Archive by Author

Kids React to Gay Marriage

5 Nov

Summary:  For this blog, I watched a video on Youtube titled, “Kids React to Gay Marriage” and it is by The FineBros, the same guys who did the “Kids React to Controversial Cheerios Commercial.”  In the video, a select group of kids watch two Youtube videos, both featuring a flash mob in which a man proposes to a man, and a woman proposes to a woman.  The kids displayed an array of emotions, mostly ranging from confusion to happiness.  After they watched the videos, a questioner asked the kids a variety of questions regarding what they thought about the video, and what they think about current issues regarding gay marriage.

Analysis:  Firstly, it was really interesting to see how some of the kids were completely shocked by the videos because they had never even come across the concept of gay marriage.  What was even more interesting was that while there were children of around 7 to 8 years old who had never heard of gay marriage, there was one boy, Lucas, who was 5 and he knew exactly what it was, asking the questioner “Are they gay?” and he already had an opinion on the subject.  So clearly Lucas had already been exposed to the subject and had already learned a way of handling gay marriage in his head, and there were other kids, like Samirah and Krischelle, in which this was their first exposure. 

Samirah was the most fascinating to watch, because the viewer got to see her go from completely incredulous and flabbergasted that gay marriage even existed to, later in the video, being completely for gay marriage and comparing those against gay marriage to those who were against inclusion of different races.  The viewers got to actually watch her, for the most part, form her own opinion on the subject.  This instance proves that just exposing a child to a different concept opens them up to accepting that concept, which is exactly what we talked about in class on Social Interaction Theory.

Also within Social Interaction Theory, there was a girl, Elle, who had a best friend that was gay.  She was probably the kid that was most positive about gay marriage out of all of them, and this is most likely because she has had a lot more previous exposure to the concept of someone being gay because of her friend.

There was a boy in the video, Troy, who said that “If you wanna marry the same sex, that’s okay… Just like Macklemore said. ‘I can’t change even if I tried.’”  Troy is using a lesson he learned from a Macklemore song to reinforce what he’s talking about with this video.  That song, Same Love, is also Pro-Social media, as it gives the message that being gay is okay.  In the article that we read on video games, the author stated that, “Listening to music with prosocial lyrics increased the accessibility of prosocial thoughts, empathy, and prosocial behavior.”  Troy was very accessible to the discussion on gay marriage in the video, and he was able to tie the two different medias together in a positive way.  Troy is proof that Pro-Social media works.

I think that Pro-Social media can be very effective in enabling viewers to exhibit more Pro-Social behavior.  Just by looking at the comments for this video, there were by far more positive reactions than negative ones.  I noticed some people said that they were glad to know that people aren’t born with a predisposed opinion regarding subjects like gay marriage, and the only way that those people learned that was through watching these kids react to the videos.  Those commenters learned something from exposure to kids learning, which I think is very positive.  I think that most people believe that media is mostly negative when “it’s just as easy to persuade viewers to be pleasant as it is to persuade them to be violent,” as said in the article on video games.

Conclusion:  This Youtube video did a very good job at displaying the positive effects of Pro-Social media, and was a very good example, in itself, as Pro-Social media, as viewed in the comments section for the video.  I think that the only way to combat the negative effects of media is to educate with Pro-Social media.


Tim Wise

23 Oct

1.  There were quite a few things that surprised me during Tim Wise’s talk, but one thing in particular stood out.  Obviously in class we’ve talked about the dominant ideologies and how, if you’re part of the dominant group, you don’t need to concern yourself with minorities.  I guess up until tonight I still didn’t really understand just how ingrained this could be, which is kind of the point of racism as a system–it’s so ingrained and institutionalized that we don’t realize it’s even there.  I’ve always had this idea in my head that if you are racist, you are open and concrete in your hatred for another race.  It had never occurred to me that I could be taking part in a racist system without even knowing it.  The story that really hit this home for me was the story he shared in the question and answer portion:  He was doing a hunger strike against his school supporting apartheid South Africa, but while the cops that were getting paid overtime for watching over them protest, other cops were beating to death a black man.  He was inadvertently supporting a system that rewarded those who acted violently towards a group of people.  It really made me wonder what I have been contributing to without my knowledge, especially while I thought I was doing something beneficial.

2.  I didn’t really disagree with any of the subjects he brought up during his speech, but I did kind of disagree with how he handled the heckler during the question and answer portion.  I personally wasn’t able to hear what the man was saying (other than the fact that I noticed he was being overtly rude because he was interrupting) but I kind of wanted to know what the man’s arguments were and what Tim actually had in rebuttal to them.  I’m sure Tim deals with this all the time, though, and the man probably would not have been even remotely cooperative with having an actual discussion. Tim obviously knows how to handle situations like that better than I do.

