Friday, January 23, 2015

Published 9:30 AM by with 0 comment

Media Education

I was talking to some students about watching the State of the Union (SOTU) and more than a few thought that I was talking about the film XXX: State Of The Union starring Ice Cube. At first I thought that they were joking, then when I realized that they weren't I thought about what the media has done to a generation of citizens.

They are media educated; they don’t understand the difference between a movie’s play on words and the actual presidential address. This disturbing problem cuts across socioeconomic levels, Remember when the late night hosts would quiz “Average Americans” and they show the limits of their knowledge? The statement that Americans don’t read is a truism. That a “sucker” will believe almost anything is also true. I've seen people take half-truths as gospel and run with it. While I’m concerned with the entire spectrum of issues that this type of knowledge produces, if the media plays on half-truths and stereotypes, then the problem not only persists, it gets worse.

How do you see yourself; what are you told about yourself? I asked these same students how logical is it to have a celebrity defend having a legitimate job and good credit? How important is it to have to hide your intelligence for the sake of “Keeping it real”? In fact are you really keeping it real if your whole existence is founded on a lie?

They thought about it for a while and it gave them pause. I reminded them that, for good or for ill, many people base their entire opinion of groups of people on what they see in the media. Whether it be TV or social media, a tweet or a Facebook post should not be enough information to form an opinion but we continually see it done. I told them that in this world you have to learn to live in multiple worlds, even when other people refuse to do so. I always try to reinforce the fact that students have to use a several approaches to navigate the traps that are set out there for them.                       

** Dr. Headley **

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