Tags: crime/law/deviance, discourse/language, gender, inequality, media, sports, violence, assault, blaming the victim, domestic abuse, intimate partner violence, nfl, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: [Trigger warning for a discussion of domestic abuse and intimate partner violence] An important news story has once again put the spotlight on America's problem with domestic abuse and gender-based violence, and it involves (former) Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice assaulting then fiancée, Janay Palmer, in an elevator of an Atlantic City casino. Video footage of the incident confirms the couple got into a heated argument, and then somewhere during the course of the elevator's descent toward the lobby, Rice delivered a blow with enough force to seemingly render Palmer unconscious. A security camera from the lobby captures Rice dragging his fiancée's limp body out of the elevator and onto the lobby floor. Isn't this just an isolated incident of a man losing his temper? Since most men and women agree that physically assaulting another person is wrong, what is left to discuss? Here's something to consider: women are victims of rape and assault at the hands of men far more than the reverse. According to the Department of Justice, about 1 in 4 women have been victimized by an intimate partner, and this asymmetry suggests Americans still have much to discuss in terms of gendered patterns of violence. The same is true for only about 7% of all men. To be sure, there are certainly interpersonal details that led Rice and Palmer to quarrel that day, but it is no less true that Ray Rice assaulted Janay Palmer because Ray Rice lives in a society where it is sometimes permissible, and even expected, for men to enact physical violence against women. Sure, in the abstract, people agree it's wrong, but if one listens to how people actually make sense of instances of assault, it becomes clear that assault against women is only wrong with qualifications. For instance, the above video features commentator Stephen A. Smith on ESPN's "First Take" imploring viewers to "make sure we [sic] don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions.” As a sociologist, I can appreciate the importance of contextualizing social phenomena, but understanding the causal chain of events that lead to a given conflict is something different than excusing violence or saying the violence is understandable (i.e., morally acceptable). Rather than using his media platform to simply denounce Rice's behavior as wrong, Smith appears to ask his audience to consider the ways in which Janay Palmer was asking to be hit. In the spirit of truly contextualizing the abuse, Smith would do well to ask viewers to consider how a discourse of blaming the victim (also discussed here) perpetuates a state of affairs where women are the overwhelming victims of physical abuse (Note that Smith later offered an apology for his comments).
Submitted by: Lester Andrist
Tags: discourse/language, immigration/citizenship, inequality, nationalism, prejudice/discrimination, race/ethnicity, hispanic, microaggressions, whiteness, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: This satirical video features a Hispanic male and female commenting to white individuals about white culture and norms. Some topics they address include: white food, white sports commentators, white standards of dress, white families, white names and pronunciation, beauty standards, and immigration status. They say things such as: "My nanny was white so I totally get it. I feel like I am part white because of my nanny"; "Is it true that white people all have small, quiet families? I wish I had that"; "You went to Princeton? Oh, you're white, that's how you got in." Like common stereotypes about Hispanics and other racial groups, the comments all imply that white culture is homogenous and that all white individuals experience their whiteness in the same way. It turns the table on the white respondents by implying that they are speaking as members of their race, which racial minorities are often expected to do. Perhaps the more fundamental challenge is that it forces white respondents (and viewers) to consider whiteness as a part of their identity, which is something that is not often experienced or commented upon by whites (this is an example of white privilege). Again, this is often not the case for racial minorities, whose racial identity cannot so easily be ignored because they continuously experience situations where others identify them by their racial group. White viewers might be encouraged to consider what it would feel like to experience these types of comments on a daily basis. In particular, it suggests various ways in which Hispanics experience microaggressions, or the “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color” (Sue, et. al. 2007). The clip adopts a similar strategy as this other satirical video that addresses frequent stereotypical comments that Asian-Americans experience from white Americans.
