How people view religion?

28 Jun

Its only the beginning

28 Jun

My first blog was about the need for class such as this one, a class where people could examine race and gender in the media and become more aware of the issues that still exist. After completing this class I think my belief for this need is stronger than when we began. I was pushed to my limits on looking for race and gender discrimination in not only the media but in life around me, and quite honestly it was one of the most exhausting and draining things I have ever had to think about. Despite this I feel like I have grown as a person, I have stepped out of my box and am now able to be the awkward person who brings up race or gender when no one else wants to talk about it, and I am now ok with that. I realized that if there isn’t someone like me who is educated about the issue and aware of the issues, that is willing to bring it up, then it will remain a foreign subject to many Americans. The biggest thing I became aware of was stereotyping and not just in general but more specifically first impressions. I had a first impression of everyone in the class and I am sure they had their judgments of me too but I was proven wrong each and every time I assumed something about someone. My group went out to ask people about religion on the streets of campus corner, and never have I ever been put in my place the way I was that day. We were trying to get diverse people hoping for diverse answers and with that came judging the people who saw and assuming they would give a certain answer, we saw a black man riding up on a bike and he was not dressed very well and was probably in his 40’s if not older, my first though was “ oh yes finally someone different, I bet we will get a typical answer from him,” but oh man was I wrong. He gave the most eloquent and intelligent answer and I could not look the stupid shocked look off my face. I was disappointed in myself because I knew better than to assume and judge someone like that, but yet again I was aware of the things that were embedded in me, the things that I know I have to try harder to shake.

Assuming and stereotyping I think is the media’s biggest pit fall. The media and the people who produce it assume that everyone is just like them, and wants to see the same things as them. The media ignores diversity because they look at it as a small thing that is hard to accomplish and takes too much effort. We want the media to portray us and we want to see people like ourselves in the media, but what happens when there is no diversity in the newsrooms? I like to think of it as a mirror effect, we want the things in our content to reflect our own lives. Overall I think there are many things that are wrong with the media, but the lack of diversity and gender issues is the root of many of those problems. Stereotypes fill the media, and it is because the people creating it believe those stereotypes. We want the consumers to relate to us and our network, so we use stereotypes, many times subconsciously to portray a group of people or certain things, so that the viewers know what we are talking about. In the end though it all comes down to education if people are educated and aware of the issues then change can and will be made but until people start pushing themselves to know more and until people want the understand it then things will remain the same.

I want to be one of those people who makes a difference, I really do. I want to be that person who people are like “oh no your bringing race and gender into this,” because I think one day they will thank me. One day when they realize that their stereotypical behavior can get them into trouble in the newsroom, but I am not a saint. I will make bad decisions and I will subconsciously judge people before getting to know them but I will try to think outside of the box. I will try to analyze everything I see critically and take into consideration where I am getting this information. Taking a race and gender class is not meant to magically make you unbiased and excepting of all people it is meant to make you think critically about race and gender in our world, to not be the norm and look at it from a different view and take into consideration more than just gender and race when living your life.

It is not about the mark you make upon society its about the difference you make when you have the opportunity.

White Men Can’t Jump

24 Jun

Sports Illustrated, or as I like to call it the male version of Cosmo. It is like the bible to some men, they read it religiously and are completely engrossed in it when they do. It is the magazine for a “mans man” and not only does it offer cover to cover Sports news it also has hot women, ads for pizza, and life size Tonka trucks that most of us call Fords.

Many men think that the magazines they read aren’t full of discriminating ads or ads that make them want to buy something, but boy are they wrong. Though sports is one of the more diverse industries in our nation it is still full of stereotypes, racial discrimination and sexism.

There are a million stereotypes in sports, white men can’t jump – well I think Dirk Nowitzki have proven that wrong, tennis and gold are white people sports, well I know you all have heard of Tiger Woods and Serena and Venus Williams. Though these athletes have broken the stereotypes the lack of diversity in many sports still needs to be addressed. It is a hard thing to do though, how do you diversify sports when the only thing people care about is how talented the athlete is, so it may not be easy for the teams to change their diversity but it is easy for the media to represent in a diverse manner.

