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Harm Reduction Notes for the COVID-19 Pandemic

Media, Representation, and the Role of Entertainment

- Tue, 22 Nov 2016 22:07:59 EST TCWxLxYH No.207297
File: 1479870479124.jpg -(21638B / 21.13KB, 275x223) Thumbnail displayed, click image for full size. Media, Representation, and the Role of Entertainment
I think this is the right board for this.

As someone who is from a minority group, I am always bothered about how the discourse of how my own group is represented in any media. It always felt like it was too simplified. I understand the basics of it--wanting more minority characters in roles and to not be tokenized. But as someone who could be considered an outcast of their own group I always looked at it in a different way. I couldn't honestly say that someone like a black character on a popular primetime show could be representative of me. I can't even say they are a representative of a group. We may share some things like how we look, but that's really it. It kinda bothered me that it seemed like how representation is discussed seems more on how a person looks.

But then I was doing some writing and then realized something. What if all this talk about representation isn't about a person or even a group, or even a group's ideals. But it's more about validating the group's supposed ideals?

So to get back to entertainment. What is entertainment's role to the people? Is it to challenge them? Is it to validate their ideals? Does anybody know what I'm actually talking about, because I don't think I am.
Phoebe Trotville - Wed, 23 Nov 2016 00:21:30 EST 0aDGMcny No.207298 Reply
Well, it's not really your fault you're so confused. The depiction of black people, particularly in US media, has pretty much always been shit, and informed largely by dumb white stereotypes.
Entertainment spreads culture, whether it challenges their assumptions or confirms them, even in the questions it poses it communicates basic assumptions and prejudices of that culture. And unfortunately, a lot of the time it validates only it's 'in group' culture's ideals, while representing others not based on that other culture's ideals but the ideals of the culture telling the story.
Unfortunately that's a problem inherent to trying to tell someone else's story, even if you start out with the best of intentions (and unfortunately you don't even get that in modern media) so the only thing people whose stories aren't getting told correctly can do is to try to tell those stories themselves. Whether that challenges or validates the beliefs of the person who encounters that story (and trust me, everyone is sick of western media's obedience to trope-ish stereotypes) it will still communicate that culture from a true inside perspective, which is the highest role of entertainment, imho.
Archie Grandwater - Wed, 23 Nov 2016 08:21:36 EST TCWxLxYH No.207300 Reply
>Unfortunately that's a problem inherent to trying to tell someone else's story, even if you start out with the best of intentions (and unfortunately you don't even get that in modern media) so the only thing people whose stories aren't getting told correctly can do is to try to tell those stories themselves.

But who gets to decide, within a minority group, who gets to tell a story? What if, for example, someone within a minority group tells a story, but someone else from that minority group tells them that that story is not correct? Which side is more "valid," the minority person who is telling the story, or the minority person who is trying to control the story? I've never really seen that sort of thing discussed much.
Phoebe Wossleway - Wed, 23 Nov 2016 08:39:40 EST iAquTtgI No.207301 Reply
Unless it needs to be someone else just cast white guys, no need to politicize everything.
Phoebe Trotville - Wed, 23 Nov 2016 17:16:57 EST 0aDGMcny No.207304 Reply
That's just the nature of giving one's opinion. When one is giving one's opinion, one is speaking over someone whose opinion is not being given. There's no way out of that. It doesn't matter if it's a minority group or the majority group, it's just a fact of signal processing quite frankly. In a majority group, who gets to decide what that majorities story is, when certainly there are minorities within that majority who would disagree, or even someone who is in all the same categories as the person speaking, but disagrees with what they're saying for any number of reasons? There's no way to say any one story is more valid than another, they're all first hand accounts, the most we can analyze is the consequences of stories, but all that's still irrelevant.
The only way anyone's story can get out, no matter how you want to characterize where that story is coming from, is by telling it. And obviously, no matter what other groups that storyteller shares with other people, some people in those groups aren't going to agree with the story for various reasons. It's an inescapable reality arising from the fact that we are subjective entities living in a shared environment, and there is no way around it. For the same reason, it's not a good argument against allowing minorities to tell their stories.

Uhh, don't you think forcing every rando in a movie to be someone who is exactly like you is politicizing it?
Thomas Misslewire - Wed, 23 Nov 2016 19:27:02 EST iAquTtgI No.207306 Reply
I didn't say anything about forcing people to do anything. And how is it politicizing?
Frederick Bledgedure - Wed, 23 Nov 2016 23:19:40 EST 0aDGMcny No.207307 Reply
You said 'just cast white guys' as in 'only cast white guys' which means don't hire from the pool of people who are qualified, but hire from the pool of white guys. Since that's not what happens naturally, if you wanted that to happen, that's forcing it.
>>how is it politicizing?
You already introduced the notion that to not include 'just white guys' was 'politicizing everything' and the inverse must be political if that's political, so you tell me?

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