133 posts categorized "Janis Prince Inniss"

June 22, 2012

Fashion and Race


By Janis Prince Inniss

I'm amused when I see Sherri Shepherd and Elisabeth Hasselbeck of "The View" strut out onto their set in their neutral shoes. Indeed, Hasselbeck's legs do look lengthened. Shepherd? She looks like she stepped in a big vat of Pepto-Bismal. We share the same fate...neutral in the context of the U.S. looks like neither of us.

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June 04, 2012

Hispanic is Not a Race

clip_image001By Janis Prince Inniss

Although race in the U.S. Census is based on self-identification, Hispanic is not among the official racial categories. Therefore, no matter how many people refer to the shooting of Trayvon Martin as one of an African American teenager by White or Hispanic George Zimmerman, they are still mixing-up apples and oranges. No matter how much speculation there is regarding Zimmerman’s race, one thing is sure: His race is not Hispanic.

Continue reading "Hispanic is Not a Race" »

May 17, 2012

Sociology and Social Activism

clip_image001By Janis Prince Inniss

My undergraduate yearbook holds a treasured picture. It’s a picture of me and some friends standing on a shut-down Kissena Boulevard in front of Queens College, the City University of New York (CUNY). We were protesting a proposed hike in tuition that would have seen tuition increase from $1,250 a year. Initially, there was a proposal to raise tuition by $200 annually, but the Governor vetoed that proposal because of student marches and occupations of buildings. Here is a New York Times quote about the protest:

At Queens College in Flushing, students seized Jefferson Hall, which houses the offices of the bursar and the registrar, and blocked traffic at Cassena (sic) Boulevard and Horace Harding Boulevard, student leaders there said.

The pictures from my yearbook include one of students in front of Jefferson Hall; the student occupation of buildings went on for days at about two-thirds of the 21 CUNY campuses.

Continue reading "Sociology and Social Activism" »

May 07, 2012

Past Meets Present: Education, Housing, and Segregation

clip_image001By Janis Prince Inniss

Want to make some quick cash? $250 to be exact. Easy money. What would you do for that kind of money?

This proposition is completely legal. All you have to do is make one telephone call. (Operators are probably standing by!) In order to qualify, all you have to do is have the city and state, name of a school, name of a person, age or grade level of a child, a second address, know how long the person has lived there—and with whom. Add some information about how you know whether the person in question does not live in a particular home and $250 is yours.

Continue reading "Past Meets Present: Education, Housing, and Segregation" »

April 30, 2012

Notes and Images from Las Vegas

clip_image001By Janis Prince Inniss

Las Vegas—or at least “The Strip”—reminds me of a movie studio. A massive one. There is so much fakery there. This is not a criticism necessarily, simply an observation. Who thought of creating monumental replicas of some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks in Las Vegas? And why? There is New York in Las Vegas. There is Paris in Las Vegas. Egypt in Las Vegas. Is that Chicago too? I saw a building with the Coca Cola bottle with the glass elevator, right next door to a Coca Cola store and that looks like the World of Coca-Cola I saw in Atlanta years ago.

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April 05, 2012

The Trayvon Martin Shooting: Examples of Institutional and Interpersonal Racism?

imageBy Janis Prince Inniss

Racism. That’s a word we have been hearing quite a lot about with regard to the Trayvon Martin shooting.

Just in case you've missed this story, Martin was a 17-year-old African American who was shot and killed on February 26, 2012. With all the relentless news coverage, most us know these basic facts: Martin went to a 7-Eleven store during half-time of the NBA All Star Game. He bought a packet of Skittles and some iced tea and was returning to the home of his father's fiancée in Sanford, Florida when he encountered George Zimmerman.

Continue reading "The Trayvon Martin Shooting: Examples of Institutional and Interpersonal Racism?" »

April 02, 2012

Framing the Trayvon Martin Case: A Tale of Two Narratives

image By Janis Prince Inniss

There are two distinctly different tales being told to us regarding the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. One narrative is that of an innocent youth who was mild-mannered and caring, who baked cookies for his young cousins. Innocent Trayvon was especially young for 17 years old, looking at the camera in his red Hollister t-shirt (In that picture Martin is apparently 13 or 14 years old.) He was returning home from a trip to 7-Eleven where he bought Skittles and iced tea.

In this narrative, along comes George Zimmerman, a white wannabe cop, who was often suspicious of black males as evidenced by his repeated calls to the police to report them. Zimmerman is so wary of blacks that he refuses to let Innocent Trayvon out of his sight, although he calls in his suspicions to the police. Zimmerman is so racist that even when told by the police not to follow Martin, he does so anyway, even though the dispatcher says that police are on the way. The lone photograph we initially saw of Zimmerman reflects this portrayal: He is unsmiling and unfriendly in a mugshot taken in 2005. (Apparently, this cartoon was meant to capture this narrative, but many found it offensive.)

The second narrative stands diametrically opposed to the first.

Continue reading "Framing the Trayvon Martin Case: A Tale of Two Narratives" »

March 15, 2012

The Sociology of Education: Can Professors Teach?

clip_image001By Janis Prince Inniss

If you fail a required class, you would have to repeat it to get credit, right? And what are some of the factors that influence your grades, what you learn, how well you learn, and whether or not you pass a class?

As a teacher, I can make a healthy list of factors that contribute to students doing poorly—many of which rest squarely and completely on the shoulders of students and leave me and other professors completely guilt free. However, you would probably indict at least some of your professors with failing grades for the frustrations you experience with learning material. Most of us recognize that our professors’ abilities as educators vary and that teaching quality is one important aspect of the equation that accounts for student learning.

Continue reading "The Sociology of Education: Can Professors Teach?" »

February 22, 2012

Whitney Houston’s Funeral: The Most Integrated Church Service

clip_image001By Janis Prince Inniss

Whitney Houston’s first album came out in 1985, the time as I was getting into my own music, going to parties and to nightclubs. Perhaps, not surprisingly then, I have found myself drawn to the coverage of the superstar’s death.

When I first learned that her family opted to have a private, invitation-only funeral service, I surprised myself by feeling left out. What about the fans, I thought? What about the idea of having a huge event at an arena in New Jersey, her home state?

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February 09, 2012

Studying Classrooms Sociologically

clip_image001By Janis Prince Inniss

After many years, I returned to teaching a couple years ago.clip_image002Some of my initial joys and highs in this job have been tempered by some intense frustrations. I have found some comfort in the fact that my colleagues have expressed similar frustrations. Ever the student and researcher, I have been attending training and reading about teaching to be better at my job. This has helped me to focus on what I can do to be a more effective teacher.

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