Thursday, July 2, 2009

The End is Only the Beginning

I'm not sure what I originally had thought I would get from this class. Perhaps just a general discussion of how the media portrays race and gender, but nothing as heated or intense as we actually.

There were days I would leave the class and be completely frustrated, to the point that it would build throughout the day and I would lie in bed and it would filter through my head while trying to get to sleep. I would think "How can some people still believe these things?" And I would have to remind myself that all of us have different life experiences, and that through these experiences we bring a greater understanding of the world, piece by piece. Some people get a lot of pieces really fast, and some get really big pieces, but the our view of the world is based on our experiences.

There was a time when I identified heavily as conservative and had pre-conceived prejudices about several minorities (including gays and lesbians). Through college, my experiences, my education, and the people I met helped to reshape how I viewed the world. I can say that college provided a truly enlightening experience and one that I wouldn't trade for anything.

As for this class, it has proved to me that there are still things that I have to learn, things that I had never completely noticed (and if I had, it had been peripherally and I hadn't actually thought about them). I really enjoyed our discussions, even the ones that frustrated me. We learned from each other and helped to challenge each others' ways of thinking.

Before this class I had never really thought about privilege, but the more I think about it, the more I see it within our culture, and for many majorities, not just white privilege. And yet it is still surprising and sad that things in our society can be based on such things as being part of a minority or majority.

Another part of what we discussed that has made an impact is the use of phrases that have become so ingrained in our speech that we don't notice that they are something offensive. It never even crossed my mind that "low man on the totem pole" or "no way, jose" or even "paddy wagon" might be taken offensive. It is something I plan to be more conscious of in the future.

To say that the class has exceeded my expectations wouldn't entirely do it justice (see above that I didn't have set expectations before the class). I have enjoyed this class quite a bit. It is impressive that 15 people from pretty different backgrounds and lives can come together to (for the most part) rationally discuss such heavy issues as race, gender, and sexual orientation and how the media (we) portray them.

As Monica has tried to stress several times throughout the class, we are the future of mass communication. In one form or another, we will be the ones creating and distributing images. Will something you produce one day be used in a class like this as a negative example? Are you the next Michael Bay?

ps- Gran Torino was entertaining, but the acting really wasn't that good. I wouldn't have given it an Oscar nod either.
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