REEL DIVERSITY A Community Model of Teaching Difference & Social Justice
Helpful Resources 2009 NAME Book of the Year Visit www.briancjohnson.net for ordering information
What is Media Literacy? …a framework to access, analyze, evaluate, and create messages in a variety of forms… …builds an understanding of the role of media in society as well as essential skills of inquiry and self-expression necessary for citizens of a democracy Center for Media Literacy, 2008
ML Core Concepts All media messages are constructed. Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules. Different people experience the same message differently. Media have embedded values and points of view. Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power. Center for Media Literacy (2008)
Keys to Diversity Education Create a common lexicon Must include the systemic nature of oppression (not just individual acts) Focus on issues and principles rather than identity politics Include the “majority” perspective Value open dialogue (don’t be scared) Ask good questions
Types of Questions Develop questions that get at… What makes this message seem realistic or unrealistic? How does this message fit with your lived experience of the world? What social or ideological messages are a part of the message’s subtext? What kinds of behaviors and consequences are depicted? What is omitted from this message? Whose point of view is presented? Center for Media Literacy (2008)
Diversity = Difference a characteristic that distinguishes one person from another or from an assumed “norm,” or the state of being distinguished by such characteristics.
Stitch: The Movie (2003)
Questions to consider Because Stitch’s differences are so pronounced, it is hard for him to fit in. What types of differences are easy to see in our society? What areas of diversity are invisible? How would you answer this question: Who are the students who feel most culturally safe/unsafe in our campus community? Who might be called “freaky?”
Dimensions of Diversity Gender Age Race Sexuality Nationality Religion Class Ability Geographic Linguistic These impact our understanding of our personal and societal values, manners of expression, communication styles, and other cultural orientations
Beauty Shop (2005) Gender a cultural notion of what it is to be a woman or a man; a construct based on the social shaping of femininity and masculinity. Gender includes subjective concepts about character traits and expected behaviors that vary from place to place and person to person.
The Process of “Diversity”
Stereotype an exaggerated belief, image, or distorted truth about a person or group—a generalization that allows for little or no individual differences or social variation.
Prejudice an opinion, prejudgment or attitude formed with the perception of sufficient knowledge about a group or its members.
Possible Questions Which forms of prejudice are most socially acceptable, and which are least acceptable? Why are some forms more acceptable than others? How would you respond to a close friend or family member who made some type of prejudiced comment? Would your reaction be different if it were a stranger or acquaintance?
Discrimination unequal treatment of people based on their membership in a group
Addams Family Values (1993)
You Try It… After viewing this clip from Addams Family Values, what types of questions could you ask your students that would provoke cross-cultural dialogue?
Oppression the systematic, institutionalized mistreatment of one group of people by another for any reason. Oppression is based on a complicated and changing network of unequal power relations
SOCIAL JUSTICE is the Key a combination of laws, behaviors, and attitudes promoting equal rights and fair treatment of all members of society. The practice of social justice includes resistance to racism, sexism, classism, and other forms of oppression.