Friday, March 31, 2006

Take a Survey! Click here!

I took a social survey sponsered by Harvard Univerity and initially thought the questions were quite provoking. It started by asking my opinion on two short proposals for a pretend charity. The first part of the survey asked this:

There are many popular misconceptions about the backgrounds of people in need of public assistance. Contrary to what many people believe, the majority of the recipients are white (38%), followed by African Americans (37 %), with the remaining composed of all other minority groups (Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, etc.). Therefore, it is mainly minorities who are helped by this program.

1. To what extent do you think that the above statement is well-written?
2. To what extent do you agree with the passage?
3. To what extent do you think that what the passage says is true?
4. To what extent do you think you would like to work with the author of the passage?
My answers were truthful. Yes, this info was true. But no, these facts did not inspire me to work with this charity.

The next sample was more general and the questions slightly different:


Our name defines two important challenges of everyday life: family and work. Sometimes these two things are in conflict, and this is can make life difficult. We are trying to change that. By working with families and organizations alike, The Working Families Program helps children, working parents and their employers find a better balance between responsibilities at home and work. By using a real world approach with practical solutions, we are making our vision a reality.

1. To what extent do you think that the above passage is well-written?
2. To what extent do you think the announcement would be affective in garnering support for the organization?
3. To what extent do you feel that you are in agreement with the goals of the organization?
4. To what extent do you think that some of the revenue from American taxpayers should support such an organization?
The rest of the survey dealt with my opinions about why the poor are poor. It is a social survey afterall. The end of the survey made me raise an eyebrow because it asked me if I was happy to white, thought my fate was tied to other white people, and then asked me if I was ashamed or not to be white. Well, I could care less about being white and definitely don't think my teachers or other friends were nicer to me just because I am white. I realized that this must be the meat of the survey- it's a race v. povery survey. The surveyors were trying to discover if my race had anything to do with my opinions of the poor. At least that's what I thought....

The survey ended with an article they called the "Debriefing Sheet." Reading it was rather shocking. I've never found this social stance to be true! I wonder who would take care of this

In this study we explore the relationship among political attitudes. Previous research shows that white Americans are more likely to support government policies that are perceived to benefit their own racial group (e.g. affirmative action for white women, but not blacks). Previous research shows that among American whites, support for social spending for public education and health care for the poor increases when subjects are believe the target of the help will be to their own group. We are curious as to what extent African-Americans are similar in showing an in-group favoritism in this regard. The proposed research seeks to understand the psychological mechanisms underlying the racial double-standard to social policy. We are hopeful that one day, society may benefit from a greater understanding of the process and cause of group double standards. If you would like more information about the theories motivating this research, specific hypotheses being tested, and more information on the investigators, upon completion of this research information will be posted at

I feel cheated! I feel like I fell for their questions and fit their stereotypical white person. I said NO to the first program synopsis that spoke of race and helping mainly minorities but said YES to the program that would help in families in general with no mention of race. Now, I didn't say NO to the first synopsis because of race, but there are some researchers that will conclude that and I assume that this researcher will. After all, he already believes the statement that whites are mainly attracted to programs that help only whites. While he states that the main point of his research is to survey blacks and see if, as a race group, have a favoritism towards only their own race, he can easily publish the data and also state that his data backs up previous statement concerning whites.

*grumble grumble*

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Louisiana criminals give Texas 2 thumbs down

Oh, sometimes after fighting the good and long hard fight against crime, you need to a honest reporter like this one to give the public a bit of truthful laughs. The following article highlights a Louisiana criminal who named himself "B-stupid" and really, really doesn't think of Houston, Texas as the new promised land anymore.

From the Houston Chronicle:

Harris is no stranger to violent crime, police say.

Records show Harris has been arrested several times in Louisiana on charges ranging from disturbing the peace to murder. However, he was never convicted of any serious crimes.

But Texas is a brand new world to the Louisiana criminal element! Read and enjoy!

Brian Harris said Ivory Harris probably will be tried in New Orleans before hecomes back to Texas. He said Texas authorities will provide information to Louisiana prosecutors to assist during the punishment phase of his trial. Or, he said, the situation could be reversed if he is tried in Texas.

"We certainly know, according to New Orleans detectives, that Ivory Harris doesn't want to come back to Texas," Brian Harris said.

Ivory Harris and Hampton were among 16 Hurricane Katrina evacuees from New Orleans who were targeted by HPD in recent months for violence that stemmed from rival housing projects' gangs. They are accused of slayings, robberies and drug-related offenses, authorities said.

"If you look at the very beginning of all the people who were wanted, we know it's down to quite a few," Brian Harris said.

He credited that with HPD's strategy of relieving witnesses of the fear of retaliation.

"Evacuees here didn't have to fear being intimidated or killed," said Brian Harris, whose squad was formed in January to address slayings in southwest Houston.

"What happened in New Orleans is they would arrest someone and in a couple of weeks he was released. People would say why should I be a witness if I had to live in the same (housing) complex with this guy."

He said that people eventually found out that there was a different justice system in Texas and that "you really do some time in Texas jails."

Monday, March 20, 2006

Television show receives fine for indecency

I received this email recently and am quite happy at the results. What I truly wonder about is the mindset of the producers, writers, and directors who thought that this kind of action was good. Did they think this was normal in people's lives? Did they think this kind of programming was the next big thing and they were going to be the first?

The fine has been levied on the television stations and so it should be. Ultimately, they are the ones responsible for their programming. But I wonder if the television stations have reason to sue the staff of Without A Trace. It's my understanding that the producers of the show are the ones who rate their own programs for television. For the producers to tell the television stations that this show was self-rated and found to be allowable for television, shows a serious misrepresentation of their product, not just a little flub.

From an email sent by American Family Association:

You did it! FCC fines CBS $3.6 million for 'Without A Trace'

In January, 2005, we asked you to join us in filing formal complaints against CBS and their affiliate stations for broadcasting Without A Trace, complete with an extended teen-age orgy scene. Within days, 165,997 AFA on-line supporters had filed formal complaints with the FCC.

This week, the FCC announced it agrees with you and is fining 111 CBS stations 32,500 each for broadcasting this indecency. This major accomplishment happened because you took action! This is the largest fine ever against the networks and their stations.

In addition, the FCC reaffirmed a $550,000 fine against CBS for Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" at the 2004 Super Bowl.

I want to thank you for taking time to get involved. This proves we can make a difference when we join together!