Thursday, July 9, 2009

Stereotype Threat

New Start Academic Conference

The summer bridge program I'm teaching in had an academic conference this week and I hope to have some pics to post from it in the next few days.

It was a great opportunity to expose students to the wide range of subject matter that a conference with a theme like "Stereotype Threat" can encapsulate. One of the Mexican American students focused on the representations of Mexicans in South Park, showing this clip:

(In another episode, there a more direct criticism of Mexico as a child-like, unintelligent country)
It was a bit disheartening that the student barely scratched the surface about what was at the heart of this satire--on the face there are the racial issues that are incendiary, but I think it speaks the issue of entitlement in education, and the entitled generation of students who don't understand that the immigrant work ethic has helped define and strengthen the U. S.

The question also arises 'who's watching these cartoons'? Small children don't generally have someone there to explain the significance of satire, and yes, cartoons do perpetuate these stereotypes that are rooted in much deeper institutional/cultural systems of oppression.

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