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THE UNTOLD STORY OF EMMETT LOUIS TILL

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					                     Introduction to Sociology, Take-home Exam 1
     Due IN CLASS January 24 for T/Th, or January 25 for WF, and January 28 for S

DIRECTIONS: In no more than 4 pages, typed, double-spaced (2 pages if it’s single-spaced),
answer each of the following 4 questions. Each question will be worth 15 points. REMEMBER:
You may work in groups to “brainstorm” the answers, but you must write your final answers on
your own. Please ask me if you have any questions about what this means, but basically it means
that you should have no more than an occasional phrase in common with anyone else. Make sure
you answer each part of the question. Use information from your book, class discussion, and
slides to support your answers. Let me know if you have any questions!!!

QUESTION 1: Using the article below, explain the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina using your
sociological imagination (otherwise known now as the “sociological perspective”). Based on our
conversations in class and what you have read in the book, start out by saying what the
“sociological imagination” is. What’s a trouble? What’s an issue? What are the personal
troubles and the social issues (for the state of Mississippi and for the entire country) associated
with the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina?

From ABCNews.com: 3 Months After Katrina, Some in Mississippi Feel Overlooked Little
Has Been Rebuilt in Many Gulf Coast Areas. GULFPORT, Miss., Nov. 30, 2005. For more
than 80 miles along Mississippi's coast, the devastation is still stunning three months after Katrina
hit. Millions of tons of debris have been hauled away, but little has been rebuilt. Large sections
are still off-limits, thousands of people are living in trailers or tents, and in Waveland, the medical
clinic is a tent and the waiting room is a school bus. "Mississippi continues to be forgotten, yet
Mississippi has the highest need," said volunteer Elizabeth Gallup. "Mississippi is now a third
world country." While most of the schools have reopened, at Waveland Elementary School, only
37 percent of the kids have returned. Those in attendance get special counseling to help them
cope. "There's destruction all around them," said the school's principal. "Their surroundings are
pretty grim." Some people, like Gulfport police officer Leonard Papania, cannot afford to rebuild
because they did not have flood insurance. He and his family are now living with his wife's
grandmother. His insurance company paid him only $600 for the contents of his home. "It's daily
battles," he said. "Battling with the insurance company. Playing phone tag with the adjusters,
calling all the hotlines for FEMA." Another obstacle: New zoning rules have not been finalized,
and they could change. The casinos that had been allowed only on barges will now be permitted
on land so they don't wash away again. Until they and other businesses start paying taxes, money
is short. Gulfport's Fire Station 7 now operates out of a trailer. "We gotta have help from the
outside," said fire Chief Pat Sullivan. "The federal government has to come in and say, 'Yes we're
gonna do something. We're going to help you put this firehouse back together.'" To find more
money, Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr today visited the Chicago City Council, which handed him a
check for $500,000. "The cleanup is going to cost a lot more than we have now or than we had in
our own funds, and so we're still waiting on FEMA to send in more," Warr said. In the meantime,
there are signs of progress. Resident Jimmy Wetzel says he is determined to rebuild. "I think it's
part of my task in life that I must build back and help this Gulf Coast get back to where it once
was," he said. But normal is a long way off. The last of Gulfport's shelters is scheduled to close
this week. But most of the people will be moving into tents.

QUESTION 2: Below are excerpts about the murder of Emmett Till. The case has been
reopened (50 years after the original trial) and a new documentary film released. (PLEASE see
this if you can: The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till is being screened FREE at the Bijou in
the Iowa Memorial Union at 7:00pm on both January 17 and January 18!!!) Based on our
conversations in class and what you have read in the book, how do you define the conflict
perspective? Using information from the article below, how would this perspective explain acts of
racial violence such as this? What were these men afraid of? How could we use this perspective
to also explain why those tried for his murder 50 years ago were acquitted? [Make sure that you
look at the book and at the slides for an understanding of how the conflict perspective (and
multicultural theory) are able to explain racial/ethnic inequality.]

The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till (source: PBS and documentary website)
”It has been over 40 years since the death of Emmett Louis Till, a fourteen-year-old black
Chicago youth who was slain in Money, Mississippi in 1955. Emmett Till who was visiting
family in the Delta had the great misfortune of finding what Southern Hospitality means when
two white men, Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam decided to teach him a lesson for allegedly
whistling at a white woman, Bryant's wife. Abducted, severely beaten, and finally thrown into the
Tallahatchie River with a weight fastened around his neck with barbed wire, Emmett Till was
murdered for one of the oldest forbidden taboos in America's history, addressing a white woman
in public. The murderers were later arrested, but were acquitted in a court of law by an all white,
all male jury. Emmett did not die in vain. The death of Emmett Till sparked the black resistance
of the South, soon to become the American Civil Rights Movement.” “In May of 2004, The
Justice Department announced that it was re-opening an investigation into the 1955 murder of
Emmett Till. Keith Beauchamp, a filmmaker from New York, spent the last nine years making
the documentary The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till.” The case was reopened and the
accused perpetrator brought back to trial during the making of the documentary as new evidence
was uncovered. (I’m hoping to find out more about the current status of the case from the
documentary this week.)

QUESTION 3: Based on our conversations in class and what you have read in the book, how do
you define the symbolic interactionist perspective? How would you use symbolic interactionism
to explain what happens at a religious ceremony like a weekly service or a wedding or a funeral
(you are free to describe and use examples from whatever religious ceremony is most familiar to
you or your friends)? Are there symbols with shared meanings? How do those symbols help
guide our social interactions and maintain order?

QUESTION 4: Based on our conversations in class and what you have read in the book, how do
you define the functionalist perspective? How would a functionalist explain the article below
about men in Chechnya taking multiple wives? How does this promote the smooth functioning of
society? Can you think of any “dysfunctions” this might cause?

Story from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/4610396.stm
Polygamy proposal for Chechen men
Chechnya has lost so many men to war that survivors should be legally allowed to take several
wives, acting Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov has said. Speaking on Russian radio, the pro-
Moscow leader said this was "necessary for Chechnya because we have war - we have more
women than men". He was backed by Russian parliamentary deputy speaker Vladimir
Zhirinovsky. Russian law restricts citizens to one marriage, but Islamic custom allows a man to
take up to four wives. Mr Kadyrov told Ekho Moskvy radio that women in the Russian republic
outnumbered men by 10%, and that a man should be able to choose how many wives he had
without the state getting involved. "Every man decides for himself how he should live. He is the
boss, he decides, I am sure that his personal life will not be interfered with," he said. Mr
Zhirinovsky, who is the leader of the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), said
polygamy should be applied across Russia "because we have 10 million unmarried women". He
told the state-owned Itar-Tass news agency that he would introduce an amendment in the spring
parliamentary session.

				
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