Elizabeth Cole

Abstract
While the United States Healthcare System is riddled with problems, there is

not enough focus on prevention. A first line of defense that is underutilized is the Social Work profession. While there isn’t a multitude of studies regarding the effects of social work on general healthcare outcomes, the few that have been done have been overwhelmingly positive. In one case, social workers intervened in high risk pregnancies and lowered the admission rates of NICU patients by 15% over a three-year period. There is an additional study showing that underage at-risk females were educated by a female health educator about the risks of unprotected sex. Through this intervention, the rates of sex without contraceptives dropped by a considerable margin throughout the study. While there needs to be more research in this area, the research that has been done has shown a positive influence on the effects of social work as a preventative measure in the healthcare field.
Introduction
According to the International Federation of Social Workers, “Social work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work. Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous knowledge, social work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing” (IFSW, 2014). Social Services in America is typically referred to as “welfare” to the uninformed. These programs include the popular Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Medicare and Medicaid. While Medicare and Medicaid are a type of health care program, social service programs are not typically associated with bettering our general health. In all actuality, social service programs have been studied and have shown a positive impact on certain wellness areas such as prenatal health and STD prevention in adolescent females. If we were to invest more in social worker related programs, we could then lower the cost of healthcare in addition to reaping the benefits of being healthier. While there has not been an abundance of studies done, the few that have been completed show promising results for why we should invest more in social programs as a society.

Reduction in Neonatal Intensive Care Admission Rates
Pregnancy is the primary indicator for Medicaid eligibility. Women from poorer backgrounds tend to have higher risk pregnancies than their more well-off counterparts. Therefore, delivery and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) admissions account for a large portion of the Medicaid budget. The Monroe Plan for Medical Care (MP) serves over 3,000 providers in the Rochester, New York area, which accounts for over 73,000 patients throughout the region. As MP works with BlueCross BlueShield, it is financially responsible for all the Medicaid Managed Care recipients, hence their desire to lower NICU admission rates and reduce the cost of pregnancy and delivery. During the late 1990’s the NICU admission rate was over 100 per 1000 births. In 1997, MP adopted a community case-management program designed to combat NICU admission rates significantly. “The medical literature reports that there are many risk factors that significantly affect birth outcomes for low-income and working-poor women, including medical comorbidities, mental health and substance abuse issues, smoking, previous preterm birth, and social-related problems such as social isolation, spousal abuse, and homelessness” (Hobel et. al., 1994).
Having identified what makes their patients at risk, MP created a community-based case management program designed to combat NICU admission rates in the patients. MP worked with other Medicaid Managed Care providers as well as their Obstetrics/Gynecology Advisory Committee to develop “Healthy Beginnings”, a prenatal care program. The objective of this program was to reduce NICU admission rates by 15% in three years and to maintain that reduction in the following years. Before 1997, general practitioners rarely notified MP about their patients becoming pregnant, at a rate of less than 3%. In late 1997, MP designed a prenatal registration form (PRF) for practitioners to alert them to a patient’s pregnancy and include any high-risk factors that might be involved. “The PRF assess risk categories of social risk factors, maternal medical history, psychoneurological history, maternal obstetrical history and previous infant findings” (Stankaitis, Brill, & Walker, 2005). In order to ensure submission of the PRF, MP reimbursed practitioners $30 for each one submitted. This raised submission rates to 85% in 1998. However, the timeliness of submission was a problem as most general practitioners didn’t submit their PRF’s until the third trimester, thus making it more difficult to implement adequate prenatal care for high risk women. “In April 2001, Healthy Beginnings implemented a tiered payment system for the submission of the PRF in which the program would pay practitioners $50 for submission in the first trimester, $30 in the second trimester, and $20 in the third trimester” (Stankaitis, Brill, & Walker, 2005). Because of the tiered payment schedule, submissions in the first trimester increased to 60%. After submission, a perinatal nurse coordinator reviews the PRF and determines if there is a high-risk situation. According to Stankaitis, Brill, and Walker (2005):
Individuals with medical complications of pregnancy receive complex case management, home care services, or skilled nursing services as required. The perinatal nurse coordinator refers all pregnant enrollees identified as high risk because of psychosocial problems to the BabyLove Program. This community-based program has a strong history of working effectively with high-risk pregnant women, with the added feature of social work supervision that is necessary to effectively provide outreach. The BabyLove Program offers home visits, arranges transportation, provides links to support services and social work services, and connects high-risk pregnant women with other critically needed services (p. 168).
The results of the Healthy Beginnings Program were successful in more ways than anticipated. NICU admission rates from 2001 to 2003 were decreased 8.8%, 8.9%, and 5.7%, respectively. In addition to the decreased NICU admissions, preterm birth (< 32 weeks) and low birth weight (< 1900 g) were also significantly lower. Admission rates for Medicaid recipients in upstate New York remained generally unchanged, and the requirements for NICU admission remained the same during the same time period, thus indicating that the Healthy Beginnings Program had a positive effect on high-risk pregnancies and deliveries in their patients. In addition to the health benefits of the Healthy Beginnings Program, Stankaitis, Brill, & Walker also found that for every dollar spent of the program, $2 was saved (p. 170). These savings have been calculated to save over 1.8 million since the program’s implementation.

The Safer Sex Intervention
The Safer Sex Intervention (SSI) is a clinic-based program model funded by the federal Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, which is administered by the Office of Adolescent Health, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “The Office of Adolescent Health was authorized by the Public Health Service Act, they support research, services, prevention and health promotion activities, training, education, partnership engagement, national planning, and information dissemination activities” (Office of Adolescent Health, n.d.). SSI’s goal is to reduce the rate of sexually-transmitted diseases and increase the rate of condom and other contraceptive use among high-risk, sexually-active adolescent females. The grants were awarded to Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health Department in Minneapolis, Knox County Health Department in Knoxville, and Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando in four central Florida counties.
While most of the program occurred in clinics, Hennepin County offered the program in seven school-based clinics, one STI/public health clinic, five community-based clinics, four teen health clinics, one hospital-based pediatric clinic, and one clinic for homeless youth. “The intervention is delivered in one-on-one, face-to-face sessions with a female health educator. It has two versions: The Pre-Contemplation Stage Module, which emphasizes delivering information and obtaining feedback about safer sex behaviors; and the Contemplation Stage Module, which emphasizes education, skills, self-efficacy, and self-esteem” (Kelsey, Layzer, Price, and Francis, 2018). The initial hour-long session was supplemented with three shorter sessions over a six-month period. In addition to being offered free condoms and informational materials, the one-on-one sessions included discussions about the consequences of unprotected sex, risk perception, preventing pregnancy and STIs, condoms, where to obtain condoms, secondary abstinence, and talking about sex. Over 2,000 adolescent females participated in the study. On average the women were 17.2 years of age, 17% were Hispanic, 35.8% were Black, 33% were white, and 13.6% identified as Other. Almost all participants were sexually active, although only 83.2% had been active in the 90 days preceding the introduction of the program. Roughly two-thirds of the women had unprotected sex in the 90 days before the baseline survey was conducted. Female health educators typically have a master’s degree in Public Health, Education, or Social Work. The project staff from each location attended a two-day workshop that emphasized the importance of listening and promoting conversation as opposed to educating. The biggest hurdle that staff encountered was retention rate. They found that transportation was a primary reason for the participants not attending the follow-up booster sessions. As a revsult, “it hired a transportation company to transport young women to and from sessions. In addition, Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando received approval from the Office of Adolescent Health to offer booster sessions remotely via video conference or smart phone video chat (e.g., Skype, FaceTime)” (Kelsey, Layzer, Price, and Francis, 2018).
The conclusions of the SSI were overall positive. The percent of adolescents that were sexually active after three months fell to 74.84%, after six months it was at 75.12%. The most significant change after participating in the SSI was the decline in females that had sexual intercourse without any sort of contraceptive. Originally, two-thirds of participants were having unsafe sex, after three months that number dropped to 22.05%, and after 6 months it stayed steady at 23.84% (Kelsey, Layzer, Price, and Francis, 2018). The success of the small-scale implementation suggests that the program is enough for large-scale replication. The success was largely based on the effort given by the project staff, the training they went through, and the proviision of transportation and other means of following up at three and six months.

Conclusion
Through community based social service programs social work is evidenced to have an impact on overall healthcare in the community that is being serviced. Though more research is required, there has already been a quantitative impact on the population that specific programs are designed to help. In addition to affecting the health of the participants of these studies, there is a financial impact as well that has proven to be beneficial. Imagine if the United States were to invest more into social services throughout the country, aimed at other demographics. Based on the studies previously done, it can be inferred that a positive impact would be received. In addition to the healthcare services already provided, if more work was done aimed at prevention throughout our communities, an overall betterment of the general wellness of our population could be increased.

References
Hobel, C.J., Ross, M.G., Bernis, R.L., Bragonier, J.R., Nessim, S., Sandhu, M.,…Mori, B. (1994). The west Los Angeles preterm birth prevention project 1: Program impact on

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Jantzen Miller

ENGL 1302: COMPOSITION AND RHETORIC II
In his analysis of the social problem of childhood obesity, Jantzen Miller divides his presentation into the following logical sections: (1) What is the problem and how is it a social problem? (2) What are some primary causes of the problem? (3) What are some strengths and weaknesses of previous attempts at a solution? (4) What is (your) approach to the problem in view of previous ones? (5) Anticipate at least two objections to your approach. (6) Respond to the objections. (7) Conclusion. His use of this logical structure makes the presentation user-friendly. Citing sources in MLA style to bolster his observations and arguments, Jantzen presents a thoughtful and logical analysis of this continuing social problem.

Before the 21st century, if you asked the average American what they thought a “food problem” was, the majority would most likely suggest problems such as famine, being too impoverished to afford food, or simple crop failure. The common strain between all of these food problems is the fact that, whatever the cause may be, there is far too little of it. As a result of the countless varieties of cheap, easily accessible unhealthy food in America, our problem is not that we have far too little of it, but in reality, that we have far too much of it. This problem victimizes children before they are even old enough to make their own educated decisions about their food consumption. This problem is known as childhood obesity, and in our modern world, one in five children is affected by it due to their overly calorific diets, causing or exacerbating countless maladies such as sleep apnea, diabetes, and heart disease (“Childhood Obesity”). Unlike how adult obesity can be blamed on personal choices, a child’s diet is manipulated by their parents and the American culture that they live in, making it one of the most important social problems of our time, to the point that it is now considered an epidemic.
First, a firm understanding of the causes of childhood obesity will serve well for further discussion on possible solutions to the issue. The causes can be summarized as being of three types: one, the biological mechanisms that cause the issue, from which the two other causes, those from parenting and those from American culture, can be interpreted. Biologically, the two commonly cited causes of the issue are overly calorific diets applied to children who don’t exercise enough to burn off what they eat, causing the excess calories to be stored as fat deposits on the body, and obesity spurred on by hormonal or genetic issues. However, research suggests that in 90% of cases, the first cause is what is responsible for the condition (“Childhood Obesity”).
Zooming further out, parents can also cause the issue due to the responsibility placed on them as parents. Parents act as role models with their own diets, and so children tend to eat diets highly similar to that of their parents. Additionally, parents control the majority of the food that goes in and out of the house, the place children spend most of their time, sometimes resulting in an excess of unhealthy choices, and few possible healthy options. For example, a parent’s habit of drinking soda is reflected in their children, whether this is through role modeling or it simply being the most available option in the household (Barna).
On the highest level, America has generated its own “food culture” that influences the food choices of Americans, including those of children. In America, it is common to see “body shaming,” or the promotion of an unhealthily low-calorie diet and lifestyle, coexist with the promotion of unhealthy fast food, both of which can have an impact on parents and children. For example, targeted fast food advertising attempts are often made towards children, which can cause them to eat unhealthy food (Linn and Novosat 147). The extent of the issue is made clear by the ten to fifteen billion dollars that food and beverage advertisers spend in order to target youth (Linn and Novosat 147).
In order to solve this issue, several different possible solutions have been proposed at each level, biological, parental, and cultural. The most common of these is on the biological and parental level, focusing on forming healthy diet and exercise habits in order to reduce the total consumption of calories to an acceptable level for health. While this approach is undeniably beneficial when properly performed, there are several downfalls to the common approach that can make it very difficult for a family that is just starting to work on getting to a baseline level of health to be able to stick with a proper regimen. Another common type of marketed food is “diet food,” which usually come in the form of low-calorie, individually packaged meals for managing portion sizes. However, these meals are often just as calorie-dense as other food a dieter may eat, but with smaller portion sizes (Foreman 128-129). As a result, diet foods can leave a dieter unsatisfied, coaxing them into breaking their healthy eating habits (Foreman 128-129). Exercise is also commonly overly stressed with this approach, but even strenuous exercise makes up a surprisingly low factor in the “energy equation.” For example, running a whole mile burns only about 125 calories, progress that is far too easily destroyed by eating a single candy bar (Haymes and Byrnes).
Approaches to childhood obesity have also been considered and attempted at the cultural and social level. One of these includes the banning of fast food advertising targeted at children, and another approach that has been tried is the taxing of sugary drinks. For example, New York introduced a penny-per-ounce tax on soda drinks (Saletan 168). In many European countries, advertising to children is heavily regulated (Linn and Novosat 149). As for food advertising, this approach misses the fact that parents, not children, in most cases, are the ones buying fast food, so efforts would likely be better focused by attempting to educate parents and children. However, this approach can be effective for teens, who often make some food choices on their own given the fact that they have more of their own money to spend. As for the taxing of sugary drinks, while sugary drinks are a great thing to cut out of a diet because they are simultaneously calorific and not filling, this approach makes the false equivalence that higher prices on these goods results in fewer purchases of them. An important point against this method is how cheap to produce most soda drinks are, such as Coke and Dr Pepper, costing only 99 cents at most grocery stores for a 2-liter bottle, and costing only pennies to manufacture (Mooney). Clearly, even with an additional tax levied on these drinks, they will remain far too affordable to reduce consumer purchases by much. Most importantly, however, both proposed social solutions miss the opportunity to explicitly educate parents and children, instead relying primarily upon subversive techniques in order to get people to “get it.”
In contrast to the weaknesses of each of these proposals, I would highly suggest some combination of the two, attempting to engage in healthy eating habits and educating parents and children on the issue at hand, while cutting out on the extraneous details that make it difficult to narrow in on the healthy habits that really matter. Diet culture often makes the presumption that their busy target audience will have all the time in the world to dedicate itself to countless sources prescribing a specific blend of vitamins and minerals, proper hydration, and alkaline water to achieve its promised goals. Also, the obsession with dieting and weight loss can be unhealthy, even leading to eating disorders (Kausman).
However, these details are often abstract dietary concepts that dieters looking to first reduce their weight to healthy levels shouldn’t need to worry about, especially children. Thus, on a social and cultural level, education about healthy diets could focus on the foods that matter most when it comes to calorie input. Many families fail to realize that most of their calories probably come from only a few sources, with a tablespoon of butter and oil containing 100 calories, a can of cola containing 150 or more, and there are 200 calories in a cup of pasta or other grains. This is in contrast to most fruits and vegetables, with a large orange having only 60 calories and an entire cup of broccoli containing only 30. Therefore, giving your family just a few less tablespoons of butter and one less can of soda can make all the difference, with the knowledge that eating fruits and vegetables in mass is perfectly acceptable to stave off hunger. In this way, my approach would allow education on the cultural level to allow parents to make better decisions about the food they purchase and prepare in the home, allowing both wider approaches to directly funnel into ending the biological cause of childhood obesity.
Nevertheless, there are several understandable concerns that could be brought up about my proposed solution, founded in the more obvious reasons that families do not eat healthy food. First, it could be argued that it is not the calorie dense food that is the major issue, but it becomes one based on the simple reality of hunger, and it is hard to get children to eat their vegetables. Secondly, it could be pointed out that I have assumed that parents will be mostly feeding their children home cooked meals and not the often-true reality that children will instead be consuming fast food and unhealthy frozen or prepared meals.
While both are perfectly valid issues, just like misinformation about the fundamentals of a good diet, these issues are derived from misinformation about food, and could easily be cleared up the same way that my approach intends to do so: education. In the case of kids not eating their vegetables, it is often the case that this aversion is because children never experience properly prepared vegetables, assuming that cold and raw is the only way to experience them. There are multiple cooking methods for vegetables that can add little or no calories to them that can make them enjoyable. While one common diet cliché is that broccoli is the enemy of all children, when it is steamed and has spices added to it, it becomes a much easier and more enjoyable to consume. As for the lack of home cooked meals, this is usually due to the conception that cooking is something esoteric and difficult, something that requires tons of time outside of a parent’s busy life to perform. However, there exist bountiful recipes on the Internet that allow for a person to simply dump ingredients in a pan or a crock pot and come back to a delicious home cooked meal. In summary, both problems could be cleared up with proper food education.
Unquestionably, the pervasiveness of childhood obesity is certainly a terrifying prospect that America will have to grapple with in the coming years. However, a growing problem within the discussion of the issue is the flurry of unfocused, overly complicated solutions often proposed to fix the issue. A much more simplistic solution could be undertaken, allowing for busy families to take the fullest advantage of the simple but well-crafted education that is given, allowing for American society to blossom into a much healthier version of itself.

