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Hidden Truth

6 Nov

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I watched the 2011 documentary Hidden Colors: The Untold History Of People Of Aboriginal, Moor, and African Descent.  The film tells the history of these people with the ultimate goal of empowering the people of that descent by giving them their ancestral knowledge that was intentionally hidden from them.  The creators of this film believe the reason African Americans are in their current state of societal inferiority is because they don’t have the knowledge of their historical success before the infamous slave trade we all learn about in elementary school. With out this knowledge they don’t have the confidence in their cognitive abilities because they don’t have enough historical intellectually positive role models, and therefore embrace the athlete or rap star instead.  They aim to teach African American youths that they don’t have to rely on there physical abilities, but instead can and should use their mental abilities and the first and most important step is education.  This lack of education over the centuries has lead to a decrease in group vitality and efficacy in the African American community that has not only impacted their beliefs about themselves and created stereotypes of African American people but also other cultures beliefs about them as well.  This film is not only meant to change the mindsets of African American people but to enlighten other cultures, manly “white America”, and make them aware that this is a historical injustice and currently happening.

I believe pro-social media can be useful as long as people see it, that is always the problem, reaching a wide enough audience to make an impact.  Youtube is a good way to reach a large number of people, however this film was released to a small number of theaters but is now on DVD.  Also the length of the film makes it difficult to reach and impact a large audience, most people go on Youtube to watch short clips not full length films, the casual viewer may get intimidated by the length and not watch or become bored by the historical aspects of it.  Having said that, pro-social media is a good thing and should be produced on a larger scale.  As we said in class their needs to be more Edutainment in our media and pro-social media is the perfect medium. Pro-social media can’t really be a bad thing or promote a negative message, they usually inform and therefore are always useful.     

          

 

Tim Wise

23 Oct

There really wasn’t anything from the lecture that surprised me or that I disagreed with in terms of the subject matter or the issues associated with racism, inequality and white male privilege.  This speech was very similar to the one that we watched in class in which he addressed racism, inequality, and white male privilege.  Obviously I was surprised when the Neo-Nazi snuck in and tried to verbally attack his points and arguments with his pro-white/anti-Jewish propaganda.  I was also surprised but enjoyed how personal he got, talking about his early childhood and then his controversial times in college.

There were a lot of things that connected to what we are learning in class, I feel like the entire thing was applicable in its own way.  But, I really liked when he addressed how just because you have a personal connection to another race doesn’t mean that you’re not racist. Then connected that idea to sexism, saying just because men marry women doesn’t mean that they are no longer sexist, or not able to be sexists, which would mean the only real sexists in the world are homosexuals.  Then further clarifies by stating that there are many other countries with female head of states, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t sexist countries with patriarchal dominant ideologies. 

I also really liked his point on how it seems like in our society, in order to be “successful”, or what we deem as successful, you have to learn/know what the dominant culture says is important.  Basically, we have to learn the white history and the white way to do things in order to be accepted and be able to get the personal recommendations that are the main way of acquiring jobs in this new job market, as he stated early in the lecture.  White people don’t have to, or aren’t expected to, learn other cultures histories or become aware of their personal struggles, they look at the world using the dominant paradigm instead of the ritualistic. 

Blog 3: Race

2 Oct

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Summary: In this episode the group (menus the women) decides to take a ten hour train ride, to hear one of their favorite scientists speak, when they realize on their train is an attractive actress from one of their favorite television shows.  Howard and Raj competitively attempt to woo the women and get her to go out on a date with one of them.

Analysis: This show perfectly represents what the reading about Friends was saying, concerning the idea of the closed circle.  The group consists of three white guys and one Indian, perpetuating the ideology that it is normal to be with people who look like you.  Raj, the only ethic character in the show, is from India, which reflects the belief that Asians are the model minority, most similar to whites and therefore are allowed and able to blend into white culture the easiest.  The lack of diversity in the show, and this episode in particular, is laughable.  As they walk onto the train you see the only two black people in the entire episode, who are sitting together, furthering cementing the idea of the closed circle, and the belief that people should only fraternize with people of the same race.  Also, the black woman is wearing really big earrings, which is representative of what the author of the reading on primetime television found, that African Americans are more like to be portrayed wearing jewelry/accessories than Latinos and whites.

     Raj has severe social anxiety, which makes it impossible for him to talk to attractive woman unless under the influence of alcohol.  This is a major detraction from his status on the show because another main character is Penny, Leonard’s neighbor.  Raj is a major character but his characters physical characteristics or deficiencies relegate him to minor character status.  This minor character status for an ethic character correlates with the findings from the primetime television reading, that ethnic characters are less likely to appear on primetime television and if they do they are most likely minor characters.  Raj can’t talk if Penny are any other woman is present so it’s almost like he isn’t there.  Raj (drinking non-alcoholic beer thinking it is alcoholic) makes a joke trying to impress the girl on the train, asking her if she had seen Slumdog Millionare followed by “you know that was loosely based on my life.”  This is poor joke about how every person from India looks the same and must be saved from their poverty stricken life, and because he appears to be a successful Indian than it must be true.  She doesn’t even question him, which she does on another more believable ethnic fueled joke about how Indians call the little dipper the “little curry pot” a jab at Indian’s propensity for curry.              

