anne was a white, free woman, while Phillis was a black slave. Anne was very brave in that she knowingly broke the laws of the colony by pushing the limits of religious freedom. At this point in America’s history, white women (or any woman or most men) were not allowed to preach or interpret Scripture. Phillis pushed limits, but her fight was based more on personal freedom rather than religious freedom. It was rare for a black slave to live a relatively comfortable existence as a slave. It was even rarer to be given a top-notch education and encouraged to write poetry. Phillis’s fight was based on the color of her skin and her desire to be free, whereas Anne’s was based on the strength of her faith and her desire to spread the word of God in her own way.

While both women were passionate about their causes, Anne seemed to be more vocal in her fight for freedom. It appears as though she often threw caution to the wind and did what she felt was right regardless of the consequences. Phillis seemed a bit more reserved in her fight, often weaving her feelings into the tapestry of her poems. In her poem On Imagination, Phillis writes, “But I reluctant leave the pleasing views, which Fancy dresses to delight the Muse; Winteraustere forbids me to aspire, and northern tempests damp the rising fire; they chill the tides of Fancy’s flowing sea, cease then, my song, cease the unequal lay.” This poem is about imagining the beauty of the world around you, only to realize you must now come back to reality and see the world the way it actually is. This shows she was aware of and did not care for the fact that she was a slave, regardless of the comforts she enjoyed over most slaves. There is a sadness in her words, but Phillis is noticeably less obvious in her message than Anne. This could be because Phillis felt a great appreciation (or maybe even guilt) for the life she had been given, knowing other slaves lived horrific lives plagued with abuse, neglect, starvation, and death. Anne’s confidence is bolstered by her unwavering belief in her religion and God. She expressed this when she said in her trial, “Having seen him which is invisible, I fear not what man can do unto me.” This reaffirms that she is not afraid of anything that man can do to her because she knows she has the love of God behind her.

The difference in their boldness and personalities is reflected in their professions. Phillis was a slave where Anne was a midwife. Typically, a slave is required to be very reserved and obedient. It is easy to picture someone very quiet and maybe even a bit shy, at least in the public eye. In contrast, a midwife needs to be able to take control of a situation and strongly lead. She must be ready to tackle anything that can suddenly arise. With these traits in mind, it is not hard to picture Anne standing in front of a crowd of men proudly – and maybe loudly – defending herself.

These two remarkable women have at least one thing in common: their passion. Anne loudly fought for her religious freedom while Phillis quietly convinced her readers to side with her in her quest for freedom. Both of these women helped pave the way for future Americans for religious freedom and equality among the races. The fact that we study them today and consider them to be pioneers in personal and religious freedoms solidifies their place and importance in history.

 

 

 

Leon Valdez

Dr. Tina Ebenger

PLSC220A – American Political Systems

3 March 2021

VOTER ENCOURAGEMENT

In 2020, more Americans voted than ever before. Despite this, many Americans still face restrictions and laws that may deter them from voting at their local polling places the next time election season comes around. Whether it is registration deadlines, limited locations, or pure apathy – millions of Americans don’t cast their ballots. James Madison noted that the strength of our democracy is dependent on the people. If this is the case, why does it seem that systems are being put in place to restrict and discourage the participation of Americans on Election Day? With the innovations of our time, voting should not only be accessible but encouraged. We are two decades into the 21st century, and yet some people still need to bring a number 2 pencil to their polling place. To encourage Americans to cast their ballot and sustain the foundation of our democracy, I believe that the government should get with the times. By offering online voting, Election Day Registration, and making Election Day a national holiday – Americans will feel emboldened and obligated to cast their ballots in a more accessible manner.