Works Cited
Barna, Mark. “Parents serve as role models on soda.” The Nation’s Health, Feb.-Mar. 2019, p. 4. Opposing Viewpoints in Context.
“Childhood Obesity.” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2019. Opposing Viewpoints in Context.
Foreman, Judy. “Dieting and Exercise are Largely Ineffective.” Obesity, edited by Scott Barbour, Greenhaven Press, 2011, pp. 127-132. Opposing Viewpoints.
Haymes, E. M. and W. C. Byrnes (1993). “Walking and running energy expenditure estimated by Caltrac and indirect calorimetry.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 25(12): 1365-1369.
Kausman, Rick. “The Public’s Obsession with Weight Loss and Thinness is Harmful.” Obesity, edited by Sylvia Engdahl, Greenhaven Press, 2015. Opposing Viewpoints.
Linn, Susan and Courtney L. Novosat. “Regulating Food Advertising to Children Will Reduce Obesity.” Obesity, edited by Scott Barbour, Greenhaven Press, 2011, pp. 147-155. Opposing Viewpoints.
Mooney, Phil. The 5 Cent Coke. The Coca-Cola Company, 2008.
Saletan, William. “Taxing Sugary Drinks Will Not Reduce Obesity.” Obesity, edited by Scott Barbour, Greenhaven Press, 2011, pp. 167-170. Opposing Viewpoints.

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Benjamin Greaves

“Apartheid, for all its power, had fatal flaws baked in, starting with the fact that it never made any sense. Racism is not logical” (Noah 75). When thinking about racism, many prominent examples stand out: apartheid in South Africa, slavery in the United States, and genocide against native peoples. Each of these has gradually come to an end, yet racism persists, despite its illogical nature. As Trevor Noah describes in his autobiography, Born a Crime, when racism stems from the foundational structures of society, it continually permeates throughout all aspects of life. With that comes violence, inequality, and a waste of human potential. Although the racial history of the United States differs from that of South Africa, there are still more similarities than differences. Non-white minorities faced, and continue to face, discrimination and prejudice from various sources; from institutions to popular culture, racism constantly presents itself in America – even in majority-minority states like Texas. As a result, there is a wealth and opportunity divide between people of color and whites that has neither been fully addressed nor adequately discussed. Seriously addressing racism requires a complex and multifaceted policy approach that should start with education. While in school, students are socialized on how to treat others, and racist views can either be cultivated or reversed in such a setting. In order to counteract the effect of white privilege – and other racial psychological constructs – on the education of minority students, school systems must diversify their staffs and improve training across all levels.
Review of Literature
Causes of Racism
As one of society’s most pervasive issues, racism can only be understood by examining its origins in history and contributory factors. People categorize each person they come across, and, most often, these categorizations begin with skin color. Subsequent interactions tend to give deference to skin color in positive or negative ways and can change the way society views a person. In America, from its initial colonization to the present, skin colors other than white have almost always been treated negatively. As James Boggs writes in his article about racism in the United States, black people were originally viewed as “savage” and as beneficiaries of the “submissiveness of slavery” (Boggs 4). This view was widely held by the white slave owners of the time, who dominated most of the culture of early America. Furthermore, they enforced this perspective through laws that legalized the subjugation of non-whites, a trend continuing from slavery, to segregation, to much of the de facto segregation that exists in present housing, criminal justice, and education.
Even as laws have eased in their severity, racial views negatively portraying black people and other minorities still remain in figments of popular culture and opinion. Barbara J. Fields, in her writing on labor history, states that these racial views and policies continue because of the concept of whiteness. As a racial identity, whiteness “entails material benefits” that are the rewards for being white (Fields 53). With such rewards resulting from just the color of their skin, whites have historically tried to keep power skewed in favor of themselves, not people of color. The motivation for an imbalance of power is rooted in the capitalist system of America, and the competition it creates. In his article, Boggs notes the correlation between “the rise of capitalism and the rise of racism,” as well as how it has influenced the type of work performed by African Americans (Boggs 3). Black workers tended to do more menial work relative to white coworkers in similar industries, maintaining racist views that they were lesser (Boggs 7). Beyond those living in the United States, immigrants would also be racially classified, which often limited work opportunities. Fields describes how not only African, but also Afro-Caribbean, immigrants “became black” and how Europeans were treated as white (Fields 51). These classifications directed new citizens and workers into jobs that were unofficially designated for the black and white races, helping to maintain the status quo. Through the evolution of race and racism in the United States, it becomes clear that its causes are rooted in both history and economic competition.

Structural Racism
Stemming from the history and economic system of the United States, racism has extended into other structural components of society and culture. Some of the most prevalent examples of this arise from capitalism. All capitalist economies share a common trait: income inequality. Though it tends to vary in degree from country to country, income inequality can present challenges and take different forms. In America, disparities are highest between gender and race, with men and whites earning more. American society has traditionally been dominated by white men for the majority of its existence, so income inequality is far more extreme among women of color. For example, in Ruqaiijah Yearby’s work on the economic impacts on women’s health, she points out that minority women “are disproportionately employed in low-paying occupations” with little variation in job-type (Yearby). This discrepancy indicates that structural racism is not mutually exclusive to other inequalities and that many elements of racism are intersectional; however, minority races share a common theme of being disadvantaged relative to whites. Beyond income inequality, African Americans and minorities have struggled to form and maintain unions – a difficult task in capitalist society. Many African Americans still live in the south, where “unions barely exist” and many “right-to-work laws […] took root” (“Black”). A lack of unions not only results from structural resistance to them but also from efforts to disadvantage workers that are a majority-minority. Structural racism has extended from the history and the economics of the past to create widespread inequalities and disadvantages among people of color, especially those that are women.

White Privilege and Implicit Bias
Despite the progress made on identifying racism across society – as well as its structural causes – it persists, largely because of white privilege. On a basic level, white privilege entails “being in the majority racial group” and receiving advantages simply for being in that group; the ‘privilege’ is not something earned but rather a status associated with a person from birth (Understanding). The advantages and status do not apply to people of color, causing them to have to work harder to achieve the same ends as white people. More often than not, white people are unaware of their privilege. This can lead to unintentional racial bias in “personal interactions and judgements” that lead to the preference of whites instead of minorities (Understanding). Furthermore, white privilege can also cause problems by perpetuating “systemic barriers” that disadvantage people of color (Understanding). To better understand how people with white privilege sustain this divide, the concept of implicit bias needs to be analyzed. Defined as “the bias in judgement” resulting “from subtle cognitive processes,” implicit bias is what drives people to make a racist association without actively thinking about it (Implicit). Although this naturally lends itself to white privilege, it should be noted that African Americans and other minorities experience implicit bias as well. People “unwittingly exhibit racist attitudes and beliefs,” even if they favor racial equality, with the innate associations that they make (De Castillo 263). It is because of this that white privilege, and the racism associated with it, still continues in spite of the best intentions of white people.

Unaware Racism
In recent years, the overt and openly systematic forms of racism have begun to decline, particularly as policy efforts have shifted towards more integration and racial healing. However, given the structural nature of racism in American society, it persists through individuals and the institutions that they compose. People – especially those who are white or of European descent – are susceptible to unaware racism, even if they do not actively exercise racist tendencies against others. Although unaware racism lends itself closely to implicit bias, it is based more in negative racial views. While discussing the validity and awareness of race-based researchers, Jonathan Michael Kaplan describes unaware racism through the lens of racial ignorance among whites. Kaplan relates white ignorance to unawareness of “the prevalence and the significance of racism” throughout the country (Kaplan 160). With this unawareness comes a lack of motivation to learn more about racism and how someone can inadvertently perpetuate “racial myth[s],” as well as the absence of willpower to try and limit racism in daily life (Kaplan 167). The factors that cause white ignorance and unaware racism vary, but one of the most prevalent is white fragility. Lori Gallegos De Castillo discusses white fragility in her work on unconscious racial prejudice and resistance, calling it “defensive moves” and “behaviors of withdrawal” made in response to racial stress or discussion (De Castillo 268). These actions turn people away from addressing their own racial ignorance or subconscious prejudice and prevent them from learning how to become more tolerant, something that could otherwise be accomplished relatively quickly.

Institutional Racism and Environmental Racism
As individuals continue to act with unaware racism, the institutions that they are a part of reflect that racism and recreate it in accordance with those actions. Institutional racism extends across many fields and affects almost every aspect of daily life. The most important and influential institutions in the United States are typically controlled by white people, and thus have their role skewed away from equally addressing the needs of all demographics. As Camara Phyllis Jones notes in her research, institutional racism is marked by “differential access to the goods, services, and opportunities” in a society (Jones 16). This differential exists in health care, the justice system, the education system, and others. Confronting institutional racism entails “naming racism” and the “mechanisms and impacts” by which it is enabled to affect people of color (Jones 19). However, this alone is not enough to truly limit the impact of institutional racism. Extended efforts to name and address the structurally racist factors behind institutions are needed to curtail their damaging impact.
Environmental racism has moved to the forefront of problems resulting from institutional racism. Institutions, such as businesses, often dispose of waste and pollutants in low-income, minority-based communities. As these communities tend to have less political capital, the institutions of government, including the justice system, are less likely to support their complaints. Luke W. Cole writes that the result is a “disproportionate burden of […] pollution” and “garbage dumps” falling on communities of color (Cole 1992). Almost paradoxically, environmental racism has developed into an increasingly serious problem, just as environmental conservationism and activism have increased as well. The discrepancy between the two can be explained by the racial composition of both groups. While those that suffer from environmental racism tend to be people of color, D.R. Keller has observed that environmentalism “has its roots in affluent white citizens” (Keller 382). The goals of said citizens favor preserving wilderness and the elements of nature that tend to be enjoyed recreationally, a facet of the environment that is vastly different from the parts of society affected by environmental racism. Given that environmental advocacy groups so often overlook the struggles of minorities in this regard, it is unsurprising that this form of racism has been – and will continue to
be – inadequately addressed.

Internalized Racism and Cultural Racism
Most of the widespread effects of racism have clear, observable outcomes, and their negative impacts can usually be identified. However, one of the subtler – and perhaps more dangerous – effects of racism comes from how it influences the psyche of African Americans and other minorities. This influence is defined and explained through internalized racism, or how people begin to believe and accept the racist narratives and actions taken against them. Succumbing to internalized racism leads to feelings of inferiority and can cause people to misdirect their feelings against other members of their community. Tony N. Brown discussed the consequences of this form of racism in his work on racial stratification and mental health. According to Brown, “nihilistic tendencies, […] suppressed anger expression, […and] delusional denial tendencies” are “prevalent and impairing” mental health indicators associated with internalized racism (Brown 295). These illnesses lead to problems ranging from self-destructive tendencies, to emotional repression, to being out of touch with reality, respectively (Brown 296-97). Each of the aforementioned outcomes makes it more difficult for people of color to resist internalizing racism, and they contribute to a cycle of doubt that continues to repress minorities.
Beyond hindering the advancement of racial minorities, internalized racism enables the success of cultural racism. Already, institutions – like the education system – gloss over the value and importance of cultures from non-white groups, such as Native Americans. In doing so, the history and culture of whites has become the dominant culture in society. The effect of this dominance is exhibited through its impact on people of color who are either entering America or are already citizens. As Juan Chen and David T. Takeuchi describe in their work on intermarriage and ethnic identity, many Asian women seek “interracial and transnational marriages” in the United States to find a higher quality of life (Chen 877). However, these marriages come at the cost of “identificational assimilation” to the dominant white culture, whereby ethnic identity and culture are lost (Chen 885). Although just one method of assimilation, marriage represents how culture may be lost upon entering the country. For those who are already citizens, internalized racism aids cultural racism. Brown also attributed anti-self issues to racial stratification, stating that it causes individuals to seek “white approval” and assimilate “to white norms and behaviors” as a means of escaping being black or a minority (Brown 296). This implicates internalized racism as a driving force behind adopting and supporting the dominant culture over one’s own, thereby sustaining cultural racism.

Consequences of Racism
As racism continues to permeate in society, its consequences will limit the advancement of both minorities and the United States as a whole. On various levels, not only has racism overtly detracted from the lives of people of color, but it has also had detrimental ramifications for society. The extent and continuity of racism in America has led to mental health problems and internalized destructive tendencies, as well as feelings of self-doubt and inferiority compared to white people. With the dominance of one narrowly configured culture in society, immigrants and citizens alike have had to sacrifice ethnic identities and their cultural past to integrate. These sacrifices strain the diversity that helps America innovate and advance; moreover, the need to assimilate creates conflicts between ethnic groups. As a result of these race-based problems, the United States is at risk of exacerbating its difference between being “technologically most advanced” and “politically most backward” (Boggs 8). This is a dangerous contradiction, and one that challenges the American white narrative of meritocracy, liberty, and equality, contradictions that stand to become more pronounced as America shifts from a white-majority populace.

Contributing Factors to Racism in Education
Even as the demographics of Texas change faster than the rest of the country, people and institutions resist those changes. Nowhere is that more evident than in housing markets and neighborhoods, both of which have a direct effect on education and school funding. The state of Texas divides funding for school districts between local property taxes and state funds, with additional funds coming from the federal government; however, local taxes play a more important monetary role, as the taxation of housing provides more money to meet the base funding goals for schools (Swaby). In recent years, this discrepancy has widened to “55.5 percent” of school budgets being covered locally and only “35 percent” is provided by the state – the remaining percentage is federally funded (Ramsey). The reliance on property taxes has strained the budgets of ever-growing schools, particularly in low-income communities, where taxation rates are often maximized. Given that, as of 2017, African Americans and Hispanics had a median income of “$40,258” and “$50,486,” respectively, compared to the income of “$68,145” among non-Hispanic whites, high property taxes have further racial and ethnic consequences (Fontenot). Funding differences in low- and high-income communities reflect not only economic disparities in Texas schools, but also the underlying racial makeup of those communities.

Race and Housing
Following the end of segregation, efforts to integrate were hindered by both mortgages and ‘white flight,’ two obstacles that persist to this day. Originally, African Americans who wanted to buy homes in traditionally white neighborhoods would be “denied mortgage financing” (Lang 36). Although successful at limiting integration, the refusal to provide these necessary loans came under public and regulatory scrutiny, morphing the practice into its current form: offering more subprime, high-rate mortgages instead (figure 1). These are “systematically

Among households in 2015 with at least one regular mortgage, % of each group paying these rates

Note: Hispanics may be of any race. “Not reported” categories not shown. Data on whites, blacks and Asians refer to single-race groups.

Figure 1. Mortgage Rates Per Household by Race, Pew Research Center

[…] higher-rate loans” than those offered to whites, typically making homeownership riskier and more expensive for people of color (Lang 36). As a result of these financing options, African Americans face difficult choices that often favor cheaper housing options over homes in better developed – typically white – neighborhoods. Even though this can alleviate the pressures of meeting otherwise more expensive mortgage payments, in states like Texas, it comes at the cost of the property values that support local schools.
For those that do pursue homes in predominately white neighborhoods, where property values support better school districts, African American and minority homeowners face the risk of white flight. Coined after the end of segregation, the phrase refers to the ‘flight’ of whites away from newly integrated areas and neighborhoods. Even now, decades later, “white flight has […] endured as a response” to the efforts of minorities to further integrate into white communities (Lang 33). This continues to not only hinder complete desegregation, but also perpetuate racist attitudes. Without peaceful exposure to other races in normal living situations, unfounded prejudices subsist and cause racial inequalities in education and society. In school districts, for instance, “desegregation significantly accelerates white flight” out of public schools, with white students either leaving the district or transferring from “public to private schools within the district” (Rossell 210-211). On a surface level, this simply represents changes in a district’s demographics. However, given the resources that are often made more available to whites, their absence leads to notable effects on schools. While leaving a school district entirely can remove citizens – and thus their tax revenue – from the district’s funding base, whites leaving for private schools creates a different impact. With the switch to private schools, money and resources are directed towards “supplementing […] private options,” taking away the extra support that citizens can offer to help bolster public schools (Trounstine 380). With the income of minorities often falling far below that of whites, it is difficult for them to continue to sustain a school’s former standards or quality. As white flight continues, communities will lose the ability to integrate and face greater risks of damage to their schools.

