Select one of the topics provided below. Read the directions given in each topic and then write and submit a short essay (250 words or less) in which you report your findings and/or conclusions.
- Poverty and Science. Watch the video in which Esther Duflo looks at empirical evidence to determine which programs could likely end or reduce poverty by visiting the following site: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/esther_duflo_social_experiments_to_fight_poverty.html. Write a short essay (250 words or less) in which you explain why you believe that these programs would work in your community.
- Social Class: Does Money and Lifestyle Equal Social Class? Consider the following case: A wealthy international drug trafficker and his family live in a well-to-do upper-class neighborhood—for example in Coral Gables. Write a short essay (250 words or less) in which you explain whether you believe that this family should be considered to be an elite upper-class family even though the source of the family’s income is from illegal drug trafficking activities.
- Inequality. Drawing upon the discussion of stratification theories in your textbook, write a short essay (250 words or less ) in which you explain which theory you believe best explains inequality: functionalist or conflict theory?
- Affirmative Action. Examine public attitudes toward affirmative action (through websites such as Public Agenda https://www.publicagenda.org/ and other organizations such as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund http://www.naacpldf.org/ and the ACLU https://www.aclu.org/ that are pursuing affirmative action and other legal strategies to address racial discrimination. Write a short essay (250 words or less) in which you discuss what strategies do you believe will be most effective in addressing ongoing and institutional racism in this country?
- Ethnic Identity. Write a short essay (250 words or less) about your ethnic identity. If you do not have any strong ethnic identification, why do you think that you have not developed such an identity and the implications of the lack of ethnic identity? Alternatively, if you have no specific ethnic identity, but identify as “white,” then discuss whether, now that you have read and studied the sociology of race and ethnicity, understand the concept of “white privilege” by using some of the suggested resources in the textbook.
- Hate Crimes. Investigate the occurrence of hate crimes based on race or ethnicity in the United States by visiting FBI at https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/civil-rights/hate-crimes and/or ProPublica https://www.propublica.org/article/what-we-know-and-dont-know-about-hate-crimes-in-america. Write a short essay (250 words or less) in which you discuss what you have learned on this topic and how as a society we could address the underlying causes of such crimes.
- U.S. Immigration Patterns. Whenever the U.S has a need for a large number of people with a certain set of skills such as doctors, nurses, engineers, computer technicians, or even laborers, Congress adjusts its immigration policy. The possibility for a good life in America draws many skilled and professional people to this country, which creates a shortage of these talents in the foreign nation. This is particularly true in the healthcare and engineering fields in the 21st century. For information on how this migration affects those that come and those left behind read the 2013 UN Report at http://www.unworldyouthreport.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=85&Itemid=226. Write a short essay (250 words or less) in which you discuss the pros and cons of this pattern for our country and for the foreign country.
- World Hunger. The Hunger Project is a private initiative aiming to eliminate world hunger. Go to The Hunger Project website (www.thp.org) and answer these questions: How does the approach of The Hunger Project differ from conventional development planning? Click on one of the three regions where THP has projects (South Asia, Africa, or Latin America) and select one program that interests you. Write a short essay (250 words or less) in which you describe this project briefly and explain (in terms of what you have learned in the global stratification chapter) what impact you think the program will have and why you think it will (or won’t) work.
- Sweatshops. Conduct research on the issue of sweatshops by visiting The Rock Ethics Institute http://rockethics.psu.edu/initiatives/ethics-education/programs/ethics-interest-groups/previously-active-interest-groups/sweatshops-labor-rights-and-labor-standards and/or UNICEF https://www.unicef.org/pon95/chil0016.html. Write a short essay (250 words or less) in which you answer at least ONE of the following questions: What are the advantages and disadvantages of “sweatshop” operations in peripheral countries for the people in those countries and consumers and workers in the U.S? What about child labor? Should the U.S. impose restrictions or taxes on corporations that operate overseas? What is the obligation of these multinationals to host country workers and families? What can people do to influence U.S.corporate policy in semiperipheral and peripheral countries?
- The Avian Flu and the Potential Pandemic. Using information gathered from the Center for Disease Control (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/h7n9-virus.htm), research the history of global pandemics. The globe is scheduled for another worldwide pandemic this time from a virus for which man knows no cure. Study the global statistics and then discuss this situation with your friends and family. Write a short essay (250 words or less) in which you discuss your findings and what do you think would be the best way to prepare in order to survive this pandemic?