Robert Doyle

Week 6-Blog 5

Urban Sociology- 327

  1. Reflection:

In my experience, stories are more interesting than data.  Also, data can be interpreted in different ways.  Stories make a much deeper impact on humans than just statistics.  Stories and pictures make it more personal and reach you on a much more emotional level.  However, data and facts can give you a more objective view on the world.  Without the data, all your information would be purely subjective.  It would be easy to be deceived if you do not have facts to back up your resources.  You need a base of logic to support your beliefs.  Even though, I feel that the stories had a higher impact emotionally, I would not completely base all my assumptions on that.  In my opinion, quantitative data is more important but qualitative data gives you the context.   I think that part of the reason that I see a need for both types of information is that I am not easily persuaded without enough research.

In blog 4, the data compared New Orleans and New York City.  Much of the data was not a surprise. The cost of living in New York City was twice as high as New Orleans.  The data that was surprising was that the percentage of violent crimes and unemployment were higher in New Orleans.  I think that it would have been interesting to see the stories of people who survived Katrina and how that changed New Orleans.  One of the lessons from blog 4 is that raw data needs context to help understand the statistics between two cities.  I think it would be important to look at any of the cities and compare it to the data from the United States as a whole. I think that it would be important to analyze what happened to Detroit in the same manner.  The statistics would tell one story but the “Detroit 48202:  Conversation Along a Postal Route” gives you emotional impact of what happened during those times.  It wasn’t just a matter of the economy failing but how it impacted the people.

In the “New York Public Library Community Oral History Project”, I read stories about people from each of the different communities.  The stories of Greenwich Village by Alison Armstrong and Angelo Verga had similarities to the one by Elke Fears in Hell’s Kitchen.  Each of the people that they showcased talked about their community and what they were doing to help.  This with the other assignments helped to bring a personal experience that people can relate to and understand.  It produces a larger emotional response.  In order to change the culture, it is not enough to know the statistics, there needs to be a face to the facts.  Any changes must start with the grass roots of the community and must have champions.  This can help to produce changes within the community and hopefully on a political level.

  1. Stories:
  2. One of stories that I picked was Angelica Herrera de Leon who is an illegal immigrant living in the United States. Her husband is applying to become a citizen of the United States.  Her mother gave them a trip to Niagara Falls in Canada.  Because of their status, they had to take a bus to go.  On their return trip, there were stopped by the I. C. E. agents and force to leave the bus.  Her husband was free to go but she was told she would be deported within two weeks.  She is awaiting the decision about this.  This is important because she in a sanctuary city, but illegal immigrants are not safe.   New York is one of those cities that has designated money to assist illegal immigrants with their court cases.  Most of them have not been deported because of this.  But with the stricter laws in Trump’s policies, this may not continue to be the case.

Eleanor Daly was a woman who grew up in Lower East Manhattan.  She talked about what she did as a young girl into adulthood.  She also describes the differences that she sees with her community now compared to her youth.  She has many memories about school and how it helped her.  I think it is helpful to truly understand the culture of a community through the eyes of those who live there.  Statistics can give facts.  When someone has lived in the community, it brings a completely different understanding.

  1. For broader stories, I looked at “Who were the natives of Detroit”. Prior to the readings, I did not realize that early Detroit was mainly inhabited by Native Americans.  The tribe was the Anishinaabe but that included many other tribes.  The “Native Land” map shows how much land this involved which includes four cities.  These four cities were San Francisco/Oakland, Detroit, New Orleans and New York City.  Prior to looking at these two articles, I did not realize the extent of their land.   It is very sad to realize that ninety percent of the population was wiped out and we live in a land that was once theirs.  Sue Franklin talks about how the Native Americans were deeply religious and this was used to get their land.  They were told that the Great Spirit had told them to give up their land.  It saddens me to think about how we took advantage of the Native Americans.  Their cultures and traditions are not well known, and people are more likely to associate them with stereotypes.

In “Undocumented New York Living in Fear”, it shows that the new policies with the Trump era have increased fear in all immigrants living in New York.  New York does have money to help with these cases, but all immigrants are now feeling vulnerable.  My previous example regarding the woman who was removed from the bus by I.C.E. agents to check identity and then file her for deportation is just one story.   There are countless stories of people being questioned regarding their status and threatened with deportation.  This includes many who have been here in the country and have well established careers.  One of the outcomes of this fear is that people are starting to live in the shadows.  They don’t want to bring any attention to themselves.  This could affect whether they pay their taxes, enroll their children in school, and many other ways of the government being aware of their existence. This will have multiple consequences for immigrants and for the cities where they live.

In “Visible Lives” for the oral history project, Alem Blount talks about living with disabilities.  She has cerebral palsy.  She is a strong advocate for those with disabilities to show that they are valuable to their communities.  She makes sure that her disability does not prevent her from doing everything that she can.  All the stories of those with disabilities show that you can go beyond your problems.  They talk about their struggles, but they focus on what they can do and not on what they can’t.

  1. Issues

One of the issues is a sanctuary city.  A sanctuary city is a place where they don’t cooperate with the government regarding immigration.  They offer safety to illegal immigrants.  San Francisco is one of the largest sanctuary cities in the United States.  The problem will be how to remain a sanctuary city with the new Trump laws.  It is difficult when they take money from the federal government for many of their programs.

  1. San Francisco was one of the first sanctuary cities in the United States.
  2. Churches were one of the first groups to oppose the immigration laws.
  3. California is passing legislation to become a sanctuary state.
  4. Sanctuary cities do not affect the crime rate in the city.
  5. Berkeley became the first city in the Unite States to pass a sanctuary resolution.

“Center for Immigration Studies:  Sanctuary Cities”

This is a study looking at sanctuary cities and refuting the claims about their negative effects.  Some of those ideas were that immigrants would increase the crime rate.  The other area was the law of trust of public officials. Neither of these is true.

The second issue is environmental racism in New Orleans.  Environmental racism is when a race or group is affected by environmental problems more than others.  One example of this is hurricanes and floods.

  1. Flood zones were generally assigned to African Americans.
  2. African Americans are usually the most hurt by flooding but don’t get as much federal funding.
  3. Lead poisoning is more likely to affect black and low-income populations.
  4. Asthma affects the African Americans population twice as much as Caucasians.
  5. 85% of African Americans in New Orleans lost everything compared to 19% of Caucasians.

This data was shown in “In the Environmental Justice through the eye of Hurricane Katrina”.

This document clearly shows how environment can be a huge factor in how you live.  It talks about the lack of resources.  It shows how close to the flood zone African American neighborhoods were and how much they lost.