Diversity in On My Block

*Includes spoilers

I have to say I am a huge procrastinator. As finals week approaches I have been going through Netflix TV shows like no other. There are TV shows that I liked and didn’t like. One that is now one of my favorites is On My Block. It is about four teenagers, Monse, Cesar, Ruby, and Jamal, coming into their freshman year of high school. Everyone one of us knows that everyone has problems in high school, although these kids’ problems are the worst I’ve ever heard of. This is one of the main elements that I found in this show; diversity in problems. The other main element is race.

Monse’s Problem:

Monse is fifteen year old African American female who is having problems with her love life. When she went away to camp for the summer Cesar told his brother and gang members that he slept with Monse. Even though it turns out to be true, Monse is angry because they agreed not to tell anyone. Cesar offends her and she gets super upset, but he comes to apologize later and they sleep together again. They both come to the conclusion that they want to be together, but Monse says they can’t tell their friends because it would ruin everyone’s relationships since they are like a family.

Cesar’s Problem:

Cesar is a fifteen year old Latino male who is having problems with his brother. His brother is the leader of a gang and he wants Cesar to join. Cesar doesn’t want to get mixed up in that because he has big dreams. He is bound to be part of it, though, because his whole family is in it.

Ruby’s Problem:

Ruby is a fifteen year old Latino male who is having problems with his family. His brother went to college, so he finally gets to have his own room. Four hours later he learns that he has to share a room with his grandmother. Later on, he gets his own room again then thirty minutes later he has to share his room with his brother and sister. He also has to wear a dress his grandmother is making. He is tired of not having his own space.

Jamal’s Problem:

Jamal is a fifteen year old African American male who is having problems with his sense of adventure as well as his parents. He is looking for buried treasure and follows a treasure map all over town. He never gives up even though things aren’t looking good. Then, his parents are big on him playing football. Jamal is scared of being hurt, so he quits the team. He doesn’t tell his parents because he is afraid they will get mad. Instead, he comes home with faked injuries every so often.

 

On My Block is a really great TV show, especially if you like drama.

 

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Diversity in Altered Carbon

*Includes spoilers

A new Netflix Original Series that I fell in love with is Altered Carbon. First, I’ll give you an overview of what it’s about, so you will know what I am talking about. Altered Carbon is set in the future where consciousness is put into “stacks” (digital disks that can be transferred to any body), so people can live forever. As the show begins, the main character Takeshi Kovacs wakes up in a new body after 250 years of being “on ice” (stored away-kind of like prison). He is given the chance to win his freedom if he can solve the mind-bending murder of Laurens Bancroft, a very rich man with a big ego. As I watched this show I noticed a wide range of diversity of the characters that appear throughout the show. By this, I mean all of the body switching that happens for characters’ consciousnesses. Takeshi Kovacs has flashbacks a few times during each episode and in them he is a Japanese male, which was his original body. In the present, he is in the body of a white male and eventually is put into another body at the end, but the race is kept a secret (it will be revealed in the second season). Another example of diversity of bodies is when a Russian criminal gets his head chopped off. He wakes up in the police station to be interrogated in the body of a white male. In one of the later episodes, Takeshi gets a woman “off ice,” but she ends up stuck in the body of a white male. She eventually is able to get her real body back, as an African American woman. Now that I am thinking about this, I am starting to realize that every body that the main characters and even lesser characters are put into are white males. Although, any character of a race other than white who doesn’t die, gets to stay in their original bodies. Out of the main characters; Takeshi Kovacs, Laurens Bancroft, Kristin Ortega, Reileen Kawahara, Vernon Elliot, Miriam Bancroft, Mr. Leung, and Quellcrist Falconer, half of them get to keep their original races. Overall, this is a very good show that is worthy of binge watching.

 

Diversity in Mulan

I know this movie came out twenty years ago, but it is a classic, so I have to mention it. The movie “Mulan” is full of gender diversity, specifically gender roles. The Chinese culture in the movie depicts women as being inferior to men as well as having women live in the private sphere (staying within the household). There are many scenes in the movie where this is seen, so I will only talk about a few.

At the beginning of the movie Mulan is being dressed and made up to meet the Matchmaker. The Matchmaker will find her a husband if she is worthy, which she doesn’t end up being to the Matchmaker. She brought great dishonor to her family, even though it wasn’t her fault that the meeting with the Matchmaker went wrong. It was the worst possible thing that could happen because her purpose in the Chinese culture was to marry a man, have children, and take care of the home.

