Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Digital Stories: Insightful and Thought Provoking

"Blacks on Youtube"

I found this digital story shocking and insightful. The story is an analysis of how blacks are represented on YouTube. Using only text and clips from YouTube videos, the filmmaker shows how when certain words are typed in the search bar automatically videos of black people turn up. Some of these words are: "big booty", "violence", "baby mommas", "pimps and hos", among many others with negative connotations.

I think this video is significant because it shows how blacks are stereotyped in the media. Alas, while users upload vids to put on YouTube, who is making the choice to show only blacks when you type in certain words? Is it due to the number of viewers? The author notes how any video with a positive black was viewed less than the negatives. How is this impacting our society when we are constanly viewing negative stereotypes of one group? Why are blacks only associated with violence and pimps and hos on YouTube?

"Peru's Coca Cultivation"

This digital story is a news wideo from the New York Times about the emerging coca cultivation in Peru and the ripple effects on society and politics. It basically pits the peasant farmer's against the Peruvian security forces trying to tackle this problem. Most of this cultivation is used in making cocaine. Peru is fast becoming the largest producers of cocain worldwide the video states.

This coca plant is harvested 4 to 8 times a year leading one development economist to state, "it is like an ATM for the farmers." The problem is not only is cocaine illegal, but the farmer's are supported by drug traffikers. Additionally, the cultivation has created environmental concerns as well as violence.

I found this interesting because of the intersection between the farmers who use the coca plants to support themselves with the government, backed by the US, trying to destroy the drug traffiking. It's sort of like the story of David and Goliath in a twisted way.

In determining which story is better I had to look at the provenance of the videos. "Blacks on Youtube" was created by a university student so the production quality isn't the same as "Peru's Coca Cultivation." However, the video's message still hits home without voice over narration and first hand film footage. It's sort of like David and Goliath again with a student and world renown New York Times. Ultimately, while both stories are important I am going to side with the "Blacks on Youtube" because it's shock factor and sadness, and that while we've come far, maybe we are still in infancy in terms of getting rid of white supremacy. Also, one always sides with David in "David and Goliath" that is why the story has lasted for centuries.

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