Week 7 Crash Course Story Critique

For this week’s story critique I chose a story that, just like with my focal theme article ended up being, was not something that I had originally set out to find.  In keeping with the theme of the reading that I chose to annotate and review for week 7 I started my search looking for a digital story that explored how we might begin teaching racism to kids (either in school or not, I wasn’t being picky).  I quickly realized, however, that I probably wasn’t going to find what I was looking for – or it would take me quite a bit of time if I was able.  Most of the videos and other various digital stories that I found revolved around the idea that racism is actively doing something harmful to another person based on their race.  While I agree, I was hoping to find something that better addressed what the reading from this week spoke about – which is white privilege.  Perhaps the lack of resources available to help teachers and parents alike approach this topic with kids is part of the problem.

Anyway, in my search I came across this video

which is not meant to be used as a means to teach children, but rather as a “crash course” to teach adults about prejudice and discrimination from a psychological standpoint.

Hank Green, who is the presenter in the video (and, interestingly, John Green’s – the author of Fault in Our Stars – brother) is really the only one with any type of involvement in this video.  While he is expressing social commentary to a certain extent, he is also expressing and establishing a journalistic identity, as this video is part of a series in which he gives just under 5 hours of crash course lectures, for lack of a better word, on various topics in the world of psychology.  He and his brother have a number of these series ranging from world history to literature, if you’re interested.  He is also informing others for personal or professional use through the remixing of college course materials and full length lectures.

The video isn’t terribly high tech, as the majority of it is just  Hank in front of the camera lecturing.  There are, however, some visuals that pop up on the screen which means that he or the production team had to understand how to use editing software as well as video clip transitions.  On a non-technical level, perhaps the most important literary dimension present in this video is his ability to convey a lot of information in a short amount of time while showing that he has a vast knowledge of the original materials (psychology courses) that he is remixing into a condensed version.

Youtube is, in my opinion, the easiest space in which to view these videos as you can view them by title and you can view the series in its entirety for free.  These series are available, however, on a number of different sites and spaces including Open Culture, which is a free site for social and cultural media resources.

I don’t really have any complaints about this video, other than the fact that generally when I am watching something about prejudice and/or discrimination I like to hear from a wider range of people, including people who are personally impacted in their day to day life.  Looking at the purpose of this video (and the series in whole), however, I think Hank did a good job of getting the point across in a way that would appeal to someone looking for the psychology behind discrimination, rather than the thoughts and feelings that are a product of it.  I think there was an appropriate amount of visuals, and the video was an appropriate length for being a crash course on such an enormous topic.

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