via The Dallas Morning News,

A Border Patrol agent reads the birth certificate of Alejandro, 8 — the only thing he brought with him as he and others crossed the Rio Grande near McAllen recently. Alejandro is one of more than 52,000 minors traveling without parents who’ve been caught crossing the border illegally since October.

Seventy-five years ago, the St. Louis, a German trans-Atlantic liner carrying 938 Jewish refugees, was turned away from the United States and forced to return to Europe. U.S. law didn’t allow them sanctuary.

Writes author and former Dallas Morning News reporter Christine Wicker: “The St. Louis is famous now as a failure of compassion that haunts American history. Today we are preparing to send 45,000 children back to Central American countries controlled by drug cartels that routinely torture, rape and kill children who refuse to work for them. So routinely are children menaced that their families sent them away, alone, across thousands of miles on just the slimmest of hopes that they might be safe. U.S. law doesn’t allow them sanctuary.

“They walked through some of the most hostile, hot, barren, dangerous country in the world. They were sent by poor families so terrified for their safety that they paid many thousands of dollars and entrusted their children to criminals hoping they might arrive in America and be safe.

“Our hearts are not touched by these children. We want the law enforced. This is our country. Ours. And we don’t have to share it. Not now. Not 75 years ago.

“Yes, these are children whom we’ll send back to be raped, maimed and killed. They aren’t our children. Our children are precious.”

Photo: New York Times

Enjoy Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s Studio Cats, an interactive space for kids (and adults!) to play and create, surrounded by video and photography of Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei’s numerous feline friends. 

Video: Other Sociologist. 

Culture of Silence: Why Common Sense Stops Us From Seeing Substance Abuse in Middle Class Families

A British study shows middle class parents drink and use drugs more frequently than people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

Most middle class parents do not see their alcohol and drug use as having a negative impact on their families. At the same time, these parents are overwhelmingly worried about substance abuse in wider society.

These findings seem to defy “common sense.” First, the results go against the social convention that substance abuse is a bigger problem for poorer people. Second, if middle class parents are consuming drugs and alcohol at higher levels, why don’t they see this as a problem for themselves, when it causes them alarm in others? The study suggests that there is a “culture of silence” about substance abuse in middle class families that British society is not prepared to acknowledge. 

Another way to think about these findings is through the social construction of deviance. This means that, because there is already a high degree of moral panic and stigma about being poor, drugs and alcohol abuse is seen as symptomatic of poverty. Middle class groups enjoy certain social benefits, which include not having their personal problems define their character. This is why drinking and alcohol abuse is seen as a private affair for middle class families, and not a social illness. Poor people and other minorities are not entitled to such privacy.

Read more on my blog:

The Young Archie Prize is a prestigious national award for portraits by Australian children and other youth. Most of the sitters are mothers, chosen because “she cares for me;” they are visually praised for their patience and generally depicted as smiling and exceptional figures in the eyes of their children (“wonderful”). Sisters are the next most common sitters, and generally chosen because they are creative, inspiring and fun. One young male artist describes his sister/subject as a protective figure although they are only a couple of years apart. Third most common are brothers, with similar sibling traits of energetic inspiration. Other children painted grandmothers (one was described as “sad” and rendered enigmatic, missing her birthplace of India). A couple of artists painted girls who are friends.

Few children painted men. A couple of artists painted their uncles (one is a lawyer), one painted their grandfather, but no one painted their fathers.

In some ways, these trends, particularly with children being over-awed with mothers as care-givers, is a reproduction of gender norms. Motherhood is seen as a “master status” for women. Then again, these mothers, but especially sisters, mass occupy canvases because they are the central characters in young lives, bearing delight and wonder.

At what point do young artists stop seeing women as unique figures of creativity and autonomy – someone with whom to share adventures – before falling into the practice of seeing women as passive subjects? Having visited (and written about) various museums and galleries in large cities, I’ve been frequently disappointed to see few women artists (particularly in main collections). Artworks by men overwhelmingly position women as sexualised, powerless and as objects that project aspects of hegemonic masculinity (the dominant way of being “a man” such as ownership over people and things). For these young artists, social norms have not fully set in, and women are instead agents of change.

Source: @OtherSociology.

African Music and Cultural Festival in Melbourne.

four! Filmed at the African Music and Cultural Festival, they did the same song all twice back to back – this is the most hilarious/cute thing ever. It has a real community event feel even though it’s in Fed Square, a public space in the city of Melbourne. Only one boy in the group who is Taiwanese-Australian. 😃

Source: My Instagram @OtherSociology.