Thursday, June 27, 2013

rape in the fields

The following post was contributed by SOC 3193 student, Roxana Guerrero.

Rape in the Fields addresses the experiences of immigrant farm-worker women who have been raped by their supervisors. These women come to the United States with hopes of a better life for themselves and their families, and they are mainly undocumented. They risk much to cross the border, and the risk of losing their jobs and being deported makes speaking out about this crime extremely difficult. Although so ashamed, they also fear reprisal so much that they may continue to bear repeated assault.

Most of the U.S.grown food we eat has been touched by women like these who work long, difficult hours for poverty wages. Field labor is physically hard and exposes workers to dangerous equipment and the elements, as well as pesticides. These hazards and hardships are compounded by criminal victimization. Female workers endure sexual coercion and are consistently in fear. Their supervisors see them as easy, disposable targets. There are always more women behind them desperate for work. The value of machismo tends to amplify the problem. Men dominate women, and women are submissive to men. This leads men to see women as objects they can use whenever they want without a thought to their feelings.

My father supervised many undocumented immigrants years ago in the orange groves across the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. He typically had about fifteen people working for him. Most were men, but wives often worked alongside them. I told him about this documentary and asked him if he knew of instances in which women were assaulted or harassed while on the job. He told me that he could see how assault could happen. Orange groves are often located on the outskirts of town, isolated from the population, and stretching for miles on end.  If she yelled at all, a woman’s cry for help would be hard to hear. Many women in these jobs were in such need that they would have endured almost anything. The fact that only a few women spoke out is not hard to believe. Although my dad said he never witnessed such behavior, he did say he heard verbal abuse at times that would lead to scuffles between men.

This documentary helps to give voice to women all over the country who fall victim to assault at the hands of their bosses. Obviously, all women, documented or undocumented, should have the right to work without fear of harassment or violence. At present, the only federal agency that is pursuing this problem is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Victims are reluctant to come forward, but as they do, this will empower others to do the same. I admire these women for their strength and courage, and hope that more will be done to protect them should they continue to labor in the fields.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

virginity, sexual property, stratification

You are invited to create a post or submit a comment on this video. Should you want to write a post, be sure to include your ideas about how the video could be employed for teaching and learning purposes, particularly as related to the study of social stratification. Send your post to me at I reserve the right to edit post submissions.

This video is available at

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

super rich kids

Frank Ocean - Super Rich Kids from dustin sussman on Vimeo.
This post was contributed by SOC 3013 student, Brittany Nicole Cannan.

In my opinion, Frank Ocean is one of the best rap artists of our time. He recently came out with an album, Channel Orange, and "Super Rich Kids" is one of its feature songs. I've posted the lyrics below along with the video so you can better visualize what he is saying. The song is a play on children who grow up in families with lots of money, but with parents who are neglectful due to over-involvement with careers. These kids then are often unsupervised and have plenty of time to mess around. I really relate to this as much of my childhood and teen years was also spent at home alone, and although I didn't get into too much trouble, plenty of other children in my neighborhood did. There were parties thrown every weekend, kids getting arrested, and cops always seemed to be circling the neighborhood. This song includes drug references as well, such as "too many bowls of that green, no lucky charms" and "too many white lies and white lines." In all, Ocean provides vivid insights about some of the struggles facing children who grow up in otherwise privileged homes.

Too many bottles of this wine we can’t pronounce
Too many bowls of that green, no Lucky Charms
The maids come around too much
Parents ain’t around enough

Too many joy rides in daddy’s Jaguar
Too many white lies and white lines
Super rich kids with nothing but loose ends
Super rich kids with nothing but fake friends
[Verse 1: Frank Ocean]
Start my day up on the roof
There’s nothing like this type of view

Point the clicker at the tube
I prefer expensive news

New car, new girl
New ice, new glass
New watch, good times babe
It's good times, yeah

She wash my back three times a day
This shower head feels so amazing

We’ll both be high, the help don’t stare
They just walk by, they must don’t care

A million one, a million two
A hundred more will never do

Real love, I’m searching for a real love
Real love, I’m searching for a real love
Oh, real love

[Verse 2: Earl Sweatshirt]
Close your eyes to what you can't imagine
We are the xany-gnashing
Caddy-smashing, bratty ass
He mad, he snatched his daddy's Jag
And used the shit for batting practice

Adam and Annie thrashing
Purchasing crappy grams with half the hand of cash you handed
Panic and patch me up
Pappy done latch-keyed us
Toying with Raggy Anns and Mammy done had enough
Brash as fuck, breaching all these aqueducts
Don’t believe us
Treat us like we can’t erupt, yup
[Alternate Verse 2: Frank Ocean]
Polo sweats and Hermes blankets
Them label hoes be stealing my shit
And all they clothes revealing they tits
Pills, high enough to touch the rim in that bitch
We party in my living room
Cause father is gone
And he left me this empire
That runs on its own

So all I got to do is whatever the fuck I want
All we ever do is whatever the fuck we want

[Verse 3: Frank Ocean]
We end our day up on the roof
I say I’ll jump, I never do
But when I’m drunk I act a fool

Talking bout, do they sew wings on tailored suits
I’m on that ledge, she grabs my arm
She slaps my head
It's good times, yeah
Sleeve rips off, I slip, I fall
The market's down like 60 stories
And some don’t end the way they should

My silver spoon has fed me good
A million one, a million cash
Close my eyes and feel the crash
Real love, ain't that something rare
I’m searching for a real love, talking bout real love
Real love yeah
Real love
I’m searching for a real love
Talking bout a real love

Monday, June 17, 2013

austerity versus possibility

This post was contributed by SOC 3013 student, Rebekah Miller. 

Austerity is supposed to be a miracle fix for the economy, but the promises made when cuts are proposed often do not come true. Political power goes hand in hand with those holding the most money. When political control is concentrated among a small elite, austerity programs will likely work against the masses, and particularly those classes with the least power. 

This short video by Workers Uniting summarizes the issues that working-class and poor people are now facing across the country: lowered wages, unemployment, and welfare cuts. Canadian economist Armine Yalnizyan makes a statement at 4:41, "You can't cut your way into growth..." She later refers to these cuts being made as a "fiscal fantasy"--that cutting programs will magically solve budget deficits and help redistribute wealth. This logic is a bit backwards. If it were this easy to solve economic problems, would it be right to cut those programs that assist our "have-not" citizens? At 7:07 Robert Kuttner suggests that we end politics that bring austerity, and elect those who will bring "possibility". Government needs to find alternatives to grow the economy, and in turn slash deficits without cutting programs that help the under-represented 99%.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Burn joins Detropia: docs on community collapse

Detropia, last year's acclaimed doc on the disintegration of Detroit, is now joined by a companion film providing a graphic description of the city's ongoing physical destruction from the standpoint of firefighters battling the problem of arson there. Read this article by Jones for a review of Burn.