One commonality that I found in Sports Illustrated is the representation of the NHL, my question where are all the black people? The issue is that there is an under representation of diversity in the NHL, and how is to blame I don’t know but when I flip through the magazine all I see are white hockey players, I know there are black people in the NHL but why aren’t they in the pictures? From 1958-2010 there have only been 65 black or bi-racial players in the NHL, this number shows that there are not many people of color in the NHL, and I blame the media. When people look at pictures of hockey is shouldn’t always be all white males or white females, there aren’t many but colored people in the NHL are not non-existent. So where are all the black people?

Women in sports media is largely under represented, well except in the ads where they are half naked using their bodies to lure you into the product they are selling. Women in sports media is pretty non-existent, out of all the stories in one of the SI’s I read there was only 1 story about women’s sports, and here is the kicker, or should I say the dribbler, the story wasn’t even about sports. The article was about Cappie Pondexter a basketball player who also has a fashion line that she is launching in New York City, now I love fashion oh man do I but really its SI it should be focused on her career as a basketball player not as a designer especially since it’s the only story about a female athlete. This problem is easy to fix, focus on her accomplishments in the sports industry and include more content that includes women’s sports.

I saved my favorite for last, it wasn’t until I actually went looking in the magazine for ads that discriminate or stereotypes that I found this one.

This ad is clearly targeting men, but not just any men, men who want to get laid. Because that is clearly the message behind this, if you use Axe you will get laid and have a wild and crazy night, with not just one girl but multiple girls. My favorite part is the end where it says “Scrub away the skank with Snake Peel”. WOW! That is all I have to say, I used to like the smell of Axe but not anymore. Lets see what would I do differently, well for starters not even run the ad at all. But since that is not possible I honestly think just taking out that one line would make all the difference, but even then what the ad is implying is still degrading. Simply having an ad about how good Axe smells could have gotten the point across with out throwing in half naked girls and the not so hidden message that went along with it.

I am completely aware that Women’s magazines are in no way shape or form any better that Sports Illustrated when it comes to content and ads And nothing will change until the consumers demand higher standards.

“When you wish upon a star makes no difference who you are….. or does it?”

19 Jun

Music and movies are essentially the most influential forms of media in our culture, it is a part of our everyday lives and it is so embedded in our lives that we don’t even realize how much we consume both. Each form of media that we consume shapes who we are as a person and our views on many things in life.

Since childhood I have always loved Disney movies, I was obsessed with them and honestly I still love them, they are classics. Recently I was asked by another teacher to examine the Disney Princesses  and their effect on little girls body image. In other classes we examined the racism behind the characters and in the words of songs. I was stunned to see it like this, never when I was little did I take it in this way but now that I am older I am shocked at the racism and sexism that is embedded in the movies we grew up watching.

Starting with the Disney Princesses, the way they look and act is incredibly sexist and has a huge impact on young girls. Disney has tried desperately but failed miserable to diversify the Disney Princesses, because no matter what they do people will not be happy about it. The newest Princess was Tiana from Princess and the Frog, she was portrayed as a lower class African American living in Louisiana trying to make her dream of owning a restaurant come true. And while I could tell you everything that is wrong with the Princesses and how they portray women in a negative light, my real question is whey will people be happy with diversity in movies. Princess and the Frog was probably the most controversial movie Disney has put out, some say its stereotypical and others say its not portraying black women properly, but really what is the right way. If Disney had give Tiana a curvy figure, big lips, and wooly black hair as one reader said on a blog, there would have been an uproar that they were being stereotypical. But having not done that many people are mad that they did not portray her in a true ethnic sense. So where does this all end? I feel like Disney is fighting a never ending battle against the world. They are criticized for trying to incorporate a black princess into the mix, and in my opinion I think they did a good job, they gave her qualities of a black woman with out being blatantly stereotypical. Hopefully one day things will not be this way and we will stop seeing things in color but until then I leave you with this video.

