I picked my topic for my video-graphic essay because I am interested in the use of media and film to portray institutional racism, explicit and implicit racism, and how racism itself, manifested throughout the past century. Our country has made strides that attempt to close the racial disparities but they very minimal attempts. There is still slavery going on, not only in this country but all over the world, and it constantly gets overlooked. Overlooking the reason why there are major disparities in this country isn’t doing anyone justice, instead, it is a disservice to everyone in the world. Not only are we saying that we don’t care about the people who are discriminated against, abused, taken advantage of, and other horrendous things, but that their perpetrators aren’t in the wrong for what they are doing- perpetrators being us as US citizens (This Is America). My video encompasses clips from Jordan Peele’s movies – US and Get Out. Get Out came out last year and US came out a few months ago, both of which speak to the racism Black people face every day. My argument of the video was that with race, stereotypes, and representation, we can see how even today, there are instances of racism that only perpetuate the problem we have as a nation – the racial disparities and the inequalities minorities face every day. Through my video, I wanted to show the explicit and implicit ways in which this society we live in, adds fuel to the fire and neglects to help and treat everyone as an “equal citizen.”
There were many things that I was interested in and could’ve made my video about, but I decided that in order for there to be change, I needed to bring to the table some of the reasons why this country isn’t taking the steps necessary to create an equal and just place for everyone – no matter their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or background. This process was long and exhausting but I am grateful for this class and project. Without this project, I feel as though it would’ve taken me longer to be comfortable, being a little fish in a huge pond, to take a stand and show people that change needs to happen. This process showed me that you don’t have to be a celebrity using your platform to reach hundreds of thousands of people, or be a big name brand that that produces material that perpetuates this idea of racism which in return, brings notice to the stupidity this country is forced to live with and through, but instead, I can be an African-American, young lady – one of a few people in my entire family (on both sides) to go to college, at the University of Richmond, to receive a free education in order to help this country thrive and help its people reach new heights. You don’t have to be well-known to be a somebody and this process and this class taught me that in a new way. Not only did this process help me learn about myself, but also the value and importance media, culture and identity has on us as individuals. The use, or the lack thereof, of media is huge, especially with my generation. Technology and its’ advancement is all we know and it is only going to grow from here. By well-known organizations picking and choosing when to cover something or hide the facts – it just goes to show, that those who have the power over us and the media we get to see, are trying to shape a culture and identity of the country as they see fit. By doing this, it eliminates all of the creativity and spontaneity that we have as citizens, even though that is something that every college looks for in their applicants which is ironic. By limiting and creating this invisible box around people of certain races and religions, it only hurts the country. I believe that I am at the University of Richmond, not only because I am a basketball player, but because they saw something in my application, even before meeting me, that inspired them and showed them that with the diploma I receive from here, I can create change in the world and help people in ways that weren’t even imagined 20-30 years ago. My generation and the ones to come after me are filled with creative, vibrant, interesting, and complex human beings from all walks of life but none of our similarities and differences should stand in our way of achieving greatness.
Race, stereotype and representation were my keywords. The reasoning for these keywords is explained above but I could’ve used censorship and intersectionality to accompany race as well. I would’ve had censorship and intersectionality because it is very evident, especially through evidence used in this class, that the media we see every day is hand-picked for us and there is information that is hidden from the public for various reasons. In addition, I could’ve used intersectionality because I feel as though intersectionality was used heavily in the movie Get Out and it would’ve shown how, even as diverse people, we still have various connections to one another, regardless of the differences in our skin color.
I chose to take the clips from the trailer in US and the “sunken place” video from Get Out to really prove my point of implicit and explicit racism that is still in our society today. The trailer showed the two “different” families and the movie later explains, implicitly, that there is a clear divide amongst races – there are people who live on the surface and have access to various amounts of resources and money to do things that “other” people don’t have the luxury to do. And with Get Out, the clip showed how our black bodies are taken advantage of as a way to benefit other people, other people being the white race in this instance. With this clip and the reversal of it, I tried to show how in the past, whites taken advantage of black bodies was the case but now we are reclaiming our bodies and our race which is also why I added the video about Trump bashing LeBron James for opening up a charter school in Akron, Ohio for underprivileged kids. That video was there to show how, even the president of the United States, is more concerned about LeBron trying to better the lives of children in Ohio than on presidential matters like his apparent involvement with the Russians to sabotage the elections (USA Today).
https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1025586524782559232 – tweet from D Trump about LeBron
https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2018/08/03/president-trump-bashes-lebron-james-cnn-interview/904477002/ – story about trump bashing lebron
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYOjWnS4cMY – this is america video
https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/736076-beloved – beloved quote