Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mixed By Angela Nissel

Most of you might not know this about me, but in addition to my Journalism major, I also majored in Ethnic Studies. Lately, I've been trying to think back in my life and wonder, what else gives me passion? Well, the answer I've found is Ethnic Studies dealings. That always put a little fire in my belly. Perhaps it's because I grew up as the only Mexican American in school until I hit high school. Perhaps it's because I was raised in a predominantly white community and had few friends of color, perhaps that's the reason I am fascinated with race in this country. I'm fascinated with the thought that people have preconceived notions of what other people are like, based on the color of their skin. I'm not saying I'm a saint, I'm not saying that I too don't hold judgment or harbor stereotypes, but I'd like to think I give everyone the benefit of the doubt and treat as I want to be treated, regardless of skin color. I do believe most people are born good, there for, people's intentions are "pure". But since I am also a child of history, I know from my own research on primary documents, that racism and prejudice not only existed, but still remains alive and well, I think it just has a different face, meaning it's disguised as other things.
I also believe that to educate one another, there needs to be a dialog first, or else we can never ask questions without fear in order to be corrected and free of negative stereotypes. And yes, I do believe that not all stereotypes are bad. Webster's definition of stereotype is:

something conforming to a fixed or general pattern; especially : a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment

So, a stereotype is meant to tell a story in a short period of time (I learned in my Media Ethics class at University), but this country seems to have run with that idea and only seem to cast people into a negative stereotype. I think race relations have been on the forefront of my mind lately because a) I've been trying to find that passion and b) our presidential democratic nomination fight going on. Finally, my libary had the book "Mixed" that I've been waiting for. It's the memoir of former "Scrub"'s comedy writer Angela Nissen. I had high points, but I'm becoming sadly disappointed and I'm not sure why. I keep waiting for it to pick up, for there to be a climax, but I've not reached it yet. I'm already 86 pages in and I feel like not much is happening, but what do I expect really? I'm going to continue reading of course because it is not a bad book. It gives insight on what children go through in school (which them made me start fearing having children cuz kids seem to be HORRIBLE) but all in all, she just gives an account of her life from childhood on. I am interested in reading her book The Broke Diaries, but we'll see. Perhaps it's the style of writing I'm not interested, but I'm not sure. I'll let you know more what I think when I actually finish it.

I do love talking about race and ethnicity, especially in a pop culture sense. I'm a huge pop culture junkie, so I like to explore the dealings of race and ethnicity with in film and television. I might have to pick up my book "American Encounters: Greaater Mexico, the United States, and the Erotics of Culture" by Jose E. Limon when I'm done with this one. I never did finish it, but I sure did impress my college professor when I quoted the author. So perhaps I'll have come full circle . . . but where did I begin?

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