Submitted By: Alan Neustadtl
Tags: children/youth, culture, discourse/language, gender, intersectionality, prejudice/discrimination, race/ethnicity, colorism, racism, self-esteem, 61+ mins
Summary: As stated on the film's website, "Dark Girls is a fascinating and controversial documentary film that goes underneath the surface to explore the prejudices that dark-skinned women face throughout the world. It explores the roots of classism, racism and the lack of self-esteem within a segment of cultures that span from America to the most remote corners of the globe. Women share their personal stories, touching on deeply ingrained beliefs and attitudes of society, while allowing generations to heal as they learn to love themselves for who they are." Filmmakers D. Channsin Berry and Bill Duke spoke about their own motivations for making the film, citing their own experiences with colorism or, discrimination based on skin color. Specifically, Duke cites a famous social psychological study design in which young black children are presented with two dolls--one black and one white--and are asked to point to the doll that is not pretty, not smart, bad, etc (this study is explored in more detail in the short film A Girl Like Me). Repeatedly, the children selected the black doll. Duke points to CNN's reproduction of this test decades later, which had similar results. This film would be useful to screen in any course that examines race, the intersection of race with gender and class, racism, and various dimensions of the self. Similar themes about discrimination and skin color are explored in the short film Shadeism.
Submitted By: Denae Johnson and Valerie Chepp
Tags: discourse/language, emotion/desire, gender, intersectionality, media, prejudice/discrimination, race/ethnicity, sports, American football, racialized masculinity, racism, 06 to 10 mins
Summary: On January 19, 2014, the Seattle Seahawks defeated the San Francisco 49ers in a game thrilling victory that secured their spot in Super Bowl XLVIII (which they went on to win). Immediately following the Seahawks' defeat over the 49ers, Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman gave an emotional, on-field post-game interview with FOX Sports reporter Erin Andrews. In the interview, Sherman portrayed a loud and brash display of aggression, in which he “trash talked” San Francisco receiver Michael Crabtree. In this clip, political commentator and TV host Chris Hayes highlights how the media framed Sherman--a black football player--as a “thug” after the interview. Hayes discusses the framing of black men and athletes as violent and hypermasculine with Dr. Jelani Cobb from the University Connecticut. This clip would be useful to guide discussions on the intersections of race and gender, racialized masculinity, and perceptions of threat and violence.
Submitted By: Denae Johnson
Tags: discourse/language, inequality, race/ethnicity, chicago, colorblind racism, gentrification, myth of meritocracy, post-racial, racism, shakti butler, white privilege, 61+ mins
Summary: [NOTE: Audio may be low during segments of this film so you may want to turn your audio up or use headphones.] Dismantling White Privilege is a documentary featuring interviews with students, faculty, and staff of DePaul University, as well as filmmaker and educator Shakti Butler. The film explores and analyzes white privilege and its various nuances in American society. The film is perfect for classroom instruction because it is broken down into topics, including "dealing with race" (7:17), a race analysis of the movie The Help (35:36), "gentrification" (43:56), "dealing with white privilege" (46:20), "colorblindness" (59:43), the presumption that the U.S. is "post-racial" (65:35), "the myth of meritocracy" (68:53), the intersection of race, privilege, and language (70:35), "talking about race" (78:58), and "where do we go from here?" (84:39). Each topic features a wide array of voices, opinions, and strategies about how to move forward in a country still plagued by the legacy of racism.
Submitted By: Timothy Lydon
Tags: discourse/language, knowledge, prejudice/discrimination, race/ethnicity, social mvmts/social change/resistance, theory, privilege, racism, standpoint theory, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: This short clip from Huffington Post Live features social media activist Suey Park, who is interviewed by the program's host, Josh Zepps. With Park at the helm, the interview plays as a virtual thrill ride, careening through the convoluted caverns of white male privilege and deftly swerving to miss the host's attempts to sabotage and derail. Before elaborating, a little background is in order. Zepps' interview with Park was based on #CancelColbert trending on Twitter, a hashtag Park started. The hashtag was in response to a tweet sent from an account affiliated with The Colbert Report, which reads, "I'm willing to show the Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever." It's worth mentioning that the tweet was apparently sent with the intention of lampooning Dan Snyder's recent announcement that he'll start a foundation to benefit Native Americans, instead of changing the racist name of his Washington, D.C. football team (more on that topic, here and here). During the interview, Zepps presses Park to concede that "the intent of the Colbert tweet was to criticize," but Park responds that irrespective of the ironic intention, the tweet missed its mark. "I really don't think we're going to end racism by joking about it," Park explains, "I'm glad white liberals feel like they are less racist because they can joke about people who are more explicitly racist, but that actually does nothing to help people of color." Zepps counters by suggesting that Park's energy would be better spent attacking Dan Snyder, and to this, Park recenters the discussion, explaining that the issue is about changing the behavior of white liberals, not what Josh Zepps thinks people of color should protest. Then, refusing to mince words, Park adds that Zepps is in no position as a white man to decide whether people of color are misguided in protesting the Colbert tweet. In response, Zepps resorts to calling his guest's opinion "stupid," and the segment ends shortly thereafter. There is a lot going on in this five-minute exchange between