3.  I think that the subject matter Tim brought up is directly relatable to what we learned in the Race unit and Critical Race Theory.  Race isn’t biological but political, and whiteness is invisible, natural, and unquestioned.  If someone in a minority wants to make it in the world, they need to learn what is important to the dominant group.  The minority can then internalize that institutionalized racism and also not question it because they also aren’t aware of it.  It’s a self-perpetuating system that we can only break by being aware that institutionalized racism is there and by trying to work against it.

Let’s Buy Some Crack

1 Oct

Group:  African Americans

Summary:  For this blog analysis, I watched an episode of New Girl on Netflix, but it normally airs Thursdays at 9:00 on Fox.  In this episode, Schmidt sees Winston chatting with a group of people who are black at the bar (Winston and Schmidt are roommates, Schmidt is white and Winston is black).  Winston is laughing and seems to be enjoying himself while talking to this group of people at the bar.  Schmidt comes to the realization in this moment that Winston usually hangs out with him and his other roommates, Nick and Jess, who are both white—this is the first time Schmidt has seen Winston hang out with people of his own race.  Schmidt feels guilty that Winston doesn’t have black friends, so he goes to Nick asking, “Are we allowing him to be his ‘blackest self?’” 

Schmidt spends the rest of the episode trying to do “black” things with Winston, like eating “soul food.”  Schmidt tells Winston that he will do anything to help him express his inner black self, “as long as it’s gangster.” Winston thinks Schmidt is being ridiculous, so he comes up with this story that he used to smoke crack, and he really wants Schmidt to help him buy some crack.  Schmidt reluctantly agrees and they drive to a run-down convenience store where a bunch of black men in hoodies are walking around.  Schmidt and Winston sit in the car while Schmidt attempts to buy crack.  After a failed attempt, they drive home.

When Winston and Schmidt get back to their apartment, Winston gets mad at Schmidt because Schmidt wanted Winston to “realize that he was black.”  Winston concludes the episode by saying, “Being black means whatever I want it to mean.  I happen to live with three people who are white.  There are so many other things I find annoying with you that I haven’t even gotten to race.”

Analysis:  The audience is clearly supposed to find humor in Schmidt’s complete ignorance of race.  He goes to the bad part of the town, referring to the men walking around as “street youths” and asks Winston who the best crack dealer is because he doesn’t want “sub-par crack.”  This episode is plainly making Schmidt out to be really stereotypically “white” in that he doesn’t understand or see that his actions are completely ridiculous compared to reality.  And he doesn’t need to understand it because he is part of the dominant white group.  He is reinforcing the white ideology. 

Winston has obviously been black his entire life and for the entire series, but Schmidt is only just now “realizing” that Winston is black after seeing him with other people that are black. Schmidt feels guilty for not realizing it before—this is exactly what we talked about in class with “White Racial Identity.”  Schmidt is experiencing the second stage of this process, Disintegration.  The only difference is that in the third step, Schmidt doesn’t blame the victim, he blames himself and his other white roommates for not allowing Winston to be his “blackest self.”

Later in the episode, though, Schmidt is apologizing for all of the stuff Winston has to put up with as a black man.  He says, “Look at Jess and Nick—they’re lame.  Look at our people, look at what we’ve given this country.  Jazz, jazz band management…”  Schmidt is using the pronoun “our” to refer to him and Winston.  In our reading, “Themes of Whiteness,” the authors discuss what is happening in this very exchange.  Schmidt is a white person seeking to “emulate or imitate the actions and/or beliefs of someone ethnoculturally different from [himself]. Intercultural behaviors in which a White person crosses ethnocultural boundaries in an attempt to enrich his or her ‘human’ experience are frequently grounded in an attitude, which displays a significant degree of entitlement.”  Schmidt is acting like the black image is already his because he is entitled to it.

The episode is clearly making fun of Schmidt though, as the audience is supposed to laugh at the fact that this white man is trying to be black.  Because of this, I would say that this depiction benefits anyone of color—Winston is displayed as the sane one, the one most in touch with reality in this relationship.

So because this episode is making fun of the dominant ideologies of white entitlement, I think that it doesn’t conform with these ideologies.  The audience is meant to think Schmidt is acting like an entitled bastard, and we are supposed to sympathize with Winston.

Conclusion:  Though this episode is making light of white entitlement, it is bringing it to the audience’s attention and showing the audience to the benefit of those that are not entitled.

Blog post #2: Battle of the Classes

23 Sep

Group:  Lower/Middle Class

Summary:  For this blog analysis, I watched an episode of New Girl on Netflix, which normally airs Thursdays at 9:00 on Fox.  In this episode, Jess tries to get Russell, the rich, older man she’s dating, to hang out at her apartment with her roommates.  She has spent the past weekend at his house/mansion, mingling with the social elite, “eating fancy cheese.”  Russell is having a hard time hanging with the dudes, though.  He ends up getting belligerently drunk, wrestling with a broken food disposal, and getting accidently stabbed in the hand by Nick, causing him to go to the hospital.  Jess and Russell are extremely angry with each other after all of this, and he leaves in a huff.

