All posts tagged: racism

Hypnotized by white culture, ‘Get Out’ is about being awakened

One of the cool things about teaching a college introduction to mass communications class is that you get to discuss the history of media, including books, magazines, newspapers, television, radio, music and movies. We also look at current events that relate to all of these mediums, and this semester, we watched a couple of current movie trailers, including “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Get Out.”

Let’s make Mississippi an ‘American Idol’

In light of the controversial events that have transpired because of Mississippi’s House Bill 1523 locally and nationally, with protests by notable Mississippians and some companies refusing to do business in the state, the yin and yang of the universe decided that on the last season of one of America’s top-rated television shows, two Mississippians were selected to showcase their artistic talent – one of the fine things Mississippi is very well known for – and a Mississippian won the contest. Within every place and every person, you can find both good and bad. For far too long, Mississippi has had a reputation of ranking last in many categories. It has become trite to recite the list. The state has the highest high school dropout rate, the highest teen pregnancy rate, the highest obesity rate, highest poverty rate, worst economy, and the lowest life expectancy in the country. Mississippi students have ranked last in school performance, and the state has one of the highest unemployment rates. We read these studies over and over again, and …

What it means to be ‘The Hospitality State’

Mississippi is historically known for a progressively delayed (and often stalled) civil rights legacy. In the minds of some throughout the U.S., the state’s name will be forever linked to the opposition and violence that occurred in Mississippi in the 1960s – opposition and violence that resulted when fellow Mississippians stood firm, demanding the basic, inalienable right of equality, affirming that all men (and women) are created equal and have the right to be treated as such. Mississippi is also historically known for many good things, some of which include generosity, a rich literary and artistic history, and the notion that we are “The Hospitality State.” In light of Governor Phil Bryant’s decision to sign House Bill 1523 (authored by Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton) – a bill that would allow Mississippi business and government workers to deny services to any citizen based on their religious beliefs – (essentially anyone they choose not to serve for any “religious” reason) – it might be wise to reexamine what it means to be “The Hospitality State.” Should hospitality …

The "M" word

I’ve always been interested in sociology, particularly issues about race and culture, so I often rent documentaries exploring the topics. I watched “The ‘N’ Word” over the weekend, directed by Todd Williams, and concluded that the word may be the most complex in existence. Depending on who says the inflammatory word, and how it’s used, the African-Americans interviewed in the documentary explain how it is both powerful and powerless, both divisive and bonding. The documentary includes interviews from Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Rock, Whoopi Goldberg, Regina King and Quincy Jones, among others.The film, too complex to explain in a blog entry, also made me think about the complexities of our own state. “Mississippi,” the “M” word, means different things to different people, depending on your perspective. I’ve often thought “Mississippi” would be a great new Alan Ball (of “American Beauty” and “Six Feet Under”) series because of the state’s reputation, the misconceptions outsiders sometimes have about it and the truths often ignored within it. Perceptions of Mississippi always vary, and Ball would never run out …