Zepps and Park, but I'll mention one point here. First, I think the conversation is an interesting example of how whites--including white liberals—often attempt to discredit and minimize the grievances of people of color. Zepps is following in the timeworn tracks of minimization and silencing: 1) "It's not a legitimate grievance because you don't understand the intent"; 2) "Okay, you understand the intent, but it's not a legitimate grievance because there are more important problems to protest"; and finally, 3) "Your opinions are stupid." The problem, as I see it, and the reason Zepps and Park will never find common ground, is that Zepps fundamentally rejects the legitimacy of Park's claims about what she and other people of color find offensive. Certainly, as a matter of principle, neither Zepps nor any other white person can be the one who ultimately decides whether a person of color has a right to be offended, but more to the point, white people occupy a structural position of privilege and power, and from that position, it is even predictable that they will not see eye to eye with people of color. Zepps clearly counts himself a logical man, who is capable of arriving at reasoned perspectives, but his logic is infected by the false premises of white privilege. He would do well to consider the many insights of standpoint theory, which argue that people working from the "outsider-within" perspective occupy a unique position, allowing them to recognize patterns of domination.
Submitted By: Lester Andrist
Tags: culture, discourse/language, knowledge, media, prejudice/discrimination, race/ethnicity, science/technology, politics of representation, symbolic representation, stereotypes, 11 to 20 mins
Summary: In this insightful gem of a clip, Thomas Cech, president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, interviews world-renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and asks him to recount the greatest obstacle he has faced while pursuing his career. Tyson begins by mentioning that while his parents were generally supportive of his ambitions, he couldn't necessarily count on the same enthusiasm and support from his peers, who were concerned that he apply his impressive intellect toward a profession that would allow him to advance the cause of the African American community. Specifically, Tyson recounts the story of a black Rhodes scholar in economics, who upon hearing that Tyson's chosen major was physics, replied, "The black community cannot afford the luxury of someone with your intellect to spend it on that subject." Tyson carried this nagging judgement around with him, and then while a graduate student at Columbia University, he was interviewed on air by the local news station regarding a recent explosion on the surface of the sun. Tyson explains in this clip that as he watched himself on television that evening, he realized it was the first time he had ever seen an interview with a black person that had nothing to do with being black. The clip works well as a foray into a broader discussion about what Stuart Hall calls the politics of representation, which draws attention to fact that how one imagines a people to exist in the world—how they are represented in discourse—holds consequences for the power and resources those people are able to control and wield. Neil deGrasse Tyson's story underscores Hall's thinking on the issue. Namely, "events, relations, structures do have conditions of existence and real effects, outside the sphere of the discursive; but that it is only within the discursive...[that] they can be constructed with meaning...how things are represented and the 'machineries' and regimes of representation in a culture do play a constitutive, and not merely a reflexive, after-the-event, role" (444). Thus, Tyson's answer to the Rhode's scholar is that his visible position as a black astrophysicist constitutes an important intervention in the discourse that attempts to construct black men as unqualified for the role of scientific expert.
Submitted By: Lester Andrist
Tags: children/youth, discourse/language, education, immigration/citizenship, multiculturalism, race/ethnicity, hidden curriculum, identity, language politics, mexican-americans, subtitles/CC, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: This video is one of several animated short videos that make up the larger StoryCorps oral history project, an archive of over 45,000 interviews with nearly 90,000 participants from across America telling their stories. The story recounted in this video is told by Ramón "Chunky" Sanchez. As described here, Chunky "was raised in a small farming community in southern California in the 1950s. As was common practice at that time, teachers at his local elementary school Anglicized the Mexican American students' names." The anglicisation of personal names is the practice by which non-English-language personal names are either changed so that their spellings are closer to English sounds or English personal names are substituted for non-English names. This practice can be a personal choice or it can be imposed upon people by (more powerful) others, such as immigration officials or, in the case of Chunky's story, school administrators. While sociologists and others have documented the ways in which immigrant groups have strategically chosen to adopt or reject "American-sounding names," Chunky's story is one in which he and his classmates were subject to this practice without choice. Children with "Mexican-sounding" names had their names anglicized. For example, as Chunky explains, Maria became Mary and Juanita became Jane. Chunky's own name, Ramón, was changed to Raymond. Yet, Chunky recounts a time in second grade when his teachers had a difficulty renaming the new kid in class, Facundo. After watching the video, viewers might consider some of the following questions: (1) Why did teachers anglicize the names of students in Chunky's class? What messages did this renaming send to the students? (2) In Chunky's story, why is Facundo celebrated as a hero, and his non-renaming a victory? Each StoryCorps conversation is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, and weekly StoryCorps segments are broadcasted on NPR’s Morning Edition. For more on Chunky Sanchez and the making of this short animation, click here.