Analysis:  This episode is making fun of the so-called “poor lifestyle” that Jess and her roommates live in.  Russell is so used to his posh way of living that he becomes socially awkward when faced with a faulty disposer and a drinking game.  When Nick accidentally stabs Russell, Jess bandages his hand with a napkin and a piece of tape.  This is a joke at the fact that Jess and her roommates can’t afford/choose not to have proper first aid. 
When Jess and Russell get into a fight after the failed weekend, he says, “I don’t have to play a game to drink,” belittling her lifestyle choices.  Jess combats saying, “That’s my world!  Elevators don’t pass inspections!”  Russell acts indignant and Jess closes with the statement, “My life is just as important as your life.”  Though the episode makes fun of Jess’s “poor” lifestyle, this exchange shows Jess trying to show Russell that, though they are part of different social classes, their lives are equally important.

Russell clearly depicts capitalist ideologies.  He lived the American Dream, starting out from nothing and working up to the high ranks of society (When drunk, Russell tries to be “one of the guys” and tells Nick about how he used to work for a lumber yard, splitting wood with an ax by hand).  In the video” People Like Us,” they described how there is a clear line between classes based on the clothes you wear, where you live, and even your accent.  Throughout the entire episode Russell doesn’t wear anything besides suits and dress shirts, we see him in his mansion of a house, and he even speaks differently than Jess and her roommates, clearly enunciating each word he says.

But in this episode, Russell isn’t depicted as the elite – he is depicted as part of the elite class, but when he’s with Jess and her roommates, he’s a stick in the mud.  The only time he is seen having fun is when he’s drunk and able to drop his “harsh exterior.”   Alcohol is the great equalizer, and when Russell is seen getting on Jess and her roommate’s “level,” he has fun.

I think this representation best serves those not in the upper class, because though Jess and her roommates don’t live richly, they are depicted having way more fun than Russell.  And the end message of the show, the “My life is just as important as yours” line, describes everyone being equal, which would definitely benefit the middle/lower class over the upper.

So though Russell is supposed to be admired for his lifestyle, Jess and her roommates are shown having a more fulfilling and happy life, which might make audiences interpret her class standing as the better one.  This representation does not conform to dominant ideologies because dominant ideologies favor the upper class.

Though New Girl makes jokes at Jess’s lifestyle, it is still shown in a better light than Russell’s.

Conclusion:  This episode suggests that classes should be more equalized, and even challenges the dominant ideology of Capitalism, all to the benefit of lower/middle class audience.

Blog Post 1: Gender

10 Sep

Group:  Masculinity

Summary:  I watched an episode of New Girl on Netflix (which normally airs on Fox, Thursdays at 9:00).  In the episode, Jess meets Russell, an older man that is quite rich. He is the father of one of her students, and he doesn’t like the way that she teaches. Jess goes to his house with Nick, one of her roommates, to tell Russell that she doesn’t care what he thinks, etc.  While at the house, Nick comes across Russell’s office, and he is overcome with how “manly” it is.  There is dark wood furniture, a leather chair, a wooden duck…
Nick says, “I just came in here and it smelled like Shakespeare… If Shakespeare were a cowboy with a hawk’s nest full of boat fuel, cigars, and bourbon.”  Nick spends the rest of the episode trying to be a “man” like Russell, pretending to be president, CEO, a mob boss, etc – he pretends he has a lot of money.
Schmidt (one of Jess’s other roommates) says earlier in the episode when hearing Russell over the phone, “Do you think [Russell’s] a superhero?”

Analysis:  This episode of New Girl is reinforcing the idea that to be a “man,” as it is defined socially with bourbon, cigars, and hawks, is to be powerful.  Nick wants to be more of a “man” with all of the pomp and circumstance because he equates it to power and money.  To be a man is to have money, and to have money is to be a man, because Russell wouldn’t have all of these things without money.  Russell also follows and backs up at least 4 out of the 5 dominant ideologies:  Partriarchy (he is a man with a lot of influence and is obviously in control of a lot of people), white, capitalism, and heterosexuality (his religion is never brought up in the episode).
Russell is being looked to as God-like by Nick, and a superhero by Schmidt, purely because he epitomizes their idea of what a man should be.
This representation of men serves to benefit those that fit into the dominant ideologies.
Though the episode makes a joke out of Nick’s idolization of Russell, Russell does succeed in asking Jess on a date, a woman who is at least ten years younger than he is.  So even though an audience might be able to cue into the jokes made on Nick and Russell’s behalf, Russell does get the main gal, which just reinforces the attitudes about him made in this episode.

Conclusion:  This episode suggests that the social construction of masculinity equates to power and money, and the audience accepts this dominant ideology.