Author Archives: joesmith1324
Media and it’s stereotypes
When it comes to stereotypes in our culture and how they are played out in the media one main article in the Des Moines Register a few weeks back comes to mind. This article dealt with the amount of disruptions in the areas schools by race. This shows and unfortunate depiction of disparity in the schools, yet it does not show the backgrounds that the students come from, while these stereotypes are not aimed at any one person they do show racial differences which feed into these already hard to change stereotypes.
A professor in one of my courses made the point that often many stereotypes are based at least in part in reality, such as when I tried to call my phone provider and proceeded to try communicating with an Indian man. Or in the show Family guy with Mort Goldman being a Jewish pharmacy owner. This perpetuates the stereotype that Jewish people are especially smart and care about money more than most things.
One thing that stereotypes give, especially for a younger audience is a point of reference, good or bad, it makes things easier for children to see things simplified. This does not bode well for changing negative stereotypes like black people being gangsters or thieves or uneducated, such as in the show Shameless where Carl “thinks he’s black and uneducated” by having cornrows, selling guns and other things, which to find out the black girl he is trying to get with has a police officer as a father. And is quite intelligent.
In the case of Lamb’s Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School District the Supreme Court overturned previous lower court rulings that upheld the school districts refusal to allow the church use of its rooms after hours on the basis of the viewpoint of the subject matter being religiously oriented. Schools have permission to grant access to their grounds after-hours for different uses, but not for religious purposes. Some of these uses were “social, civic, and recreational use.” The church requested the use of a classroom for a film series about child-rearing and family values from a religious viewpoint. The request was denied twice because the viewpoint was church oriented. After two lower courts upheld the schools decision to deny access the Supreme Court overturned the rulings on the basis of freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The opinions of the supreme court justices are summed up in this, that the school district did not have the ability to refuse the use of its’ rooms for the topic or childrearing and family values because the viewpoint was religiously based.
Previously similar cases have had what has been called the “lemon test” which came to be after the case Lemon v. Kurtzman (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemon_v._Kurtzman). This rule has been used and forgotten many times, as justice Scalia stated in the current case of Lamb’s Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School District, “It is there to scare us (and our audience) when we wish it to do so, but we can command it to return to the tomb at will.” (https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/508/384) justice Scalia also stated “Such a docile and useful monster is worth keeping around, at least in a somnolent state; one never knows when one might need him.”
I believe this case and those like it are still relevant today when talking about almost anything. People dislike talking about subjects from certain viewpoints, but when discrimination happens because of where a certain persons, or groups, viewpoint comes from that goes against our rights to free speech. No matter the viewpoint someone is going to get upset, we believe that a different view has to be wrong, instead of gathering multiple views and incorporating the ideas into our own.
Over the course of the weekend some of the movies or video outlets I have viewed included the movies Angels and Demons, Quigley Down Under, and Ultraviolet, athletic broadcasts of college and professional football, and the show The Big Bang Theory. One thing to note is the range of these genres, but most have one thing in common in that they were watched for entertainment purposes. Sadly, not being much of a sports person the football games were primarily due to the fact that they were not my choice, but the choice of others.
An underlying theme is in doing what a person believes is right, whether that is trying to find the truth behind things as is in Angels and Demons, or fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves as in Quigley Down Under and Ultraviolet.
That being said the media we choose will in fact have an impact on us, there are two ways that this can be demonstrated. These two ideas are demonstrated in Albert Bandura’s bobo doll experiment. The main problem with this is that as adults, or young adults we understand behaviors that should or shouldn’t be mimicked, as we would have as young children. The second idea is that of priming in which we subconsciously can be influenced by simple things.
With these ideas the possibility that the media we watch influences us is almost guaranteed whether we realize or acknowledge these influences though is the hard part.