Media Bias

Skylar Locke, Allison Burk, Ryan Doyle, and Cody Zimmer

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Hi All! In class on Friday, we will be discussing media bias.

For your homework, you will need to find a media source (an article, an Instagram caption, a Twitter post, a video clip from a news company, etc.) that you find to be racist, sexist or bias in any other way. After you have found your biased source, you will rewrite the part of the source that is biased and ultimately, makes the source no longer biased. Please provide the original source that you chose as well as your revisions. Then, write a couple of sentences about the changes you made and your opinions regarding this topic in general. You can post your homework as a blog post rather than a comment.

Below is an example of a media rewrite. The original words from a racist article is in bold while the rewrite is in regular font:

Young Manchester City footballer, 20, on £25,000 a week splashes out on mansion on market for £2.25million despite having never started a Premier League match.

Young Manchester city footballer, 20, impressively making £25,000 a week decides to purchase £2.25million estate in the beginning of his young career.

The 20-year-old has never featured in the English Premier League, but now owns a mansion with an asking price of £2.25million

The 20-year-old prospect has yet to make his mark on the premiere league for his club. But he has started in cup games and was a starting defender in Manchester City’s Champions league game. Is now the proud owner of £2.25million mansion.

Please do your best to have this assignment done by Thursday night or no later than 8am on Friday. Happy rewriting!

The Abortion Diary: The Story Behind The Stories

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By: Skylar Locke

The Abortion Diary is a podcast that gives women the opportunity to share and narrate their own personal abortion stories in a safe and supportive place where people listen without political judgments and with more empathy. The creator of this project is Dr. Melissa Madera and her inspiration for this podcast began when she shared her personal abortion story after thirteen years. She travels the world capturing untold abortion stories through her podcast and hopes that her podcast helps end the stigma, shame, and isolation behind the experience. The Abortion Diary website consists of a blog, a gallery, an abortion story map that shows where all of the stories have come from, resources, workshops and talks, and stories based on region, illegal, pre-roe, and post-abortion rituals. The overall goal of this project is to “help destigmatize abortion and allow the storytellers to process their experience and control their narrative.” 

Regardless of your political and ethical viewpoint on abortion, women have abortions. It is their personal choice, it is their body, and it is their story to share. Most of the time, they do not have any outlet to help them through this process. This project is a resource for them to express their feelings from their pain, their grief, their anger, their recovery, and everything in between. Oftentimes, people are so absorbed in the act of abortion that they forget it is not always an easy choice for women. A lot of times, it is their only choice. Every women has a different experience and they should not have to feel like their only option is to keep silent. They do not need judgment or hate or shame. When a woman shares her experience on this podcast, she is claiming her story and that is powerful.

This project is slowly humanizing abortions instead of over politicalizing them. I find this to be an extremely amazing and empowering project for women who receive a lot of hate for having abortions. No one likes to feel alone no matter what the situation is. It is important that people know they matter and their stories matter. We have the power to make destigmatize abortions and support women by simply listening to their stories.  

http://theabortiondiary.com/

The Abortion Diary Podcast.”

The Everlasting Impact of Toni Morrison’s Words on Us

By: Skylar Locke

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On October 3, 2019, at 4:30 PM, I attended the Toni Morrison event-panel discussion titled “Toni Morrison, American Writer: The Language of Moral Clarity”. Before attending this event, I never encountered any of Toni Morrison’s work and sadly, I had no idea how inspiring her words are. After attending this event, I now know who Toni Morrison was and the impact her and her words left in this world. She was an American novelist, essayist, book editor, and college professor. She was the winner of a plethora of prizes such as the Nobel Prize in Literature, Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Her most popular novels consist of “The Bluest Eye,” “Sula,” “Song of Solomon,” “Beloved,” and “A Mercy”.

At the beginning of this event, there were two quotes by Toni Morrison that I found to be inspiring. The first quote was “if there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it” and the second quote was “you wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down”. Both of these quotes are raw, truthful, and uplifting. The panel members discussed her books, the impact her words have on their lives, and the powerful themes she confronts in her literature.

The first-panel member to speak was James Felton from the institutional equity and inclusive office. He focused his discussion on how Morrison helped him come into his blackness in America. He brought up this idea that books have the ability to help others accept themselves. I believe that he is right. Books are extremely powerful and the words within them stay with us forever. In a way, the words themselves are almost immortal. Mr. Felton stated that he first became conscious of this emotional rollercoaster regarding race and racial issue in America because of Morrison. He experienced blackness not only through her writing but her presence. He concluded his discussion by saying that “[he] did not know how much [he] needed her writings”. 

The next panel member to speak was Professor Savonick from the English department and the title of her presentation was “We Was Girls Together – Toni Morrison and the Aesthetics of Female Friendship”. She discussed Morrison’s book Sulu which is about the paths and possibilities of four black women in the 20th century. Professor Savonick described Morrison’s literature as “a mysterious and enchanting world urging us to let go and allow the music of words to captivate us”. When we open her books, we are accepting the unknown and allowing ourselves to embrace the pure words on the pages. The central question of her presentation was “what is friendship between women when unmediated by men?” There are so many important relationships in our lives such as girl friendship. Instead of women competing against each other as society teaches us to do, women need to unite and collaborate together. Professor Savonick ended her discussion by stating “bonds between women are some of the most transgressive and electrifying there is”. 

