Wednesday, March 24, 2010

CES 301 Concepts and Race

The recent (un)natural disaster in Haiti devastated the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and although the media attention allowed a way for the country to get help, it also became a way for public opinion to be voiced. Christian televangelist Marion Gordon "Pat" Robertson was quoted as justifying the Haitian events as acts of god. Check out this YouTube clip of Mr. Robertson's own words. "

Pat Robertson's very public and very Christian driven comments on the Haitian tragedy (as well as his comments on Katrina) attached god to the disaster placing the blame on the people who suffered. All social responsibility for the conditions of Haiti were thus wiped away because god divinely punished through retribution.

Besides news stories like this, Haiti has become a way to market products. Corporations have taken to mass advertisement to promote their products coupled with the consumers being able to donate. All of these companies have chosen to advertise their product through their announcements of donations to Haiti.
  • Tide
  • Time Warner
  • The Red Cross
  • Bank of America
  • Google
  • HP
  • Target
Commodity fetishism was discussed on the first day of class and defined to mean an exchange of cash and/or credit for use of resources.
This definition relates to the concept of race in media because media revolves around the exchange of cash for the resources of those seen in media. When those in media are rarely people of color, it hinders the chances for more people of color to be portrayed in media.

After the earthquake the media did everything within it's power to show as much footage as possible. After a few days however many media outlets chose to do human interest coverage versus raw coverage many originally focused.

Adoption and celebrity involvement in Haiti became the new norm for news coverage. Check out to see a website focusing on Haitian adoptions after the earthquake.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Images of Oppression and Inequality

Many people would find it hard to believe that there are still instances where "Black face" and "yellow face" performances are still used for humor and advertisement but they still are.

Here, French Vogue did a spread in it's November 2009 issue using white models painted Black to sell clothing.

Dutch model Lara Stone wore black body makeup in the November 2009 issue of French Vogue magazine.

In the film "Tropic Thunder" faced controversy from people angry over its slanderous use humor when referring to people with mental illnesses but also featured Robert Downey Jr. as an Australian actor who undergoes "skin darkening" to play a Black military leader during the Vietnam war.

Robert Downey Jr. in "Black face" in the film "Tropic Thunder" which grossed $110,416,702 (US as of November 9, 2008)

The film "I now Pronounce you Chuck and Larry" featured a cameo from Rob Schneider who played a Canadian Asian minister who barely speaks audible English.

Rob Schneider in "yellow face" playing an Asian minister.The film grossed $119,684,970 (in the US as of October 14, 2007).

In every image above, the directors of this media form felt a person not of color would demonstrate a point better than an actual person of color. In the case of the white, dutch model in "Black face," the intention was to sell clothes. In the case of the film "Tropic Thunder," they felt it would be more entertaining to have a white actor play a Black actor instead of just hiring a Black actor. Equally damaging and yet perhaps less acknowledged is the use of "Yellow face" in the film "I Know Pronounce you Chuck and Larry," where the character was not only acting out exaggerated stereotypes but also reinforced the negative ideologies put upon Asian men.

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