Rap and Hip hop, is just another form of media that shapes us as we grow up and is a huge part of our culture. For some people this kind of music is a way of life, embedded in everything they do. I have always loved this kind of music, especially when I was younger, lately I have found myself growing out of it because though it used to be a form of culture and almost poetic I have found that it is not the same today. Not only does rap and hip-hop exploit women, especially in their music videos many times the lyrics are promoting violence. I am not saying that this goes for all of the music but I large majority of it does just this. My biggest issue with this form of music though is the use of the N-word. It amazes me that rappers can so freely through this word around and then also rap about discrimination and racism. If you want the discrimination and racism to stop then stop making people think its ok. Young kids who aspire to be rappers think that it is ok to say this word and so instead of taking their fame and being a good role model for kids they are influencing them in a negative way. Yet still they rap about being discriminated against. I can’t say that I know what it is like to be discriminated against, but I do know the saying “practice what you preach” and I know that the answer to racism is not using the N-word. I think there is a double standard when it comes to this word, and it is most prominently shown through hip-hop and rap for example Lil’ Waynes song Ice Cream Paint Job.

Racism and sexism is in everything we see and hear, if you look hard enough it is clear we are far from where we should be.

Your Beauty is Who You Are. Not What You Wear.

17 Jun

Racism is everywhere, its in everything we do and are a part of, whether we like it or not. Racism even rears its ugly little head even in the prettiest of people, it is there buried deep beneath a world of beautiful people and expensive clothes, but even nice things can’t hide the ugliness of racism in fashion.

Fashion is something that I have always loved, since a young age I have worked along side my mom producing fashion shows, and even started working in Dallas at 17 for a big agency. I love what I do but I cannot ignore the racism that exists in the world of fashion.

I read countless magazine every month and notice the same things each time, every cover girl is white, or atleast for the most part. And those who are of a different race are usually portrayed as exotic and sexy but never the all American girl. In a country that is called the “melting pot” you would think that we wouldn’t see things like this, but we do every month when the magazines hit the stands. This prejudice is especially prominent when it comes to representation of black women. Naomi Campbell is one of the most popular African-American models in the world, yet Campbell has only been on 8 Vogue covers, and this sounds like a lot but comparatively Gisele Bundchen has been on 12 Vogue covers ( as of 2007).  Though Vogue is not the only fashion magazine that has an under representation of colored women, it is the most scrutinized and widely recognized. I can look through my collection of Vogues and count on 2 hands the number of women on the cover who are of a different race. I even have some foreign issues from Paris, London, China, and Japan and even those have white women on the cover. What kind of message does this send to readers and young girls who aspire to be in the fashion industry?

Images of white beautiful women fill the covers of magazines, and it only says one thing.  “Girls, if you want to be beautiful you have to be white, tall, and thinner than 90% of the American population.” This unrealistic image of what beauty is, is the cause of eating disorders and depression that many young girls face. For colored girls, being white is even more unrealistic, these girls are only seeing images of “beauty” as white, something that they cannot be and they wonder is black not beautiful?

But the thing is BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL. And girls of color should not have to wonder why they are not represented in fashion and question their own beauty. A black girl should not be scared to pursue a modeling career because there will be a lack of work. Magazines are always preaching about body image and how to make yourself look and feel good but what they don’t realize is that the images make a bigger impact than the words they write. So if they really want to promote a positive body image they need to portray a more realist view of American’s, because unless they live in a box they would realize we are not all white.

So next time you pick up a magazine be aware of the racism that exist, even in the world of fashion. Because beauty can only cover things as ugly as racism for so long.

Vogue (French) was criticized for being racist after painting a white model with black paint.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. ” – Barack Obama

16 Jun

I feel it necessary to start by saying this: I am a white, female from an upper-class family, and I am privileged.

I am privileged because of my race, my class and my gender. I used to think of privilege as being something more materialistic, but after hearing Tim Wise speak I have realized that its not about what is actually physically handed to you its about the advantages society has given you because of discrimination. I had to hear a white man say this to have it finally click and I know this is because of my identity. My race has made me blind to the world around me, and this is not something I am proud of.

Having listened to Tim Wise and read McIntosh’s article I have come to a new conclusion on what privilege is.