It is not an exaggeration to say almost anything can be done online. I just paid my taxes to the state of Indiana through their online portal. If the state trusts the internet enough to take my money through it, they should trust it enough to take my vote as well. The government already uses the internet for programs like unemployment and Obamacare, why not voting? Although there were some growing pains associated with those programs, the servers and connection to the citizens are now stronger than ever. In 2016, Cambridge Analytica and Facebook were the subject of scrutiny since they abused personal information and sold it to political campaigns so that their ads could be more effective. If political candidates can run corrupt campaigns online, why can’t the people vote for them through a secure and regulated portal? I can follow my representative on twitter, visit their website, and write them an email – but I cannot vote for them in the same place. By allowing voters to vote online, not only do you encourage voting since it can be done from anywhere, but you would also cut costs associated with mail-in and absentee ballots. This option would also eliminate the wait times and keep lines short in urban areas with dense populations. Being able to vote online just sounds more efficient. If you are responsible for a hard day’s work, do you think you would go through the trouble of waking up early or rushing after work to your polling place? Probably not. What if you could cast your ballot from your phone at lunch or at your desk? That is much more convenient and efficient.

 

The second way to increase voter participation is to incorporate Election Day Registration.  There’s no reason why voters should be turned away because they did not decide they were going to vote a month prior.  A lot can happen within a month that can turn the tide of an election. A candidate or party can say or do something that can ignite a fire for or against them in any citizen. By incorporating a registration deadline we are taking away the rights and silencing Americans who may have been affected within that window of time. By allowing Election Day Registration you are allowing citizens to use all the time up until Election Day to make their decision. Having a registration deadline is one of the practices that seem to be made just to restrict the accessibility of voting to the masses. There is no blatant or evident upside to a deadline a month out from Election Day. If anything, we’re doing more bad than good with this practice and by abolishing it all together it will allow people to worry about the election and not the deadlines preceding it.

 

The third way to increase voter turnout is to make Election Day a national holiday. By doing this we free up a lot of the populace whose hours are inconveniently set with those of their polling place. There are a lot of government employees and municipal employees who never get a chance to vote since they need to work. My mother works for the school system and in this past election she was unable to vote because her work takes precedence over her ability to vote. Luckily she’s a Democrat in Indiana, which is a Republican state, so her one vote (more likely than not) wouldn’t have changed a thing. But what about voters in swing states or battleground states? By making Election Day a national holiday, we not only free up an endless amount of American voters from their daily responsibilities to participate in their civil responsibility, but we also set a precedent for businesses in the private sector to follow suit and let their people vote.

 

Methods to Increase Voter TurnoutVote
#1 – Online Voting6
#2 – EDR1
#3 – National Voting Holiday3
Total10

 

Sixty percent of people whom I asked would support online voting. Most of these were my friends who are younger people who have more faith in technology than my parents. My parents, who are blue collar workers, would rather go vote on a National Voting Holiday – which came in at around 30%. Only 10%, or one person, said Election Day Registration – and that was my brother who forgot to register in 2016.

 

By offering online voting, Election Day Registration, and making Election Day a national holiday we are taking the right steps to enrich and embolden American voters of today and the future. Everyone who supported online voting are in their 20’s and will be voting for the rest of their lives. It’s clear that our procedures and programs need a major overhaul to adapt with an ever changing society. Even the answers I have provided today may not be the same answers needed in a decade. America prides itself on its innovations, our ability to persevere and dominate our goals – however we have not adapted to the needs of our own citizens when it comes to voting rights.

 

 

 

 

Carina Bolanos

SOCL210A

03/02/2021

Did Colin Kaepernick Have Deviant Intent?

 

Colin Kaepernick’s  decision to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem sparked a huge uproar, mostly between Democrats and Republicans, but it was still a topic of discussion for people who don’t even involve themselves in politics.  The main problem that Republicans had with what Kaepernick kneeled for was that it was done out of a malicious and a deviant intent.  However, what technically should be considered deviant behavior?  According to Encyclopedia.com, “deviant behavior is behavior that violates the normative rules, understandings, or expectations of social systems”.  Even though many people misinterpret this word of “deviance” as malicious or negative, that definitely is not always the case for these types of actions.  In our society, norms are established for all citizens of that society to follow.  That doesn’t mean that they always should or need to be followed, because how will any type of change occur if norms or ideas are being kept the absolute same?  Following the leader is not always the answer in order to be successful as a society.

