Jarecki, Eugene, written and directed, “It’s Not Always a Wonder Life.” Freakonomics Dir. Chad Troutwine. Magnolia home entertainment
A Summary of “It’s Not Always a Wonderful Life” from Freakonomics
This segment talks about how when crime rates in America was at their highest, and how the rates dropped sharply and why they dropped. In New York City, for example, the police became more proactive. Other reasons were increased incarceration rates. After the Supreme Court ruled anti-abortion laws unconstitutional in 1973, fewer unwanted babies were born; since unwanted babies are more likely to become criminals due to being taken care of less well, they are more likely to do poorly in school, engage in self-destructive behavior, and engage in anti-social behavior. The segment is neutral but still shows that abortion does play a role in decreasing crime rates; the question now is whether or not our society should use abortion to help lower crime rates.
The segment “A Roshanda by Any Other Name” in the film Freakonomics talks about what possible effect the name a person is given will have on their lives. There is also discussion on the types of names that white people and black people tend to name their children. White people are more likely to give their children European names, while black people tend to give their children names that are Arabic and African in origin or names that sound made-up and are thought of as ghetto. The segment mentions that people with names that are considered unique, “black-sounding,” or strange will have a harder time in life. It is mentioned that a study was made where resumes were sent out, and the resumes with so-called white names received more callbacks than identical resumes with black names. In addition it was mentioned there was a belief that a person with a black name is more likely to have a hard time in life, being poor, being raised without a father, being violent, doing poorly in school and etc. However, the film showed the types of parents that give their children stereotypically white names will be more likely to be poor, single parents, and unable to give their child an upbringing that is considered “ideal.” Certain names are favored by certain socioeconomic groups. The segment ends with the story of a man who named one son Winner and the other Loser. Loser turned out to be a successful person. Winner turned out exactly the opposite. The conclusion is that often it is a person’s actions that make more of a difference in their lives than their names.
`Spurlock, Morgan, “A Roshanda by Any Other Name” from the film Freakonomics. 2010. DVD. Magnolia Pictures, 2011.
In the segment “A Roshanda by Any Other Name” from the documentary film Freakonomics, there is an investigation of “white names” versus “black names” and how they can affect the life a person leads. There was a good amount of information in the segment, and it was presented in many ways that I think could help a variety of people could be entertained by while still being able to learn from. For example, there was information from Roland Fryer, a researcher at Harvard University. There were scripted examples of the types of lived people might have with different names. The documentary also asked people on the street what types of names they consider “white” or “black.” The mix of fictional example, professional opinions, and ordinary people, help to paint a complete picture of this complex issue.
Spurlock, Morgan, “A Roshanda By Any Other Name” from the film Freakonomics. 2010. DVD. Magnolia Pictures, 2011.