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Reflections and Thanks

JHarmon's picture

While last night's performances were really touching and funny, we all know that they went far beyond that. They showed our sense of agency to go into the world with the knowledge we've gained and actually make a change--whether that change is simply modifying how we will personally operate in the world or taking our knowledge to a broader audience through teaching, playing games, noticing bias in youtube videos, or rapping. The only thing I hope is that our efforts don't stop just because this class has. I hope we continue to keep what we've learned in our minds far beyond this class and our years at Bryn Mawr. In my group's performance, we didn't get a chance to share what Robin Kelly said, and that is that we can't change the media until we change society; and we cannot change society until we change ourselves. It is only in this sort of cyclical pattern of “making new people” that we can “make new television.”

So, going into our group's performance, I wanted to thank all of you for baring with us in all of our technical difficulties. Essentially, our group decided on the topic of media bias because of the stats Hayley shared with you. So many of our perceptions and beliefs are shaped by a media that isn't showing us the truth. Corporate television tends to show us things that are easy—they make quick generalizations that have little to do with how the world actually works. Because of this, when we see slums we only think of drug dealers and violence; when we see suburbia, we only think of perfect families that don't have real struggles; and when we see the American Dream, we think it's attainable just by simply working hard. All of these things are far from the truth, and I think we've progressed enough to know this. So, our goal was to highlight why we believe these things and what we can do about it. In this, we hoped to inspire a greater sense of agency in the group to go out and resist the bias we see in everyday life that's perpetuated through the media. Recognize that no, just because you're from Jersey doesn't mean you like to fist pump, and it's wrong, like Shannon said, to put people into “tiny little boxes.” There are so many ways to resist bias, and through doing this, we can save ourselves and save other people.

I'll give you an example:

When I was in second grade, I watched Legally Blonde for the first time. Yes, it's TOTALLY stereotyping SO MANY types of people in this movie, but one stereotype it broke was that girls are dumb. And in second grade, and this will sound weird but, it inspired me. Yes, Elle was still ditsy and overprivileged, but what I saw was a girl who wouldn't be pushed around. She inspired me to be powerful, independent, and strong. A moment of breaking a bias changed how I saw myself, and I attribute a part of who I am and why I chose Bryn Mawr to that movie.

So, I'll leave you with some words from one of my favorite authors in the hope that you'll choose to act instead of simply believing that things are the way they are.

“The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.”—Elie Wiesel.