What 'diversity in pop culture' resources are out there?
February 9, 2013 9:33 PM   Subscribe

I'm applying to teach an honors composition course with the theme 'diversity within pop culture'; what interesting/cool/new resources are out there?

I'm looking for either examples of pop culture that specifically demonstrate diversity (or a problematic lack thereof), or for resources (articles/podcasts/YT videos etc.) commenting on specific issues of diversity within pop culture. The students will be 18-ish and fairly intelligent, so there shouldn't be many issues with things being 'too complex'.

The course is essentially writing-based, but there's plenty of scope to use non-written texts (film, TV, music, etc.); if it's freely available on the internet, even better! They definitely don't have to be 'academic', and it's cool if they're problematic (or even diverse in some ways but problematic in others). I want to talk about things like the Bechdel test, the overwhelmingly white Girls cast, and issues of intersectionality, so anything along these lines would be appreciated!

Additionally, I'd ideally like to get the class thinking about all forms of diversity - e.g. representation of non-cisgendered people, ableism, & so on. Resources from the past few years would be especially great.
posted by littlegreen to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Get them thinking about the way cartoons promote a very specific world view and very little diversity. That's actually a pretty good place to start because most of the people in your class will likely be familiar with the cartoons they liked when they were young but they probably never consciously noticed the stereotypes and racism that have pervaded animation since its inception.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 11:28 PM on February 9, 2013

I've developed quite a lesson plan around the John Sayles' movie Lone Star.

Show the following two movies, one after the other. (You know, assign as homework over two weeks)

1. A Time To Kill
2. Lone Star

Both from 1996, both starring Matthew McConaughey, both navigating race relations from a white male perspective.

Compare and contrast. I would argue that the complexity in Lone Star does a far better job. (A Time To Kill is pretty outrageous, actually)

How often in each film can a person of color have a conversation with another person of color that doesnt have to be mediated by a white person's perspective?

Whose stories are being told at the beginning of the film? At the end?

Awesome quote from among many in Lone Star:
Cliff: You met her family? Think her family's gonna be okay that you're a white guy?
Mickey: They think any woman over 30 who isn't married is a lesbian. She figures, they'll be so relieved that I'm a man...
Cliff: Yeah, it's always heartwarming to see a prejudice defeated by a deeper prejudice.
posted by vitabellosi at 4:56 AM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Racialicious is all about representations of race and ethnicity in pop culture -- TV, movies, books, games, fandom. Intersectionality is often highlighted.
posted by Neneh at 4:57 AM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Take a look at The Root. And while I'm not a fan, Eddie Huang provides another viewpoint.
posted by shoesietart at 6:15 AM on February 10, 2013

Check out the Racebending blog.
posted by pravit at 7:22 AM on February 10, 2013

The POC Zine Project is an excellent resource to hear directly from people of color who create their own print media.
posted by kuppajava at 8:18 AM on February 10, 2013

Also look at sociological images.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:50 AM on February 10, 2013

You might find some helpful resources from fellow instructors at teachingmedia.org.
posted by kickingthecrap at 4:12 PM on February 10, 2013

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