College Papers

Race Relations

Preface: This was written in 2015, and I notice I reference declines in ‘overt racism’ (taken from a 2011 article). I wonder if the author of the original article still feels that overt racism is on the decline?

A Summarization of:
Somewhere between Jim Crow & Post-Racialism: Reflections on the Racial Divide

In his article, Lawrence D. Bobo discusses race relations and racism between white and black Americans today in a context that explores both the history of race relations and current perspectives.

Bobo describes the changes made in 1965 and after as a result of the civil rights movement and the continuing decline of what he calls ‘Jim Crow racism’, or very overt racism that was a common feature of American culture for a good portion of the twentieth century such as discriminatory housing practices and segregation.

Bobo suggests that despite the policies put in place as a result of the Civil Rights movement to eliminate discrimination and inequality, it has not completely disappeared but rather taken on more subtle forms. Economic inequalities still exist to a large degree, negative perceptions of people based on skin color still exist, inferior access to education, and the criminal justice system is biased in such a way that we are seeing a disproportionate number of black people being incarcerated (Bobo, 2011).

On the positive side of things, though, there is a growing middle class among black Americans, a decrease in overt racism, and a growing number of black Americans who are filling a variety of important roles within our society (Bobo, 2011).

It is a relevant topic discussion to have now in particular due to the erupting tensions that have been occurring in response to racially motivated police brutality or in response to the murders in South Carolina. Right now, race relations are a hot-button issue as African-Americans and others attempt to draw attention to the inequalities that are still very present in our culture while others make attempts at denying the issue or insinuating that African-Americans are exaggerating. This is not a new attitude, as Bobo mentions it in his article describing it as a perspective that describes “black complaints and grievances…as well-worn tales…if not now pointedly false assessments” (Bobo, 2011).

Statistically speaking, the evidence tends to point towards the gaps between white and black Americans being very real, and, in some areas, they are widening. An article provided by The New York Times cites statistics pointing towards the gap in unemployment and in educational attainment between black and white Americans as one that has widened over the years (Irwin, 2014).

There are no quick fixes to the issue of racism in America, unfortunately. The biggest step citizens of this country could make at this point would be acknowledging that problem exists rather than dismissing claims of discrimination as false. The Harvard Implicit Association Test has shown that 70% of participants have a preference for white people over black (Tierney, 2008). Rather than calling African-Americans liars when they share their experience or trying to draw attention to white experiences, it might prove beneficial if people were willing to simply listen and accept what is being said. The biggest barrier we have to progress right now is denial, and until we can get over that hurdle we cannot hope to move past today’s issues with racism.


Bobo, L. (2011). Somewhere between Jim Crow & Post-Racialism: Reflections on the Racial Divide in America Today. Daedalus, 140(2), 11-36.

Irwin, N., Miller, C., & Sanger-katz, M. (2014, August 19). America’s Racial Divide, Charted. Retrieved June 27, 2015, from

Tierney, J. (2008, November 18). A Shocking Test of Bias. Retrieved June 27, 2015, from

Take the race implicit association test here:

College Papers


Despite the occasional story about cloning in the news, people generally associate cloning with the world of science-fiction. Cloning is not some far-off possibility, however. Experiments involving and successful attempts at cloning are happening now in labs across the world. There are three types of cloning: DNA cloning, reproductive cloning, and therapeutic cloning.

Continue reading “Cloning”

Being Professional


I’ve mentioned the research I’ve worked on for the last year and a half with my former advisor. Now it looks like we do have something concrete to show for it.

I wasn’t able to make it, but today my professor and our co-author presented a paper at the Alabama-Mississippi Sociological Association annual meeting. It’s my first post-graduation success.

In August I will be traveling to Philadelphia to present another paper we’ve co-written together at the annual meeting of the Society for Study of Social Problems. I will also be presiding over a session.

These feel like victories to me. It means I’m still moving forward after graduation. That the research I’ve been working on and assisting with has produced something. That even though I was a non-traditional student, I was still able to participate in opportunities similar to those that present themselves to more traditional students.

At this moment in time, I am happy with where I am. I am working in research like I had always hoped. I feel like I am making use of my education. I am still involved in the academic aspect of sociology, and working on writing and research even after graduation.

I hope things keep moving in a positive direction, that I am able to keep learning and growing as a researcher and sociologist.

College Papers

Early America: Beyond the Myth

Behold: A short essay for a historical geography course.

I took it because I needed a credit and most classes were filled – but I ended up loving it more than I expected. Learning about the impacts of people on the land around us over the centuries was fun – it added a depth to history I had never considered.


Continue reading “Early America: Beyond the Myth”

College Papers

Rethinking Procrastination, Chu & Choi

Before today, the last time I opened this file was 2014 – so this is at least four years old. Unfortunately, I only listed my University on the title page and not the class so I have no idea what this was for. Such is life.

Some psychology class, I would guess.

Given my tendency to procrastinate, though, I’m willing to bet I chose the topic myself.

Continue reading “Rethinking Procrastination, Chu & Choi”

Being Professional

The Next Step

For the past year and a half, I’ve been working closely with a former professor of mine with some of her research. She’s been very busy continuing her work from her doctoral dissertation, and it’s really turned into quite a thing with several projects sort of spiraling out of the original data collection.

On top of that, at any given time, she tends to have one or two side projects with other professors and academics.

I started while I was still in grad school for some credit and experience, but stayed on because the experience was valuable. I was learning a lot about conducting research, particularly qualitative research.

Finally, though, on my end, it looks like we’ll have something concrete to show for our work. If all goes well, then fingers crossed we’ll be presenting our findings at a conference over the summer – and I’ll be listed as the lead author. Which is exciting for me, because that will be a first for me.

So, I dare to dream that this the year we see something concrete from all of our labors.

And that I do a good job, and don’t let anyone down.


We all start somewhere

In some way or another, I’ve spent the last 23 years of my life in school.

And now I’m done.

I have a Master’s degree and I’m happy about that. I have a job in my field – research. Happy about that too. Might get a Ph.D. That’s nice.

I find myself not feeling quite content, though. I have always loved learning and writing and trying to answer the questions that would pop into my head about why the world is the way it is. I’m not sure I want to stop now just because I’ve graduated. So maybe I won’t.

I’ll ease myself into it – I’ve saved every paper I’ve ever written. See which are suitable for polishing and expanding on and start there. Maybe laugh at how terrible or full of myself I was at 19. Maybe then I’ll start to get brave and venture off the path a bit. Pursue the things I’ve been interested in the past few years.

Maybe work on being published on my own.

I haven’t really done this sooner because I would do what a lot of people do. I tell myself that I’m a terrible writer. That my opinions don’t matter. That no one cares about what I have to say. All that could very well be true, but I’m getting to a point in my life where I don’t care. It’d be nice to have that approval from others. A “Wow, you’re great at this!”, but it’d also be great to just be doing what I like and having fun. That’s one of the things I’ve always loved about the internet – it really allows for a sense of freedom you don’t get anywhere else.

If nothing else, I want to keep myself current. I don’t want to get rusty or dull or lazy.