School Daze: Depictions of Black High School Students in Film
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Education and media are essential elements in our socialization. Each serves as an influential resource that has the ability to portray experiences from different perspectives. Particularly, films involving educational experiences can help portray the realities of students from various backgrounds.
This research focuses on educational experiences of Black high school students through an analysis of their portrayal in films. This study uses a comparative ethnographic content analysis to expose how media may influence social relationships. In addition, it may help society better understand how “fictional narratives about education” influence perception of real teachers and students (Gregory 2007:7). This examination of these messages can provide evidence on the need to improve critical media literacy, which decreases the likelihood of those messages negatively impacting our social understanding and behaviors.
Examining how high school education experiences of Black students compared to White students are depicted in films gives insight on how society views certain groups educational attainment. If stereotypes dominate films, the perception of different groups may mislead, confuse, and impoverish evaluations and expectations about education (Vandermeersche, Soetaert, and Rutten 2013). Adhering to Critical Race Theory and methodology and symbolic interactionism, the following study address how the messages syndicated in films may have implications on the social understanding of Black students, their teachers, and educational environments.