Annual Editions: Culture and Diversity1st Edition
By Claire Rubman
Unit 1: Social Media and the Influence of the Internet
#NODARETOOSTUPID, Jessica Firger, Newsweek, 2016
What prompts a teen to participate in viral crazes such as setting themselves on fire? What drives them to attempt dangerous feats such as #EraserChallenge or #CinnamonChallenge? What, or who, should we blame when adolescents act in crazy ways? Is it the internet’s fault? Can we blame their hormones, specifically dopamine? Dr. Jay Giedd attempts to explain why the developing adolescent brain is so susceptible to internet dares and challenges.
Jihad In the Age of Twitter, Warren Richey, Moment Magazine, 2015
How are terrorists using the Internet and social media to recruit new members? What do we really know about ISIS and their use of social media to engage our children’s minds? Read about how they attract adolescents to their cause and how they manipulate their thinking. Read about “Jihadi girl power” and the “slow motion kidnapping” of our children.
School Children Charged with Sexting Offences, Henrietta Cook, Legaldate, 2016
How do children view the internet and their place within it? Ten to seventeen-year-olds have been charged as “sexting offenders” because they sent explicit images to their friends without necessarily understanding the real-world implications of this act. They engage in “slut of the year” contests and they cyberbully others. Read about how Australia is trying to combat internet misuse at a younger age. Learn how to keep a child “cyber safe.”
Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? Jean M. Twenge, The Atlantic, 2017
Read about the changes in emotional states that began around 2012 and that have been attributed to cellphone usage. Read about the related changes in behavior as a result of too much phone time. Follow Athena and the “i-generation” and learn about the soaring rates of depression and suicide among this generation. Read about how they socialize less, date less, are less sexually active and spend more time around their parents than the millennials or previous generations.
What are They Looking For? Catherine Jackson, Therapy Today, 2015
Who is most likely to become radicalized – the rich or the poor, the old or the young? Read about surprising climates and cultures that are potential breeding grounds for radicalization. Learn more about the social, emotional and psychological motivators that might drive a person to such radical thoughts and behaviors.
Unit 2: Immigration Issues in the 21st Century
I’m Getting Kicked Out? Mary Pilon, Entrepreneur, 2017
Why is Alessandro Babini facing deportation? He is of French and Italian-Lebanese descent but he would like to live and work here in the United States. Having completed a graduate degree at MIT, he went on to create his own company. His company offers employment opportunities to others, yet he is being asked to leave the United States because his visa has expired. Learn what his company has in common with Tesla, SpaceX and Uber. Read about the potential for an “entrepreneurial visa.”
The Scary New Normal for Immigrants, Arun Gupta, Progressive, 2017
There are around 11,000,000 undocumented immigrants in the United States. Can an executive order truly “criminalize” all 11 million? Read about the lives of individual immigrants such as Ignacio who traveled from Guatemala to Oregon to build a new life for himself. Is he an honest worker just trying to provide a better life for himself or is he a dangerous criminal that should be rounded up by ICE and deported immediately. . .
Coming to America, Ann Morse, State Legislatures, 2017
About 1,000,000 immigrants arrive in the United States annually. Who are these people? Where do they come from and what do they do when they arrive here? Making up a total of 13% of the U.S. population, how do immigrants contribute to our economy? Read the discussion on whether jobs are being taken away from American workers. Read about those who become citizens, learn English and adopt American values.
Inside Out, Pamela Colloff, Texas Monthly, 2017
Is the term “illegal immigrant” a slur? Can a person be illegal or does this only describe an act? Read about the Twitter campaign “KRGVBasta” designed to encourage a local TV station to change its terminology. Read about how a local community has attempted to redefine the media. Read about how they have also tackled the media’s perception of gays and lesbians within their community.
In Case of Deportation. . .DACA-protected Parents Make Plans for Their Kids, Alexandra Tempus, Progressive, 2018
Read about 3,063 DACA beneficiaries who were survey in a recent study. Follow Laura’s story. She is just one of the millions of DACA recipients. She is a mother herself to an American citizen. Learn about her life as an undocumented immigrant mother. Read about the fear she experiences on a daily basis of being separated from her child. Read about the complexities that she faces as she tries to set up a “power of attorney” in lieu of legal guardianship for her child.
Immigrant Influxes Put U.S. Schools to the Test, Corey Mitchell, Education Week, 2016
School districts are charged with the responsibility of educating immigrants from many nations speaking many languages. St. Cloud school district, for example, has seen a 350% increase in English language learners in the past 15 years including Somalis. Read about how districts make students feel welcome in a culturally appropriate environment. Learn about the challenges including support services, prayer rooms and pork free lunch menus.
