New Docu-series “America Divided” is Using Celebrities in Order to Start a Conversation About Socio-Economic Issues in America

“America Divided” is a new docu-series being produced by EPIX channel, in order to bring awareness to 8 different socioeconomic issues that are currently affecting the United States of America.  These issues include:
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University of Maryland Student looks into the concepts
 behind "America Divided"

  • Inequality in Housing
  • Inequality in Education 
  • Addiction and Deindustrialization
  • Money in Politics and Voting Rights
  • Policing and Mass Incarceration
  • Undocumented Immigrants
  • The Flint Water Crisis
  • Challenges of Domestic Work   

This series features 8 celebrities each tackling one of these issues.  The 8 celebrities include: Executive Producers of the seris, Common and Norman Lear as well as America Ferrera, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Poehler, Peter Sarsgaard, Rosario Dawson and Jesse Williams.

There Are Many Socioeconomic Issues Currently Plaguing America From Police Brutality to Inequality in the School System

In this docu-series, Common discussed the topic of criminal justice in relation to police brutality and the rising fear and tension that is running between the police and African Americans, a topic that he took a specific interest in as an African-American male from Chicago, which is where the discussions took place.  The daughter of two immigrants from Honduras, America Ferrera addressed the topic of immigration and the regulation of the United States borders.  Zach Galifianakis, went to get a better understanding of democracy and America’s growing political divide in his home state of North Carolina.  Amy Poehler took a closer look at problems arising among California’s domestic workers and how they are being treated by employers.

Though not an issue that personally effects him, Peter Sarsgaard spoke with individuals that were greatly impacted by the addiction crisis which is only heightened by unemployment and the shuttering of America's factories. The topic that Rosario Dawson explored was the environmental issues and the underlying problems that gave rise to the Flint, Michigan water crisis.  Executive producer, Norman Lear, used his time to learn more about housing, gentrification and lack of affordable housing in New York.  The 8th and final topic that is addressed in this docu-series is focused on Jesse Williams, a former educator, and his questions about the inequality present in our education system. 

This Docu-series Was Created As A Way To Start Important Conversations and Face Socio-economic Issues Head-on 

While the executive producers understand this docu-series will not be able to solve the  issues discussed, they still believe that it is a way to begin the  conversation.  Only when the problem is addressed can society come  together and work toward stopping the injustice  and inequalities present in the United States.  In  the preview video Dawson states that “It’s time to  uncover the roots of the problem and how it affects  us all.”  The United States is known for its  diversity but it seems that rather than embracing it we are now in the face of being divided by our differences, which plays a role in many of these socioeconomic issues.

University of Maryland Student addresses a socio-economic
 issue that she finds important. 

Executive Producer,  Norman Lear, stated that "Foremost among the  Founding Fathers' promises was equality under the law.  It's up to us to help them keep that promise." The overall point of the series is to establish that we as a people are capable of overcoming these issues, but that is only possible if we can all acknowledge that there is a problem that needs to be fixed.  This starts with a dialogue.  Common reinforces this idea upon his statement that,  "The more we know about how this effects people on a daily basis, the more we can do to change it."  While the series itself can't provide an automatic fix to these problems, the website for the series does provide many resources for individuals that are directly affected by these issues as well as information for those who would like to learn more.

Graphic provided by The Atlantic 
In a survey of American Values done by The Atlantic in 2013, over 60% of individuals believed that in the past 10 years America has become more divided. This survey also addressed many other socio-economic issues that were discussed in "America Divided".  Immigration, drugs and wealth inequality were all mentioned.

Research Shows That Socio-Economics Have an Effect on Happiness

In the 1998 a study was done to determine the relationship between happiness and a host of socio-economic values.  The socio-economic variables that were accounted for were gross annual income, age, gender, education, civil status, employment and urbanization.  Most of which are issues that are discussed in “America Divided.”

The results of this study were that happiness increases with income and education has a positive effect on happiness.  Another result was that the indirect effects of health status was shown to have an effect on socio-economic variables such as income, education and civil status.  One important distinction is that 53% of individuals in the lowest income quartile reported being happy while 61% of individuals in the highest income quartile reported the same. These socio-economic variables all played a part in the health and happiness of individuals and with the many socio-economic issues here in America it is something we should be sure to take into account.  

1 comment:

Jianyi Shi said...

Nice work with chunking, I get what you are talking about. This is clearly an important issue. However I kind of feel that you just present some issues and have not developed them to lead to further thought. Also in the end it would be better if you reach to a conclusion or just summarize what you have said.