These are only two people out of so many who have been touched and inspired by Toni Morrison and her words. For Mr. Felton, Morrison helped him embrace his blackness and understand what it means to be black in America. For Professor Savonick, Morrison helped her see the power and beauty of girl friendships. I am very grateful to have been introduced to Toni Morrison and her impacting words through this event. 

The Collaboration Between Humanism & Technology

By: Skylar Locke

Books, Reading Relaxation, Irex, Iliad, E Book
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In the introduction of Roopika Risam’s novel, New Digital Worlds: Postcolonial Digital Humanities In Theory, Praxis, and Pedagogy, Risam focuses on this central idea that “humanities and sciences can meet as equal partners in digital humanities” to create a new digital realm that is diverse, culturally inclusive, and does not reproduce the racist, sexist, and biased ideas embedded in our museums, libraries, education systems, etc (Introduction, 21). 

Before technology was invented, people depended on the foundation of literature, music, art, philosophy, and history to educate themselves. I will refer to this level as the foundation of humanism. This level is dominated by White men that have the power to decide what stories and information can be learned. This created a level that has predominant issues of racism, sexism, and single perspectives that are extremely biased and limit the reality of people’s lives.  After technology was invented, the foundation of humanism began to be transcribed into a digital cultural record that consists of online databases, virtual libraries and museums, interactive maps, etc. Risam states “the opportunity to intervene in the digital cultural record⸺to tell new stories, shed light on counter-histories, and create spaces for communities to produce and share their own knowledge should they wish⸺is the great promise of digital humanities” (Introduction, 5). Instead of taking the foundation of humanism that is embedded with single stories and reproducing it to the digital cultural record, Risam wants to create a digital world that is filled with multiple, complex stories that is culturally inclusive.

As I was reading Risam’s introduction to her novel, I was reminded of this danger that Chimamanda Adichie portrays in her TED talk as “the danger of a single story”. According to Adichie, the danger of a single story is “[showing] a [person] as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again, and that is what they become.” In the foundation of humanism, White men created stories that only show certain races and people as “one thing, over and over again”. Risam does not want this bias to continue into the digital cultural record. In Risam’s introduction, she states “the digital cultural record is in danger of telling the story of humanity from the perspective of the Global North” which will result in cultures “whose languages are underrepresented, histories are suppressed, and stories are untold” (Introduction 4,6). Risam believes that in order to push against these single stories embedded within our history and literature, we must change what proceeds into the digital record. 

After doing further research on Roopika Risam, I came across a blog post that was written in response to a workshop and lecture that was given by Risam. The writer of this blog added a quote from Risam that I wanted to share with you all: “If we want to be sure that communities who have typically been marginalized in knowledge production are part of the digital cultural memory of humanity, we have to do the work to put them there. And we can do it – with our knowledge in the humanities, with attention to the ethics of curation, digitization, and display. We can create usable digital projects that expand representation and that are contextual, pedagogical, and informed” (Losh).

Discussion Questions:

  1. In Risam’s introduction, she mentions a couple of digital projects that have been created to help educate people on certain social problems. For example, the twitter #blacklivesmatter, the twitter #prmapathon, The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, and Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America. What other digital projects have been done? If you do not know any, feel free to do some research on this question.
  2. If you were to create a digital project such as a map or a hashtag to start your own digital movement that would help diverse society, what would you create and why?
  3. Before reading the introduction by Risam, did you believe that humanities and sciences were two separte things that should not be combined? If so, how has your perspective changed after reading the introduction and my blog post?

Work Cited

Adichie, Chimamanda. “The Danger of a Single Story”. TED, July 2009.

“Introduction .” New Digital Worlds: Postcolonial Digital Humanities in Theory, Praxis, and Pedagogy, by Roopika Risam, Northwestern University Press, 2019, pp. 3–21.

Losh, Liz. “Roopika Risam on Digital Humanities and Social Justice.” Roopika Risam on Digital Humanities and Social Justice, 3 Apr. 2017, dh.blogs.wm.edu/2017/04/03/roopika-risam-digital-humanities-social-justice/.

Hello, my name is Skylar!

Hi everyone! My name is Skylar and I am a junior at SUNY Cortland. I was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana; I moved to Middletown, New York when I was 13 years old. I am a double major in English and Psychology. One day, I hope to open my own counseling office for children, teenagers, and young adults. I love to write poetry and I am hoping to have some of my poems published this semester! I also am in the process of creating my own blog!! Another fact about me is that I absolutely love quotes. Currently, I really love this quote: “Someday, everything will make perfect sense. So for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason”. In conclusion, this will be my second class with Professor Savonick and I am excited to be apart of everyone’s journey this semester! 🙂