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Small handwriting sample of C.J.'s First-Year Student Journals, link to journals home page
Zaid




crown




trophies and medals

21 November 2005

The previous entry of my journals covering the “shout-out” theme was a huge success and the basic purpose of it was “to bring into the limelight, introduce and honor” entities I view as important at The University of Texas at Austin. This entry will follow the same pattern even though it will work on very different dimensions.

But it is highly recommended that curtains be closed, doors be locked and the squeamish turn away and not proceed!

As it is time for…

A lecture from my “Introduction to the Study of Society” (Sociology 302) class:

“Consequences of Widening Income Inequality in the United States”

  1. We get an increase in cost of living, particularly the housing sector, which is inflationary.
  2. There is a huge increase in cost of social services. [The disadvantaged community cost $390 million to Travis County last year.]
  3. Research shows consistently that widening income inequality reduces the overall health of a population. Not just the bottom but members of all classes.
    1. In 1999, Seton Healthcare Network (the leading provider of healthcare services in Central Texas) lost $47.5 million in unpaid medical bills.
    2. In 2000, Seton lost $66 million in unpaid medical bills. Likewise, hospitals increase prices. Accordingly, insurance gets higher as the companies increase premiums = Few people can afford to pay premiums and fewer people get insurance.
  4. Studies support the fact that there is increase in rate of street crimes due to widening income inequality.
  5. There is a growing disparity in public education.
    1. Reason: A good chunk of money used to fund schools comes from property taxes.
    2. Result: Educational gap increases dramatically.
  6. There is an increase in “social distance” between the top and rest of population. This causes a decline/breakdown in degree of solidarity among groups. Accordingly, there is no sense of attachment between people. [Gates and Dell families are exceptions to this case!]
  7. Widening income inequality jeopardizes an area’s long-term economic growth.
  8. It endangers the moral principles of capitalism. [It now takes more money to make it and fulfill the American dream!]

The material above (in the form of notes) is from my sociology class. Professor Green of the Department of Sociology gave this lecture concerning the topic of “widening income inequality in the United States” on Monday, Nov. 14. Her lecture and my notes are very straightforward, plain and simple. And nothing is too complicated about them. Yet, something about her lecture and my notes was not so straightforward, not so plain and not so simple. Actually, there was something too complicated about them.

And because of these reasons I was more than awake by the end of our class.  I was sitting up straight. I was scratching my head. And I was trying to think.

It did not work!

After class two students (out of about 100) got the opportunity to walk with Professor Green. I don’t know how but somehow I was one of these two students. Just a few minutes prior to that, I was sitting up straight in class, scratching my head and trying to think.

And the process had not worked!

So I asked a question. And Professor Green responded back. And I asked another question. And Professor Green responded back again with another comment. What I asked and what she replied back are both given as follows:

Zaid: What do you think is the first problem we should deal with to start solving the collective problems in this society, Professor Green?

Professor Green: I don’t think we can solve these problems on a one-by-one basis. We have to take a collective action against all of these all at once to find solutions to the dilemmas and problems of our society.

Zaid: But, Professor Green, isn’t it impossible to deal with all of them at once? I mean, how?

Professor Green: Not impossible! I become confident and get hope every day I come here to teach. What I see in my classes is what gives me hope…

At that point she pointed at both of us (me and my classmate) and said, “You guys make me hopeful.”

(And then we walked off into the distant horizon in high-flying colors with zeal and fervor!)

Not really. What we actually did after that is thank her for her time, excuse ourselves and leave the building in order to get to our next classes.

Most important, however, I did more than that. I thought about it. I usually don’t use the process of thinking. But that time I did. Professor Green undoubtedly made me think about all we had covered in class and discussed afterward. And I liked that. She made me think! Accordingly, I put it here in my journal.

—Zaid

Any questions about lectures, interactions, discussions, experiences and extraordinary days like these at The University of Texas at Austin? All you have to do is send an e-mail message.

z.hassan12@gmail.com

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