Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hollywood’s Whiteouts



         
Throughout history, Hollywood motion pictures have left a huge footprint amongst the portrayal of African Americans, causing individuals to stereotype them as what they say “the magic negro.”  The Magic Negro, as defined in Rita Kempley’s Mystical Black Characters Play Complex Cinematic Role, is a term used in the late 1950s where the black character will also do almost anything, including sacrificing himself, to save the white protagonist.  So what causes these black stereotypes to be alive even now?  This essay has opened up by eyes how the “magic negro” is imprinted amongst African American till today. 
            Within the start of the Cinema era, there were either none or very few black roles that have taken place. Due to the fact that so many of the African American roles were offensive, the emergence of the infamous men in the "black face"(which is where the white people would paint their skin black, drawing out certain features and starting acting out in crazy behaviors; which became the cause to stereotyping) came about. This also included authentic black actors, who performed in parts of ignorant and less valued roles. This brings back history to where African Americans were often beaten and threatened if they felt the need of integration and egalitarianism to be brought into action;
likewise the black men and women behind the camera, who show brilliance which are viewed as nonexistent.
            These racial outlooks are viewed from H. Rider Haggard in his literary classic, King Solomon’s Mines such as racial stereotypes are involved here considering Quatermaine being unable to trust Umbopa (an African) with his things, disliking his body form even though Sir Henry (European) had the same qualities (which he admired about him). These outlooks are transfused with history whereas the white men (Quatermaine, Sir Henry & Good) invade the Kaukauna’s land, overthrowing the king of his own thrown. The “magic negro” character in this novel would be Umbopa; although he’s discovered to be the lost prince named Ignosi, Quatermaine is still the protagonists in the story that receives his words wisdom and power which helped him grow throughout his journey.
            In the era of sitcoms, the "black sitcoms" became somewhat popular, such as Family Matter. These shows gave African-Americans more television coverage and showed many different roles for blacks; however, the "white sitcoms" such as Full House were still considered more profitable.  We are human beings of different colors; nobody lives in this “all black” or “all white” world. Why is there a sudden necessity of separating "black shows" with black stereotypes from "white shows" with white stereotypes? We live in the twenty-first century people, segregation was ages ago.
Although possible reasons for these “Mass Media Stereotypes” being labeled as racist for the reason that the subject of race is still a very sensitive issue in today's society, which causes the public to act negatively to making fun of it; due to the hostility caused by them, many such as I would rather have them excluded from mass media all together; starting with these “Magic Negros”.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

