In Teaching Youth Media, Steve Goodman critiques the education system’s inaction to incorporate media practices despite the onset of the digital age and its influence on media literacy. He argues that the internet and media have transformed the way that students intake and interpret information. For instance, Goodman describes how a Kindergarten teacher used well-known logos to help her students’ reading skills. He notes that her teaching style is reflective of two things: children are susceptible to the  language of media, specifically consumeristic tactic, which is why they can readily recognize iconic images like the golden arches or the Nike swish. However, students’ ability to engage in media language is insufficient. Thus, they understand one aspect of the language of media, yet they lack the tools to critique it. Goodman further explains that proficiency must include the ability to create and critique alternate forms of media – specifically with the use of visual media. However, global media promotes a sort of incongruence: students are expected to be inactive members of their communities and passive benefactors of outdated sets of knowledge. Of his points, Goodman’s critique of the news is highly compelling because it challenges the dissemination of information regarding Black bodies. He writes, “[Kids] are growing up in a media culture of spectacle that has normalized the notion that entertainment is news and news is entertainment” (6). He continues by explicating the ways that people of color and white people are depicted in the news (i.e. villains v. heroes respectively) to delineate our humanity and attach entertainment value to our pain (6). His analysis can be directly applied to media portrayals of the Black and Brown people who have fallen at the hands of defenders of white supremacy: the police. For instance, while media demonized the Baltimore uprising, there was little news that covered the nine people killed in Waco, Texas when a white biker brawl broke out. I would add that attaching entertainment value to our struggles not only contributes to the sentiment of specularity but produces a sort-of bystander effect. The line between news and entertainment has become so muddled that our lives are ignored and devalued, and they only “matter” when they can be trivialized and juxtaposed beside a dutiful (murderous) cop. Black people’s plight coupled with dehumanizing news coverage reduces us to tragic characters in a world that is distant and unreal (much like the fictional dramas we consume). In other words, the representation of our lives has stripped away our humanity and thus, destroyed any notion of collective action from its viewers. Even still, Goodman recommends (and I agree) that giving students the tools to create media will transform them into agents who can give justice to the most disadvantaged members of their community. Ultimately, the incorporation of media literacy and practice will make students more critical of their own media consumption and encourage them to challenge and redefine the false images distributed via the news, etc.


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