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Describe a social change that occurred within the last 50 years in the United...

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sweet107 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 2) Honors

Posted April 20, 2010 at 8:15 PM via web

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Describe a social change that occurred within the last 50 years in the United States.

Next, describe a social change that you think will occur within the next 20 years. Why does social change generally receive resistance?

You are asked to prepare a professional PowerPoint presentation with the notes section containing the bulk of information (including in-text citations and references). The PowerPoint slides should enhance the written message (discussion) by highlighting the main ideas. The presentation should include a title slide, an introduction slide (previewing the main ideas), discussion slides (body of the discussion), a conclusion slide (reviewing the main ideas and concluding remarks), and a slide with your references.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 20, 2010 at 8:18 PM (Answer #2)

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The biggest change that has happened in the last 50 years in my opinion is the change in race relations.  When my parents married 46 years ago, their marriage would have been illegal in many states in the South because Mom is white and Dad is not.  I have been married 20 years now to a white woman (I don't look at all white) and have never had a word said to me.

In the next 20 years, my best guess is that there will be a much wider acceptance of gay rights.  I think that gay marriage and such will be looked at in 20 years or so as a common thing just like my interracial marriage is today.

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 20, 2010 at 8:26 PM (Answer #3)

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In adding to the answer above, I think another of the biggest changes in the last 50 years has been the advances women have made in their search for equality.  The notion in our society that women's place is in the home has lasted for nearly four centuries.  It wasn't until the 1960s that women began to change this idea and enter the workplace and business as something more like equals with men.

In the next 20 years, I expect we will have a female President, or perhaps more than one, and that women will make up a more representative number in the House and Senate.

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 20, 2010 at 9:52 PM (Answer #4)

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Another social change that has taken place in the last fifty years is great advancements in the green movement. Fifty years ago not many people cared about the environment. It was really a fringe movement and had little popular support. Now almost everyone has heard about the green movement and on a popular level there is great support in schools, towns and other organizations. Earth day is a case in point. In the next twenty years, I suspect that there will be great strides in the area of alternative energy. I believe that there will be use of solar and wind power and a decrease in the use of oil.

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted April 21, 2010 at 1:26 AM (Answer #5)

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In last changes, social changes have taken place rapidly all over the world. Many of the changes relate to changes brought about by technology, and by the phenomenon of globalization. In America also similar changes have taken place. However, since the question requires selection of just one change, I would select the change that has taken place in terms of reduction in racial prejudices. I have chosen this because, it is an area which is of great concern to USA and in many ways unique to USA.

In spite spite of all that talk about freedom and equality, USA has been struggling to get rid of racial prejudices. The American civil war represented major step forward Then again major gains were made from 1960 onward. This included the impact of civil liberty movement of Martin Luther King. The state of affairs today in respect of racial prejudices is much better as compared to what it was 50 years back.

I foresee fat progress being continued in this direction during next few decades. I expect greater harmony what European Americans and African Europeans. In addition there will be greater harmony between other ethnic groups who have migrated to USA from different part of the world. Hopefully there will be improvement in conditions of American Indians, also who have not received enough attention in spite of being grossly underprivileged.

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted April 21, 2010 at 5:35 AM (Answer #6)

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Sadly, one of the biggest social changes that has happened in the United States in the last fifty years has been the extreme stepping up of security and the erosion of a newly-emergent racial tolerance and appreciation. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks there was panic and suspicion in airports, other public systems and in immigration and passport systems. The idea that a person could be trusted enough to be taught to fly a plane, or even get high up in the military, was deeply terrifyinmg to a lot of people. In the future, the resulting controls and checks will probably become even more stringent and IT and technology will be brought in to counteract the risk. New hardware such as image scanners, body scanners, fingerprint ID images and other identity records such as permanent cards will probably be brought in and implemented as new research and invention come to the fore. It is a sad reflection that nowadays some races will be viewed with more suspicion than others.

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted April 21, 2010 at 5:42 AM (Answer #7)

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Sadly, one of the biggest social changes that has happened in the United States in the last fifty years has been the extreme stepping up of security and the erosion of a newly-emergent racial tolerance and appreciation. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks there was panic and suspicion in airports, other public systems and in immigration and passport systems. The idea that a person could be trusted enough to be taught to fly a plane, or even get high up in the military, was deeply terrifyinmg to a lot of people. In the future, the resulting controls and checks will probably become even more stringent and IT and technology will be brought in to counteract the risk. New hardware such as image scanners, body scanners, fingerprint ID images and other identity records such as permanent cards will probably be brought in and implemented as new research and invention come to the fore. It is a sad reflection that nowadays some races will be viewed with more suspicion than others.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 21, 2010 at 5:50 AM (Answer #8)

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The gay rights movement has also gained power during the past five decades. Only a tiny number of gay men and women were willing to come out of the closet 50 years ago. There were laws in many states prohibiting such indiscretions. Today, however, gay men and women are encouraged to out themselves (except in the U.S. military), and many states now allow gay marriages.