From Victim to Public Offender



            Does the name Adam Lanza ring a bell? How about the “Connecticut Shooting”? He actually was the person behind the twenty dead children at Sandy Hook Elementary last year. Till today police are trying to find the motive as to why anyone would do such a thing. Research shows that he isolated himself from the world by locking himself in his windowless room playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare all day. Hmmmm…does anyone see a resemblance, or is it just me? Although I whole-heartedly agree that violent media is harmful amongst children, others might think not. In the well written essay, Violent Media is good for Kids, Gerard Jones strongly believes that violent media may not hurt children, rather, in many cases, help them. One of his supporting arguments being on how people pull themselves out of emotion traps when immersing themselves in violent stories. Another was by sharing how Tarazan helped his son to overcome obstacles in his life. Lastly he uses the example of an older girl who pushed through a tough family time by the use of rap music. Although Jones makes a persuasive argument for allowing children access to violent media, his essay lacks concrete evidence, unlike mine which prove that it is rather harmful.
            When looking at Superman from the points of views of Americans, many would say that he’s an iconic symbol justice and equality within our society. Superman himself was not an American, but from the planet Krypton (some might define him as an immigrant); still he always made the safety of the people his number on priority in life. One might think that after all he’s done for the country, he’d receive the admiration and loyalty he deserves; but instead, he was continuously shunned by society for the reason that he was different than others. So how could he possibly represent equality and justice for all when he himself isn’t getting the gratitude he so rightfully deserves? What messages are they trying to send to their young readers out there, that it’s alright to alienate someone for the reason that they are different from you? Here’s where bullying comes along.
Another thing about Superman is his identity, Clark Kent’s love interest with Lois Lane; which didn’t start off that way. After Superman saved Lois’ life several times she began to have feelings for this perfect man. But when she found out it was just her best friend all along, although they ended up together afterwards, the sudden spark between them was gone. This somewhat relates to Twilight. After all, when Bella was first introduced to Edward Cullen, he was nothing more than a biology lab partner she got stuck with. But when she found out the secret he kept behind, which was him being a handsome, immortal vampire with all these powers, a sudden attraction between them comes about.  Within days of their relationship he tells her “you are my life now”; however, afterwards (in the second book) he leaves her stranded in the middle of the woods due to the damage the relationship has caused to her (broken leg, bruises, stitches, scrapped skin, etc.). Instead of Bella keeping her independence and pride, she goes through a sudden depression, even tried suicide a couple of times. One can easily point out the obvious message brought out to its female readers from these two texts, which is that without this supernatural “perfect man” every girl envisions, then life just isn’t worth living.
One might think harmful messages are not only incorporated through comic books and electronics, but also within literary classics as well. H. Rider Haggard”s novel King Solomon’s Mines is categorized as the Adventures for Boys. Based on this concept, one can start to understand what is written within the texts, what a boy wants to hear of course; and that’s where sexism comes in. This is first brought out when looking upside down at Quatermaine’s map, which is of a female body along with the hidden message that after getting what they want, they decided to leave the treasures inside the cave, which resembles a female’s private part. Another is the superiority Quatermaine attitude towards Foulata; which is not a woman, but a fiend. The undertone of sexism is noticeably brought out through the passage; which sends an awful message to men feeling that they are superior towards women and they can get away with saying that since mean absolutely nothing.
Although Gerard Jones does not argue that children should be allowed to use physical violence as an outlet, he explicitly advocates the use of “creative violence” such as, allowing children access to comics, toy weapons, and video games that include some amount of violence or that could be used to mimic violent actions. His concluding statement says that if parents try to isolate their children from violence, the will grow up uninformed when learning how to control their rage, or know it’s even there.  I’m guessing that since he strongly advocates this using Hulk as an example, then it’ll be alright for his son to develop Hulk-like habits such as going behind people’s backs (this is symbolized as to when Bruce Banner, Hulk’s alter ego, transforms into this monster without the world knowing the person behind it) and damaging property whenever feeling anger; as does Hulk, he even has that catch phrase “Hulk Smash”. In addition, these texts were used as a backbone of my disagreement towards Jones’ belief that “Violent media is good for children.”  I am not totally against having some violent contents; I believe it is necessary to a certain degree so that kids will be aware of us not living a peaceful world after all. However, like Mahatma Gandhi, “I object to violence because when it appears to somehow do good, is only temporary; unlike the evil it does, which is permanent.”

who don"t want to be a ranger

The article "Violent Media Is Good Is Good For Kids" by Gerard Jones starts off with the author speaking about his up bring on how his parents taught him that violence was wrong. The article raise a good question about whether or not children should view, or listen to violent media. In "Violent Media is Good for Kids". They are many agreement that violence for kids is not good but i get one thing out of it that Jones. " I think it has helped inspire some people to real-life violence. I am going to argue that it's helped hundreds of people for every one it's hurt, and that it can help far more if we learn to use it well"(Jones). I agree with this because character like the hulk give kid a help to escape from life.They see this hero  with power and they can do anything they want.   

  The power ranger was my escape, this show was for kids but the true is that the power had a lot of violent. But, Power ranger should the important on how to work as a team and also show how to a good person and having human no matter what. But the power ranger has violence but is it good and but at the end they team up and destroy evil.  
the book King Solomon Mine’s by H. Rider Haggard The character can also be like power ranger because they are a team and use each other for help.