School Funding and Racial Inequality
When funding for a minority-majority school decreases, the students and their families face deteriorating circumstances that often compound each other’s effects. The low property values in “primarily urban and migrant areas” leads to less funding for the schools in those areas, making it difficult for students “to become productive members of society” (Ostrander 272). With fifty-six percent of the composition of urban counties as non-white, this has serious implications for students of color (figure 2). These circumstances often inhibit students from attaining the necessary economic success to move into a new neighborhood or to seek a better life. As a result, the future generations of that student’s family are affected in a debilitating cycle. Students that remain in the same poor communities subsequently “send their children” to the same “underfunded schools” that they themselves attended (Ostrander 273). Given that “67 percent of African American families” from the poorest neighborhoods continue to live there over a generation later, members of multiple generations of families can fall subject to racial inequality; many of whom end up facing similar difficulties and challenges as their parents and grandparents (Rothstein). This situation is worsened by the fact that inadequate school funding reduces student access to technology. When considering access to technology across urban, suburban, and rural areas, “white […] suburban students” have the biggest advantage, which plays a significant role in competing for “increasingly more technical” jobs (Hendrix 64-66). Beyond completing homework or studying for tests, the ability to utilize technology and the internet greatly effects a student’s preparation for future careers. With poorer schools struggling to provide

Figure 3. Distribution of Public Elementary and Secondary Students by Race and Ethnicity, National Center for Education Statistics
updated or sufficient numbers of computers and laptops, this issue becomes vital to students of color who may lack these devices at home. As the majority of students attend either primarily non-white or non-suburban schools that tend to lack adequate funding, their shortcomings will continue to reflect upon both racial and geographic inequality (figure 3).
The School-to-Prison Pipeline (SPP)
In the United States, the incarceration of minorities occurs at an alarmingly higher rate than that of whites; a rate evidenced by the fact that in 2015, African Americans and Hispanics “comprised 56% of all incarcerated people,” despite only making up “32% of the US population” (“Criminal”). The concept of a ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ (SPP) has developed to explain the origins of this trend. The SPP identifies the role of education as a key factor that influences the future likelihood of people of color becoming incarcerated. In school districts, elected school boards listen and respond “to strongly held community sentiments,” such as racist beliefs and attitudes (Stein 2009-2010). This can lead to support for policies like school disturbance laws – which lead to disproportionate consequences for otherwise normal teenage behavior – or the passage of strict disciplinary procedures. These laws and disciplinary practices have been adopted by Texas and many other states in recent years, causing African American students to nationally become “2.2 times as likely” as whites to face discipline from law enforcement (“2013-14”). Though Texas has removed “criminal citations” as an “option for dealing with chronic misbehavers,” school discipline remains an important factor behind the SPP (“Class” 7).
The reasoning behind current school disciplinary procedures is often shortsighted, as the consequences for rule-violations focuses mainly on a singular punishment, not on a constructive effort to try and help the student become more productive. As a result, these procedures often harm more than help a student’s academic well-being, particularly if the student has a mental illness or disability. Nationwide, preschool students that are black are “3.6 times more likely to be suspended” than white students, a statistic that later increases to “3.8 times more likely” in kindergarten through 12th grade (Delale-O’Connor 179). From a young age, African Americans and other minorities are at a greater risk of facing disciplinary action. Given that they consistently face higher rates of suspension throughout their education, the methodology behind suspensions is flawed and dangerous to minority students’ academic success. For example, students who receive suspensions are “three times more likely” to later drop out of school and after returning from a suspension, they are then “stigma[tized]” (Kocon 17). While suspended, students fall behind, making it difficult to keep pace with their peers. The stigma with which they return amplifies this difficulty, worsening an already burdensome situation and increasing the likelihood of dropping out. Furthermore, students of color are disproportionately affected legally, as “[50%] of school-based arrests” are of African Americans, despite the fact that they only compose “15% of all students” (Kocon 16). Though in Texas white students are arrested more often, black students are referred to court and labeled delinquent at a higher rate (figure 4). The fact that African Americans are more likely to be arrested and punished in school leads to an inequality that reflects upon the incarceration rate discrepancies among young adults, setting the groundwork for a school-to-prison pipeline.

Figure 4. Texas Rates of Juvenile Justice Involvement by Race and Ethnicity in 2013, Hogg Foundation – The University of Texas at Austin

White Privilege in Education
As one of the most influential agents of socialization, education shapes the attitudes and beliefs of children and young adults. This can either positively contradict racist beliefs, or negatively reaffirm them in children – often leading to internalized racism among students of color. Unfortunately, the latter is currently more prominent in schools, as white privilege influences the way teachers and other staff interact with minority students. Nationally – as of the 2011-2012 school year – “82 percent of public school teachers were white” along with “80 percent” of public school principals (“The State” 6-7). That same year, Texas schools, though more diverse than the national percentages, shared a white majority of teachers and principals: “63.53 [percent]” and “64.87 [percent],” respectively (“Employed Teacher” 1; “Employed Principal” 1). This trend in school staff demographics has continued to the present, remaining incongruous to the racial makeup of students in Texas; in 2017-18, only “27.9 [percent]” of total publicly enrolled school students were white (“Enrollment” ix). As whites disproportionately hold teaching and administrative positions in schools, white privilege is far more likely to permeate the education of minority students.
The widespread control of whites in schools extends back to the end of segregation. When schools were segregated, black teachers taught black students, and there was a larger percentage of African American teachers. However, once schools began to integrate, African Americans were “dismissed or demoted” from teaching and administrative roles (Nelson Jr. 453). These roles were then filled by white teachers, leading to the demographic differential seen today. Furthermore, as these African American teachers were displaced, black students became more susceptible to the white privilege and unaware racism of whites. Since the onset of desegregation, this situation has become self-sustaining. According to the national data as of 2012, “73 percent” of bachelor’s students majoring in education were white, along with “71 percent” of those pursuing a masters (“The State” 11). These data indicate that whites are likely to be more competitive in the educational job market, helping to maintain the white majority in schools. With this majority, white privilege is sustained to the benefit of white students and maintains the status quo that routinely disfavors students of color. Beyond the role of teachers and staff, white privilege and its effect on students is exacerbated by curriculums and textbooks. Modern textbooks often present “racism as a tragedy of the past” and as divergent from present-day controversies, influencing students to ignore or trivialize current racial issues (Hughes 203). By failing to adequately address the history of race and its new role in the US, textbooks fail to help students analyze the causes of racism. This makes students less capable of working against the structural components of society that perpetuate racism and white privilege.

White Privilege and School Staff
With a majority of white teachers comes unequal treatment among students, as personal and implicit biases shape their interactions. In many cases, this allows for white students to learn in a more privileged environment that exists at the expense of their minority counterparts. For many white teachers, “racist stereotypes and attitudes” can be “ingrained in them,” making it difficult to treat students equally, regardless of intentions (Mazama 727). These attitudes direct the focuses and efforts of teachers towards white students, neglecting the needs of students of color. As a result, they are more likely to struggle academically and face disciplinary problems. However, a more alarming consequence is that of special education classes. African American students are “overrepresented across […] disability categories” in schools, with “80 percent” of these students being referred by teachers (Jordan 128-130). Teacher referrals, which are often influenced by stereotypes, cause students to be placed in separate classes to address supposed learning disabilities. For students incorrectly assigned to disability classes, the implications for their education are severe. These classes follow different curriculums, so for students who belong in normal classes, they are set behind and are less prepared after graduation. Furthermore, the removal of African Americans from classes extends the privilege afforded to whites, as classes become less diverse and offer greater attention to white students. Given that black teachers tend to enable greater “self-esteem and confidence” in black students, addressing the lack of diversity among teaching staffs is very important (Nelson Jr. 453). Employing a higher proportion of black and minority teachers would not only help limit the extent of white privilege in schools, but also help to end the disproportionate number of African American students in special education classes. Additionally, this would allow white educators to see firsthand how to more effectively teach and connect with students of color, curbing the benefits of white students’ privilege.
Like teachers, counselors play a very important role in a student’s education, yet they also struggle to adequately overcome the extent of white privilege in schools. Given that “the majority of counselors [are…] White,” this privilege is just as prevalent among them as teachers, reducing the likelihood of it being addressed and countered internally (Hays 134; figure 5).
Students rely on counselors to provide advice and help for personal problems, making the relationship between counselor and student an essential part of being academically successful. Counselors that favor whites often struggle to connect with students of color, tilting that relationship away from being equitably applied. For many counselors, white privilege can be a difficult concept to acknowledge. When informed about it, responses ranged from feeling a “need for advocacy” to “resistance [toward] learning about racism” (Hays et al. 243). Resisting the ideas of racism and white privilege only serve to perpetuate them, as well as increase the chances of racial favoritism. Moreover, the lack of a consistent recognition indicates that students of color face a real danger of being denied sufficient help and resources. When compounded with the effect that teachers can have, counselors who disregard white privilege further exacerbate the divide between minority and white students.

Consequences of White Privilege in Schools
Though the response to white privilege from school staffs has been lacking, minority parents – especially African Americans – have made efforts to limit its effects on their children. Stemming from the fact that much of the “influence” of African Americans to try and change education “has been lost,” a growing number of parents have decided to avoid public schools altogether (Nelson Jr. 455). This allows parents to have more control over their child’s education, as well as the racism that they may face. Rather than risk placement in special education classes or the school-to-prison pipeline, some black parents have chosen to homeschool their children. Homeschooling is one of “the fastest-growing form[s] of education” that also has a “noticeable increase in […] involvement” from African Americans, encompassing over “10 [percent] of all homeschooled children” (Mazama 724). By choosing to homeschool their children, parents are able to provide an educational environment free of white privilege and its accompanying risks. Homeschooling can also educate about racism through a different narrative than that taught in schools, making the issue more likely to be appropriately addressed by minority children with a stronger personal agency. Although individuals are free to choose the means of education for their families, the fact that homeschooling can be a better alternative to public education is very telling of the state of racism and privilege in the United States.
For minority students that do graduate from school, race-related issues continue into college. As of the fall of 2016, “9.1 million” students of the “16.9 million” enrolled in degree-granting undergraduate institutions were white (“Undergraduate”). With this overwhelming majority of white students, it can be difficult for minority students to socialize. This can affect academic performance and often relates back to their time in public schools. White privilege, and the staff who exhibit it, negatively “influence […] academic self-concept and motivation” among students of color (Reynolds 144). Students struggling with these negative influences carry them into postsecondary education, retaining feelings of self-doubt in yet another environment that is dominated by the presence of whites. When combined with the difficulty of socializing into the majority racial group, past experiences in school can severely derail the college educations of minorities.

Conclusion
Racism is one of the most complex issues in the United States and is deeply ingrained in the structural institutions of America. Although resolving racism will require societal changes over time, education provides the means to begin the process of healing and tolerance. However, given the homogenous state of schools across the country and in Texas, a multi-faceted approach is needed to limit white privilege and racial inequalities. Legislatively, stronger housing and mortgage rate regulations need to be implemented. By increasing the oversight and regulatory standards on mortgage lenders, the disproportionately higher interest rates offered to people of color could be limited, shifting the focus away from race and solely on credit. This would allow minority families to avoid choosing between finances and quality schools. In states like Texas, school financing needs to be reformed to reduce the burden on local households; low-income communities should not face maxed-out property tax rates to fund low quality schools. Regarding the school-to-prison pipeline, states must change the goal of school discipline policies to focus more on learning from mistakes, rather than just on punishments. School districts can reflect this through changes in student codes of conduct. Implementing these improvements will help limit the systemic factors that contribute to the broad racial inequalities in schools.
In order to reduce the extent of white privilege, as well as its impact on students of color, both long- and short-term changes need to take place. Ultimately, school staffing needs to shift demographically to exhibit greater diversity. As they diversify, the ability of white privilege to permeate education will diminish, enabling students to be taught by staffs that bear a greater resemblance to their own racial makeup. Achieving this diversity can be accomplished in a number of ways. By raising the salaries of teachers, students studying in college may be more likely to consider pursuing a major in education. For minority students – who tend to risk more financially to attend college – this would provide additional motivation to pursue teaching as a profession. Furthermore, providing government scholarships for education majors could help bridge the gap between whites and minorities who pursue a future in education. Until greater diversity is actually achieved, actions can be taken in the short-term to better equip white teachers and counselors to deal with privilege and other race-related issues. Offering seminars and training about white privilege can help staff recognize the consequences of their actions, helping to check the extra attention that is afforded to white students. Additionally, generating an emphasis on the multicultural nature of students makes teachers more prepared to address the needs of individuals, regardless of race or ethnicity. With better training and education, white teachers can develop the self-efficacy and confidence needed to best help minority students, reducing the impact of white privilege until greater diversity exists.
Providing equity in education requires enacting many expansive reforms across legislative, district, and individual levels. However, by initiating these changes, the influence of white privilege will decrease in schools, reducing the barriers that limit the academic success of students of color. With fewer barriers, minority students can prepare for the future at a level more equal to that of whites. This sets the groundwork to reduce other racial inequalities and gradually remove racism from the foundations of American society.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Yadira Garcia

Un análisis sicológico del personaje Rosamunda del cuento “Rosamunda” de Carmen Laforet

            Rosamunda vivió dos etapas muy importantes en su vida.  La primera etapa fue cuando era joven y su pasión era la poesía y la otra fue después de que conoció al hombre que iba a ser su esposo.  En su juventud Rosamunda fue una poetisa muy famosa, admirada y reconocida por la gente de la gran ciudad. Fueron los años más felices de su vida. Ella se decía a sí misma que era una “mariposa de oro” porque vivía libre y feliz llena de ilusiones. Sin duda su juventud, belleza y talento cautivaban a las personas que la conocían.

No obstante, cuando conoció al que creyó que era el amor de su vida, toda su alegría y ganas de vivir se le fueron apagando poco a poco. Aquel hombre del que ella se había enamorado perdidamente era un hombre abusivo, celoso, borracho y controlador. Lamentablemente, él no dejó que ella siguiera creciendo como artista. Los años fueron pasando y su frustración fue creciendo más y más.

Rosamunda tuvo hijos, pero eran unos ingratos.  El único de ellos que ella consideraba su hijo fue Florisel, porque él era un muchacho sensible y cariñoso, y lo más importante siempre la escuchaba.  Tristemente ese murió.  Fue cuando Rosamunda se quiso volver loca por el dolor que le causó la pérdida de su hijo.

Como resultado, huyó de su casa para ir a la gran ciudad.  Quería saber si podía recuperar esos años cuando había sido famosa y por lo menos buscar un poco de consuelo haciendo lo que más le gustaba hacer.  Después de un tiempo en la gran ciudad lo que la hizo regresar a su casa fueron las cartas de su esposo rogándole que volviera, y diciéndole que las cosas fueran a ser diferentes en esta ocasión.

Yo pienso que tal vez cuando ella regrese los primeros días él va a aparentar que ha cambiado, pero yo creo que no.  Creo que todo va a seguir siendo igual para Rosamunda y que su esposo va a seguir abusando física y mentalmente de ella.  Tal vez su esposo tome una terapia que le ayude con el manejo de su temperamento y alcoholismo.  Si yo fuera Rosamunda ya no le daría ninguna oportunidad más. Yo entiendo que la historia se desarrolló en una época cuando las mujeres seguían con un matrimonio a pesar de saber que las cosas en esa relación ya no funcionaban.

Translation by Georgette Sullins:

Rosamunda lived two important periods in her life.  The first period was when she was young, and her passion was poetry.  The other period was after she met the man who was going to be her husband.  In her youth, Rosamunda was a very famous, admired and renown poet.  She was renown by the people in the city.  Those were the happiest years of her life.  She called herself a “golden butterfly” because she lived free full of illusions.  Without a doubt, her youth, beauty and talent captivated the people that she met.