Later on, Mulan’s father gets drafted into the army for a second time and she speaks out against it. First, it was in public where she was told to “hold her tongue” by the man who gave the orders. The next time she speaks out is when she is having dinner with her family. She doesn’t want her father to go, especially since he is hurt. As she argues with him he states, “I know my place, it is time you learned yours.” Soon after this Mulan takes her fathers suit of armor and goes to take his place in the army. When her parents find out they run outside to try to stop her, but she is already gone. Her mother tells her father, “You have to go after her. She could be killed!” Her father responds, “If I reveal her, she will be.” Women weren’t supposed to leave home at all, much less impersonate a man and join the army.

At the end of the movie, Mulan tries telling men in the city that the Huns are there and are going to take the Emperor. They ignore her and wave her off. Even Shang doesn’t listen to her when she stops him. Mulan is a woman and the men in the movie don’t feel the need to listen to the women because they are superior.

As you can see, “Mulan” has many scenes where gender roles depict women as being inferior and living in the private sphere. Although, Mulan starts to change things at the end when the Emperor gives her his crest and Shan- Yu’s sword in gratitude. He even offers her a position on his counsel. If you can get past the gender roles, this is actually a really great movie.

 

Racial Diversity and High School Education

In my high school there was not a lot of racial diversity among students, the majority being Caucasian and the rest African Americans, but there was diversity in the education. The administrators and principal were very prejudice with education and the students. They believed that the Caucasian students would do better in their classes than the African American students, so they tweaked the rules of education for the African American students. They came up with different class lesson plans for the African American students, which were easier than the lesson plans for the Caucasian students. They also provided the African American students with a classroom of their own where they got help from teachers who were not associated with the Caucasian classes or students. There was also a separate school where more troubled African American students could attend. Then, there was the grading system. My high school was very big on graduation numbers, so they made graduating as easy as possible. They looked at statistics about graduating and changed the guidelines for graduating, which made the grading system easier to match the education the African American students were receiving. It was a four point based system. It was impossible for someone to get a zero, because of the way it was structured, so the lowest score was one and the highest was four. Although, this grading scale made it easier for all students to graduate, it made it harder for them to get fours. The fourth point was defined as going above and beyond the teachers teaching and lesson plans. It was almost impossible for a student to get a four because the school and teachers expected them to do extra research for the topics and subjects we were going over in class. In the end, my high school got the best score in the state or possibly country for graduating students even though they went about it in very, very wrong ways.

*Side note: There were some African American students in the higher level classes and some Caucasians in the lower level classes, so it wasn’t considered to be racist to the community. It was mainly their views on statistics that made them think this way, which is stupid, not their own beliefs. They were too focused on how our high school was rated to actually see what they were doing. I hope it has changed for the better since I left.

Good and Bad Dr. Who Fanvids

Cayley and I thought this video was very neat. The creators of this vid did a very nice job with matching their lyrics to the song Run, You Clever Boy. Their lyrics also fit the slow, sad melody of the original song. There was also a few funny lines as to not have the melody fully depress people. It was amazing work.

Cayley and I thought this video wasn’t the greatest. This video was rapped very, very fast and at times hard to understand. Also, some of the clips didn’t match up well with the lyrics or they just made it awkward. The way that this video was put together made it seem very childish and unlikable.

Diversity and Relationships in Dr. Who

Coming into this class, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had heard of the Dr. Who tv show before, but hadn’t seen it. A relative of mine gave me a small overview about the Dr. Who, but after watching the very first episode of Dr. Who I realized that they completely mislead me. Somehow they had gotten it into their heads that Dr. Who was almost the equivalent to the Sherlock Holmes tv show. I was a little bummed that it wasn’t going to be more of a detective show, but I thought I’d give it a try anyway.

As I continue to watch Dr. Who I have grown to like it overall as a show, but I think the diversity in relationships are some of the most interesting parts to watch, especially between the main characters. In the beginning first episode, Rose and Mickey were shown as being in a very strong relationship, but that changed the minute she met The Doctor. At the end of that episode, Rose decided to leave Mickey to go off with some odd, random man she had only just met in a time travelling police box. Rose didn’t look like she had any regrets when she stepped into that police box either. Poor, poor Mickey.

Rose and The Doctor got closer and closer as the first season went on. Eventually, their closeness lead to a kiss at the end of the season. Although, between the first and last episodes, Rose would get back together with Mickey when The Doctor and her would come back to Earth. It was interesting how easily she switched between the two. It was also interesting how neither Mickey nor The Doctor seemed to care one bit.

Another relationship including The Doctor and Rose (not together) is both of their relationships with the Daleks. The Daleks absolutely hate The Doctor and The Doctor absolutely hates the Daleks. Their relationship is fighting and death all of the time. On the other hand, Rose’s relationship with the Daleks, more like with one of the Daleks, is completely different. One of them actually started to care a little about her. It cared enough not to kill her, which was amazing because they kill or destroy pretty much everything.

Side note: When Captain Jack Harkness came into the picture, Rose quickly turned her attention to him, seeming to forget about The Doctor and Mickey.