The Side-Kicks

            In chapter X and XI of King Solomon's Mines we learn more about Umbopa and his story. Umbopa reveals that he is the rightful king and asks Quatermain, Sir Curtis, Captain Good, and Infadoos (his uncle) for help with taking his place as king.The gentlemen are all present for the annual witch-hunt, where over 100 men are executed because they were accused of being "evil-doeers." Umbopa is chosen to be the last sacrafice but his life is spared thanks to the god like statues held by his friends. Until now, Umbopa had put the others interest before his own, as any helper does. After the gruesome spectacular, the men sit in on another ritual that ends with the sacrafice of a young girl. By this time the men have seeked villagers of great importance to assist them in the over turning of King Twala. They perform their magic and convinve everyone that they, not the ellipse, is making the world dark. As the phenomenon was about to occur, Scragga is killed after attacking Sir Henry. The men convince the chiefs that they are magical so they would agree to help Umbopa in his upcoming battle.
             In "Mystical Black Characters Play Compex Cinematic Role,"  Rita Kempley talks about characters such as Umbopa and the meaning of their role in films. The term "magic negro" was given to such characters in the late 1950's. A character of such, lacks individaulity because their purpose is to assist the white characters in suceeding and to make them look good. Rita agrees that their character is important and likable but they are over shadowed by the white character. Talented and highly esteemed actors such as Queen Latifa and Morgan Freeman have both played this role. Although Morgan Freeman plays God in the "Bruce Almighty," his ultimate purpose in the movie is to assist the whit, main character in fulfilling his goals. Queen Latifa falls vivtim of this trend when she plays Charlene in "Bringing Down the House." In this film she is there to assist a white family and make them look good all  while playing the role of a very undesirable character. She is literally the help of the family and portrays an obnoxious, ghetto woman.
             This suble form of discrimation is a clear reflectioin of societys attitude towards minorities. Regadless of sex or race anyone can accomplish great things, but for many the idea that whites are better than mirnoriteis still lingers in the very back of their heads. This is diplayed through these role of "magic negro," that shows us the white main character can accomplish anything but the closest a minority would be able to get to that kind of success ot to be an aide or side kick to the white character. In history this thought was more freely expressed such as in "King Solomon's mines," where even though Umbopa is a king he is still considered less than the three white characters becuase of his race. Quatermine was corrupted by his culture to believe Europeons are better than everone else but refuses to use the word negro. Still when describing black females it is clear that he views white as the more beautiful race. It is clearly stated in the book that Umbopa is the help just as Latifa and Freeman are in their movies. Todays writers just refrain from stating it.

Why Can't The Character Roles Be Switched For Once?

    In "Mystical Black Characters Play Complex Cinematic Role" by Rita Kempley she states "It isn't that the actors or the roles aren't likeable, valuable or redemptive, but they are without interior lives. For the most part, they materialize only to rescue the better drawn white characters." In this article Kempley basically explains the roles black characters play in films as the "magic negro". In these types of films the "magic negro" is the black character who helps the white character become a better person. Kempley is basically saying that these films shows that helping white characters are the black characters only purpose in these films.
    Kempley takes a dim view of the "magic negro" stereotype. She cites critics who see "sinister forces in such portrayals" (par. 20). Yet she also quotes a screenwriting teacher who claims: "You can't expect writers to think like sociologists. They aren't out there trying to change the world; they are just trying to tell a good story" (par. 25). No writers aren't sociologists. This is true but if your trying to tell a good story you should also try not to be racist and make it seem as though black characters always have to help white characters on their journey. It wouldn't be bad to change the roles around once in awhile. Changing the roles simply just show that there is equality in the film making industry. Then people wouldn't have to think deep in to context. I think these images are significant in reflecting cultural attitudes simply because it makes people or the audience see these films in a different perspective. It shows them how writers really portray how black characters should be in our culture today. In a way it isn't useful to judge movies in this way because you wouldn't be able to enjoy the film as much.
    In "King Solomon's Mines" by H. Rider Haggard the mystical black character is Umbopa also known as Ignosi. He helps the three white characters which are Sir Curtis Henry, Allan Quatermain, and Captain John Good on their journey to find Sir Curtis Henry's brother. The twist is that he is the heir to the throne and needs their help to defeat the King. In film's like the ones Rita Kempley states in "Mystical Black Characters Play Complex Cinematic Role" the black characters are usually the ones to help the white characters find their path. "The black character helps the white character demonstrates that (the former) feels this incredible interest in maintaining the existing society. Since there is no cultural interchange, the character is put there to give the illusion that there is cultural crossover to satisfy that need without actually addressing the issue."(Dorfman, 314)