Nevertheless, when she met the one who she believed would be the love of her life, all her happiness and desire to live were destroyed little by little.  That man with whom she completely fell in love was abusive, jealous, drunken and controlling.  Lamentably, he did not allow her to keep growing as an artist.  As the years passed, her frustration grew more and more.

Rosamunda had children, but they were ingrates.  The only one that she considered her son was Florisel because he was sensitive, affectionate and most importantly, he always listened to her.  Sadly, he died.  This was when Rosamunda wanted to go crazy, because of the pain over the loss of her son.

As a result, she fled from her home to go to the big city.  She wanted to find out if she could regain those years when she had been famous and at least look for a bit of comfort doing what she most liked to do.  After a while in the big city, what made her return home were the letters from her husband, begging her to return and telling her that things would be different this time.

I think that perhaps when she returns, during the first days he will pretend that he has changed, but I really don’t think so.  I believe that everything will continue the same for Rosamunda, and that her husband is going to continue abusing her physically and mentally.  Perhaps her husband will go into therapy, which may help him manage his temperament and alcoholism.  If I were Rosamunda, I would not give him another chance.  However, I understand that the story came from a time when women held onto their marriage despite knowing that things in that relationship were not working.

Posted in Visual Communication 2018

S. Michelle Barnett

Running Head: Therapeutic Drug Use

As someone who has struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for nearly 15 years, I have chosen to focus my research into therapeutic drug use regarding this disorder. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM5), diagnostic criteria for PTSD include a history of exposure to a traumatic event that meets specific stipulations and symptoms from each of four symptom clusters: intrusion, avoidance, negative alterations in cognitions and mood, and alterations in arousal and reactivity. The sixth criterion concerns duration of symptoms; the seventh assesses functioning; and, the eighth criterion clarifies symptoms as not attributable to a substance or co-occurring medical condition. The diagnostic criteria are as follows:

Criterion A: stressor – The person was exposed to: death, threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence, as follows: (one required)

  1. Direct exposure.
  2. Witnessing, in person.
  3. Indirectly, by learning that a close relative or close friend was exposed to trauma. If the event involved actual or threatened death, it must have been violent or accidental.
  4. Repeated or extreme indirect exposure to aversive details of the event(s), usually in the course of professional duties (e.g., first responders, collecting body parts; professionals repeatedly exposed to details of child abuse). This does not include indirect non-professional exposure through electronic media, television, movies, or pictures.

Criterion B: intrusion symptoms – The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in the following way(s): (one required)

  1. Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive memories. Note: Children older than six may express this symptom in repetitive play.
  2. Traumatic nightmares. Note: Children may have frightening dreams without content related to the trauma(s).
  3. Dissociative reactions (e.g., flashbacks) which may occur on a continuum from brief episodes to complete loss of consciousness. Note: Children may reenact the event in play.
  4. Intense or prolonged distress after exposure to traumatic reminders.
  5. Marked physiologic reactivity after exposure to trauma-related stimuli.

Criterion C: avoidance – Persistent effortful avoidance of distressing trauma-related stimuli after the event: (one required)

  1. Trauma-related thoughts or feelings.
  2. Trauma-related external reminders (e.g., people, places, conversations, activities, objects, or situations).

Criterion D: negative alterations in cognitions and mood – Negative alterations in cognitions and mood that began or worsened after the traumatic event: (two required)

  1. Inability to recall key features of the traumatic event (usually dissociative amnesia; not due to head injury, alcohol, or drugs).
  2. Persistent (and often distorted) negative beliefs and expectations about oneself or the world (e.g., “I am bad,” “The world is completely dangerous”).
  3. Persistent distorted blame of self or others for causing the traumatic event or for resulting consequences.
  4. Persistent negative trauma-related emotions (e.g., fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame).
  5. Markedly diminished interest in (pre-traumatic) significant activities.
  6. Feeling alienated from others (e.g., detachment or estrangement).
  7. Constricted affect: persistent inability to experience positive emotions.

Criterion E: alterations in arousal and reactivity- Trauma-related alterations in arousal and reactivity that began or worsened after the traumatic event: (two required)

  1. Irritable or aggressive behavior
  2. Self-destructive or reckless behavior
  3. Hypervigilance
  4. Exaggerated startle response
  5. Problems in concentration
  6. Sleep disturbance

Criterion F: duration- Persistence of symptoms (in Criteria B, C, D, and E) for more than one month.

Criterion G: functional significance- Significant symptom-related distress or functional impairment (e.g., social, occupational).

Criterion H: exclusion- Disturbance is not due to medication, substance use, or other illness.

It is important to note that full diagnosis is not met until at least six months after the trauma(s), although onset of symptoms may occur immediately (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). The prevalence of PTSD, based on the U.S. population, is as follows:

  • About 7 or 8 out of every 100 people (or 7-8% of the population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives.
  • About 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year.
  • About 10 of every 100 women (or 10%) develop PTSD sometime in their lives compared with about 4 of every 100 men (or 4%) (PTSD, 2007).

What causes PTSD? There are biological, genetic, sociological and behavioral factors that are associated with PTSD. I will start first with biological. Because only a percentage of people exposed to traumatic events develop PTSD, it is important to explain the factors that increase the risk for the development of PTSD following trauma exposure. Recent data has implicated biological and familial risk factors for PTSD. For example, recent studies have shown an increased prevalence of PTSD in the adult children of Holocaust survivors, even though these children, as a group, do not report a greater exposure to life-threatening events. At risk family members, such as children, may be more vulnerable to PTSD because they witnessed the extreme suffering of a parent with chronic PTSD rather than because of inherited genes (National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2017). It is possible that when combined, the person’s psychological history, the nature of the trauma, and the availability of support post-trauma can cause PTSD symptoms to develop after a traumatic event. However, someone without risk factors who is exposed to a traumatic event also may develop symptoms. The amygdala is part of the limbic system that is involved in the expression of emotion, autonomic reactions, and emotional memory. Dysfunction in the amygdala may produce symptoms of PTSD. I discovered an article on the Health Communities website in relation to PTSD that states:

“Overwhelming trauma can cause changes in brain function that produce symptoms of PTSD: hyperarousal, numbing, sleep disturbance, irritability, intrusive emotions and memories, flashbacks, outbursts, and memory impairment. The body responds to stress and trauma by releasing several stress hormones. When a person is subjected to repeated or severe trauma, the physiological stress response becomes hyperactive and hyperarousal and intrusive symptoms of PTSD develop. There also may be a biological component to numbing and other dissociative symptoms of PTSD. Some studies show that when people who have been exposed to prolonged or repeated trauma are exposed to any stimulus reminiscent of the trauma, the brain releases opiates that can produce emotional non-responsiveness, or numbing, and amnesia. Serotonin depletion may result from repeated exposure to severe stress and trauma, which may be a factor in the development of irritability and violent or angry outbursts in people with PTSD” (PTSD causes, 2017).

PTSD is a prevalent, disabling anxiety disorder that constitutes a major health care burden. Despite intensive research efforts during the past few decades, PTSD remains poorly understood in terms of etiology and shows modest response to current treatment interventions. If the specific genes associated with PTSD risk can be identified, this could provide insight into the cause of PTSD that could lead to the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. An article found on the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) website states the following:

“Although recent years have seen an exponential increase in the number of studies examining the influence of candidate genes on PTSD diagnosis and symptomatology, most studies have been characterized by relatively low rates of PTSD, with apparent inconsistencies in gene associations linked to marked differences in methodology” (National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2017).

There is evidence to that shows that social support, social cognition, and attachment organization contribute to emotion regulation under conditions of traumatic stress and contribute to risk for PTSD. Individuals that have social bonds may receive or develop a sense of safety, which is necessary to recovery from PTSD. The process of therapy may be considered one type of social bonding (PTSD, 2009).

The National Center for PTSD states that evidence for PTSD pharmacology is strongest for specific selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), and fluoxetine (Prozac), and also a serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) called venlafaxine (Effexor). At this time, only sertraline and paroxetine are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for PTSD (PTSD: National Center for PTSD, 2007). As also noted by The National Center for PTSD:

“The risks of taking SSRIs and SNRIs are mild to moderate side effects such as upset stomach, sweating, headache, and dizziness. Some people have sexual side effects, such as decreased desire to have sex or difficulty having an orgasm. Some side effects are short-term, though others may last as long as you are taking the medication” (PTSD, 2009).

“The 2017 VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for PTSD suggests other antidepressants for PTSD treatment if the four strongly recommended medications are ineffective, unavailable, or not tolerated by the individual. These medications are the serotonin potentiator, nefazodone (Serzone); the tricyclic antidepressant, imipramine (Tofranil); and the mono-amine oxidase inhibitor, phenelzine (Nardil). Both nefazodone and phenelzine require careful management as they carry potentially serious toxicities” (PTSD, 2007).

The 2017 VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for PTSD recommends trauma-focused psychotherapy as the first-line treatment for PTSD over pharmacotherapy. For patients who prefer pharmacotherapy or who do not have access to psychotherapy, medications remain a treatment option. PTSD also carries high levels of psychiatric co-morbidities which may be treated with medications. Even though every case of PTSD has different biological, psychological, and social factors with different treatment options, there are empirically supported treatments that can reduce symptoms. Most studies show that cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT) such as Prolonged Exposure (PE), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) have greater effects on relieving PTSD symptoms than medications, but many unanswered questions remain when it comes to the role of pharmacotherapy (PTSD, 2007).

In conclusion, as a combat Veteran who has dealt with PTSD for nearly 15 years, my experience is that a combination of the right medication and trauma-focused psychotherapy, specifically CBT and CPT, has been the best option for me. The medication assists me with being able to have less nightmares, anxiety, and depression, and the therapy has taught me valuable coping skills which the medication cannot cure. Although I dislike having to take medication daily, I have discovered that not doing so actually hampers my ability to think clearly and to utilize the coping skills I have learned in therapy.

References

American Psychiatric Association. (2013) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders,

(5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

National Center for Biotechnology Information. (n.d.). Retrieved December 05, 2017, from

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

National Center for Biotechnology Information. (n.d.). Retrieved December 05, 2017, from

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/

PTSD: National Center for PTSD. (2007, July 05). Retrieved December 05, 2017, from

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/PTSD-overview/basics/how-common-is-ptsd.asp

PTSD causes. (n.d.). Retrieved December 05, 2017, from

http://www.healthcommunities.com/posttraumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/causes.shtml

PTSD: National Center for PTSD. (2009, January 07). Retrieved December 05, 2017, from

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treatment/overview/clinicians-guide-to-

medications-for-ptsd.asp

PTSD: National Center for PTSD. (2007, January 01). Retrieved December 05, 2017, from

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/piblic/treatment/therapy-med/treatment-ptsd.asp

Posted in Visual Communication 2018

Senja Elena Rohaizad

Abstract

            This analysis explores the frontier between Native Americans and Europeans through a gradual progression in historical scholarship. Within this literature, two dominant themes have emerged: portrayal and contact. For portrayal, a chronological examination includes arguments portraying Indians as savages and obstacles of civilization to portrayal of Indians who exhibited opposition and resistance towards white transgression. In terms of contact, scholarly arguments begin with Columbus and continue through federal Indian removal policy. The two themes combined make shifts in understanding the frontier as a separation of savagery and civilization to an understanding of a frontier as a collapsing repercussion of extinction and domination. In short, there is no stagnant, singular, or frozen depiction of the frontier.

Historiography of the American Frontier

The Frontier between Indians and Europeans

For scholars of Indian-European relations, much of their analysis is dependent upon exploring the theme of contact, in particular its impact on the frontier. Upon the arrival of Europeans on American land, the existence of a frontier is explicit: dividing the Europeans and Indians into two separate entities. Within this arena, multiple forms of contact have emerged, including mutually beneficial alliances, relationships, networks and common grounds. In contrast, the frontier also resulted in the annihilation of many Indians and brought numerous, pervasive disruption to zones of contact. In an attempt to understand this interaction, a series of critical questions have framed this scholarship including how the frontier evolved from a division to the extinction of a species, what the frontier looked like, what it caused, and how historians develop the overarching concept of the frontier.

Because the history of Native Americans has addressed multiple themes, regions, individuals, tribes and time periods, an attempt to define the frontier has produced contentious debates among historians and scholars to reach a conclusive definition of the frontier. However, attempting to link two broad themes; portrayal and contact, suggests a new way of understanding the frontier. Perhaps most importantly, understanding the basis of the frontier begins with examining how historians have portrayed Native Americans. Within this literature, portrayals begin with traditionalist scholars who cast Indians as savages and obstacles of white civilization moving to revisionists who see Indians as victims of white transgression. A third interpretation adds to the portrayal scholarship by recognizing their resistance to European brutality. The other way to view the frontier is the use of contact between Indians and Europeans, highlighted by several topics: Columbus’ landfall, the “Middle Ground,” federal Indian removal policy, and King Philips’ War. Within these scholarships of portrayal and contact, the historiography of Native Americans from a frontier lens is revealed.

Portrayal of Native Americans

The “savagery” interpretation was the first to dominate historical discussion. One of the earliest scholars to portray the Indians, Frederickson Jackson Turner vilifies the Indians as mere savages, depicting them as obstacles to civilization and white settlement in The Significance of the Frontier in American History. In addition to his biased portrayal of the Natives, Turner also illustrates the frontier as an assembly that divides savagery and civilization. This frontier also endangered primitive Indians and threatened their extermination. In a similar manner to Turner, Francis Parkman portrays the Indian from his distinction of Natives “savagery” and settler “civilization” in The Oregon Trail.  Furthermore, Parkman demeans the Indians by describing them as ignorant, “diffident and bashful,” as people whose “soul is dormant.” These critical portrayal of Indians and the reiteration of Turner’s thesis forms the orthodox thought on the Indian-European frontier: a division between savagery and civilization.

A revisionist against the savagery school, Vine Deloria presents the Indians as victims in Custer Died for Your Sins. He cites dissolution policies, insufficient government agencies, failed treaties in addition to derogatory Indian stereotypes such as “savages” and “pagans” and a “subcategory of the blacks” as components to victimization upon the Indians (Roemer and Deloria). Echoing Deloria, Dee Brown presents the victimization school through Burn My Heart at Wounded Knee. In particular, Brown emphasizes false promises and broken treaties made to the Indians and further accounts thirty years of white avarice, massacre and outrage towards the Indians in order to attain land and gold. Brown concludes his portrayal of the Native Americans by depicting the remnants of a once noble race transformed into prisoners of war. Within the same school of interpretation, Robert Berkhofer’s The White Man’s Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present adds to the victimization of the Native Americans by tracing the progression of European’s portrayal of the Indians. Berkhofer argues that the initial problem was rooted from Europeans’ bigotry and ethnocentrism behavior when attempting to understand Native cultures, language, temperament, and physical appearance. The striking contrast when juxtaposing Natives and Europeans’ differences led to justifying the Europeans’ trivial view of the Indians as deficient people, in addition to claiming the Natives as inferior in terms of physique, economy and culture. Building on his own work, Berkhofer divides White’s images of Indians into three categories. One image was a good Indian, symbolizing the noble savage idea. The second image contradicts the first; portraying Indians as plain savages and red devils who were meant to be feared and hated. The third image slanders and degrades the Indians into mere remnants of a once noble race, mirroring Brown’s work. These images froze the depiction of Native Americans in historical suspension with little improvement on the Indian image. Within the focus of Indian maltreatment and white oppression framework, this literature sees the frontier as a clear division between victimization and exploitation (Nichols and Berkhofer).

A third school of interpretation that transcends the victim school of thought by including resistance in the portrayal is Angie Debo’s Geronimo: The Man, His Time, His Place. The main character Geronimo, was a leader of the Apache tribe who spread terror throughout Arizona and New Mexico because he was well-known for perpetrated murders and depredations. During the implementation of a concentration policy that drove away the Apache bands from their land, Geronimo exhibited fierce resistance and retaliation against the violation of guarantees of personal settlement. His responses were used by Debo to crucially implicate that the Natives did not weaken under Europeans’ abuse, and instead demonstrated opposition and resistance. This third interpretation subsequently portrays the frontier as a division between resistance and exploitation.