Privilege is something that gives you an advantage in the world, whether that advantage be because of your skin color, your class, or your gender. It is things that can be touched and held but also things that are invisible to the naked eye. Tim Wise talked about how people of color are discriminated against by police, how a black teenager driving a nice car is automatically pulled over and searched. Discrimination…. that’s how I saw what was going on, I never once thought to myself “man I sure am privileged to not have cops assume that because I drive a nice car I am a drug dealer.” But this one thing is an example of not only privilege but white privilege, because simple things like this, stuff that I see everyday, and that thought has never crossed my mind until now.

Privilege is more than just what can be seen, privilege is not having to hear negative stereotypes about your own race and privilege is not feeling like people are scared of me when I walk down the street at night.

Thinking about all of this is easy, but writing it down, knowing that everyone in the world has access to it is terrifying to me. Because though I know that white privilege is wrong, and it is a form of discrimination I still cringe at the thought of giving something I have been given up or the thought of not having the advantage that I have.

When you start to put white privilege in perspective you realize just how much you have been given, especially for someone like me, and I now realize why white people don’t talk about white privilege. If we were to talk about it then we would be admitting that something was wrong and by admitting that it is wrong we are obligating ourselves to make a change and making a change would be leveling out the playing field and all of a sudden the thought of not having privilege is too scary to think of….. so instead of making a change we continue to live in a world where privilege is invisible. Like McIntosh explained it, “I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets which I can count on cashing in each day.”

Though it scares me to think about, I know deep in my heart that what is happening is wrong and I know that I want it to change, not only for the people who are constantly discriminated against but for myself. As selfish as it may be I do not want to think that I got a job based on the color of my skin, nor should someone have to think they didn’t get a job because of their skin color. I want to live in a world where your ability and skill is what makes you successful and gets you the job, not the color of your skin.

We live in a world of denial; we deny that race, gender and class are prominent issues faced by every American and we refuse to address the subjects and learn more about it.

And until we realize that knowledge is power we will continue to live in a world where privilege exists.

“Stereotypes are devices for saving a biased person the trouble of learning”

15 Jun

“A pattern of stereotypes is not neutral.  It is not merely a way of substituting order for the great blooming, buzzing confusion o reality.  It is not merely a short cut.  It is all these things and something more.  It is the guarantee of our self-respect; it is the project upon the world of our own sense of our own value, our own position and our own rights.  The stereotypes are therefore, highly charged with the in feelings that are attached to them.  they are the fortress of our tradition, and behind its defenses we can continue to feel ourselves safe in the position we occupy “(1956: 96). – Lippman

It took me a while to digest this quote, because not only is it completely true but its hard to admit that everyone does it, everyone stereotypes other people. Stereotypes are so embedded in our culture that “they are the fortress of our tradition,” and for years we have been able to hide behind them. I think what Lippman is trying to get at, is that stereotypes are more than just a way to group people and categorize them but it is a way to keep ourselves feeling powerful and valuable. We are able to hide behind stereotypes as if it were a wall, we feel safe using them because they have always been a part of our society.

It has been my experience that people are unwilling to look beyond the stereotypes and see a person for who they really are. Reading this the word “short cut” immediately stood out to me, because to me that describes stereotyping for the most part. When people use stereotypes it is because they are too lazy to look beyond the label and see people for their individuality, it is a short cut for defining people, much like racism. I find it funny that everyone wants to be looked at as an individual not a group, but yet we do not treat others as we would want to be treated. I mean come one the “golden rule” is something you learn from a young age, then how come no one follows it?

Though it is not contemporary media who started stereotypes they sure aren’t trying to stop it. Contemporary media is the biggest influence on stereotypical thinking and how we see groups of people. Lippmans quote describes contemporary media because just the our society no one wants to be that person or show to break down the wall, the wall that shields us from reality. Stereotypes are a protective blanket that we keep with us, the media can count on these stereotypes to make people laugh and to entertain, because honestly it is much easier to laugh at it then to bring it to the forefront as a real issue in America. The media has yet to have someone willing to break the mold and get out of the comfort zone we call stereotypes.

I honestly can not think of one show on TV that I watch that does not use stereotypes as comedy relief. From Family Guy to Will & Grace shows are constantly showing our society that it is ok to stereotype because its funny, but at the end of the day its only funny when its not about you.