What major social change will occur doing the next 20 years? Four decades ago (I'm showing my age here, I know), I would have bet that marijuana would have been legalized by the end of the 1970s. But then Ronald Reagan became President, and a conservative wave swept the country once again. Now, I see little chance of pot being completely legalized even in the next 20 years. Since our nation is soooo slow to accept sweeping changes, things that need to altered (reliance on oil and gasoline, education reform, government reform) probably will not be satisfactorily modified for many years to come.

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted April 21, 2010 at 9:05 AM (Answer #9)

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What about the change in simple "social skills" saying please and thank you, say yes sir and yes mam, sending thank you notes for gifts, neighbors talking over the back fence or dropping by for a chat, real face to face conversation instead of texting or emailing. It seems to me that communication has suffered as a result of social change.

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lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted April 21, 2010 at 12:54 PM (Answer #10)

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I would agree that in the last 50 years the change in race relations has to be at the top of the list as biggest advances. As far as looking into the future I am not sure what will be the biggest change. Someone else mentioned gay rights as possibly the next big change, they may be right about that.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 11, 2010 at 10:21 AM (Answer #11)

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I agree with all the previous posts, but having taught for the last 17 years, I have noticed a severe change in the attitude toward modesty and intimate behavior among students.  Call me old-fashioned, but I believe that sexual intimacy should be saved for marriage--you know, keep the temple pure until you pledge your love to one partner for life.  This upholds the esteem of the young person, stops the spread of nasty diseases that none of us need, and perhaps, above all, prevents unwanted pregnancies.  The worst of it all is that this immodest and unsafe behavior is now widely accepted and rationalized as an "honest mistake".  One which leads often to abortion, which I can not in good conscience support aside from perhaps saving the life of the mother in a difficult pregnancy. 

So, my vote goes to the immoral behavior of society as a whole.  I don't think we need to go back to having married couples on TV sleeping in separate beds or gasping at the shock of the flushing toilet on TV as in Archie Bunker, but it wouldn't hurt us to practice more morality, ethics, and less profanity and vulgarity.

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 15, 2010 at 9:30 AM (Answer #12)

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I agree with all the previous posts, but having taught for the last 17 years, I have noticed a severe change in the attitude toward modesty and intimate behavior among students.  Call me old-fashioned, but I believe that sexual intimacy should be saved for marriage--you know, keep the temple pure until you pledge your love to one partner for life.  This upholds the esteem of the young person, stops the spread of nasty diseases that none of us need, and perhaps, above all, prevents unwanted pregnancies.  The worst of it all is that this immodest and unsafe behavior is now widely accepted and rationalized as an "honest mistake".  One which leads often to abortion, which I can not in good conscience support aside from perhaps saving the life of the mother in a difficult pregnancy. 

So, my vote goes to the immoral behavior of society as a whole.  I don't think we need to go back to having married couples on TV sleeping in separate beds or gasping at the shock of the flushing toilet on TV as in Archie Bunker, but it wouldn't hurt us to practice more morality, ethics, and less profanity and vulgarity.

I was also thinking of something along these lines, however, I disagree that in the last 50 years society has become MORE immoral.  I think "immorality" (by whatever definition you apply) has been around for all time, and humans have been sinning at the same rate as they were in Biblical times.

Perhaps the social change that has taken place is the tolerance of it.  It isn't like sex has become more pleasurable in the last 50 years, nor that teenagers have only just discovered its existance.  But perhaps as a result of feminism, in part, and other factors, a sexual revolution has taken place.  It is no longer a bedroom-only subject of conversation.  As a result, teenagers are a lot more open with their sexuality than ever before - perhaps encouraging some who may have waited longer to see what they are missing out on.

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usbummer | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted May 22, 2010 at 11:24 AM (Answer #13)

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Modern technology has caused many social changes I would argue. I think the ability to get instant answers has eroded our ability to be patient and deligent. I have seen students change since I started teaching in 1972 and more seem to be more easily frustrated than before. I'm sure this has been compensated for in other areas, but the question was about change. I see this as a change.

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californiagirl | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 23, 2010 at 1:56 PM (Answer #14)

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There have been considerable gains, particularly for women when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, and President Carter who strengthened the bill.  In many ways ourl country has declined starting with the Reagan Administration which benefitted the very rich and diminished the middle and working class, weakened unions and public education-- k through the university, continues to push torward a corporate dominated supreme court and congress,  media, both TV and radio, a rapacious banking industry and is destroying our environment. 

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 19, 2010 at 10:59 AM (Answer #15)

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I, too, think technology has prompted some of the most significant social changes (at least in America) in the last fifty years. 

Technology has impacted families by shortening distances through cheap and accessible communication and transportation.

Technology has impacted families as well as the workplace by allowing work-at-home opportunities.

Technology has created a world in which people from all over the world can connect for virtually any purpose at any time, which allows amazing opportunities--both for good and bad.

Technology has allowed at least one generation--perhaps more--to think they have thousands of "friends"; to communicate meaningfully in 160 characters or less; to know lots of things that don't matter about lots of people who they don't even know; to expect instant, easy-to-read answers to any question they may ask; to reduce and condense all communication to simple acronyms (lol); to have a 3-minute attention span for even serious and deliberate pursuits.

In short, technology has increased our life spans and made most aspects of living both easier and more pleasant; it has also created a fairly dependent, lazy, and superficial society. 

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