Thursday, January 22, 2009

First of Five Days of My Leeching Off Your Big Brain

Welcome to a series of five posts in which I ignore current events and instead beg you to lend me your brain.

I'm teaching a course in which I'll show five popular culture films that deal with issues of social justice.

And I need some stimulating discussion questions.

To...um....y 'know...stimulate discussion.

A stimulating discussion!

Is your big brain sufficiently stimulated? Hope so. Here goes with the first title:

Bread and Roses
Forty million persons have no medical insurance in the richest country in the world, the United States. Among the uninsured are recent immigrants, who often work at wages below the minimum allowed by law while immigration quotas are not relaxed to allow badly needed unskilled laborers into the country legally. In Bread and Roses, British director Ken Loach focuses on nonunion Los Angeles janitors who in 1999 earn $5.75 per hour without benefits.

I can't wait to see what you have to say. You're welcome to post as much as your little hearts desire.

But be sure to phrase at least some of it as questions I can ask the class so they can discuss!

5 comments:

Bee said...

This is a very cool idea, and I would love to participate . . . may I just cogitate on it and get back to you?

(BTW, Have you read Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
by Barbara Ehrenreich?)

Haven't seen the Loach film, sadly.

Rachel said...

Why do we allow corporations, such as Wal-Mart, to make unbelievably HUGE profits and not give a living wage to their employees? Even Henry Ford knew well enough to pay his employees enough so they could purchase the cars they made.

stephanie (bad mom) said...

Some ideas (meant, of course, to generate discussion not to advance any particular line of my own thinking; that was my disclaimer):

What factors are keeping families from acquiring insurance?

Should the federal or state government(s) be involved in providing medical insurance to noncitizens? Why/why not? If yes, how would this be organized?

What is the cost of uninsured families to the average insured citizen?

My brain hurts now. You're welcome.

Fantastic Forrest said...

Thanks, Bee, Rachel and Stephanie!

I haven't read Nickel and Dimed, but it sounds really interesting. Think I will get it and after I read it, give it to my Mom.

Don't worry about not having seen these movies. My request is just for good questions about the underlying social justice issue.

Great point, Rachel. I like your reference to Ford.

Stephanie - as usual, you cut to the heart of the matter. This film raises some complex questions.

Jen said...

Oh my gosh. This is something that is near and dear to my heart.

I'm drawing a blank for good questions.. but..
How about something along the lines of how regular preventive health checks can lower health care costs?

Different states have different programs for low income... I'm in NY and we have Family Health Plus and Child Health Plus and Medicaid.

Look into France's system. They collect 3% more income tax and they get: health insurance, free child care, free college, 4 weeks paid vacation.

Sicko was a great film.