The show perpetuates dominant ideologies of white superiority and white privilege.  All the characters in the show are white or the “model minority” and have doctorates (or masters at MIT in Howard’s case), further perpetuating the belief that only white people can and do go to college and have the ability to succeed in our society.

Conclusion: The show perpetuates many dominant ideologies which are present on the majority of our media and pop culture, such as white superiority, white privilege, the model minority, and the closed circle.  Perpetuating these ideologies on a popular television show is detrimental to the personal beliefs of the viewers who may come to believe that this sitcom reality is a valid and accurate representation of life in California, a vastly multiracial society, and ultimately the world.

Breaking Class: Class in Breaking Bad

24 Sep

Breaking Bad **Spoiler Alert**

Summary: I watched the latest episode of the popular TV series Breaking Bad.  This episode portrayed Walter and Saul at the “cleaner’s” hideout for them, waiting for their heat to cool down.  Todd and his Uncle Jack’s crew are trying to find out what Jessie told the DEA, while also trying to tame him in order to use him to cook with Todd to improve their product.  The episode eventually skips forward in the future with Walter living in a secluded shack in rural New Hampshire.  Walter has his only barrel of cash which is all he has left after he was “saved” and ironically robbed by Uncle Jack.  The last scene depicts Walter attempting to contact his son and tell him that he is trying to send him and his mother money which is ill received by his still grieving confused misinformed son.  Having been rejected by his son he decides to call the DEA and turn himself in, while waiting to be apprehended he sees The Schwartz’s from the company he founded, Grey Matter, saying that Walter actually had essentially nothing to do with the company other than the name, which angers Walt enough to leave the bar and forget about surrender.

Analysis: I believe this show is interesting when looking at the aspects of class because the family featured goes from working class in the beginning and progresses throughout the seasons all the way to upper class, financially.  The Whites were working class until Walter decided to start his Meth Empire to fund his cancer treatment.  He ultimately accrued upwards of 80 million dollars and bought a carwash, which would put them into the upper class or even the 1%ers.  Walter is a true rugged individualist, he believes you and only you are responsible for your success, refusing to take belated handouts that he fully deserved from Grey Matter.  Having blown his first chance at financial success through Grey Matter, he vowed to never blow it again.  However, the illegal manner in which he made his money made it hard for them to “flaunt” their wealth, they continued to live in the same house and live the same life aside from new cars and new jobs at their car wash.  So technically they were upper class financially but stayed middle class socially. 

Walter is jealous of the Schwartz’s because they are where he should be financially.  They are, in Walt’s mind, living comfortably off the fruits of his labor, and now they have the audacity to claim that he had nothing to do scientifically or intellectually with Grey Matter.  After being diagnosed with cancer Walt realizes that he will not be able to provide for his family and therefor appearing weak which isn’t an option for who we have come to know as Heisenberg.  I believe this greed for money and need to portray this powerful persona was always there but suppressed and only surface from fear of death.      

     Uncle Jacks is an interesting character, he has which appear to be prison tattoos and runs a second rate meth empire with his nephew Todd and some underlings.  He is really dirty and gritty usually traits exhibited by lowers class individuals, but the fact that we know he runs a fairly lucrative meth operation and just stole $70 million doesn’t match his appearance.  In this episode Todd refers to the fact that even though they already have Walt’s $70 million he knows that Jack wants to make more, just because they can.  Wealth is a symbol of power they want to accrue it to portray how powerful they are, they don’t care how much they have just as long as it is more than their competition.

Conclusion: This episode suggests that you can’t really completely change your status.  The only way to change your status today is illegally, and even then you can’t completely change for fear of being caught.  Also, that economic success is a competition which reveals who is most powerful.                 

Josh Zuke’s Blog#1

11 Sep

Group: Masculinity/Femininity/Sexuality

Summary: I watched Arrow on CW at 8:00.  I’ve never watched this show before so from what I gathered; the main character Oliver Queen was stranded on an island but survived to come home to have his father die, but his father had a list of names which Oliver feels he must hunt down as Arrow, his crime fighting alter ego, and discover the secrets of his city in order to save it.  In this particular episode Oliver and Felicity, his computer savvy assistant, have to infiltrate an underground casino but in order to do so they have to dress up Felicity and get her in.

Analysis/Application: First off being a “super hero” type show the main character is highly hyper-masculinized and all the women are overly emotional, except Felicity who is also tech savvy which is usually regarded as a man’s hobby.  There is one scene where a women is talking about her husband who was killed and she is all worked up crying, while in another scene a man is talking about his wife who also was killed but he isn’t crying he just gets angry.  This reaffirms the dominant ideology that “boys don’t cry” and that women are expected to be emotion and cry their troubles away.  The scene when Felicity gets all dolled up and easily gets passed the bouncers using her sex appeal was a perfect example of the male gaze and perpetuated the dominant ideology that women who fit the ideal beauty get more benefits and are ultimately more powerful than those that don’t.  Also at the end of that scene Felicity’s cover is blown as she is caught counting cards and is taken into that back to see the manager (where if she was a man she would have gotten one of her hands broken like in Casino).  Oliver finds out she was taken and comes in as Arrow and saves the day, perpetuating the damsel in distress stereotype that women are incapable of saving themselves and need a strong powerful man to save them in rough situations.

Conclusion: This episode helped perpetuate all the popular stereotypes; that women are overly-emotional, “boys don’t cry”, beautiful women get whatever they want, and women are incapable of saving themselves.