Before having an opinion on Kaepernick’s decision, take a look at what was taking place prior to when the Black Lives Matters Movement kicked off.  Protests have been occurring even before the United States was considered its own nation.  Before America became a country, these originally British people wanted freedom from Great Britain.  These British people who were “revolting” have met the criteria, this behavior can technically be seen as a “deviant” practice. They violated societal norms and chose to go against their government in order to “do what they believe in” and created a new land of freedom and opportunity.  If nobody had ever made the choice to go against what Great Britain had to say or anyone else for that matter that was against the creation of the United States, then America would never have existed in the first place.  It should be human nature to be able to protest and speak up for what you believe in, because it is the only way that change will occur.

After understanding the idea of how deviant behavior is not necessarily a malicious action, there are certain ideas that as Americans we have to respect which comes from living in America.  Under the authority of our First Amendment, we are given the freedom of speech, press, assembly, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.  Even if what Colin Kaepernick did disturbed you or your values, it is not something that should be taken away.  Every single American has the right to speak and act on what they believe and it is everyone’s duty as a citizen of the United States to preach and uphold that right for anyone.  Regardless if someone’s ideas or ideologies interfere with your own, it is everyone’s duty to respect that freedom.  It is not malicious for Kaepernick to promote what in his mind is right, and it should not be seen as negative.  There could be people that would say it is doing a disservice to those who served in the military or have even given the ultimate sacrifice of their lives for our freedom and it makes sense for some to take offense to his actions if (for instance) their spouse was shot in combat. As painful as it is to lose a loved one in combat, people should also understand the terrible horror that a victim of police brutality undergoes as well.  In fact, Kaepernick himself even asked someone who was in the military how to correctly start this peaceful protest, and that person told him that kneeling would be the most respectful way to handle this situation.  For example, when monarchy systems were in place, people would kneel to their people in power, such as kings, queens, and emperors to show respect.  After closely examining Kaepernick’s intentions and efforts towards shedding light on this issue, his intention was not to mock the American flag, but to merely show his support to minorities being mistreated across the United States.

When inspecting the rights that Kaepernick has been exercising, it should be made known that what he did was explicitly for change.  As far as deviant behavior, according to the previously stated definition, his actions surely displayed deviance.  In spite of that, it does not mean that what he did was not just or right, but it solely means that his actions displayed something that was not “socially acceptable” by society.  If nobody ever breaks any barriers or standards, then change will never occur.  Societal norms will always stay the same and nothing will ever be different, which is completely one-sided and is not what the United States stands for at all.  Even the most peaceful gestures, can come a very long way to create change in not only our nation, but everywhere around the globe.  The NFL was completely floored when Colin Kaepernick took a knee on August 26th of 2016.  Even though it caused one of the biggest controversies in the NFL, Kaepernick started a peaceful protest that even if isn’t agreed with by everyone, should definitely be taken seriously and respected.

All in all, Colin Kaepernick’s behavior was without a doubt deviant.  What he did was not anything that displayed a malicious intention or negative connotation, but it was a courageous act that encouraged change and recognition of police brutality and the unfair treatment that minorities have been experiencing throughout their lives.  Deviant behavior means breaking societal norms, but if norms are never broken, then there will never be change and society will be stuck in a perpetual cycle of discrimination.  By using protests, upholding the values of our Constitution, and embracing change, Colin Kaepernick will be known not for his talents in football, but for his fearless attitude to be the change he wishes to see in the world.

 

 

 

Brianna Servin

General Sociology Five Paragraph Theme

Dr. Ebenger

11-24-20

 

 

 

On September 1, 2016, NFL athlete Colin Kaepernick started a revolution with one act that would soon start a wave of controversy. Kaepernick opted to kneel during the U.S. national anthem for the very first time and people lost their minds, to say the least. A question that was raised almost instantly was “Is what Kaepernick doing deviant?” According to Merriam-Webster.com, “Deviant” is defined as “a person who differs markedly (as in social adjustment or behavior) from what is considered normal or acceptable.” From this definition alone, Kaepernick kneeling for arguably the most respected anthem in the United States is definitely deviant. Here’s why.