Snap Out of It!



In our never-ending quest for advancement and authenticity, nowadays it seems that we take it for granted and become much too dependent on it to the point where our minds are blocked by this “false sense of reality.’’ Frank Rose wrote The Art of Immersion to inform us on the impact of technology in entertainment, advertising, and society when saying “authenticity is not what we want, but what we think we want.”  So what is it that’s causing us human beings to become excessively reliant on this monster known as the Cyber World? Amongst our obsession, however, lies the forgotten fact that the latest development is not necessarily what is best for society. We are encouraged to believe that faster, more complex and superior technology will be beneficial to us in some way, especially for teens whose minds have been under the influence of television and the internet.
One good example would be the notorious Facebook. On this social network, users create their own web page with pictures and information about their personal ideas and feelings. This type of website appeals to this population when allowing members to stay in contact with friends who they may or may not be able to see. Facebook also creates a somewhat false sense of reality. Members are allowed to select which information to display on their own home page, as well as choosing whether or not that information is true. This freedom of choice allows members to create who they want to be rather than who they actually are, thus creating a false sense of reality.
Another example of this would be the well-known comedy-drama series Sex and the City, which narrates amongst four New York City friends (Carrie, Miranda, Samantha & Charlotte) that basically get just about anything they want. They are very open with their sex lives, have bills that hit the roof, and live their high-status lives in East Manhattan. (By the way, they don’t even have high level jobs.) These women make it seem acceptable to have casual sex often, buy things that are way too expensive even though you can’t afford them, and live in gorgeous condos without having decent jobs. Watching this creates false images in almost every teenage girls’ minds that they too can participate in these kinds of behavior without any consequences. When they partake in this and receive consequences (such as sexually transmitted diseases and/or pregnancy), their child-like minds are triggered causing them to feel confused as to why they can get away with these activities and they can’t (There was even this one episode where the main character, Carrie realizes she is homeless because she has spent $40,000 on shoes and does not have a deposit for an apartment… really what is that?!).  
This has brought to my attention the major impact of mass media amongst teenagers, including the negative impacts on creating their body type ideals for both male and females. In addition, studies show how one's body image is not only publicized directly, but indirectly as well; whether in television or the internet. Not to mention these include literary classics as well, such as King Solomon’s Mines. Throughout the novel, three men (Quatermaine, Good & Sir Henry) are in search to find the hidden treasures behind Solomon’s cave. During this journey, they face many sufferings, such as hunger and thirst; but they still felt that it’ll all be worth it after they’ve reached their goal. When actually looking at Quatermaine’s map upside down, one could see that the map looks like the female body; the mountain of Sheba’s breasts being actual breasts and Solomon’s cave being a female’s private part. Why is it that at the end of their journey, the men felt the need to leave the valuable treasure behind due to minor difficulties? Like what they said: at least we can tell everyone we’ve been there and survived; thus creating a mental image in one’s mind that it’s okay to leave a woman out in the dirt, as long as you got what you wanted and you can tell everyone about it.
Technology has many positive aspects; however, when placed in the wrong hands, it becomes very unsafe for its users. Technology is a valuable tool but is somewhat misused by everyone else, especially with teenagers. We spend more time corresponding with our friends on cell phones and the Internet than we do working or participating in activities that can expand and challenge our minds, rather than isolating it with all these useless material. Teens today are lacking basic social skills due to lack of head-on communications for the reason being this technology.

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