Indian and European Contact

Other Native American historical scholarships focus on contact when addressing the frontier, in particular, the involvement, relationships, and consequences in terms of contact. These interpretations of the frontier center around specific topics: Europeans’ arrival, cooperation in building an integrated American society, the “Middle Ground,” federal Indian removal policy and King Philips’ War. For example, James Merrell looks at the repercussion Indians faced from Columbus’ landfall and subsequent Europeans by dividing Native American history into two reigning paradigms: before and after European contact. The distinguished timeline provides a clear discern of both the development and abolishment of Indian civilization. Prior to contact, Merrell argues the American landscape was a flourishing land with a growing population whose societies and cultures rivaled Europe. Furthermore, Native Americans established multiple, large-scale trade networks with different tribes residing across vast regions. Merrell affirms that civilization was already in progress even before the arrival of Columbus. However, subsequent contact with Columbus and the rest of the foreign powers disrupted Indian society and its existing civilization. According to Merrell, colonial encroachment led to increased diseases, land seizures, thinning of resources, regional warfare, suppressed religion and disrupted food ways, as well as considerable dislocation- all significant forces reducing these dynamic societies. As a result, the remnant groups coalesced into the larger Indian tribes in order to ensure physical and ethnic survival against European transgression. Merrell’s focus on the catastrophe brought upon the Indians becomes the fundamental shift that served to split the history of these groups into distinct periods. This forces the scholarship to confront an illustration of the frontier depicting a line between disruption and domination (Merrell). Consequently, this perspective signifies the transparent turmoil brought upon Natives and also establishes the existence of a civilized society before 1942 when Europeans emerged and dominated the New World.

Using Indian-European contact as a primary method of depicting the frontier, yet presenting a more optimistic perspective compared to Merrell, Colin Calloway’s New Worlds for All synthesizes the Indian-white relationship by demonstrating cooperation and mutual influence between the conqueror and the conquered. The relationship between Indians and Europeans presents sensitivity to the power relation that mediated cultural exchange. For example, Calloway recognizes a reciprocated cooperation between both Indians and Europeans, and interchangeable dominance over land that depended upon time, place, and the overlapping interests of the natives and colonists. Notably, Calloway avoids a bias that most historians present colonists as those possessing the omnipotent force of inevitability as they invaded America and Indians as those struggling to be a part of American civilization. As a result, he blurs the frontier boundaries standing in between the two parties, but instead presents a fair and matured engagement occurring between Indians and Europeans. For Calloway, this is a frontier where there is no disunion or hostility, but only active players shaping American landscapes, trade relationships, diplomacy, medical practices, warfare, food ways, and the history of ideas.

In more recent years, a new interpretation of Indian-white relations emerged to illustrate the establishment of a common ground between the two societies. This concept of a common ground differs from the traditional groundwork that argues relentless hostility between Indians and Europeans, and instead presents a “Middle Ground” where both cooperation and conflict exist to shape relations between societies. In The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republic in the Great Lake Regions, 1650-1815, Richard White explains the intent of this common ground was to bridge significant cultural differences without resorting to warfare, and it necessitates a complete elimination of military domination and extraction. Moreover, White illustrates the middle ground as a trade zone where economic goods were a shared culture that bonded Natives and Europeans. Although trade was built on economic reasons, White depicts the middle ground as a paternalistic, brotherly, and spiritual zone. This is illustrated through the dynamic engagement in operating a middle ground together, especially reflected on the salutary relationship between Indians and the French. Within White’s concept of the middle ground, he importantly distinguishes multiple interactions, not all of which were positive. For White, the British did not adapt as well as the French, and the Americans dismissed the idea of a middle ground because they were convinced that the Indians were too exotic. Americans, according to White, rejected Indians as part of American civilization, which explains the lack of mutual and cooperative interaction with the Indians. A more temperate interpretation, but one that reached generally the same conclusion emerged in Daniel Usner’s Indians, Settlers, and Slaves in a Frontier Exchange Economy: The Lower Mississippi Valley Before 1783. Usner expands White’s middle ground concept by including Africans people into this important, cross-cultural interaction space. Looking at colonial Louisiana, Usner uncovers a multicultural frontier society of whites, blacks, and Indians. This coexistence created extensive trade networks, racially distinct cultures which resisted and accommodated imposing imperial orders. Usner sees the middle ground not only as an interaction and engagement ground between the groups to ensure survival, but also states the importance of maintaining a civilized sphere for the three to coexist. Usner, in a more recent work, The Frontier Exchange Economy of the Lower Mississippi Valley in the Eighteenth Century further discusses the network of cross-cultural interaction, in which natives and colonial groups circulated goods and services with each other. In this analysis, Usner describes the three races’ contribution to the society: slaves worked on agriculture, and as boatmen, soldiers, interpreters, and hunters. Indians produced animal skins for an export economy, traded food and livestock with other residents, and provided military services. Europeans engaged in entrepreneurial and agricultural enterprises. With each society holding different responsibilities in economy engagement; mutual reliance among each other is evident in order to progress economically and to exchange goods and services to meet each economic demand. Because the concept of the middle ground has proven to be an effective lens for understanding this history, scholars have continued to develop and expand this perspective over the years. In particular, Jay Gitlin, in On the Boundaries of Empire: Connecting West to its Imperial Past examines the middle ground as an interaction point that identifies the group that bore greater power between Natives and colonists. When one had the upper hand, or a more prominent power than the other, it signified the role of the empire in manipulating political, economic and social structures. Similar to White, Gitlin argues that the French were more open-minded and tolerant in adopting a middle ground and also outwitted the British when it came to Native contact. As a result of this new emphasis of the middle ground, multiple and dynamic cultural points of interaction were fostered for mutual benefit. The frontier- as means of understanding this period, has evolved into a well-defined space where both conflicts and cooperation shaped the societies in terms of competing or converging interest (Birzer).

From Merrell’s earlier book, Indians New World that discusses the circumstances Native Americans endured before and after contact. He takes a different approach from his previous study by analyzing denizens involved in frontier matters and the occurrence on the frontier. Merrell’s Into the American Woods: Negotiators on the Pennsylvania Frontier argues a different kind of frontier encounter from the ones previous scholars have envisioned. Most importantly, and in contrast to the argument contributed by White, Usner, and Gitlin, he insists that there is no middle ground. Instead, for Merrell, the frontier was a ground inhabited by middlemen and liaisons, and was a territory to mitigate Indian-white interactions that often incite violence. As an example of this, Merrell cites the Irish fur trader George Croghan, French-Iroquois Andrew Montour, German immigrant Conrad Weiser, Oneida Montour, and Moravian missionary Christian Frederick Post all of whom downplayed differences and made up areas of common interest, common experience, and similar ideologies to settle disputes between Indians and Europeans. Merrell explains how vital these frontiersmen served the purpose of diplomacy to exist between the frontier as the Indians and Europeans could barely contain their rages against each other. The need for diplomacy, even with the adoption of common practices, protocols, personal styles, and sharing of food between Indians and Europeans was substantial as Merrell argues that no amount of borrowing and cross-cultural relations closed the distance between the colonist and the Indian. Within Merrell’s interpretation, a new impression of the frontier exists with denizens who inhabited the region to play the role of negotiators (Cayton).

While previous interpretation sees cooperation, and most importantly, mutual reliance among both white and Indians, a different interpretation looks at a more tragic period of time. Exploring the atrocious consequence of Indian-white relations, this perspective is defined by the focus on Thomas Jefferson’s administration that created foreign policies that accelerated Indian disappearance, as indicated in Bernard Sheehan’s The Seeds of Extinction: Jeffersonian Philanthropy and the American Indian. Sheehan analyses how whites promoted governmental dealings and policies to civilize the Indians. The process and methods of civilization, important for Sheehan’s assessment, incorporated deceit and manipulation, yet exhibited an optimistic but unrealistic desire to evolve the Indian to a white man. This “philanthropic” ideal certainly deviated away from its initial objective, as the civilizing process led to a swift-moving frontier pressing the Indians to relinquish their land. Not only that, Sheehan contends the philanthropists had weakened tribal organizations and lowered the Indians’ self-esteem in the attempt to “make the Indians more like the white man.”  But the Jeffersonian philanthropists began to recognize the great threat Indians pose as they approach a richer civilization; the fear of a growing and menacing Indian power. This resulted in a public adoption of the Indian removal policy, in attempt to isolate them from white settlement. Sheehan brings a powerful statement, mentioning that the white’s sympathy proved to be more deadly than his animosity, highlighting the plain irony in the philanthropists’ intent to assimilate Indians into white civilization: the disappearance of an entire race. As a result, Sheehan provides a clear representation of an obliterated frontier; with the Indians extinction and the white’s domination.

Following a similar pursuit as Sheehan who describes the frontier as a deteriorated region as a result of Indian extinction, Jill Lepore illustrates the Great Narragansett War, which brought similar repercussions to Indian society and also brought devastation to the colonists. The war began with the betrayal of a converted Massachuseuk that led to his murder by King Philip (Pokunoket Chief Metacom) and his men. Massachuseuk, loyal to the English, had informed them of King Philip’s plan of attack on the colonies. King Philip grew furious over the deception and ignited a war. The war grew considerably, influencing other Indians across the land, inciting the smaller Native American tribes to take part in the war against English colonists. The war ended with King Philip’s decapitation and consequently caused the remaining Indians to be sold into slavery or face death, leading to near extinction of the Native Indians. As a result, Lepore considers King Philips’ War the costliest war in American history for Native Americans because the massacre intensified their severe decline in population. This crucial historical event not only saw a swift obliteration of any existing forms of frontier due to the fallen indigenous race, but it also depicts the devastating annihilation of New England colonies. Lands and towns were destroyed, thousands were killed during the deadly fight, and thousands more died from cold, starvation, diseases. The frontier, as a result of this depressing war, inevitably was eradicated: one side saw a complete massacre of its population, and the other faced a ruined society (Lepore).

From the writings of Native American history, scholars have provided clear implications from their interpretations of portrayal and contact. In terms of portrayal, it is evident how historians characterize both Indians and Europeans, yielding a basis in understanding the frontier.  In terms of illustrating the frontier through contact, the central focus on involvement, implication and consequence have resulted in altering the frontier interpretation.  In conclusion, the frontier exhibits an eloquent historiography of its own; from a zone that divides ferocity and civilization, then to a frontier that divided conquest against victimization and resistance, subsequently to an arena of cooperation and converging interest to eventually face the inevitable collapse of the frontier as a result of a great war and detrimental policies. This historiography presents a volatile yet dynamic depiction of the frontier. In time, historical scholarship develops a liberal change; giving equal justice to both Indians and Europeans to write their history, taking account both sides of the story without an overly bias. However much the colonists possessed literal advantage and the ability to twist the indigenous people’s version of the story during the early historical writing period, it would have never survived the trials of time. History inevitably will find itself being manipulated and rewritten, changed accordingly to present condition.

 

Works Cited

Birzer, Bradley. “The Middle Ground: Historical Intermixing Of Cultures – The Imaginative Conservative.” The Imaginative Conservative, 2012, www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2012/07/the-middle-ground-historical.html. Accessed 23 Nov. 2017.

Brown, Dee. Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee. Open Road Media, 2012. Google Books,

books.google.com/books/about/Bury_My_Heart_at_Wounded_Knee.html?id=XIg9L1HZuJ0C Accessed 18 Nov. 2017.

Calloway, Colin. New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America. The John Hopkins University Press. 1997.

Cayton, Andrew R. L. “Finding Ourselves in Dark and Bitter Woods.” Reviews in American History, vol. 27, no. 4, 1999, pp. 519–525. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/30031098.

Debo, Angie. Geronimo: The Man, His Time, His Place. University of Oklahoma, 1976.

Lepore, Jill. The Name of War. Alfred A. Knopf Inc., 2009.

Merrell, James. “The Indians’ New World: Catawbas and Their Neighbours from European         Contact through Era of Removal.” University of North Carolina Press, 1989.

Nichols, Roger L., and Robert F. Berkhofer. “Pacific Historical Review.” Pacific Historical Review, vol. 49, no. 1, 1980, pp. 134–135. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3639308.

Parkman, Francis. The Oregon Trail: Sketches of Prairie and Rocky Mountain Life. University of Wisconsin Press, 1849.

Roemer, Kenneth M., and Vine Deloria. “American Quarterly.” American Quarterly, vol. 22, no. 2, 1970, pp. 273–273. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/2712102.

Sheehan, Bernard. The Seeds of Extinction: Jeffersonian Philanthropy and the American Indian. University of North Carolina, 1973.

Turner, Frederickson. “The Significance of the Frontier in American History.” American Historical Association, 1894, http://www.historians.org/about-aha-and-membership/aha-       history-and-archives/historical-archives/the-significance-of-the-frontier-in-american-         history. Accessed 11 November 2017.

Posted in Visual Communication 2018

Jace Whitaker

Intertwined Movements: An Analysis of the Stonewall Riots of 1969 and the Greater 60s Culture of Protest

            In the early morning of June 28th, 1969, police descended upon the Stonewall Inn of New York City’s Greenwich Village, unexpectedly inciting a nonlethal violent response from its predominantly LGBT patrons. The police raid was not a one-time event – police had been raiding gay bars in the surrounding neighborhood for years prior, citing local liquor licensing laws as their motivation.1 Inspired by the momentum that other liberation movements and political protests of the 60s were gaining, the patrons of the Stonewall Inn decided on impulse that enough was enough.2 In an uncharacteristic act of violent protest, the LGBT community of New York City rioted against the police over a period of multiple days. From the perspective of outsiders at the time, the riots seemed like nothing more than an immature, drunken backlash started by a bunch of rowdy queens. However, the riots were fueled by the LGBT community’s deep-seated resentment against the many ways in which mainstream heterosexual society oppressed them.3 From that night forward, the number of people involved in gay rights organizations increased exponentially, and gay activists began to take a more assertive approach than before.4 Aiming to form solidarity with all of America’s downtrodden, post-Stonewall gay rights organizations also sought out alliances with other liberation movements and political protestors, including some more controversial groups such as communists and the Black Panthers.5 Though the Stonewall Riots were the spark that kickstarted the gay liberation

 

movement of the late 1960s through mid-1980s, the movement would have never gained the momentum it did, were it not for the inspiration it received from other liberation movements and political protests of the 1960s.

In the early 1960s, the gay bars of New York City’s Greenwich Village were subject to discriminatory liquor licensing laws and disproportionate harassment by law enforcement. According to New York’s State Liquor Authority, bars that served alcohol to gay people were classified as “disorderly houses,” and were thus effectively barred from obtaining licenses to sell liquor.6 Gay bars that slipped through the cracks and obtained licenses despite the restrictions often had their licenses revoked due to “indecent conduct,” or were frequently raided by police.7 As a result of police harassment, over 1,000 arrests were made in the early 1960s in New York on the basis of “solicitation of a male partner,” and around 250 arrests were made on the basis of “sodomy” – defined as oral or anal sex.8 Though around 40 to 70 of those sodomy arrests involved offenses against minors, the majority of arrests were made on the basis of sexual relations between consenting adults.9

To establish a legal basis for their raids, local law enforcement frequently sent plainclothes officers to gay bars in search of evidence of illegal activity.10 In response, some gay bars adopted elaborate systems to defend themselves from secret agents. For example, the Heights Supper Club “had a signal-light system that warned the boys to stop dancing with one another” when a visitor was suspected of being an undercover policeman. Indeed, “dancing without a cabaret license” was amongst the many excuses that undercover police used to justify raiding gay bars – along with “loud jukeboxes” and “insufficient lighting”.11 The Stonewall Inn

 

made use of a much simpler deterrent measure, posing as a private “bottle club,” in which visitors brought their own liquor bottles in beforehand and drank it later. Legally speaking, this allowed Stonewall to serve alcohol without a liquor license – though the bar also sold alcohol directly to customers by labeling its own bottles with random names to fool the police.12 Additionally, visitors would sign their name at the door, indicating their membership. Most visitors listed themselves by pseudonyms to protect their privacy.13

The Stonewall Inn’s public image as a private bottle club was not enough to defend the bar on its own. In fact, the real key to the Inn’s self-defense was the fact that it was run by the Mafia. Tony Lauria, a member of the prominent Genovese crime family, found a business opportunity in running gay bars in Greenwich Village when no one else could safely do so. Lauria, otherwise known as “Fat Tony,” purchased the Inn from its previous owners with the intention of converting it into a gay bar in 1966 – and thus, the Inn had been under Mafia control for the entirety of its existence as a gay bar.14 This is not to say that Lauria was “protective” of New York’s gay community – in fact, the Mafia blackmailed patrons of the Stonewall Inn, threatening to “out” them if they did not give them money. Furthermore, the Mafia engaged in shady business practices such as watering down the liquor and selling it at top-shelf prices.15 Nevertheless, the Inn would have come under far greater fire from the police had Lauria not regularly bribed the local precinct with upwards of $1,200 to stay away.16 Thus, the gay community of New York City was simultaneously indebted to and exploited by the Mafia.

