Power of Communication

Power of Communication

Question Bridge focuses on the power of communication and media representations, seeking to bring about a more genuine understanding of black male experience.

Participants’ answers reveal a broad spectrum of similarities and differences and communicating this diversity creates a counter-narrative to the simplistic, often negative, stereotypes. The media portrays a limited view of many identity groups, so developing a “strong sense of individuality”—as one participant responds—is important for broadening perception.

Explore suggestions for using Prism.K12 strategies to create arts-integrated lessons in the section below and check out Question Bridge’s educator resources for additional lesson ideas on the Power of Communication.

Using the Prism.K12 Strategies

Exposure to the media can create bias, affecting our likes, dislikes, and even our expectations of, and behavior towards, others. The influence of media can also encourage negative perceptions that overgeneralize or are based on falsity.

However, as noted in Question Bridge’s video above, “you can choose to rise above.” The previous section asked students to consider the Individual Condition, laying the groundwork for them to interpret and compare the differences between media depictions and the complexity within and between identity groups.

Through the “In the Classroom” activity  below, students will investigate how media representations determine their perceptions of different identity groups. Students may also compare the media’s representation of different identity groups and are ultimately invited to empathize with identity groups that are different from their own.

In the Classroom

The acivity below exemplifies how the Prism.K12 empathize, synthesize, and compare strategies may be used in an interdisciplinary way in the classroom.

Media representations of racial and gender identity groups change over time. For instance, in the United States, a new wave of a different ethnic, gender, or racial groups may be cast in a negative light initially, but as they become more embedded in American culture, the representation changes.
Through this activity, students will explore a racial or gender identity group that is different than their own, comparing the media’s representations of that identity group over time, and empathizing with that identity group in today’s society.

Ask students to research how their chosen identity group has been represented in three different decades in the media by choosing: a TV show or film, song lyrics, and a newspaper article from different decades.

Next, ask students to write a paragraph describing what they discovered about their identity group through these three primary sources.

Finally, have students create a three-panel cartoon strip that synthesizes  how their chosen identity group was represented in each decade.

For example, a project that investigates women could highlight how women won the right to vote in the 1920s, the founding of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in the 1960s, and the signing of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act in 2009.

After students complete their cartoon strips, take time to share, compare, and reflect on what they learned about different identity groups and media’s representation of them.