We Were Different, Julia G. Young, Commonweal, 2018
Are immigrants of “yester-year” more tolerant of today’s immigrant population? Are today’s immigrants the same as those who came from Ireland, Italy and Eastern Europe so many generations ago? Do they assimilate? Read about Catholic immigration to the United States around the 1840s. Learn about the similarities and differences in immigrant populations and attitudes. Learn about how they blended culture, language and tradition to assimilate. Read about the author’s surprising findings when she taught an undergraduate course on migration.
Unit 3: Violence against Our Society
We Didn’t Create a Monster, Max Kutner, Newsweek, 2015
What happens to a family when your child is the shooter in a mass attack? Read about Ray Tryberg, the father of a school shooter. He lives on a reservation near Seattle. Read about how he lost his job, his friends and his family. Read about other Native Americans who have also perpetrated acts of mass terror. Read about the alarming rates of drug use, abuse and suicide among Native American teenagers. Learn about poor graduation rates and lower life expectancy.
Focus Your Attention on the Victims and Their Families, Ella Rhodes, The Psychologist, 2015
Columbine, Newton, Parkland and Umpqua-all locations synonymous with mass shootings. To what extent is the media glorifying these situations and encouraging copycat acts? Should we follow the Mayor of Douglas County’s advice and refuse to name these shooters. Should we deny them the publicity that they seek and stifle their message? Read about how we could turn these murders into antiheroes. . .
Without a Trace, Cara Tabachnick, Marie Claire, 2015
Learn why only 32 of every 100 rapes are reported to the police. Read about why an average of only two of those rapists will ever see jail time. Learn about the difficulties associated with prosecuting rape that involves drugs such as Rohypnol or GHB. Follow the assault on Megan and her subsequent realization that she had indeed been raped. Discover how high-profile cases such as the one against Bill Crosby are bringing discussions on date rape to the public forum.
Trigger Warnings, Mark Follman, Mother Jones, 2015
Mass shootings occurred every 200 days in the United States between 1982 and 2011. Learn about a program that has been developed to help to protect our mental health before we act on our impulses. It teaches people to deal with issues before they turn violent. Learn about the red flags that threat assessment teams watch for such as social rejection, written hit lists or an attempt to buy a gun. Read about their intervention technique.
Unit 4: Potential Solutions to Ongoing Societal Issues
Curb Civilian Distracted Driving, Michelle Perin, Law Enforcement Technology, 2017
It is estimated that around 660,000 people use their cell phones while they drive. In one year alone, 3,477deaths were attributed to distracted driving and 391,000 people were injured as a result of this behavior. In order to send a short 5-second text message while you drive, you have to take your eyes off the road for the equivalent of the length of an entire football field. Even just talking on the phone while you drive can increase your risk of an accident by four-fold. Texting causes the risk to increase by 23 times. Learn about attempts to curb this often fatal behavior.
Spotting the Danger Signs in Schools, Tim Goral, District Administration, 2016
There have been 262 school and college shootings since 1999 when Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris shot their classmates in Littleton, CO. Read about the universal warning signs and behaviors. Learn about work by forensic psychologists to prevent more attacks. Discover “shooter leakage” and learn about the role that social media plays. Read about how Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter are involved and the technology that is being designed to prevent these despicable acts in the future.
Down to the DNA, Sherree Geyer, PN, 2015
Is it possible that we could find a way to repair the spinal cord after injury? In the past, spinal cord injuries have left victims with paralysis. Stem cell therapies looked promising in the past but a new concept appears to be offering new hope-gene therapy. Read about the promise and the difficulties associated with gene therapy.
Pharming: Pill Parties Can Be Deadly for Teens, Susan Solecki and Renee Turchi, Contemporary Pediatrics, 2014
Ever heard of “skittling” or “skittle parties?” How about “robotripping?” In a nation where 50% of Americans have at least one prescription medication, is it any wonder that it has led to wide scale abuse? Read about “pill parties” where party-goers bring any type of medication to a party and throw it into a communal bowl. Each person then swallows a handful of the mixture leading to untold consequences as the pills are often washed down with alcohol. How can we, as a nation, do better to prevent such blatant abuse of prescription medication?
