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Open Access Publications from the University of California


DMC in the Juvenile Justice System: Listening to the Voices of Our Youth

Disproportionate minority contact (DMC) is a nationwide public health disparity, with minority youth comprising 34% of the juvenile population, but representing 62% of the nation’s detained youth (Hsia, Bridges, & McHale, 2004). Multiple analytical approaches have been used to address DMC, but to bolster those findings, a qualitative approach is necessary. Using participatory action research embedded within a cultural bioecological framework, the current study explores the reflections and lived experiences of youth impacted by racial disparities in the juvenile justice system. Results are summarized under the themes of neighborhood influences, lack of positive adult role models, disengagement at home, school and community, experiences with law enforcement/court system, perceptions of racial inequality, and what the future holds. Youth-developed solutions for change are offered.

Finding Space Beyond Variables: An Analytical Review of Urban Space and Social Inequalities

One of the legacies of the Chicago School of urban sociology is the enduring view of urban space as a proxy for demographic, structural, economic or behavioral variables. In this paper I review that approach in its multiple forms, but also appraise the other ways that urban space has been attended to in social theory and empirical studies, focusing on relations of race, class, and sexuality. I present three major theoretical dimensions of the intersection of urban space, social inequality and social difference: (a) urban space as inscribed by boundaries and reflective of patterns of social difference and inequality; (b) urban space as a site and object of struggle between social groups; and (c) urban space as a vehicle for social reproduction through the logic of its universe.

Traumatic Stress, Systemic Oppression, and Resilience in Post-Katrina New Orleans

The purpose of this paper is to present traumatic stress as a framework for assessing and intervening with the post-Katrina residents of New Orleans. Applying resilience theory, the authors suggest that the unique historiography of African Americans in New Orleans serves as a foundation for the development of culturally appropriate interventions that can ameliorate the effects of disaster and systemic oppression. An African American female client provides a case illustration to illuminate the presentation of traumatic stress symptoms. Recommendations are provided for counselors and psychologists and clinical researchers to augment knowledge in this area.

Racial Stratification, Social Consciousness, and the Education of Mexican Americans in Fabens, Texas: A Socio-Historical Case Study

In 1878, Charles Howard walked into the El Paso law office of Louis Cardis and shot him dead as Cardis was dictating a letter. Shortly thereafter Howard turned himself in to the local sheriff, and was later exonerated of all wrongdoing.

Though Howard was eventually to pay with his own life for this act of violence, the events before and after his shooting Louis Cardis highlight the extent to which racial stratification affected all social institutions in the small town of Fabens, Texas. This paper explores, at a descriptive level, one such relationship—that between racial stratification and the educational system. In our analysis we use historical materials as well as data from a 1969 community survey of Fabens’s in describing how racial stratification originated, evolved, and maintained a rigid system of inequality in the community. We then examine the “effect” racial stratification had on the educational system by describing the views parents, students, and teachers had about one another and about schooling. Our analysis shows clearly how racial stratification relegated Mexican Americans to the lower rung of society in Fabens, and negatively affected their education.

Interdisciplinary Ways of Knowing: A Collaborative Teacher Education Project for Culturally Responsive Pedagogy in Rural White America

This project explores pre-service teacher attitudes while participating in literacy and humanities upper division education coursework within an outreach program in central Wyoming. A yearlong qualitative study was conducted to develop pre-professional experiences that may influence the preparation of teachers from rural settings for culturally diverse classrooms. Through collaborative planning across disciplines, the researchers provided parallel opportunities for pre-service teachers to acquire practices that are culturally responsive. Qualitative data was analyzed for themes that indicate the nature of their understanding. Results showed that 33% are novice, 41% are developing, and 26% are proficient on a rubric for culturally responsive awareness developed by the researchers, noting implications for collaborative, interdisciplinary learning at the pre-service level.