Gay activism existed before the Stonewall Riots – however, the “gay liberation movement” of the late 1960s through mid-1980s was not yet mainstream. Rather, gay rights activist organizations in the early 1960s collectively represented the “homophile movement” – a superficially similar movement that nevertheless had a different modus operandi and a radically

 

different set of values and objectives. At the time, the word “gay” was not universally understood to mean “homosexual” in the United States. Indeed, a 1963 New York Times article on homosexuality in New York City had to explain to readers that the term “gay” was a slang term that homosexuals used to refer to themselves.17 The term “homosexual”, as popularized by the psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing, was the most widely used term for gay people at the time, especially amongst psychiatrists who claimed that homosexuality was a mental illness. Thus, “gay” was not in the title of the homophile movement.

The Homophile Movement, though politically moderate by today’s standards, represented the first collective, organized push for gay rights. The core mission of the homophile movement was to organize public demonstrations in support of gay rights and attack the popular notion that homosexuality was a mental illness.18 Prominent homophile activist Frank Kameny envisioned a movement that would be “modeled on the black civil rights movement as formulated by nonviolent leaders such as Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.”.19 The homophile movement adapted the civil rights movement’s “Black is Beautiful” slogan in the form of its own motto – “Gay is Good”.20 With the help of his younger associate Craig Rodwell, Kameny organized two picketing events in 1965 protesting Fidel Castro’s plans to put Cuban homosexuals in concentration camps.21 Inspired by the pickets, Rodwell proposed the Annual Reminders – peaceful demonstrations held every Fourth of July outside the Independence Hall in Philadelphia reminding the public that gay Americans did not have the “right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. Demonstrators at the Annual Reminders were “dignified and orderly”, wearing respectable clothing and giving out smiles at every turn – and the police were respectful in turn.22 Nonviolent protest, as well as keeping up an image of homosexuals as “respectable Americans”, was crucial to the relatively positive reception the Annual Reminders received. However, one of the most powerful techniques in Martin Luther King Jr.’s arsenal was missing from the Homophile Movement – civil disobedience. While Martin Luther King Jr. encouraged protestors to break discriminatory laws to highlight the ways in which African Americans were discriminated against, the Homophile Movement limited itself to peaceful assemblies in legally acceptable public forums.

Inherent in the homophile movement’s goal of keeping up a façade of gay people as respectable Americans was an aversion towards excessively radical politics. Foster Gunnison Jr., a founding member of the North American Conference of Homophile Organizations (NACHO), wanted to contradict the popular view that homosexuals were “far-out types and professional non-conformists”, believing that a publicly visible pool of “normal” middle-class homosexuals would best help the homophile movement succeed.23 Similarly, Frank Kameny’s worst fear was the homophile movement being overtaken by beatniks and young people that subscribed to fringe ideologies.24 The Mattachine Society, the earliest prominent homophile organization, was originally set up by communists in the 1950s, but the Red Scare convinced the organization that gay activists should instead conform to or accommodate prevailing social norms, and even seek advice from psychiatrists.25 Kameny, who joined the Mattachine Society after its conception, established a “Homosexual Bill of Rights” in 1968, which included amongst its goals the acceptance of homosexuals in the military and federal employment.26 Kameny was fired from the Army Map Service for this.27 In other words, a secondary objective of the homophile movement was to show that homosexuals opposed the things the average American opposed, such as communism, and were patriots that wanted to integrate into the military – which at the time, was wrapped up in the controversial Vietnam War.

The June 1969 police raid on the Stonewall Inn provided just the right conditions to spark the gay community’s first well-publicized violent protest against police harassment. Usually, the Mafia was tipped off by an informant before New York City’s Sixth Precinct conducted a raid on the Stonewall Inn. However, this time, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms discovered that the Stonewall Inn’s liquor bottles had no federal stamps on them – indicating they were bootlegged or stolen from the distillery. Further BATF investigations discovered the bar’s “corrupt alliance with the Sixth Precinct”.28 Thus, the BATF kept the Sixth Precinct in the dark about the raid until the last minute, presumably with the goal of catching the bar’s owners off-guard.29 As a result, Fat Tony was late to respond to the raid because he was high on methamphetamines that night.30 The patrons of the club were also caught off guard, and many of them were not prepared with IDs to show the police. The standards for arrest in the raid were low. Chico, a forty-five year old patron, was arrested for being unable to show an ID proving he was of drinking age. Eighteen-year old Joey Dey was arrested for dancing.31 Both male and female patrons were arrested for not wearing at least three articles of clothing appropriate to their gender.32 The ambush, combined with the low standards for arrest, made this routine raid the one that broke the camel’s back.

In the heat of the moment, the Stonewall Inn’s patrons fought back with physical force. At first, the physical resistance was limited to select individuals resisting arrest, but the fighting quickly erupted into an all-out brawl between police and an angry crowd. The incensed patrons screamed phrases such as “Gay power!” and “Pigs!” at the cops as they weaponized everything from high heels, coins, garbage, and even bricks against the police.33 A New York Times article published the following day – which emphasized the injuries police officers sustained rather than the reasons the patrons fought back – even reported a parking meter being thrown at law enforcement.34 At two-fifty-five A.M., the Tactical Patrol Force – a crack-riot control unit that was created to respond to Vietnam War protests – was summoned to the scene. Despite the additional force, the riots continued until the following night. Upon catching word of the events of the first night, homosexuals from all over New York City came to Greenwich Village to participate in the second night of the riots.35 Despite reports from local news dailies that the second night was less violent than the first, the truth was that the TPF had progressed to bashing heads and breaking the bones of Stonewall Inn Patrons. In other words, violence was only worth reporting on if law enforcement officers were the victims.36
The Village Voice, an alternative news weekly based out of Greenwich Village, had a mixed response to the Stonewall Riots. On July 10th, an editorial mockingly referred to the riots as the “Great Faggot Rebellion”, calling the second wave of protestors “tourist faggots” and “class-A deadbeats”.37 Though the author was not fond of the idea of police, he claimed that even TPF officers were okay as individuals and that the violence coming from both sides was more depressing than inspiring.38 In the July 3rd edition of The Voice, an eyewitness reporter gave an outsider account of the riots, describing the events in vivid detail for shock value. Nevertheless, the reporter was willing to listen to the rioters, one of whom commented that “the gays… were so beautiful – they’ve lost that wounded look that fags had 10 years ago”.39 The reporter accurately predicted that a manifesto for the movement would soon be written, and that “the liberation [was] underway”.40

Jerry Hoose, a gay resident of Greenwich Village, figured that the Stonewall Riots would be a one-off event that would not go down in history.41 However, roughly a week later, Hoose encountered Mattachine Action Committee representatives advertising that they were planning a meeting to form a “more militant organization”.42 At the meeting, participants who suggested that gay activists should remain civil and amicable were shouted down before they could finish their sentences. One prominent participant responded by saying that the gay community “[didn’t] want acceptance, goddamnit! We want respect!”.43 Jim Fouratt, who was known for his antiwar activism, claimed that being “soft, weak, and sensitive… [is the] role society has been forcing these queens to play… We have got to radicalize… if it takes riots or even guns to show them what we are, well, that’s the only language that the pigs understand!”.44 By the end of the night, the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) was formed – a new gay activist organization named after the Communist Vietnamese National Liberation Front.45 The comments made during the meeting set the tone that the Gay Liberation Front would take in its activism – and by extension, the tone of the greater gay liberation movement the GLF would kickstart.

The final Annual Reminder occurred on July 4th, 1969, shortly after the events of the Stonewall Riots. As originally planned, Craig Rodwell showed up in a suit and tie and walked in a single-file circle without chanting. However, the crowd that showed up for the protest, which was roughly double the size of the previous riots, was energetic and dressed in jeans and T-shirts. A man crossed out the slogan on his sign and replaced it with “SMASH SEXUAL FACISM.!” Two women broke from the single file circle and held hands – to which Frank Kameny responded by karate chopping the women’s hands apart and telling them to stop. It had only been a week since the onset of the riots, and yet gay activism was already outgrowing its calm and amicable roots. Thus, the Annual Reminders had outlived their use.

A major difference between the Gay Liberation Front and the early homophile movement was that the GLF analyzed the struggles of homosexuals through a Marxist lens, believing that “true homosexual revolutionaries … must ally themselves with other groups oppressed by capitalism”.47 In its first major press release, the GLF announced that they identified themselves “with all the oppressed: The Vietnamese struggle, the third world, the blacks, the workers… all those oppressed by this rotten, dirty, vile, fucked up capitalist conspiracy”.48 Perhaps in part due to the GLF’s communist sympathies, in 1970, the FBI proposed that Craig Rodwell attend GLF meetings and report back to John Caufield, the head of White House security – an offer which Rodwell refused.49 Regardless, the GLF’s support of the North Vietnamese stood in stark contrast to Frank Kameny’s stated goal of integrating homosexuals into the U.S. military, which implied that gays and lesbians should contribute to the Vietnam War effort.

Though the homophile movement as led by Kameny had taken superficial inspiration from the peaceful protest tactics employed by Martin Luther King Jr., some members of the Gay Liberation Front were additionally sympathetic towards the Black Panthers – who drew inspiration from Marxist thought, assisted the poor, and returned fire against the police. In a show of solidarity, the GLF voted in late 1969 to donate $500 to the Black Panthers.50 Additionally, Jim Fouratt – who suggested naming the GLF after the Vietnam liberation struggle, and once harvested sugar cane in Cuba in support of Fidel Castro – posted notices for a demonstration in support of jailed Black Panther party members.51 Fouratt was not the only member of the GLF who was involved in other political and liberation movements. Indeed, many GLF members came from activist backgrounds.52 By 1970, it was clear that some prominent GLF members were more than willing to ally themselves with highly controversial political and liberation movements that could potentially hinder the reputation of the gay liberation movement.
Over the course of 1969 and 1970, the Gay Liberation Front acted in bold, daring ways that the relatively docile Homophile Movement would have never resorted to. Though violent protest never came back into prominent use, civil disobedience and exhibitionism had become the norm in gay activism. The GLF organized a sit-in at the Republican State Committee headquarters, demanding that the New York Republican Party come out in support of gay rights. Five protesters were arrested.53 Sit-ins were, of course, a protest technique popularized by the Civil Rights Movement. On the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the world’s first two gay pride parades were held in New York and San Francisco. The marchers were not concerned with looking respectable. Some marchers publicly dressed in opposite gender clothing to protest crossdressing laws. Others protested the criminalization of gay sex with provocative slogans such as “fucking is better than killing” or “make love, not babies” – the latter of which was inspired by the phrase “make love, not war” that was popular in the antiwar and sexual liberation movements.54 A sign that was seen in the march on New York’s Christopher Street summed up the reasoning behind the protesting methods well: “Better Blatant Than Latent”.55
What made the Stonewall Riots the catalyst for the gay liberation movement was not the violent protest tactics utilized, but the precedent it set for nonconformity and noncompliance with discriminatory laws in gay activism. Gay activists were no longer content to politely request liberation. Taking a cue from the assertive nature of other sociopolitical movements of the era, some gay liberationists chose to publicly embrace their “weirdness” and radical politics rather than attempting to convince the public that gay people were deserving of equal rights because they were normal, respectable Americans. Though certain radical ideologies such as communism would lose popularity amongst mainstream gay rights organizations in the 1990s, the alliances forged in the 1970s would lay the foundation for the LGBT community’s current prominent role in American left-wing politics. It is doubtful that the LGBT community would have organized on a large enough scale to secure the litany of legal rights they enjoy today, were it not for a politically charged pub brawl set against the backdrop of 1960s activism.

Bibliography

“4 Policemen Hurt In ‘Village’ Raid.” The New York Times, June 29, 1969.

Carter, David. Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2004.

Doty, Robert. “Growth of Overt Homosexuality in City Provokes Wide Concern.” The New York Times, December 17, 1963, 1-33.

Duberman, Martin. Stonewall. Plume, 1993.

Dunlap, David. “Franklin Kameny, Gay Rights Pioneer, Dies at 86.” The New York Times, October 12, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/13/us/franklin-kameny-gay-rights-pioneer-dies-at-86.html.

Pettis, Ruth. “Homophile Movement, U.S.” GLBTQ Archives. 2008. http://www.glbtqarchive.com/ssh/homophile_movement_S.pdf.

Spencer, Walter. “Too much my dear.” The Village Voice 14, no.39, July 10, 1969, 19.

Thorstad, David. “The Nature of Gay Oppression.” The Militant 35, no. 14, April 16, 1971, 15-22.

Truscott, Lucien. “Gay Power Comes to Sheridan Square.” The Village Voice 14, no. 38, July 3, 1969, 1-18.

“Who was at Stonewall?” PBS, Accessed November 30, 2017. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/stonewall-participants/.

“Why Did the Mafia Own the Bar?” PBS, Accessed November 30, 2017. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/stonewall-why-did-mafia-own-bar/.

Posted in Visual Communication 2018

Corina A. Rodriguez and Jessica Roche

GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) Awareness Survey Summary

            Genetically Modified Organisms, as the name suggests, are organisms whose genes have been modified in a way that does not occur in nature. This usually “involves isolating and removing the DNA encoding single gene from one organism, manipulating it outside the cell (in a laboratory) and reinserting it into the same organism or into the genetic material of another organism.” This creates combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and virus genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.

According to the research we found, most GMOs have been engineered to resist the direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. New technologies are now being used to artificially develop other traits in plants, such as a resistance to browning in apples, and to create new organisms using synthetic biology. Most GMO research is currently centered on attaining increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or other consumer benefits.

In our survey we questioned people about their basic knowledge of GMOs, possible unhealthy side effects, and their view of any type of government regulation. Most people polled, either disagreed with the usage of GMOs or, worse, had little knowledge on the subject. The majority (88%), claimed to know about GMOs and 56% knew that GMOs had been on the market for more than 20 years. It was interesting to learn that 28% knew which common foods are GMOs, and that 24% were aware of the recent labeling law passed in 2016. This is a very small percentage, in our opinion, considering the importance food has for a healthy body and mind.

Our poll results showed that women had a better understanding of the subject and were more critical on the matter. However, in general, most people had a basic idea of what GMOs are and were aware of common foods containing GMOs.

One of the questions pertained to how much they knew about the law signed by Obama in 2016 requiring that food products mention on their labels whether they use GMOs. When this law was passed, many people grew dissatisfied because the regulation enabled food companies to circumvent the requirement by putting the information on QR codes. So instead of labeling whether a product contains GMO ingredients, they could use scientific names people would not recognize. Most of those aware of this labeling law believe it could have been better.

We gave the interviewees information on some countries that had banned the usage of GMOs. We questioned poll-takers on whether they agreed with the decision of those countries to ban GMOs. Only 64% of them already knew that other countries had banned GMOs, and 40% agreed with the decision of those countries to ban GMOs.

Our analysis showed us that the answers received were based more on a limited knowledge the majority of the polltakers had about GMOs. Few had knowledge of the diverse scientific research results emanating from outside the biotech companies. We found out that those who knew about GMOs were more concerned and preferred to avoid them when possible. Those individuals believe GMOs have a negative effect on our health due to the alarming amounts of pesticides and have contributing factors to ADD, Autism, and “crazy allergies.”

We chose this topic because we believe “we are what we eat” and it is very important to create some awareness about the choices available to us, so “we shall make better-informed decisions,” when possible. We consider this matter connected to the US Government because they should ensure citizen safety and are strongly involved in the regulation of the food industry. Government should be stricter with the amount of inorganic and dangerous chemicals allowed in our foods. It is well known by doctors and scientists that the human body is not designed to process inorganic chemicals, and their consumption can have harmful side effects. Therefore, we believe GMOs should be banned, as it has been done in many countries of Europe, Asia, and elsewhere. We should look for natural, safer, and healthier alternatives to protect the animals and crops, while creating more natural foods for current and future generations. This, in turn, will result in a great contribution to our environment and ecosystems.

