Every day, children in the United States are exposed to violence. Whether they are personally victimized or bystanders to the victimization of others, youths across the U.S. are frequently subject to traumatic crimes. From headline-grabbing school shootings to often unreported acts of domestic violence, adolescents are not immune to the violent acts of others. While it may be easy to say that children are resilient and are better able than adults to overcome the consequences of being exposed to violence, recent research suggests that this may be very untrue. From infants to adolescents, violence in a child’s life can result in a variety of negative outcomes. As a result, it is becoming increasingly clear that children who have been exposed to violence need and deserve to receive services that are designed to help them cope with their experiences. more...
Crime is a global phenomenon. From the most highly developed states to the least developed ones, crime represents a significant threat to social well-being. And because of its ubiquity, unsavoriness, and harmful qualities, criminal activity has the distinction of being a social event that is often blamed on the individuals who live on the fringes of a society. For immigrants, this tendency to place the blame of crime on the less well-off members of a society is particularly dangerous since they often find themselves occupying some of the lowest rungs on a nation’s social ladder. Unsurprisingly, the consequences of criminal allegations against immigrants are likely to be severe; such allegations are also likely to reinforce the strong and enduring belief found in many countries that immigrants bring with them high criminal propensities (Citrin and Sides 2008; Ousey and Kubrin 2009). more...
Scientists used genetic analyses to connect meat from sushi restaurants in the United States and South Korea to whales captured under the Japanese whaling program. According to the scientists, the Japanese engaged in illegal trade of endangered species.
Although an international moratorium prohibiting commercial whaling was established in 1986, an exception enabled Japan to slaughter hundreds of whales per year for the purposes of “scientific research”. Using the disguise of “scientific research”, the Japanese captured whales that were in danger of extinction and then sold the whale meat on the world market.
This month, the United States Delegation to the International Whaling Commission considers whether to permit commercial whaling quotas in Japan, Iceland, and Norway. Wendy Elliott from the World Wildlife Fund explains: “Essentially what the compromise would do is allow commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean. This is a designated whale sanctuary, it’s one of the key places in the world for whales – if there is one place on earth where whales should be protected it is there.”
Environmental sociologists should encourage the International Whaling Commission to strengthen the international moratorium on commercial whaling and to reject commercial whaling quotas. Environmental sociologists also should collaborate with organizations, such as Greenpeace, that are actively combating the proposal on commercial whaling quotas.
Last month, world leaders participated in the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. At this conference, President Barack Obama of the United States and leaders of the BASIC Group (President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, and Premier Wen Jiabao of China) created the Copenhagen Accord.
The Copenhagen Accord acknowledged the continuation of previous agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol. Moreover, it established a maximum increase in global temperature of two degrees Celsius and welcomed future reviews to consider whether the global temperature increase should be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, it committed developed countries to providing additional funding for developing countries.
International organizations criticized the Copenhagen Accord for not being a legally binding agreement and for not specifying targets for reducing carbon emissions. According to representatives from Oxfam International, the Copenhagen Accord is “a triumph of spin over substance. It recognizes the need to keep warming below two degrees but does not commit to do so. It kicks back the decisions on emissions cuts and fudges the issue of climate cash.”
China aims to experience 8% economic growth in 2010, even after accounting for the global downturn. Since Beijing has targeted 8% economic growth in the past several years and has reached its goal each year, analysts consider China’s target as reasonable.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects China to exceed its goal, experiencing at least 9% economic growth in 2010. Meanwhile, the IMF only expects India to grow by 6.4%, Canada by 2.1%, Japan by 1.7%, the United States by 1.5%, and the United Kingdom and France by 0.9%.
China expects to experience economic growth because of implemented government stimulus measures and increased industrial production. Minister of Industry and Information Technology Li Yizhong states: “Based on the central government’s target for around 8% economic growth, we’re aiming for around 11% growth in industrial output.” Since industrial output increased 19.2% in the previous year, it is possible for industrial input to increase 11% this year.
Income inequality soared in the United States, according to recent research published by Dr. Emmanuel Saez, Professor of Economics at the University of California Berkeley. In the past decade, the top 1.0 percent of incomes grew at a faster rate than the bottom 99.0 percent of incomes. As of 2007, the highest 0.1 percent of earners held 6.0 percent of the income and the highest 10.0 percent of earners held 49.7 percent of the income. These statistics were higher than all years since 1917, even exceeding figures during the stock market crash in the 1920s.
Since Dr. Saez examined income inequality rather than wealth inequality, his research potentially underestimated differences between the rich and the poor. For example, statistics from 2005 suggested that the highest fifth of earners had 50.4 percent of the income and the lowest two-fifths had 12.0 percent of the income (United States Census Bureau 2006). Meanwhile, statistics from the same year showed that the highest fifth had 81.3 percent of the wealth and the lowest two-fifths had 0.9 percent of the wealth (Wolff 2006). As these figures demonstrate, wealth disparities tend to be much greater than income disparities.
An additional step that President-Elect Obama could take would be to encourage the United States to ratify major United Nations human rights treaties. Most Americans may be surprised to learn that the United States, despite being a founding member of the United Nations, has not ratified any of the five major treaties on human rights. This fact is perhaps more striking when one considers that each of these five treaties (International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Protocol II Additional to the Geneva Conventions, Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Declaration of the Rights of the Child, Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change) have more than 150 nations who have ratified these treaties.
Earlier this year, a book was published on how the United States is a “leading rogue state” of human rights and more recently, an article was published exploring why some nations ratify treaties and others do not.
Race has long time been a crucial issue for the American society. The representation of people of color is especially tricky in the media, where the mainstream discourses are produced and reproduced largely by and for the white community. The recent debut of the comedy, “Chocolate News,” unrolls with the idea of creating a black sitcom “by and for” the African-American community. The French theorist, Michel Foucault, has noted the relationship between power and the production of knowledge. In Foucault’s sense, those who have the ability and legitimacy to create and re-create prevailing knowledge, are those who are in the position of power. The reproduction of knowledge establishes discourses for the society, which informs our activities and how we perceive the environment we are placed in. Often times, the rights of social minorities to represent themselves are controlled and taken over by the dominant groups, resulting in distorted and denigrating images. The “Chocolate News” is a manifestation of a social group creating their own images by themselves and through their own point of view, within the realm of mainstream media. As David Alan Grier, the script writer and host of “Chocolate News,” noted the distinction between “audiences laughing with you because they get the joke,” and “audiences laughing at you in a dehumanizing way,” shows the crucial differences of who are in charge of media representation. However, could a show hosted and written by a black person be genuinely “black,” despite all of the other social factors in play which creates intra-racial segregation? For example, could we ignore the influence of class and gender in such context?