Refusing to kneel for the national anthem, to most Americans, is the most disrespectful thing you can do to your country. From the outside looking in, this act is seen as not being grateful to the millions of veterans that lost their lives to protect the United States. While this is not entirely true, we must entertain all sides of this story. Kaepernick says he refused to stand during the national anthem because of his views on our country’s treatment of racial minorities. According to theundefeated.com, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL media. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” Kaepernick is not wrong for this. He is not wrong for protesting an anthem that is sung by so many people in appreciation for all military personnel and those who fight for our country, when in reality there remains so much wrong with our country.  He is right that there were and are so many ruthless hate crimes committed against African Americans today.

According to Oxford Languages, protesting is defined as “the expression of disapproval of or objection to something.” Protesting is a tried and true way for Americans to show their disagreement with something or someone. It has been around for ages, for example, from 1981 with the longest protest in history, the White House Peace Vigil, to the most recent that started on May 26, 2020, in Minneapolis, the day after George Floyd was killed during a police arrest. On June 6, it was estimated that half a million people joined in on these protests in 550 places across the country. Derek Chauvin, the white police officer who is responsible for the killing of George Floyd, knelt on Floyd’s neck, cutting off his air circulation. America was furious. Having lived through this moment in history, I can tell you first-hand that these protests were aired on national television every single day until news stations were tired of reporting them, but the people who were protesting got exactly what they wanted – to have their voices heard. Because of this, as of October 7, 2020, Chauvin is facing murder and manslaughter charges. If these half a million people didn’t protest, make posters, and above all, show up, this vicious killing of yet another African American would most likely have been swept under the rug, and that just won’t do.

In 1968, riots in Chicago were caused by the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. with people flooding out onto the streets of major cities. “The 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago was an infamous, violent, unprecedented disaster,” according to Caitlin Gibson of The Washington Post. “Haynes Johnson, an esteemed reporter wrote in a 2013 Smithsonian Magazine that the convention was “a lacerating event, a distillation of a year of heartbreak, assassination, riots and a breakdown in law and order that made it seem as if the country were coming apart.” We can make this correlation to the uproar America had with the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and George Floyd. With this uproar, two sprinter athletes raised their fists on the Olympic podium in 1968, resulting in the Black Power Protest, symbolizing solidarity of black power and the human rights movement in America. Tommie Smith and John Carlos used their medal wins as an opportunity to highlight the obvious social issues happening in the United States at that time. “They sought out active forms of protests and advocated for racial pride, black nationalism, and dramatic action rather than incremental change,” according to history.com. These athletes ruined their careers but stood up for what they believed in, which I believe is worth so much more.

The question we started out this paper with was “Is what Colin Kaepernick did, kneeling for the national anthem, deviant?” My answer is yes, it is, but so is killing innocent African American men and women. So is silencing these minorities when they speak up for themselves, and so is degrading and minimizing their place in this world. I believe that these protests proved to law enforcement and government officials all over this country that black people cannot and will not “sit down and shut up” about another unjustified killing. I believe the rioting and protesting needed to happen in order to cause a scene and create a conversation about how police brutality against people of color has gone too far and for too long. I stand with my fellow people of color. I stand with those who are tired of the discrimination by law enforcement and those who are tired of the “all men are created equal” in the Declaration of Independence not being true. I feel for you, I stand with you, and I will fight for you.

 

 

References

Blakemore, E. (2018, February 22). How the Black Power Protest at the 1968 Olympics Killed Careers. Retrieved December 03, 2020, from https://www.history.com/news/1968-mexico-city-olympics-black-power-protest-backlash

Gibson, C. (2017, August 29). What happened in Chicago in 1968, and why is everyone talking about it now? Retrieved December 03, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2016/07/18/what-happened-in-chicago-in-1968-and-why-is-everyone-talking-about-it-now/

WCRhoden. (2017, July 06). Locker Room Talk: Colin Kaepernick chose independence in hopes that the truth would set us free. Retrieved December 03, 2020, from https://theundefeated.com/features/locker-room-talk-colin-kaepernick-independence-day/

 

Tina Ebenger, Editor
Behavioral and Social Sciences Department

 

 

Rehm, Diane. On My Own. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2016. Print.

Thane, Pat. A History of Old Age. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2005. Print.