Survival of the Whitest

Hello and welcome to the sixth installment of super fun homework time with Amber! Just kidding, this blog is for serious scholars only, so if you aren’t serious please exit stage left. Now that I know that everyone’s serious here, it’s time for lights, camera, and ACTION! The lucky piece of literature we’re reviewing this week is no other than, W.E.B. Du Bois’ 1903 book, The Soul of Black Folk

In his book, Du Bois introduces the term, “double consciousness”, which he later explains as his theory describing the internal struggle black people experience by being forced to adopt more than one social identity and also develop their own self-definition. The Soul of Black Folk was actually the first piece of literature I read in undergraduate school that sparked my interest in activism for the black community. Du Bois was able to articulate a feeling that I had experienced but had yet to find the words for, which to me was not only inspiring but the start of my journey to what I would like to think is completing my life’s purpose. 

There are too many instances of black men and black women being completely disrespected, discriminated, and put into dangerous situations do to the color of their skin. Moments like those serve as precedence, creating a silent but well understood rule that for black people assimilating into white culture would be a strategy they needed to adhere to in order to survive. Did you hear that? Not be seen. Not share their ideas. Not to be counted for. TO SURVIVE. To this day, many black men and black women have to question and rethink how they behave, speak, and appear in order to survive. If my documentary project, Color Coded, even makes an inch of progress towards a world where black women aren’t murdered in their sleep by police, or black men are suffocated to death by the police for over eight minutes while they scream out in terror it will be a project worth completing.    

This week in terms of my project I think I have made some serious progress. Although I find it extremely difficult to balance regular school work with producing a creative project, a classic case of left brain versus right brain, I think I have survived another week without my brain blowing up (If you’re into explosives there’s always next week). I have scheduled all of the interviews and created a list of final interview questions. My creative direction for the documentary has taken an unexpected (stressful) turn but I like to dream big and I don’t mind putting in the extra time to make sure everything is perfect. 

Works Cited

Du Bois, W. E. B. (2008). The souls of black folk. Oxford University Press.

Color Coded.

“Never judge a book by its cover”, and “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” are examples of some of the core fundamental rules of social interaction we as a society are taught to obey at elementary age but what happens when our judgment and behavior has already been subliminally influenced by an unsuspecting source? The perpetrator you ask? The television sitting in your living room, the music blasting on radio airwaves, and the books placed in your classroom are all guilty as charged. Media has the ability to not only reflect the current culture we live in, but it also helps shape the social structures that regulate it.

My M.A. final project, Color Coded, is a documentary exploring that very phenomena. Through the perspective of women from the black community Color Coded will help define the effect that inaccurate, or limited representation of black women in the media has on black women in reality by posing the questions “What placement in society am I assigned to by the color of my skin?”, “How does society believe someone with my physical features behaves?”, and most importantly, “Who does the world think I am?”.

The documentary Color Coded is a medium that grants power back to black women by offering the opportunity of self-definition, despite pre-existing stereotypes, through interview style storytelling. As a producer, activist, and proud black woman, I want to expose negative tactics in the media such as colorism, microaggressions, and cultural appropriation to create an awareness of this issue. More importantly, I want to empower black women by proving that despite those desperate attempts labeled as ploys to “entertain” black women have remained resilient and determined. The goal of the project is to uplift and celebrate black women and to ensure that the next generation of black women are twice as confident and self-assured.

After a brief review of past documentary style M.A. projects I am inspired by their creativity. Typically documentaries take the form of visual projects so it’s interesting to see examples of podcast documentaries. I think that the fresh perspective allows for an innovative way to capture the audiences attention. Masters Moc Mixdown, specifically benefits from being an audio project because it is a sports documentary and as a member of the audience I felt more immersed into the world of sports commentary than I would watching the project on film. Moving forward, I will be sure to pay close attention to the media effects techniques I utilize to shape the narrative for my documentary.