Just a stereotypical movie

By: Jonathan Maislin


The movie I created is called Just a Stereotypical Movie. The point of the video is to take common media portrayals of stereotypes and place them into real-world situations that people could easily encounter without even realizing that they are being racist or sexist. In the video, the examples and reactions are intended to be dramatized and be larger and more obvious than what would really happen, but the idea is still present. Also, the title is intended to be a plan on words, I am very proud of it and cannot allow for it to slip by unnoticed.

In class, we discussed various stereotypes portrayed in Media, such as offensive Jewish, Middle-Eastern, and Japanese stereotypes. The 4 types of stereotypes in my video are Native-American, African-American, Women, and Indian. I only did one stereotype for each. The ones I chose were stereotypes that are accepted in society as norms, despite how they may be offensive.

My main inspiration for doing this video was actually discussing the idea with my suite. We often joke about and get comments about how we are the most diverse group on campus. I am white and Jewish, my roommate is Mexican and Native-American, one of my suitemates is Indian, and the other one is African-Americans and also Native-American. Our good friend, Emma, also will join us. When she is with us, since she is part Asian and also a female, it completes our diversity bubble. When I tossed around ideas about writing about stereotypes, they asked me if I could use them as sources for quotes about issues they have encountered from their different backgrounds and identities. I ended up deciding to go with a video because it would not only allow them to be even more involved, but it would also allow me to not have to rely on my words to get across their message.

While they may not have dealt with the exact stereotypes I presented them in the video, they have all dealt with some form of discrimination because of it. I am always so fascinated by it because I cannot actually imagine thinking of anyone differently or treating any one differently because of who they are, how they look, or the fact that they are not a man! They always tell me I will never understand, due to the fact that I am a white male from an upper-middle class family. They always say that even if I put myself in their positions, it isn’t the same because, when it is done, I can return to begin who I actually am.

To sum up all of those points, I care very dearly fro my friends, and the fact that they are different from me has never once affected how I think of them. This film is my attempt to try and point out some issues that people might accept as issues, but continue to just deal with since they may not seem extremely offensive on the surface. This project was so much fun to make, and also very eye-opening. It is one thing to know there are stereotypes, but it is a whole other world to learn just how many stereotypes exist and why people believe them.

One academic article I read by Yuki Fujioka is called Television Portrayals and African-American Stereotypes: Examination of Television Effects when Direct Contact is Lacking. This article concludes that White and Asian Americans have various prejudices and views towards African-Americans because they do not spend enough time with them to prove that certain stereotypes are not true. For instance, they poll to see what negative views they have towards African-Americans from media portrayals, and some of the most consistent ones were that African-Americans were either violent or criminals, but the participants didn’t have enough contact with African-Americans to know if these stereotypes were true or not.[1] They just accepted these stereotypes as facts since movies and television shows would consistently have African-American actors play criminals and thugs.

In conclusion, people can develop offensive stereotypes of various groups based on what they see in the media, whether it is movies, television, or even social media. The way to fight this is to actually be exposed to the groups that they know nothing about and are spreading offensive rhetoric about without any actual evidence. Again, this was so much fun to make and I hope I get to do it again! Well…maybe not about possibly offensive stereotypes, but either way, I enjoyed it!

[1] Fujioka, Y. “Television Portrayals and African-American Stereotypes: Examination of Television Effects When Direct Contact Is Lacking.” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 76.1 (1999): 52-75. Web.