April 28 In-Class Writing

I chose to focus my research on how different types of norms cause stereotypes around working conditions to arise. Today, I read about how cultural norms specifically, develop workplace stereotypes. In an article called “Culture and labour productivity: An empirical investigation”, several professors of economics share their findings on a study they carried out to discover how culture shapes human behavior and consequently economic activity. Their findings, gathered from 34 OECD countries, show that labor productivity is higher in places where there is a work ethic environment. the more cultures one is familiar with, the better his/her work performance; When the typical cultural mentality is that those who work hard live better motivates the people of that  culture to work hard, which eventually makes causes them to be associated with the stereotype of being hard workers (Bakas et al., 2019).

Reference: Bakas, D., Kostis, P., & Petrakis, P. (2020). Culture and labour productivity: An empirical investigation. Economic Modelling. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econmod.2019.05.020

April 23 Free-writing

After reading the requirements for essay #4, I immediately thought of how in my home country, Lebanon, students of middle and upper-class families are always expected to go into college and major in either medicine or engineering. Technical majors are extremely looked down upon, and I have always wondered why this is so. I never thought of white-collar jobs as being more important or more needed in the workforce than blue-collar jobs. I just discovered that one reason why this stereotype about manual labor became a norm is because of cultural mentality. In the Lebanese culture, people value reputation, and reputation, unfortunately, is heavily dependent on wealth. Even more unfortunately, since there is a positive correlation between wealth and level of education, people misinterpret this correlation by thinking of it as a causation relationship. Personally, I do believe that a higher level of education can lead to more wealth, but only in certain jobs, specifically, jobs that require the performance of a variety of chief skills. Norms like this can be rewritten by, for example, giving students who go into technical majors a scholarship. Technological developments are changing the way we think, behave, communicate, learn, access information, and interact with others about work, social class, and working conditions. Today, massive amounts of information (books, audio, images, videos) are available at one’s fingertips through the Internet, and opportunities for formal learning are available online worldwide through the Khan Academy, MOOCs, podcasts, traditional online degree programs, and more. Thus, I think that with time, since gaining access to an education will become less dependent on one’s financial abilities, the stereotype that the wealthier, the higher the level of education, the smarter, will diminish.

April 21 In-Class Writing

Seeing my dad work, I understand what it means to work hard. Throughout his life, all the job roles my dad took required him to travel very frequently. At one point in his career life, he would travel to two different countries within 24 hours; however, as much as this lifestyle drained him physically, it was his psychological relief. Thus, I believe that when work is done with passion, its negatives become not more ignorable, but more accepted. Relating this idea to McClelland’s essay, it can be concluded that while some jobs are more physically and/or psychologically draining than others, they are draining in different ways. The way a job is draining may be dependent on the social class of their workers, but the extent to it is draining is not necessarily dependent on social class. Moreover, I think that to make a job be perceived as less draining than it actually is, the job should be accepting of its workers’ capabilities and limits. This may cause the workers to unconsciously work with more passion.

April 16 Video Essay Draft

At this point, I have developed my outline, meaning that I transformed it into a script, and I also recorded all my essay on iMovie. My last step before submitting my final draft onto Canvas is to add a title slide, more images, and a credits page, to my iMovie. I will then edit my script accordingly, and finally submit both onto Canvas.

April 2 Essay #3 Outline

Intro (0 -> 1 min)


Body (1 -> 2 min)

  • Need to be willing or else won’t handle stress of high responsibility.

If you have the will, consider looking at the pros & cons of being a nurse…


Conc (2 -> 3 min)

  • Can’t say the pros outweigh the cons bec this varies for each nurse, but I can say that after all, if you are a nurse, you can never go wrong at work; Even if you fail to save a life, you still tried.
  • Same point argued from another perspective (vid by professor answering “How would you convince someone interested in and thinking of becoming a nurse, to go ahead and begin the nursing journey?”)
  • Once you finish watching this video, take a look at the nursing blog https://www.nurse.com/blog/

March 31 In-Class Writing

Group discussion, members: Sara Makkouk, Rachel Hong, Parker Williams

After re-reading a short section of Navneet Alang’s essay, we all seem to agree with her statements. We think that although communication through social media can be rigid, it still allows people to express whatever they wish to reveal about themselves, without being interrupted. We also discussed an idea we all realized on social media, which is that online social platforms allow people to represent themselves as the type of person they wish to be, rather than the type of person they truly are. For example, most social profiles display positive images, when we all know that people are not happy 24/7. This idea can also be seen in the way most people are coping with the COVID-19 crisis and social distancing; Many are making jokes about it, potentially to create a sense of hope among the community, a sense that may not be existent, but that they wish to give rise to.

March 24 In-Class Writing

Personally, class and race haven’t really affected my learning yet; however, culture most certainly has. Having been lived in four different countries, each with a different culture than the other, my learning has become more effective as my understanding and ability to filter knowledge have improved. Becoming aware of the fact that people’s thoughts and actions are highly influenced by their culture has taught me to keep in mind, while communicating with others, that the part of their identity that is influenced by culture is almost uncontrollable. It may be changed, but it is that part that is the most challenging to change.

March 3 Free Writing

Eating habits depend on a set of factors, of which social class is a major one. The relationship between eating habits and social class exists due to biological and physical determinants including taste and education relatively, economic and social ones such as availability and culture relatively, and psychological ones like stress. The economic and social determinants are generally controlled by the government. In my opinion, today’s American popular culture does display an accurate portrait of social class in the United States; however, since most people are getting too comfortable with that culture, nothing is incentivizing them to think critically about problematic issues related to social class.

February 27 Reflective Writing

The portrait that most closely resembles my typical Thanksgiving experience is Norman Rockwell’s Freedom from Want portrait, for two reasons. First, the fact that the turkey is being held by an old lady immediately led to me visualize my grandmother in the place of that old lady, always playing the role of being the cook and presenting the food on the dinner table. More importantly, the dinner table so closely resembles my family’s typical dinner table: one with lots and lots of food. Most of the times I feel ashamed to be part of such dinners because almost everyone ends up eating too much during those dinners, more than needed. This frustrates me because in my opinion, the food that could have been left uneaten without causing us to remain hungry, can easily be given to those in need for it.

The portrait that least resembles my experience is Armend Nimani’s image depicting U.S. soldiers sitting down to a Thanksgiving meal. The reason for this is that the dinner seems to take place at a restaurant, and not at home, and in my family, traditional occasions are usually celebrated at home. This situation may seem to be dependent on social class, however; It is actually tied with cultural traditions and norms.

February 27 Group Writing

Food deserts are geographic areas whose inhabitants struggle with access to healthy and affordable food sources, due to the complete lack of or limited number of grocery stores within convenient traveling distance. Multiple sources that discuss the issue of food deserts reveal the relationship between food and social class. One such source is the NewsOne magazine, which states that “food deserts are signified by high levels of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in the community, which result from residents buying their food from corner stores that sell processed foods, and plentiful fast food options” (NewsOne staff, 2011, n.d.). This piece of evidence demonstrates how low-class people are somewhat obliged to eat unhealthy foods due to the lack of availability of healthy food options in their convenience zone. Thus, people’s social class can possibly be used as an indicator of their health state. Moreover, in an article written by Islam Rabiul and published in the journal Value in Health Regional Issues, results of a study conducted among infants in Bangladesh, showed that infants belonging to a low and medium socioeconomic status are approximately three times more likely of being affected by mild, moderate, or severe anemia, compared with infants of high socioeconomic status (Rabiul, 2020, n.d.). These results show the extent to which eating habits, and consequently health, are dependent on social class.