Treating Opioid Addiction, Sally Satel, National Review, 2017
About 35,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2015. Every hour, three to four people die from this epidemic that was spurred by a massive increase in prescription narcotic painkillers in the 1990s. An influx of heroin from Mexico in 2007-2008 only served to exacerbate this problem. To address this epidemic, “bupe” is offered to addicts to help them through withdrawal. They are also offered incentives if their urine tests clean. These incentives include redeemable vouchers or paid employment. Read about the success rates for these behavior modification techniques.
A Pretence of Progress, Jeremy Seabrook, New Internationalist, 2017
Where did the concept of a “welfare state” come from and who benefits from it? Read about the changing role of women throughout the 20th century. Learn how racism, discrimination and equality are linked to our social structure. Does a welfare state help or hinder progress, for example, within the LGTB community? Has a welfare state created more equality or inequality?
We Are All of Us Other, Dwight Turner, Therapy Today, 2016
When you are asked to select a box to tick for gender, what do you pick, male, female, or “other?” Which box do you select for race, White, Hispanic, Black or “other?” What about those who do not fit neatly into the assigned boxes? Consider the notion in that we identify ourselves not just as “who we are” but also as “who we are not”. . . Read about the roots of our sense of identity and our social desire to ostracize others who are not like us.
Screwed Up, Little Despots? Alice Violett, Psychologist, 2016
Read about the advantages and disadvantages of being an “only” child. Learn about the historical perspective dating back to the 1850s and read about whether opinions have changed in recent years. How do children with no siblings perform in school, do they differ in their social skills from children with siblings and are their verbal or emotional skills on par? What is the long-term prognosis for those without siblings? Do they grow into selfish, lonely adults or does marriage ease their psyche?
Unit 5: Technology, Dangerous Trends, and Addiction
They Know Where You Live, Simon Parkin, New Statesman, 2016
What is “swatting?” Read about the victims of this horrible prank. Meet Justine Roberts and read about her horrifying experience. Learn about “doxxing” and the havoc that it can also reek on people’s lives. Think, as you read, about how we could prevent these attacks from happening in the future.
Adolescent Social Media Addiction (revisited), Mark D. Griffiths and Daria J. Kuss, Education & Health, 2017
What are the psychological implications for computer and technology usage? Read about the potential for intrapsychic conflict, interpersonal issues and relationship problems. Read how adolescents and children respond differently than adults in this viral world. Learn about “FOMO”-fear of missing out and its relationship to addiction. Discover how some people react when they are separated from their cell phone-“NOMOphobia” or no mobile phone phobia. Read the discussion that suggests that social media systems may be creating mood modifications that create withdrawal symptoms when they are removed.
Preventing Addiction, Nancy Blanning, LILIPOH, 2016
Behavioral addictions are on the rise among children. How could we reverse this frightening trend? How do we nurture a child’s independence and avoid stifling his or her natural curiosity while providing a safe and secure online environment? Read about will power and the destructive nature of technology for children under seven years of age. Read about addiction prevention-helping children to avoid crossing the threshold to compulsive behavior.
Peggy Sue Got Sexted, Nina Burleigh, Newsweek, 2016
How do you “grow up female online?” Read about what teenage girls are concerned about. Nancy Jo Sales interviewed over 200 teenage girls. She listed to their concerns about many issues including social networking. One pervasive concern was the over-sexualization of women including provocative photos, “slut shaming,” online porn, cyberbullying, and “slut pages.”
Unit 6: Social and Cultural Issues in Our Daily Lives
After #MeToo, Jane Fonda et al, The Nation, 2018
White women are pioneering the fight for sexual equality and freedom from harassment in the workplace thanks to the #metoo movement. However, Anita Hill, an African American woman, fought her very public battle back in 1991. Read five different women’s perspectives on this movement as it gains momentum. Is it a “witch hunt” or is it a legitimate fight against discrimination and harassment in the workplace? Join this discussion that focuses on specific jobs such as the food service industry. Read about how women please their customers “at all costs” to keep their jobs and secure their tips. Read about the shift in behaviors when power and salaries are equal in the workplace.
Wanted: Compassion, Bryan Goodwin, Educational Leadership, 2017
Which do parents care more about-good grades or being a caring person in society? Do we lack civility and empathy in our lives? Do we, as a nation, demonstrate compassion? Read more about empathy and how we insulate ourselves from it. Did you know, for example, that the same neural pathways fire when we see other people experience pain as when we experience pain ourselves?
Minors Buy E-cigs Online with Ease. What about Pot? Roger Collier, Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2017
Teens can purchase e-cigarettes online with relative ease. Age is not routinely verified with online sales. This is in stark contrast to “in person” sales where ID is required to verify proof of age. This has raised fears about online sales of other goods such as marijuana. Read about recent research and its findings.
