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racism in Media literacy and how that should be involved in education

mzhang's picture

After all discussions held passionately in class about the potential racism reflected in books and movies, I think our discussions has gone way too far. The Hunger Games might not be the perfect example for us to examine the racist ideologies but due to its popularity among the teens, we take it as an entering point. As Alice pointed out that what we had got from the book was far beyond the book's orignial intentions and I think we should not put that much effort on the content, per se. 

From country to country, region to region, there must be a dominant culture and a dominant ideology, which is understadable and there is no need to deny or overthrow. Mass media does nothing wrong until it was utilized for malicious purposes. It is impossible to have a ultimate equal distribution of each race and culture in one place. We must admit the inequality to pursue the equal rights beyond. Thus I do not think it is necessary to behave radically about spontaneously assuming the book characters as one familiar to reader, in skin color, in race or cultural background. It is natural and subconsciousness works. When I start the book, The Hunger Games, I did not close the book and refuse to read because I saw the author's name, Susan, which is definitely not a name belongs to my own ethnic group. The author's westernized name indicates that the book will be a story which is not happened in the country I am from with characters not from my races. I accept the fact and the background and set this background in my mind before projecting my own life experience on the book. This is, not racism at all. When the book was put into movies and we, as the audience, might find slight differences between the actors chose by director and the images we assumed in mind while reading and this shows us how the director's mind works in interpreting the book. We could not blame the director for his/her own experience or interpretation but we surely should have critical opinions. 

Media literacy is always what we promotes and encourages and what we need to consider in terms of educating hte next generation might be how to develop their own critical thinking and to avoid irrational thoughts. It is normal to learn and live in mass media and there is a cost of visibility for minor cultures and education makes us open our eyes to make this norm visible to us and to notice is the first step for further consideration and operations. We reveal the reality of the existence of dominant and marginal cultures and encourage critical perspectives. What we should not do is to over-criticize and to be cynical.