Archive by Author

My Black is Beautiful!

8 Nov

my-black-is-beautiful

Summary:

My Black is Beautiful is a initiative that Procter and Gamble created, aimed at supporting and embracing young black girls as they face the most critical years of their lives while inspiring them to be their best. When reading the part that says “the most critical years of their life?” and may ask themselves what exactly does that mean, it highlights the importance of why this initiative is so important. My Black is Beautiful’s mission is to help black women to be their best selves. The stories of women accomplishing this is shown in the documentary  “Imagine a Future”.  This is prosocial behavior because they are combating negative stereotypes and and building up the confidence as well as empowering women; so that eventually they will be able to empower themselves.   The main purpose of this initiative is to empower and continue to purposefully counter the negative images and influences of the media. Below is a trailer o the “Imagine a Future” documentary.

Analysis:

As an African-American woman, this documentary is something that I can relate to on so many levels. The girls are admitting that they are constantly comparing themselves to those in the magazines or media. They see the “ideal” and because they do not fit what society says is acceptable they are left feeling unhappy about the skin they are in. One quote that really stuck out to me was then one of the girls said that “Confidence is not something you are born with, it is something you grow into” This comment may seem al little confusing to some, but for other groups of people it is all too real. In this documentary, thee are several black women from all walks of life who have come together t express the ways in which they have to realize how their black is beautiful despite the way black women are portrayed in the media. Whether it be a lack in positivity, the underrepresentation of black women, the negative stereotypes that black characters or actress tend to have, and physically features of what the media portrays “true black beauty.”  In a predominately white society, the black girls in this documentary are on a journey of finding how to embrace their skin color when everything around them does not. That is the purpose for this campaign; it is put in place so girls can image a future in which every black woman believes her black is beautiful.The usefulness of social media has allowed for other women, like myself to be empowered by this initiative. If you go to https://www.myblackisbeautiful.com/#home, black women all over the world can post the reason for why their black is beautiful. One the  most empowering part of this website is that My Black is Beautiful has their own theme song, which is an upbeat, catchy, and empowering song. The lyrics go a little something like this “Your Black is Beautiful! you got everything that you need, My Black is Beautiful! thats the way it is suppose to be”  This is a social media outlet for black women to express their frustrations with how they are portrayed in the media. Also this website, allows for black women to make connections and to establish meaningful relationships with other black women by sharing their stories. thus, women are finding themselves empowering each other which is a beautiful.  in my opinion, My black is beautiful is like a lifestyle. Lastly, this website allows for those who want to make a difference or see chance to step up in prosocial media. There is a tab that says take action which allows for people to download the discussion guide which are there are several question in which black women can reflect and make steps to seeing the best in their selves.  and encourages others to Spread the word via Twitter, Facebook , etc.

Conclusion:

The My Black is Beautiful Campaign does an excellent job of fighting bad stereotypes of black women in the media all while empowering women not only to love themselves as women, but also to embrace the skin they are in. the word “My” signifies that each black women have their own story and that were are all different in are own way. This initiative embracing and highlighting every aspect of black women that makes her beautiful inside and out which fights the negativity in the media about them.

Tim Wise: Privilege and Social Justice

25 Oct

1)    Was there anything that surprised you?

There were several things that surprised me in during Tim Wise’s presentation about Social Justice. I loved the fact that he was a  voice for blacks who voices are not heard. I like how he recognized his own privilege  and others who have this privilege and are not aware of it.    The content he delivered was eye-opening and intriguing to the point that at times, points made me gasp and drop my mouth in shock. The truth of the reality was shocking in a variety of ways. One of the ways he revealed the truth was by exposing the past. He mentioned that white america are content with the “history that makes us feel good”. He mentioned that “we don’t want to asses that part that makes us come up short”.  To me this recognizes one’s in ability to recognize failures and a sense of having to much pride. He referenced specifics about white privilege, but for some who do not have that privilege, he also generalized may of his pints to make it relatable to the others. “The stuff that hurts us is the stuff we bury…”we do it as individuals and we do it as a country”. A very important message I got from this was that those who are not prepared to confront their past, they will not be able to acknowledge how they got to a certain place. With this said, being prepared to confront it, also brings the desire to understand.