For Kids, Living Room Can Be a Classroom, Rebecca Alwine, Army Magazine, 2016
Why would parents choose to homeschool their child? For some, the perceived social isolation and the intense time spent with parents seem like serious issues associated with homeschooling. For others, such as military families, it offers a chance to spend precious time together and avoids the inconvenience of starting at a new school every time the family shifts their location. Meet the Denman family and experience education from their perspective.
The ‘Minority’ Man? Jessica McCarrick, New Voices, 2015
With all the talk focused on the #metoo movement, let’s take a moment to focus on male victims of sexual violence. “Intimate partner violence” is looked at as a human issue rather than a female issue by McCarrick as she explores the trauma experienced by male victims. Read how gender stereotyping and emotional stoicism compound this stigma associated with male victims as a fear of being ridiculed often keeps them from reporting crimes.
What's Sex Got to Do with It? New Internationalist, 2017
Brazilian women in public office are often criticized for their hairstyle, their clothing, their partner or lack thereof but do the same standards hold true for men in the same position? Women in the public eye are also described differently than their male counterparts, for example they are bossy or harsh rather than firm or commanding. Transgender women also experience discrimination and hostility. Read about Jair Bolsonaro and the Brazilian culture that discriminates against women and homosexuals in a culture of rape, economic inequity and racial intolerance.
Two Minds, Bruce Goldman, Stanford Medicine, 2017
What do “up-to-date molecular tools” tell us about the male and female brain that we didn’t already know? Read about our neural circuits that are responsible for regulating our behavior including mating habits, parenting decisions, and aggression. Read about our differences including our hormones, the size of our brains, and our sex chromosomes. Differentiate between biological differences and cultural differences as you read.
Why Black Lives Matter Still Matters, Peniel E. Joseph, New Republic, 2017
How do we fight institutional racism? How do we change economic injustice? Read about how the “Black Lives Matter” movement began. Read about the BLM movement and its non-violent social disobedience impetus. Learn about Carmichael’s call for radical self-determination and his agenda that includes redistributing resources and wealth along with improving schools, housing and medical resources.
Unit 7: LGBT Concerns and Issues
No Labels on the Table, Ellen M Santistevan, Massage & Bodyworks, 2017
How do you know who you are? Ellen Santistevan poses this question as she discusses gender and labels. Read about identity and think about another question that Santistevan poses: “have you ever been afraid to be genuinely yourself?” What happens when gender and sex cannot be represented by neat and tidy descriptions? Read about the 2,000,000 transgender and 5.4 million intersex members of our society. Learn about the gender spectrum.
Divorce, Child Custody, and the LGBT Community, Gary Hurtubise, Gay Parent Magazine, 2017
What happens to the children when a same sex relationship ends? Christina lost custody of her two biological children (to her parents). She then discovered that she had no legal rights to her two children that were carried by her same sex partner, Kim. Christina’s name is not on their birth certificates but she was ordered to pay child support. Read this article to learn the details of Christina’s life and how this could possibly have transpired.
A Second Puberty, Jessica Firger, Newsweek, 2016
Read about Jordan, one of the 700,000 transgender adolescents in our community. Read about the issues and concerns surrounding transgender students. When, for example, should adolescents like Jordan use hormones or surgery to reassign their gender? Should we make decisions about our gender before puberty?
The New Girl, Rhyannon Styles, Diva Magazine, 2017
Trans individuals are often thought of as being born in the wrong body. Meet Rhyannon Styles. She was assigned a male gender at birth but she did not grow up hating her body. Learn about her slow transition and her discovery of her female identity. Read about her journey as she declined gender confirmation surgery. Listen to her voice as she challenges the status quo.
Transgender, Erin Digitale, Stanford Medicine, 2017
Think about the concept of gender-what does it mean to be male or female in today’s society? What happens when there is a mismatch between a child’s internal sense of self and his or her external physical appearance? How do children discuss this discrepancy with their parents? How do parents react? Do they view it as a “phase” that the child will “grow out of?” Read about Noah’s experiences, his struggle to understand himself and his family’s reaction. Learn about the several thousand teens across the country who are currently transitioning from male to female or vice versa. Read about how therapists support them by assessing three key defining characteristics; insistence, persistence and consistence. Read about the support network that should be in place for nonbinary or transitioning children and teens. Are pediatricians trained, educated, and able to serve these children?