Media is a double-edged sword. It can be used as propaganda, spreading harmful stereotypes about a group, or it can be used as a platform for unheard and underprivileged voices. A recent study, as reported by the LA Times, shows the impact of having diverse character plotlines and how it can be a teaching moment to learn more about controversial issues. The findings support the positive impact of diverse plotlines, and how these scenes can break down complicated social issues for a broader audience, encouraging viewers to become more aware of the issue.
Research was conducted by Define American, which focuses on immigration rights, and the Norman Lear Center, which studies the impact of media. Data shows that participants who watched positive scenes relating to deportation and undocumented immigrants were more likely to advocate for the cause, such as attending rallies for immigrant issues, posting on social media, and having a conversation with their families and friends.
Another interesting finding is the disproportionate representation of immigrants in America. There is a large group of Latinx immigrants in America, and they are regularly shown on T.V., but are overrepresented along with Middle Eastern immigrants. The second largest immigrant group, Asian and Pacific Islander, is underrepresented, even though they make up 26% of immigrants in America. Other underrepresented groups in media include transgender immigrants, immigrants with differing abilities, and Black immigrants.
As firm advocates of using popular media in the classroom, our team at ClassHook have some recommendations to help guide the confusing and difficult conversation around undocumentated immigrants and deportation. Below are a few TV shows and movies to consider.
ClassHook TV Guide
- Madam Secretary
- Orange Is the New Black
- One Day At a Time (2017 Remake)
- Party of Five (2020 Remake)
- Kim’s Convenience Store
- Under the Same Moon
- ClassHook Clips about immigration
Understanding immigration and the factors that impact someone’s documentation status can be confusing, but there are various resources to learn about this hot topic. Scenes from popular media can be used to break the ice around immigration issues, proving that a diversified narrative can be beneficial to the learning of students.
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