Another thing that surprised me was the fact that racism is challenged at the highest level. For example; in this country; Barrack Obama who is bi-racial (White and Black), is in the highest office any person can hold; so racism must be dead? Tim Wise would answer this as False. As a society we try to remain positive individuals and try not to let negative stuff keep us from progressing. However, the term racism has become a negative topic that should avoided  because if you talk about it you keep it alive and that is what causes the problem (supposedly). Tim Wise would disagree with this myth, because in anything you do in life, you “can’t solve a problem you are not prepared to discuss”. It is important to realize that just because a particular minority is in a high position, does not mean that there is not institutional racism and racism has disappeared.

Another surprising point that Wise  stated was startling statistic. He said that the Gallop organization did a study in 1963 and asked White American folks if people of color were treated equally? 2/3 said yes. It is very surprising that These statistics can out the way they did because this is the same year that the march on Washington happened Medgar Evars was shot, admission for black students in a particular University was not allowed as well as other racially startling events in history and the fact that’s inequality was not seen by white folks during that time is surprising.  They were also asked if Black children had a good chance as white children to get an education.  A possible explanation of why white Americans answered this way, according to Tim wise, is that they do no have to know any better or they did not have to know reality. Wise mentioned that back then, to be white in that country you do no have to now black or brown folks truth. With this information he mentioned when trying to produce change within a community of a dominant group it is important to know and understand something about the people and them community that you work in.

The Last point that surprised me was “The privilege of Obliviousness”. He mentioned that when we are the normal group we have “ the luxury of ignoring the truth” of another group. Wise said that “ When your stuff is considered normal, you don’t have to distinguish type or subjects” Like one would not say “white Literature or “White Art, “ White History” which is why there is a difference when we say African-American Literature, Black History…it really makes us think, and this is really what took me a step back. Although am not in the dominant group in terms of race, I still did not realize that the history I am learning might not be from my point of view most of the time; instead I am learning it form the dominant groups view.  In any dominant group wise said that we are “ likely to miss some stuff”. I liked how he related this example to students like myself. As a communication and Spanish major, I am not forced to lean Calculus, but I also purpose constructed my education to by pass it, and by not studying it, I avoided it. He then generalized this to the bigger picture of people hat we interact with. HE says that because ewe are not forced to learn something, and we don’t put forth effort into to going out of way to learn it, we remain oblivious. We do ourselves a disservice by not taking the time to understand each other. Wise said, “ Remaining oblivious to our classmates, neighbors, etc., it becomes dysfunctional. How are we going to have productive conversation” Once again, he brought up the example of being in the book club, which ties everything together. If one half of the book club comes to meeting the preface read, and the other have comes to the book club having read the full book. It is going to be one unproductive conversation b/c one group is saying what they think the book is going to be like which could be exciting, and the other half is saying that the book was the opposite and was not very good.

The points he made have left a lasting impression on me, and they are definitely food for thought and change.

 

2. Was there anything you disagreed with?

            There was not anything I disagreed with, however there are some topics and moments in history that I am not knowledgeable about; therefor I need to further my understanding. With any information that I am given, I would like to take more of ritualistic perspective when receiving information more so than a transmission approach so that I am aware of both sides; and form there I am can have educated stance and opinion.

 

3. How might you apply the lecture to what we are discussing in class?

I would apply that there are serval privileges that we have discusses in class, and according to Tim Wise’s lecture there are definitely themes he talked about that we have discussed in class. The are several privileges that we have discussed and of course, Whiteness is a privilege that have discussed and how that is portrayed through media and can be portrayed through a lens that is biased and stereotypical.

Tm Wise also discussed social capital as he spoke about the networking and how some businesses are hiring those who they know rather those qualified based on merit. He spoke about a Census statistic stating that white males between 25 and 29 earning income slightly higher than Black men between 50-54 who have been working a quarter of a century. He mentioned that in today’s society, for a society to be this way, it is not about merit; however, it is about connections.

Lastly he brought up the topic about neoliberal policies, which is a topic we have talked about several times in class. HE mentioned the words that we have come to use to describe certain types of people such as “underserved or underprivileged people” this could be categorized under episodic framing in which is more individual. Wise wants us to take a more thematic approach by looking at the big picture in which we look at what system put them there, because people do not choose to be there. Thematic framing: takes an abstract, impersonal approach to poverty by focusing on general poverty trends and public assistance”. As thematic viewers, we should to “make structural attributions for poverty regard the government as responsible for social change.”

