Durkheim’s thoughts and theories on suicide are extremely interesting in the sense that he focuses on an issue that can be scary to delve into. I agree with him that it should be looked at not by individual cases (though i am aware it still matters) but more in a way of how it affects society. Looking at the broader spectrum can help society a lot more because it could assist us in figuring out how perhaps we can lower suicide rates. I do believe looking at individual cases can be helpful but more so for the individual. In the end, the majority of an issue is alike in most cases. Personally, I always thought about why do people commit suicide, and that there must be categories. It’s difficult but interesting to try and put oneself in those shoes. Such as why would someone give up their life for a cause outside themselves? I understand that Durkheim believed that altruistic suicide would most likely cease to exist because we would become so individualistic; but no matter how individualistic we can get, there is a unity that will always exist. It is our humanity; we cannot lose that. And obviously he has been proven wrong.
For example, at first it shocked me when in class I found out that young Hispanic females have the highest attempted suicide rates. But, as I thought about it, I shouldn’t have. I began to think about the girls whom I grew up with and their struggles. It all sounded too familiar. They all struggled with identity issues of having to represent the country either your parents were born in or the country you barely remember because you arrived to the states at such a young age. On the radio interview, it is also stated how these girls most of the time have to take the role of a parent for their younger siblings because the parents are probably working 7 days a week, 12 hours a day. There are forced to grow up too fast, and they also fall into the cycle of dropping out of school or becoming pregnant. And therefore the cycle continues. Two of my high school friends met up for coffee and within their conversation one of their statements that brought them a sigh of relief was “Wow, I cant believe we graduated high school with out getting pregnant and were in college now…” It’s baffling because they truly felt this way. In terms of suicide, I found it hard to fathom that only a few of the young Hispanic females I know hadn’t attempted it. It’s very sad.
I was just making flash cards for all the terms we’ve learned or gone over during the semester and when I got to chapter four, on Max Weber the terms made me focus a lot of the movie we just watched. The terms are bureaucracy, class, status and party that really jumped out at me. This movie had such a focus on class consciousness. The characters main focus was about their class, and although the two main characters are very different- they do have some similarities that are evident.
Kathy and Behrani lie to their families about their money issues, and put up a front to act as if they are doing well, and do not need any help. They both make it seem as if they have everything under control until it all spirals out of control. They are both overwhelmed, and instead of coming clean or getting help it seems as if they dig themselves deeper. The whole reasoning is to keep their debt a secret. They don’t care who they step on to get where they need to go, whether it be not returning the house or using the officer to Kathy’s advantage to get what she wants/needs. The movie somehow feels like a small episode of survival of the fittest, the person who is able to battle it out the most will remain the keeper of the house.
It’s kind of funny how when you watch a movie on your own, you don’t dissect it to understand all the underlying messages but once it’s brought to your attention then it’s as if you can’t notice anything but this.
There are many social/cultural factors that make young Hispanic women particularly vulnerable to suicide. First off, Hispanic women have the second highest dropout rate in high school, highest rates of depression, highest rates of teenage pregnancy as well as drug usage. These are four huge detrimental statistics but why is this happening? Cultural clashes with parents, social isolation, and poverty are part of the problem. This is a public health issue. High teen birthrates leads to dropping out of high school to take care of their newborns. There is an immense amount of pressure put on them. It’s essentially babies raising babies and before they can even figure out who they are as people they have to put a baby before themselves. They lose their sense of identity here.
They don’t really feel American but they are second generation Latinas so they don’t feel their traditional roots either. They are lacking that sense of belonging/identity so Durkeim would probably relate this to egoism or the lack of integration of the individual into a social group. He could also relate this to anomie (lacking moral regulation) because moral regulation refers to norms and it is not the norm to have a baby as a teenager and not finish high school. This is the new created norm.
Latinas are caught between the old world and the new world essentially which leads to cultural tensions. With young Latinas, they have to conform to traditional values that their traditional families want to uphold and the lack of discussion about the use of contraceptions or the discussion of sex in general also relates to lack of anomie. Many Latinas have Catholic religious pressures to deal with as well. If your not discussing sex, your not having it. This is invalid. It’s almost like abstinence pledges that don’t work. It’s better to discuss alternatives because most teens will end up having sex at some point due to peer pressure and their own personal wants for compassion.
In America, there is tremendous freedom. Sometimes too much freedom isn’t a good thing and people don’t know how to control these new found freedoms. They become rebellious and sexually promiscuous. Their parents cant relate to them because they aren’t growing up in America. This relates to the culture clash. Mothers and daughters are growing up in different countries and times have changed in general.The moms also are against contraception because they think this encourages sex rather than educating their daughters they block them off completely. This obviously isn’t an effective method. These cultural and social factors lead to high depression rates which makes young Latinas question their existence and once this occurs they don’t see the point of continuing a meaningless life therefore they commit suicide. This is the unfortunate reality of this situation.
The article, “Economic Crisis, Unemployment Take Emotional Toll,” was sad because it is during a time that we are living in. The fact that these suicide hotlines have had an increase of 35% in one year is frightening and an outrage. It’s scary to see how people feel as if they have no where left to go or turn to, and how embarrassed they feel about losing their jobs. The depression rate and/or desire to commit suicide is due to the fact that they feel unneeded, unwanted and unnecessary in life.
Durkheim expresses in, “From Suicide: A study in sociology,” she clearly states that it’s factual the connection that suicide and an economic crisis have with one another. The stats she gives us of suicides during the crisis in Vienna in 1873 is quite similar to the rise of suicide calls during present time. She also says, “every disturbance of equilibrium, even though it achieves greater comfort and a heightening of general vitality, is an impulse to voluntary death.” (p.125) Society has such a major impact in all that we do, and maybe society seems to be too understanding of suicides and feel a sense of lingering sadness when we hear of this, only because we too at one point in our lives have thought death would be better than what I’m going through.
The fact that we have so many hotlines to help people out or try to talk them out of it is great to read about. Not like it will end suicide, but they can definitely be used as a voice of reason. The economy is indeed in crisis, but no crisis last forever, so why take away your life when you never know what can be given to you tomorrow?