Submitted By: Anonymous
Tags: discourse/language, environment, foucault, health/medicine, knowledge, science/technology, social construction, climate change, creationism, evolution, tobacco, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: This video from The Climate Reality Project entitled "Doubt" illustrates how knowledge and power are tightly interwoven. Using two case studies—the "tobacco is good for you campaign" and the "climate change denial movement"—the clip depicts how science can be used as a mechanism of legitimation by powerful others in ways that best serves status quo interests. Michel Foucault discussed this phenomenon in his extensive work on how the discourse of science (and knowledge) is also a discourse of power. As illustrated in the video, despite the scientific evidence showing tobacco's deadly effects and climate change's dangerous outcomes, powerful interests suppressed this knowledge by introducing doubt into the discourse around tobacco use and climate change, which they backed up using a discourse of science. These powerful interests created the illusion that a scientific debate was taking place when, in reality, there wasn't. An iteration of this phenomenon recently unfolded in the media-hyped debate between Bill "the Science Guy" Nye and creationist Ken Ham. Here, the case of evolution was presented as a scientific debate, thereby suggesting that a lack of consensus surrounds the scientific evidence around evolution. This tactic of using a discourse of science to create the illusion of uncertainty around evolution was echoed by Michael Schulson in his article for The Daily Beast, in which he writes: "Ham’s argument, essentially, was that there are two kinds of science—observational, concerned-only-with-what-we-can-touch-and-see science, on which, Ham said, we all happily agree; and historical science, on which we don’t. This is bullshit, of course. We can use evidence from the present to extrapolate about the past." Yet, like the case of tobacco and climate change, by creating doubt about the earth's origins, the public's access to scientific knowledge is suppressed. This video would complement a discussion around the sociology of knowledge, science, and power, and would pair well with portions of the This American Life radio episode, "Fake Science," and with sociologist Zuleyka Zevallos's article, "The Sociology of Why People Don’t Believe Science." Viewers can be encouraged to think about: Whose interests are served in each of the fake science cases of tobacco, climate change, and evolution? What is the role of the media in perpetuating fake science? How has fake science shaped social policy? Other videos from The Climate Change Project can be found here.
Submitted By: Valerie Chepp
Tags: discourse/language, education, immigration/citizenship, inequality, nationalism, prejudice/discrimination, race/ethnicity, social mvmts/social change/resistance, theory, microaggressions, subtitles/CC, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: Microaggressions are something that happens every day, but which not many people really understand. This is a five-minute video about microaggressions featuring Professor SooJin Pate, who received her Ph.D. in American Studies at the University of Minnesota. In the video, she explains microaggressions with a couple of every day examples along with a personal anecdote, and then goes on to give advice for interrupting microaggressions. This is a great piece for helping students understand microaggressions and contextualize how they can interrupt them both as a microaggressor and a victim of microaggressions. Many students find SooJin Pate's radical approaches of kindness and activism to be an empowering way of understanding their role in achieving social justice. It is great both as an introduction to microaggressions, for students just becoming familiar with the topic; and also for students already familiar with concepts like Critical Race Theory and the Pedagogy of the Oppressed, as another perspective on the interruption of discrimination in their daily lives. Note that The Sociological Cinema has also explored the concept of microaggressions in an earlier post.
Submitted By: Macalester College Department of Multicultural Life
Got any videos?
Are you finding useful videos for your classes? Do you have good videos you use in your own classes? Please consider submitting your videos here and helping us build our database!