 

Stereotypes in Music Videos

3 Oct

Summary:

I will be analyzing three music videos:

1: All Gold Everything: Trinidad James

2. We can’t stop: Miley Cyrus

3. Booty Me Down: K Stylis

The first music video I will be analyzing is “All Gold Everything” by Trinidad James.  This video in particular fits negative stereotypes in which African-Americans are depicted. “If television images contribute to stereotypes…finding that racial minorities were generally negatively stereotyped on television,” this video would definitely fits this statistic. Within the video, one can see the plethora of gold flaunted through the video; hence the name “All Gold Everything” there is gold worn around necks, gold worn on ones teeth, gold painted a bicycle, a gold book bag being worn on ones back, multiple gold rings on every finger, and many ways of wearing it. Other images that are displayed in this video are old Chevy’s with shiny rims on it. There is the display of several guns shown several times in the video.  Although this may not be seen as a stereotype, the image of ten or more black people in a group displays a negative image in our society. Specifically, one may look upon it has gang looking for trouble. Also, the display of the projects is also an image that negatively stereotypes African American, The projects in American is looked upon as a Ghetto, or low community; specifically containing African-Americans. According to the Racial Minorities on primetime television, article the roles and behaviors of African Americans were negatively stereotyped (pg. 102). Although these images may not come of stereotypical to one group of people, it is important to not how minorities are depicted in television to others.  As a cultural artifact, television will naturally reach a wider audience, so many “maintain that the way racial minorities are represented contributes to stereotypical images, whether positive or negative, that viewers develop” (pg. 102). The repetitive images of stacks on money display stereotype of “drug money”. And the constant repetitiveness of the hate relationship between the police and the feds is definitely reinforced in this video as the James raps “ I don’t F*** with no snitches, so don’t tell me who’s tellin’” and while the James says this line, an image of a police car is shown. This tells the audience that he does not favor the police or anyone who is an ally for them. Why? I don’t know, but this image maintains a common stereotype.  The predominate race in this video is African-Americans, so whatever stereotypes the audience has, good or bad, they are fed through the repetitive images depicted n this video. As we analyze the next video, I will observe how the behaviors of a difference race are portrayed and if the audience perceives this video in the same light.

The second music video I will be analyzing is “We can’t stop” by Miley Cyrus. There are certain images that are displayed in this video that was displayed in the Trinidad James version. There are gold chains being rocked in this video as well has gold teeth, but it is important to note who is rocking them. In this video specifically Miley Cyrus is the one who is rocking gold chains and gold teeth, aside from those material images; Miley Cyrus is displaying a quite different image. This specific video is known for an action called “twerking”. In my opinion, Miley is perpetuating stereotypes about black people through her actions.  Twerking is type of dance usually depicted in African American Culture. Although the article states that “African Americans were the most provocatively”; however, Miley Cyrus who is white is dressed the most proactively throughout the video. However, because of the existing stereotypes of a particular group, the African American girls twerking in the video distracts the audience for them very provocative clothes, positions, facial expression, and words she is displaying. Rather than her twerking she is idolizing the girls that are twerking. It is interesting to se the main girls that are twerking in a white girl video” is black girls. Is this video trying to state that only African American girls can twerk? Whether or not the video intentionally trying to state that, it displays negative stereotype of a certain group. Although Miley Cryus is twerking, is she seen is the same way as the other girls that are twerking. Twerking, in the past, seems to have had a negative connotation, because it is seen as something very provocative, it seems to be shown in a better light in this video because Miley Cyrus is doing it. Is it okay that Miley Cyrus is doing it because she is Miley Cyrus, or does this video continue to “maintain the negative stereotypes among minorities” despite the fact that a white person is doing the same thing.  It feels as though Miley Cyrus is stereotyping black people. Although she is doing in the actions, she is projecting this behavior in way that is targeting a certain group; which leads me to the last video.

 

This last video is about twerking, but this video without a doubt, “shapes how viewers think about racial minorities” (pg. 103). The video is about a competition called “America’s best twerker”. In the video the judges are searching for the best girls who can dance, and the ones that make it into he finals happen to be African American girls, all the white girls that tried out were cut because of their poor performance. Indeed, “certain images, particularly those that stand out to the viewing audience, may be more important in shaping racial attitudes than the mere numbers of minorities shown. That goes for the Miley Cyrus video as well. There was very diverse crowd, but regardless, the audience will pay more attention to minorities because of ones already existing schema.