We were surprised by how little people know about the foods they eat, how little they investigate; perhaps because we trust everybody will do “the right thing” with the knowledge they have. This project was a very good learning experience, giving us more information about the topic, as well as more awareness about the products people consume on a regular basis. 

Facts and Figures about GMOs

Relevant Dates

  • 1982 – FDA Approves First GMO

Humulin, insulin produced by genetically engineered E. coli bacteria, appears on the market.

  • 1994 – GMO Hits Grocery Stores

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the Flavr Savr tomato for sale on    grocery store shelves. The delayed-ripening tomato has a longer shelf life than conventional tomatoes.

  • 1996 – GMO-Resistant Weeds

Weeds resistant to glyphosate, the herbicide used with many GMO crops, are detected in Australia. Research shows that the super weeds are seven to 11 times more resistant to glyphosate than the standard susceptible population.

  • 1997 – Mandatory Labels

The European Union rules in favor of mandatory labeling on all GMO food products, including animal feed.

  • 1999 – GMO Food Crops Dominate

Over 100 million acres worldwide are planted with genetically engineered seeds. The marketplace begins embracing GMO technology at an alarming rate.

  • 2003 – GMO-Resistant Pests

In 2003, a Bt-toxin-resistant caterpillar-cum-moth, Helicoverpa zea, is found feasting on GMO Bt cotton crops in the southern United States. In less than a decade, the bugs have adapted to the genetically engineered toxin produced by the modified plants.

  • 2011 – Bt Toxin in Humans

Research in eastern Quebec finds Bt toxins in the blood of pregnant women and shows evidence that the toxin is passed to fetuses.

  • 2012 – Farmer Wins Court Battle

French farmer Paul Francois sues Monsanto for chemical poisoning he claims was caused by its pesticide Lasso, part of the Roundup Ready line of products. Francois wins and sets a new precedent for future cases.

  • 2014 – GMO Patent Expires

Monsanto’s patent on the Roundup Ready line of genetically engineered seeds will end in two years. In 2009, Monsanto introduced Roundup 2 with a new patent set to make the first-generation seed obsolete.

GMO Facts

The “What is GMO” page from the Non-GMO Project provides a list of high-risk crops.

Quotation:

Are GMOs safe? A growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage, and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights. More than 60 countries around the world – including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union – require GMOs to be labeled. Globally, there are also 300 regions with outright bans on growing GMOs.

In the absence of credible independent long-term feeding studies, the safety of GMOs is unknown. Increasingly, citizens are taking matters into their own hands and choosing to opt out of the GMO experiment.

Are GMOs labeled? Sixty-four countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, require genetically modified foods to be labeled. 1 While a 2015 ABC News survey found that 93% of Americans believe genetically modified foods should be labeled, GMOs are not required to be labeled in the U.S. and Canada. 2 In the absence of mandatory labeling, the Non-GMO Project was created to give consumers the informed choice they deserve.

Which foods might contain GMOs? Most packaged foods contain ingredients derived from corn, soy, canola, and sugar beet — and the vast majority of those crops grown in North America are genetically modified. 3

Animal products: The Non-GMO Project also considers livestock, apiculture, and aquaculture products at high risk because genetically engineered ingredients are common in animal feed. This impacts animal products such as: eggs, milk, meat, honey, and seafood.

Processed inputs, including those from synthetic biology: GMOs also sneak into food in the form of processed crop derivatives and inputs derived from other forms of genetic engineering, such as synthetic biology. Some examples include: hydrolyzed vegetable protein corn syrup, molasses, sucrose, textured vegetable protein, flavorings, vitamins yeast products, microbes & enzymes, flavors, oils & fats, proteins, and sweeteners.

How do GMOs affect farmers? Because GMOs are novel life forms, biotechnology companies have been able to obtain patents to control the use and distribution of their genetically engineered seeds. As a result, the companies that make GMOs now have the power to sue farmers whose fields have been contaminated with GMOs, even when it is the result of the drift of pollen from neighboring fields.4 Genetically modified crops therefore pose a serious threat to farmer sovereignty and to the national food security of any country where they are grown.

What are the impacts of GMOs on the environment? More than 80% of all genetically modified crops grown worldwide have been engineered for herbicide tolerance.5 As a result, the use of toxic herbicides, such as Roundup®, has increased fifteen-fold since GMOs were first introduced.6 In March 2015, the World Health Organization determined that the herbicide glyphosate (the key ingredient in Roundup®) is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

Genetically modified crops also are responsible for the emergence of “super weeds” and “superbugs,” which can only be killed with ever more toxic poisons such as 2,4-D (a major ingredient in Agent Orange).7,8

Most GMOs are a direct extension of chemical agriculture and are developed and sold by the world’s largest chemical companies. The long-term impacts of these GMOs are unknown. Once released into the environment, these novel organisms cannot be recalled.

https://www.nongmoproject.org/gmo-facts/

End Quotation

______________________________________________________________________________

  • “Center for Food Safety | Issues | GE Food Labeling | International Labeling Laws.” Center for Food Safety. N.p., n.d. Web.
  • Langer, Gary. “Poll: Skepticism of Genetically Modified Foods.” ABC News. ABC News Network, 19 June 2015. Web.
  • Fernandez-Cornejo, Jorge, and Seth James Wechsler. “USDA ERS – Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.: Recent Trends in GE Adoption.” USDA ERS – Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.: Recent Trends in GE Adoption. United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, 09 July 2015. Web.
  • Leader, Jessica. “Monsanto Wins Lawsuit Filed By U.S. Organic Farmers Worried About Seed Contamination.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 10 June 2013. Web.
  • Duke, S.O., & Powles, S.B. (2009). “Glyphosate-resistant crops and weeds: Now and in the future.” AgBioForum, 12(3&4), 346-357.
  • Kustin, Mary Ellen. “Glyphosate Is Spreading Like a Cancer Across the U.S.” EWG. Environmental Working Group, 07 Apr. 2015. Web.
  • Mortensen DA, Egan JF, Maxwell BD, Ryan MR, Smith RG. “Navigating a critical juncture for sustainable weed management.” BioScience. 2012;62(1):75-84.
  • “Newsroom.” Agent Orange: Background on Monsanto’s Involvement.p., n.d. Web.

References

Biosafety – what are GMOs? (n.d.). Health and Safety Executive. Retrieved from   http://www.hse.gov.uk/biosafety/gmo/whatare.htm.

Center for Food Safety. (2016). GMO facts. The Non-GMO Project. Retrieved from         https://www.nongmoproject.org/gmo-facts/.

Council for Biotechnology Information. (2018). GMOs and the environment. GMO Answers.       Retrieved from https://www.gmoanswers.com/gmos-environment.

Shireen. (2012). GMO timeline: A history of genetically modified foods. GMOawareness.           Retrieved from http://www.gmoinside.org/gmo-timeline-a-history-genetically-modified-foods/.

 

Appendix A

Demographic Results

 

Appendix B

Survey Results

Appendix C

Survey Graphs

 

Appendix D

 

Appendix E

Posted in Visual Communication 2018

Jocelyne Trevino

The Economics Behind Labor and Sex Trafficking

Introduction

The taking and enslavement of individuals has occurred over centuries and is a pressing issue to this day. Although slavery dates back to ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, the exploitation and brutality of humans increased dramatically during the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Once the Portuguese colonized Brazil, they found a dependency for cheap labor – African slave labor – for their sugar plantations. Soon, the French and British colonies joined in spreading slavery into the Caribbean Islands, Central and North America. By establishing racial divisions that characterized Africans as “both inferior and a slave,” the white European masters justified taking around 12 million Africans from their homelands to work on plantations in foreign lands (Aronowitz). By the late 19th and early 20th century, a new issue of slavery emerged: the prostitution of white – particularly foreign – women in the United States, typically referred to as “white slavery.” Thus, slavery escaped the bounds of race. These women were often “obtained through deceit, force, or drugs, were coerced or tricked into prostitution” and at times, they were “forced to work in brothels” (Aronowitz). In response, the United States enacted the White Slave Traffic Act in 1910 to prevent men from forcing women into any form of prostitution, acts in relation to immorality, and human trafficking. With Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 1948, slavery was properly defined and condemned stating that “no one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms” (“Universal Declaration”).

Today, a new form of slavery exists: human trafficking. Article 3 of the United Nations Trafficking Protocol states:

“Trafficking in persons” shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer,

harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of

coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of

vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent

of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.

(“Protocol”)

The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated that nearly 20.9 million people in the world are human trafficking victims, where “more than one-third” of exploited individuals come from forced labor and the remaining two-thirds of victims come from sex trafficking (“About the Problem”). Due to the high number of sex and labor trafficked individuals, the costs for care of sex trafficking victims, the economic output of labor trafficking victims, as well as the lack of proper law enforcement and prosecution has proven to have a strenuous impact on the world. The ILO found that labor trafficking generated $51 billion and $99 billion from sex trafficking (de Cock). With $150.2 billion in illegal profits worldwide, human trafficking poses not only a physical, mental, and psychological threat to individuals, but an economic devastation to society.

Review of the Literature

The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines forced labor, commonly referred to as labor trafficking, as “all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily” (de Cock). The National Human Trafficking Hotline explicitly states that labor traffickers are able to “use violence, threats, lies, and other forms of coercion” to manipulate individuals into working against their will (“Labor Trafficking”). In 2012, the ILO estimated 14.2 million individuals around the world were being exploited for forced labor, particularly in sectors such as “agriculture, construction, domestic work, manufacturing, mining and utilities” (de Cock). According to a study conducted by the Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault (IDVSA) at The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work, approximately 234,000 adult victims of forced labor reside in the State of Texas alone (Busch-Armendariz). As a result, traffickers in Texas are able to “exploit approximately $600 million per year from victims of labor trafficking” (“Study Estimates”).

The United Nations Trafficking Protocol serves as an international protocol that defines the trafficking of persons. More importantly, the protocol aims to prevent, suppress, and punish human trafficking. Article 3 of the Protocol establishes sex trafficking as “the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation” (“Protocol”). The National Human Trafficking Hotline further defines sex trafficking as the involuntary performance of commercial sex through the use of force, fraud, and/or coercion. Oftentimes, sex traffickers use forms of debt bondage, violence, threats, lies, false promises, or other manipulative scenarios so as to profit from the victims involved in the sex industry (“Sex Trafficking”). In 2005, the ILO divided forced labor into three subcategories, one being forced labor imposed by private agents for sexual exploitation for the purposes of “commercial sexual activity, including pornography, exacted from the victim by fraud or force” (de Cock). Another 2012 report by the ILO estimated that nearly 4.5 million people around the world are victims of forced sexual exploitation. In the State of Texas alone, nearly 79,000 minors and youths are victims of sex trafficking according to the study conducted by IDVSA at The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work (Busch-Armendariz).

Human trafficking victims generally share characteristics that could be placed into separate categories: their country of origin, race, immigration status, gender, and age. A research report by Northeastern University found that the top four countries of birth for forced labor trafficking victims in the United States of America included Mexico, the Philippines, India, and Thailand. The majority of victims working in agriculture came from Latin America, particularly Mexico; however, others in the forced labor workforce had greater variance in the country of origin (Owens). The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) found there to be a correlation in the race of sex trafficking victims: the majority of victims were black at 40 percent; 26 percent were identified as white; 23.9 percent were Hispanic; and 4.3 percent were Asian (Human Trafficking). The same study by Northeastern University that examined the immigration status of victims concluded that a high percentage (69 percent) of labor trafficking victims were unauthorized to be in the United States by the time they received victim services, while 28 percent of victims held nonimmigrant visas, such as a temporary work visa or special status visa (Owens). The ILO estimates that women around the world are generally underrepresented in the labor market with an employment-to-population ratio of 72.7 for males and 24.8 for females as of 2012 (de Cock). A report found that 32 percent of labor trafficking victims in the United States alone were male and 68 percent were female (Human Trafficking). The ILO found 4.5 million victims of sexual exploitation currently exist in the world; the majority composed of women at 98 percent (de Cock). The United States shares similar statistics for females. They compose the greatest number of sex trafficking victims (83.9 percent), most frequently entering the commercial sex industry at ages 12 to 14. Nearly 31.6 percent of the victims were minors (Gonzalez).

Today, Houston serves as one of largest hubs for human trafficking in the United States and is the leading city of the trafficking of persons in Texas. The U.S. Department of Justice found that the city of Houston operates over 200 brothels, with approximately two new brothels opening up each month (Boney). As the most diverse and fourth largest city in the nation, citizens are highly susceptible to the trafficking in persons around the Houston metropolitan area. Moreover, easy entryway into the city also allows for the trafficking of victims to occur as it owns two large, international airports – the George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport – and the Port of Houston, which is “the largest international port in the United States and the thirteenth busiest in the world” (Boney). However, the city of Houston has initiated a plethora of steps into eliminating human trafficking in the region. As of 2005, the Houston Task Force, a federally-funded program, has “investigated 68 cases of human trafficking and prosecuted 38 cases, resulting in 31 convictions” (“Texas Human”). Similarly, the Shared Hope International also released a field assessment on sex trafficking in the Greater Houston Metropolitan area that takes a look at the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance (HTRA) (Penry). Since its founding, the HTRA has successfully been able to rescue nearly 200 victims of human trafficking, while also educating and “training over 4,000 law enforcement officers” about human trafficking, and prosecute “over 50 individuals with human trafficking related charges” (Penry). Even more so, the City of Houston passed the Executive Order: Zero Tolerance for Human Trafficking in City Service Contracts and Purchasing. This executive order was primarily implemented for the purpose of informing the public and its corporate citizens, as well as to encourage contractors to not violate human trafficking laws by simply following the legal and ethical employee recruitment and labor practices (“Executive Order”).

 

Analysis

In the State of Texas, human trafficking has become an increasingly important issue as it pertains to the modern-day enslavement of individuals. Through the use of force, fraud, and coercion, many individuals around the world are victims of sexual and labor exploitation to illegally benefit human traffickers. Despite identifying over 300,000 trafficked persons in the State of Texas, victims often go unnoticed by the public and government due to a poor understanding of the issue. Although billions of dollars are spent by the state to prevent human trafficking and provide care for victims, not enough progress has been made to eliminate what is known as modern-day slavery.

Victims of Sex Trafficking: Cost of Care

            Sex trafficking is an incredibly heinous act that affects nearly 4.5 million individuals around the world. Victims are often pressured into performing acts of commercial sex with other adults or even forcing minors to engage in commercial sex acts as well. Commercial sex acts usually range from pornography, prostitution, or any other forms of sexual acts in exchange for valuable benefits, including money, drugs, shelter, or food for the held victims. Sexually exploited victims never receive any form of payment from clients. Instead, clients pay the victim’s pimp or brothel owner directly. As a result, the total profits traffickers make annually around the world are approximately $99 billion from the commercial sexual exploitation of their victims. Traffickers in developed economies, including the United States – and countries of the European Union (EU) generate up to $26.2 billion annually from sex trafficking victims, where the annual profit per victim was $80,000 (de Cock). Due to the unethical, illegal, and underground trading nature of commercial sexual exploitation, society is greatly impacted economically, leaving them at a disadvantage.

With a traumatic sexual experience comes the need for special care. Once victims are identified, many forms of treatment are made available for them, including psychological therapy, recovery, and rehabilitation. In the State of Texas, the lifetime cost for minor and youth sex trafficking victims are expected to be approximately $6.6 billion. A study conducted by the University of Texas at Austin states that Texas provides financial care for the victims’ “mental and physical health costs, burdens on the public health system, and law enforcement” (Busch-Armendariz). This includes, but is not limited to, housing and legal assistance, physical and mental health services, counseling for psychological trauma, substance abuse treatment, education, and job training. Although these forms of care are all a necessity for victims, psychological treatment is the most important aspect of rehabilitation in the path to recovery. Sex trafficking victims often develop mental disorders such as “depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and other psychiatric conditions” that are only repairable through governmental assistance (Gonzalez). For true recovery to occur, victims must receive services for at least two months, generally visiting rehabilitation centers five to seven times in order to fully recover. The sad reality is that most victims fall back to victimization several times before breaking free from their situation – if they are even able to escape.

