QuestionQuestion

Take out question on “The Heart of the Game.”
Directions:   Using this documentary as our case study, provide a sociological analysis (not simply a narrative; use concepts and course content) with an emphasis in systems of inequality (class, race and gender) and the promise of education by addressing the following topics.
a. Class inequality:   
Is there inequality among public schools in Seattle? Is this linked to the class composition of the area?
Do we see class tensions between players? Does class affect “life chances?”
b. Gender:
Is there a tension gender roles and athleticism historically and at present? Might there be variation here by class or “race” in gender roles?
Do we see gender discrimination? If so, in what forms?   
Sexual abuse of (young) women. (Consider too, how sexual harassment affects women’s opportunities.)
Consider the impact of the policy change of Title IX.
c. Race: Challenges faced by Darnelia on moving from majority A-A school to majority “white” (Euro-American) school. How class and race inequality can affect self-confidence in some or all areas of activity, e.g. academics. (Keep a focus here on the sociological perspective. Don’t simply personalize the issue.)
d. Coaches:
Who are they in these systems?
What are their class positions and what route did they take to get there?
Consider Darnelia’s coach’s eccentric and innovative strategies to get around potentially limiting gender expectations.   
Note the coach’s encouraging a peer based primary group within secondary group and new authority system.
e. Recognize the “intersectionality” of Darnelia and her coach in these multiple systems of inequality

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Heart of the Game (Ward Serrill, 2006) illustrates well the social stratification due to race, gender, and class in the Seattle Public School System. It also highlights the importance of education for those who suffer from inequality because of this social stratification. Theoretically, in the United States, we have an achieved stratification system, where individuals are able to gain mobility through the strata by effort and skill (Ch. 7, slide 24). However, the reality is that the main character in Heart of the Game, Darnellia Russel, is part of an ascribed stratification system where the color of her skin, in part, determines her position in society (Ch.7 , slide 24). We also see in the contrast between the two Seattle Public Schools, Garfield and Roosevelt, how, “social class position is based on three main factors: property, power, and prestige” (Ch. 7, slide 28).

Darnellia comes from an impoverished, African-American neighborhood with a sub-standard High School, Garfield. Her mother, April, makes her attend Roosevelt High School in a largely middle to upper-class Seattle neighborhood, which is predominantly white. Because of all these factors, April believes Darnellia will receive a superior education at Roosevelt and have a better opportunity of going on to college. April felt that because Garfield didn’t offer as good of an education, her daughter would end up being influenced by her friends and get into trouble. Darnellia’s father is in prison and she lives with her siblings and step-father. She wants to be the first one in their family to go to college.

However, Darnellia, who is a very confident, self-assured young woman, is intimidated when she arrives at Roosevelt. She is found skipping school and hanging out at her old middle school. The class and race differences were too much for her. Interestingly, race differences are primarily social in origin (Ch. 8, Slide 5). Her old middle school basketball coach explained that Darnellia was coming back to remember who she was, that she didn’t know who she was in the majority white school and that she lost her sense of self and who she was as a proud African American woman....
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