Conclusion: Images in music videos maintain existing stereotypes veering further away toward the positive portrayal of minorities.

Two Broke Girls

24 Sep

 

Summary:

 

In this episode of Two Broke Girls, a real estate investor offers them $25, 000 to buy out the lease on their cupcake shop. One of the girls with does not think twice about the offer, and immediately expresses her liking to the offer. The money would allow them to pay everyone back and start fresh; however the other girl, Caroline, does not succumb herself to the power of money. Instead she wants to exhaust all resources before she gives up her most prized possession.  It doesn’t take her long to realize the only financial resource she has is her wealthy, self-centered Aunt “Charity”. One would think that the Aunt Charity would play a dynamic role, in which she has a change of heart and decides to help he niece out. Although her repetitive stress of the importance of family, she still does not help her out and leaves them finding their own way out of their financial mess. The moral of this particular episode is up to the audience’s interpretations, but there are many scenes that portray the working class in an inferior way.

 

Analysis:

Two Broke Girls is a comedic primetime TV show that focuses on the life of two girls who in working class, or have a lower income than upper/middle class.  Because it’s a comedy, this show has the privilege of poking fun at the working class, and generalizes working class problems. In this episode, the real estate agent wants to buy out there property, but they are also faced with competition from a Whole Food grocery store being built near them.  Both of the girls comment on their perception of whole foods being built. One of them states that “ that’s why they can raise everybody’s rent” and by poking fun at her own situation she the other girl responds by saying “that’s fine, we don’t pay it anyway” This dialogue does not depict the working class in the best light. It shows a hint of gentrification and the workings class’s fear to it.  Like Honey Boo “ this show invites us to laugh at and with honey boo and her family, foreclosing conversation about policies shaped by neoliberalism capitalism have failed them” (Hatch). It shows them trying to make sense of their situation and attributes their misfortunes to outside fortunes. The two girls are not only aware of their own situation, but they are also aware of the upper class too. The audience is able to get an understanding of why the two broke girls feel the way they do because of there reaction to it “ You know who goes to whole foods, rich ladies.” It is interesting to see how this comment divides these two lives by what type of people goes to which grocery store.  This episode displays irony in that Caroline’s Aunt is names Aunt “Charity” but she is the last person to give to some in need.  This episode of Broke Girls definitely shows how the working class are more likely to let go their pride and to humble themselves before someone of higher class for receive help. It is understandable that in life, one must let go of pride and ask for help; however, this show depicted the girls in two ways. The transmissive way would be thinking of how the girls were persistent in asking for the money and not giving up hope. They did not take no for an answer, and continued to prove themselves to the upper class woman .The ritualistic way of thinking bout it would be to see that as a option, but also see them as beggar’s, and allowing the audience to laugh at how their persistence was getting them nowhere but laughs for the Upper-class woman who took pride in having people come begging for her financial support. In spite of Aunt Charity relaying the importance of family, she does not end up helping her niece in the end and tells her that she will fine her own way.  This type of treatment allows the audience “ to imagine the violence enacted on a class of people as a source of fun” (Hatch). The girls’ problems could easily be fixed if they had sufficient amount money, but because institutions that fail them nonetheless continue to play important roles in structuring their lives.  Unlike Hollywood’s depictions of American Narratives; this show contrast the idea that “through competition and self –reliance, individuals can overcome the constraints of community and failures of social institutions” (Jones). Competition s what lost them their cupcake shop, and self –reliance left them with less money. I am in agree that” Television has offered us stories that are more real, humane, and pluralistic than the mythology Hollywood regularity provides us” (Jones). Nonetheless, there is bound to be stereotypes of racist depicted in shows.  When one of the girls at the beginning of the show asks a black man for advice regarding the closing of her business. He responds by saying there are two things she should hold on to “ a dream and a receipt. You do not want to be a black man without a receipt“ While the stereotyped black man has come to signify suffering” this does not allow the audience to move progressively to think of a certain group of people in appositive light.  This is not a rags to riches episode, instead it is a riches to rags, as Caroline was one rich at a point in her life. The audience can see she is humbled by her unfortunate situation by saying “Since I’ve lost it all, Iv worked hard, I’ve cleaned toilets, vie killed rats, I’ve worked hard to be a success” HS estates that when she was rich everything as fine, but “ Now [she has] real problems. Lastly, The working class is left feeling dependent upon those with more money, so depended that they have the power to change the life/future of someone. It is interesting to hear Caroline say to her Wealthy Aunt Charity that she “took away [her] future”. This makes the working class seem incapable of helping themselves and attributing their misfortunes to the lack of care and help from the upper class.