Aside from mental and psychological care, sexually exploited individuals often require professional health care due to the development of physical problems or inflicted abuse from their trafficker. As a result of engaging in unsafe and unprotected commercial sex acts with various clients, many sex trafficked victims “are at high risk of sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, and unsafe abortions” and are therefore at an economic disadvantage to take care of their own health (Gonzalez). Even more so, domestic abuse from traffickers often leads victims to suffer from “genital trauma” resulting “in lacerations, tears, and injuries to the internal reproductive organs” (Williamson). In the United States, healthcare is treated as a luxury and is therefore extremely expensive for victims to recover physically. Only through government assistance are victims able to potentially find a cure for any possible diseases or improve their physical health problems. Sex trafficking presents an economic complication for the State of Texas, as well as the United States and the rest of the world, due to the heavy amount of health expenses, the cost of needed psychological and physical treatment.
Furthermore, victims of sex trafficking often become susceptible to poverty due to their previous owners or traffickers holding any profits that they once possibly made. Consequently, a generation of youth and minors is lost due to years of abuse in the sex trafficking industry (Lillie). The suffering that victims endure from severe trauma both psychologically and physically along with illness inevitably causes the generation of youth and minors to become incompetent adults. A high dependency on governmental welfare systems to survive, as well as consumption and addiction to drugs and alcohol, and possibly a lack of legal immigration status in the United States, creates a massive economic barrier for victims and society as they are not contributing, but rather taking away from the state and the country.

Labor Trafficking: Value of Economic Output

According to the ILO, labor trafficking implements tactics of force, fraud, and coercion to manipulate persons for the purpose of debt bondage, involuntary servitude, forced domestic work, forced labor of migrants in many economic sectors and work imposed in the context of slavery or vestiges of slavery. Forced labor occurs through various economic sectors, including industries such as agriculture, construction, restaurant and food services, manufacturing, retail, domestic work, mining, and herding to benefit the victims’ trafficker. In a 2014 report by the ILO, worldwide profits for construction, manufacturing, mining, and utilities were estimated to be $34 billion, $9 billion in agriculture, including forestry and fishing, and $8 billion dollars was saved annually by private households that employ domestic workers.

In the State of Texas alone, the estimated annual value of wages lost is $598,127,942 due to labor trafficking. According to a 2016 study conducted by the University of Texas at Austin, there were 36,970 migrant farmworker victims that generated an estimated annual wage of $94,314,906 for their traffickers – in other words, wages that were lost for the state (Busch-Armendariz). Other economic sectors included cleaning services, with 84,100 victims generating $214,549,192 to their traffickers, 35,438 construction work victims bringing in $90,406,591, 60,925 kitchen workers in restaurants producing $155,426,986, and finally 17,024 landscaping and grounds keeping workers generating $43,430,267 (Busch-Armendariz). As indicated, victims of forced labor often have their entire wages stolen or are only given a small percentage of their earned wage back. Consequently, labor trafficking victims become exceedingly dependent on their traffickers on a survival basis. Moreover, because most victims are undocumented, many were once promised the fruitful benefits of the American dream but were instead betrayed by possibly having their “immigration documents stolen, forged, [or] withheld” and manipulated into performing involuntary, forced work (Owens).

Sadly, as companies continue to seek cheap labor, the most vulnerable groups – including the impoverished and undocumented immigrants – become highly predisposed to forced labor. As a result, a decrease in growth for the labor market in the United States and Texas further impedes economic growth at the hands of labor trafficking. The illegal use of labor trafficking not only affects the individual victims but causes the loss of domestic jobs and massive wages in the State of Texas and leaves the unemployed and the government at an economic disadvantage.

 

Law Enforcement and Prosecution

The United States currently holds the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) provision that mandates “victims be paid restitution, funded assistance programs for victims, and authorized ‘T’ Non-Immigrant Visas (T Visas)” – a visa that gives human trafficked individuals the possibility to remain in the country if they were trafficked into the United States (Gonzalez). However, the mandate lacks effectiveness due to poor law enforcement training, sentencing, and punishment for traffickers, as well as bleak responsiveness through prosecution. Without an informed justice system, no amount of money can help the thousands of exploited individuals across the State of Texas.

In regards to the fraudulent and coercive nature of human trafficking, law enforcement generally lacks the resources, knowledge, and adequate training to properly handle the given situation. Oftentimes, the justice system has a difficulty in distinguishing prostitutes who are voluntary commercial sex workers with sex trafficked victims. On the other hand, most labor trafficking victims never report their conditions to law enforcement as they are afraid it would “result in arrest and/or deportation” rather than an opportunity to receive help (Owens). As a result, forced labor and commercially sexual exploited individuals are treated as criminals rather than as victims. According to the U.S. Department of State, out of 40,000 identified victims worldwide in 2013, only “7,000 human trafficking cases were prosecuted for a crime” (Busch-Armendariz). With little to no data in regards to prosecution at the federal and state level, it is evident that much work is left to improve how Texas and the United States handle prosecution, sentencing, and punishment for traffickers.

 

 

Conclusion

Human trafficking is an odious, black market business that affects societies around the world. Through the use of force, fraud, and coercion, sex and labor traffickers are able to illegally profit by exploiting individuals into working against their will. Today, labor trafficking generates approximately $51 billion and $99 billion from sex trafficking across the globe. Although sex and labor trafficking pose a physical, mental, and psychological threat to individuals, it also affects society economically due to the extended costs to care for victims, finding suspects and victims, legislation, law enforcement training, job loss, and much more.

Many efforts, however, are being made in the State of Texas and the City of Houston to fight and prevent human trafficking. With the current mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner, new provisions such as the passing of the Executive Order: Zero Tolerance for Human Trafficking in City Service Contracts and Purchasing as well as the Houston Task Force have allowed for progress to be made in regards to suppressing the illegal trafficking of persons. In fact, the City of Houston is the “only municipality in the United States whose mayor has appointed a dedicated special advisor to the Mayor on Human Trafficking,” an incredibly important step in anti-human trafficking efforts (Turner). The city also launched an Anti-Human Trafficking Strategic Plan on May 9th of 2016 that has helped improve institutionalized responses, including that of strengthening the ordinance of massage establishments to “help law enforcement crackdown on illicit establishments” as well as instituting a municipal court diversion program that will “connect potential victims and those engaged in prostitution with civil legal service providers” (Turner).

Although there is an immense need to improve on the justice system in regards to human trafficking throughout the city, state, and country, it is important to note that there has been significant progress in the fight against human trafficking.

 

 

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Posted in Visual Communication 2018

Steven Howard

Net Neutrality: A Game of Hostage

Net Neutrality emerged as one of the most prominent and controversial political issues of 2017.  The debate was featured across thousands of media outlets big and small, and the final decision to repeal Net Neutrality was highly controversial.  Net Neutrality, a term coined by Columbia University Law professor Tim Wu, refers to legislation which forbids Internet service providers from treating data differently due to its source. The speed and quality of the internet connection is constant regardless of the web address a consumer lands on.   Net neutrality was put in place under the Obama Administration’s FCC on February 26th, 2015 while Trump-appointed chairman Ajit Pai was the foremost crusader for its hard-fought rollback on December 14th, 2018.  Many liberals viewed the threat to Net Neutrality as a threat to the free internet as they knew it, an overstep of corporate greed. Conversely, many conservatives saw it as a victory in the battle to deregulate the economy and encourage growth. However, a closer inspection of Net Neutrality reveals a lack of this simplistic polarity; liberalism can have ideological compatibility with repealing Net Neutrality as can conservatism with its reinstatement.  Therefore, it is most useful to leave partisanship behind in pursuit of understanding.  This is a discussion on the varied mechanisms in which Net neutrality affects the economy. There are four main entities who will become affected as the repeal is fully realized and made use of: Internet Service Providers (ISP’s), large content providers, small/new content providers, and internet consumers.  These four entities will exchange benefits and detriments under the repeal of Net Neutrality.  However, upon examining evidence and commentary provided by leading economists, studies provided by reputable research firms, and statements given by the entities themselves, it is reasonable to conclude that both Net Neutrality and a lack of Net Neutrality give differing entities a similar amount of overreach, and a compromise is needed as a means of balance.

It is beneficial to first examine the primary winners of the Net Neutrality repeal, which are Internet Service Providers such as Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T.  When Tom Wheeler’s FCC implemented Net Neutrality in 2015, the Internet Service Providers were essentially defined as common carriers.  This meant that Internet Service Providers were subject to government regulation and oversight as expressed in Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.  ISP’s continuously expressed concern that being held under Title II could be dangerous. For example, under Title II, the government could feasibly set the prices of broadband services themselves, a matter akin to the government setting city-wide electricity rates.  The perceived possibility of the government making use of this far-reaching power came to a forefront in 2016 when Cable One, a small Cable and Internet service provider, started raising rates dramatically in low-income areas where they had zero competition.  The repeal of Net Neutrality is a victory of sorts for ISP’s because it puts an end to this Title II classification, preventing the FCC from breathing down their neck, and negating the FCC’s ability to treat Internet Service Providers like monopolies. Cable One’s plight was trying to provide large, all-encompassing internet plans to low-income demographics, who largely only use the internet for basic tasks.  (Captain 2017, 1).  A 2016 review from the Journal of Economic Perspectives found that it is likely net neutrality is hurting consumers who are using the internet primarily to check social media or email. (Greenstein 2016, 127-152).  Without Net Neutrality in place, eventually ISP’s could offer bundles where social media and email are prioritized, and could offer these plans at much lower cost to the consumer and to the ISP themselves. In addition, the allowance of paid prioritization allows for ISP’s to collect an additional revenue stream, which could be invested back into the company to enhance the pace of innovation, which would encourage competition.  Paid prioritization is a term used to describe the idea that ISP’s can collect money from content providers in order to provide their specific content priority. One hypothetical example would be Google paying an ISP for their search engine to be faster or more featured than other search engines such as Yahoo.  If an internet user has a Gmail, and only uses Google as their search engine, one can hypothetically just buy a bundle where google is prioritized in this manner and Yahoo and Bing are not.  The consumer benefits because ISP’s are more innovative and progressive, and can tailor their plan at a much lower cost.  Ultimately, the winners of Net Neutrality being repealed are Interned Service Providers and consumers.  ISP’s are no longer at the mercy for the FCC’s whim and overreach because they are not treated as monopolies.  They can now feasibly implement highly customizable internet plans and increase their amount of customers.  Paid prioritization assists this process, and provides an additional revenue stream for ISP’s to invest back into innovations in their business.  University of California Berkeley economist Michael Katz, in his own published paper Wither U.S. Net Neutrality and Regulation? points out logical holes in the idea of Net Neutrality itself.  Katz argues that paid prioritization itself is a normal facet of American economy.  Katz writes “The logic of net neutrality would also argue for banning e-commerce sites from purchasing faster delivery from FedEx or UPS, or from offering free shipping” (Katz 2017, 441-468).  A massive amount of large online business signed petitions to end the process of repealing Net Neutrality, yet they themselves have engaged in other mediums of pay to play, which demonstrates inconsistent logic and hypocrisy.  In summary, repealing Net Neutrality gives much more freedom to ISP’s in order for them to tailor certain plans to certain demographics, at much lower prices.  Of course, this bodes well for the consumer.  ISP’s will not have to pump money into sluggishly acting in accordance with the FCC every step of the way, and will have additional revenue to pump back into making their technology better.  Repealing Net Neutrality is a win for the consumer, and a win for the Internet Service Provider.

It is obvious to see why the titans of internet content, such as Facebook, Netflix, Google, etc. are not keen on paying a fee to Internet Service Providers for prioritization: they are giving up part of their revenue to maintain the priority that they (and all other content providers) were previously given by default under Net Neutrality. However, there is a more far-reaching consequence of paid prioritization.  As New York University economics professor Nicholas Economides explains, “it will hobble innovative small and new technology companies that, unable to pay the fees demanded by ISPs, will be put in the slow lane. These companies are the engine of growth for the economy, and the new difficulties they will face will slow the growth of the technology sector, and therefore of the entire economy” (Economides 2017, 1).  He has discovered such in a model he has constructed along with Benjamin E. Hermalin, an Economics professor at Berkeley University (Economides 2012, 602-629).  It is tempting to believe that large content companies would benefit from paid prioritization, as they can bully smaller competitors out of fast lanes and into obscurity.  However, large internet companies rely on small startups to show up onto the scene and innovate.  For example, Facebook has been able to stay in its place of relevancy as an internet titan largely by either acquiring and swallowing up smaller, more innovative companies (Instagram, Oculus VR, Drop.io) or mimicking their technology (Snapchat) (Toth 2017, 1).  The existence of paid prioritization could mean that these companies will be harder to birth.  Under these conditions, it is entirely reasonable to believe innovation and the fast, dynamic growth of the internet will stifle.  In the long term, higher-income consumers, who use the internet for more intense and varied services such as streaming, online retail, personal productivity, etc. could be more and more jaded because to these customers, the appeal of the service goes far beyond checking emails.  Additionally, large content providers are rightfully scared of ISP’s having the power to favor their own services over theirs.  This is ironic, since just last year Google was fined 2.7 billion dollars by the European Union for “[giving] prominent placement in its search results only to its own comparison shopping service, whilst demoting rival services. It stifled competition on the merits in comparison shopping markets.”  (Hjelmgaard 2017).  This case perfectly illustrates what Internet Service Providers may be able to do with the repeal of Net Neutrality.  An Internet Service Provider could selectively choose which websites it favors, with the eventual goal of toppling one larger service in favor of one is ISP is aligned with.  Dane Jasper, the CEO of Sonic, believes the added revenue of the pay-to-play system will not only be put back into innovation, but also put into means of bullying smaller ISP providers.  This is one hidden danger of repealing Net Neutrality rules.  This is why just over 40 small ISP’s write a joint letter to chairman Pai, refuting his view that smaller ISP’s ability to grow has depressed as a result of Net Neutrality.  (Kastrenakes 2017).  ISP’s, such as AT&T, have come out vehemently against this practice with vows and promises.  A blog post written by Bob Quinn, AT&T’s Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs, he explains that has never blocked third party applications. (Quinn 2017).   In another piece of irony, Quinn fails to mention that AT&T completely blocked Facetime in 2012 over several of its cellular data plans, only allowing it on more expensive data plans, while other similar services continued to exist. (Kang 2012).  (Many tend to believe that repealing Net Neutrality will never lead to this aforementioned pattern of behavior by companies.  However, incidents such as these cannot be ignored.  In summary, most consumers should benefit from ISP’s being able to more properly cater to their specific needs, but it is still entirely possible that innovation as a whole in the internet suffers.  If a company does not have the large financial resources it may take to prioritize itself to some degree, it could end up dying out.  Small, new, unique businesses are the engine of innovation in the American economy.  Consumers may become less enthused when the stagnation occurs, and even more so if ISP’s are prioritizing and pushing lackluster services for their own interest.

As discussed, analyzing the pros and cons of Net Neutrality blurs what could be considered the “conservative” or “liberal” approach.  For example, a conservative might favor repealing Net Neutrality in favor of deregulation and economic growth.  However, some economists believe and have demonstrated in their own models that small and large businesses alike could potentially be bullied out of fair competition.  A liberal might favor an equal playing field for everyone when it comes to the internet, but will learn that large amounts of lower-income families are left at the mercy of ISP’s who are cannot offer them cost-effective plans because their hands are tied by the FCC, which is prohibiting innovation through multiple mechanisms which would make more widespread internet access possible.  ISP’s are strong-worded in their language when discussing Net Neutrality’s repeal, explaining that they will not block certain competing applications for the sake of bolstering their own, yet several of the biggest telecom companies in the United States have been guilty of this in the past decade.  Content Provider giants like Facebook and Google take the time to explain why pay-to-play systems are bad for the internet, yet are guilty of this supposed sin in many ways.  In conclusion, doing away with Net Neutrality entirely might be just as detrimental as keeping it in place.  Both liberal and conservative political figureheads and economists must come together for the sake of both the innovation of stagnant, worn-out ISP’s and the continued innovation of content and service providers, big and small, of the internet.  Of course, Net Neutrality has only very recently been rolled back, and the consequences of this action, beneficial and/or detrimental, cannot truly be evaluated for several years.  A system of checks and balances, making sure that no one entity has a massive, commanding amount of power to suppress competition in their own realms, will be appropriate in the future.

 

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