Analysis

3 May

So far my examination of racism in mass media through out the United States has considered how racism is considered on the private sector through film, how it is examined through the public lens of viral video and how we can examine it in the most public place of all: politics.

All of these instances show us one distinct point– understanding the cultural story of races and ethnicities could have provided a much more desirable outcome for M. Night Shyamalan, Alexandra Wallace and Marilyn Davenport. Furthermore, consideration of their location could have saved them from public shaming. However, their lack of judgement and consideration for such stories consequentially presented them in the poor light of ignorance and inconsideration.

All three of these individuals failed to examine the cultural location of their actions: the internet. The internet has become a public realm for information and examination no information is private or privy to some in this sphere; it is accessible by all.

  • M. Night Shyamalan’s public interviews to a online based website were examined by millions which made the public determine that he was not sensitive to the ethnic or cultural identities of Asians or Inuits.
  • Alexandra Wallace used one of the most public video sharing websites in the world that promotes sharing video and receiving feedback to voice her opinion which resulted in extremely negative feedback for her negative words.
  • Marilyn Davenport, while believing she was under the safety net of a private network forgot that the internet doesn’t forget and sent an email that was deeply inconsiderate to people who understood that the cultural story of African Americans like President Barack Obama.

Interesting to consider is how these instances are different from one another.

While M. night Shyamalan was ridiculed for his production of Avatar: The Last Airbender, he will still be able to make films, and will still be a productive director who will earn copious amounts of money for his films. It is likely that his career will not be affected at all by this blunder. Is it because his work is considered art? Is it because he was simply creating a film based  on his vision? Or is he treated differently because he is famous? The media illustrates a sign to the public that people who are famous are invincible– therefore we are signifying that we should not consider their actions as negatively as we would had it been someone else in the public sphere.

Alexandra Wallace was forced to leave UCLA because of the widespread attention her actions received.  Posting her opinions on the internet and directly making racist remarks had ensured her ridicule by her peers. It’s possible that Alexandra Wallace will have trouble finding employment. It’s likely that she will be judged and considered based on her actions because of how public her opinions became. Society has taught it’s citizens to ostracize individuals without forgiveness.

However, Marilyn Davenport may not face the same consequences as Alexandra Wallace. While Ms. Davenport may have been public and deeply inconsiderate in her actions, she is already an accomplished individual who was able to use the mask of a “joke” to conceal her opinion and position. While some may not respect her in the way they had previously, Davenport is protected by her position in politics, her knowledge of the law and very likely a strong attorney.

We’re able to see how these instances are similar when we consider how they have come to be although it’s also important to consider how the media and how society will treat these individuals differently for their actions despite their severity.

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One Response to “Analysis”

  1. Madhavi Murty May 31, 2011 at 12:54 AM #

    Excellent work Amber! Some terrific examples and great analysis as well. I particularly appreciate your attention in the specific medium within which these stories are narrated and circulated – Hollywood mainstream film, youtube video etc – this lends a great deal of sophistication to your work. I think you are also pointing to how old racial tropes continue to circulate in this time which is seen to be “post-race.” Good work!

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