 

Conclusion: In this episode the working class attributes their misfortunes to the actions of the upper class.

Modern Family

12 Sep

Group: Masculinity

modernfamilyseason2

Summary: Mitch and Cameron are leavingthe supermarket with their daughter, when Mitch runs into his ex boyfriend, Tim. Cam is caught by surprise and does not think anything of it at first. Mitch and Tim temporarily get reacquainted, and Tim invites Mitch to attend his fundraising event for kids with Cancer. The location of the fundraiser is at the roller skating rink, and Cam is surprised to find that not only was Mitch invited, but his whole family was invited as well. This upsets Cameron because he feels that his parents will begin to like Tim more than him. Mitch because jealous and confronts Mitch about it; there is a lot of tension. In the end, Mitch’s Dad, has a heart felt conversation with Cam telling him that Mitch was not happy with Tim, and he sees that Smith is happier with him. In the end, they come to agree that nobody can replace Mitch, however, Mitch is still not fond of Tim.  Given the information about Mitch and Tim are Gay. The show modern Family is about the lives of different families, but they are al interconnected because they are related to each other in some way. All though this particular show is about the relation between Mitch, Cam and Tim, I will be analyzing subtle, but important scenes related to masculinity.

Analysis/Application:

Although the different families are accepting of Mitch and Cameron’s relationship, though show still hints and displays scenes that define what is masculine. There are three examples that I would like to touch on. The first point I would like to point out is the comment Grace’s dad makes about the color of the blanket. In he second point, I want to make the competition between girls and guys and how gender is played out. Lastly, how masculinity is reinforced to outplay feminine characteristics. There is a scene that occurs when Grace is holding a baby boy wrapped in a pink blackout with flowers on it, and while Jack in talking to Grace, Grace then passes the baby off to him. Jack then, with the intonation of disgust, says “what did I say about this flower blanket for him”. This could be taken to way. The transmissive way of thinking about it would be to say that they blanket is ugly on him The ritualistic way of thinking would be to imply that pink and flowers is not fitting for a boy. This then further pushes me to ask, if this comment insinuating that boys cannot wear pink and that it is a girl color? If so, this means a gender is being pushed on the boy at a very young age according to what society says is normal. It is interesting to see the Dad (Jack) act in such a way, even though his son, Mitch is gay. There may be some underlying feeling that Jack still holds on to, even though he has accepted that is son is gay. The second point I would like to focus on the two girls and their encounter with two guys at Tim’s fundraising event. The two girls and the two guys became to play table hockey, and the girl happen to score the wining puck. Immediately the boy comments about their loss and how it was ” unmasculating” or emasculating. Since I am looking at Masculinity, I though it was important to look at this particular scene since it challenges what is masculine and what is not. The two boys take the stance that loosing is not a masculine trait their for it is “unmasculating”.  This is obviously not a fact because girls can also be competitive. Since the two girls won, does that make them less feminine? It is interesting to see how competition is played out into masculinity and felinity.  Also with this point, we the girls and guys just et, the oldest sister of the two girls told the younger sister to downplay her intelligence so that the guys could like her. The oldest sister said that we don’t want to make the guys feel less smart than they are. So is this comment implying that masculinity does not carry as much as a high intelligence quality as femininity. The girl has to downplay their on intelligence to suit/ not offend the males. Lastly while at Tim’s fundraiser, Cam confronts Mitch about his ex-boyfriend Tim.  Mitch says “[he] worked hard to get this family to love me, now they like there holding a torch for the man who came before me”. Mitch is referring to Tim, however it is interesting to look at the language used. Earlier in the show, Mitch makes a comment by saying “I do not know which one of my girls is excited” referring to his spouse Cam, and their daughter. This lets the audience know that Cam plays more of a feminine role in the relationship. Mitch feels that Tim is a threat to him, because maybe he has more masculine traits. In the comment he made, he says the man that came before him as if he is not as manly as Tim. As a result, Cam is trying to outdo Tim by trying to a more dominant role, but fails every time.  In the end, it is obvious to see they complement each other in their own way.

Conclusion:  Stereotypes of masculinity continue to make its way in TV shows, and are played out through subtle, everyday activities that tell the audience what is acceptable for different genders.