Artifact 6 – Waiting for Superman

Waiting for Superman is a definite wake up call.  To this point in the semester, I have focused on social movements within the Civil Rights Movement and the Anti-War Movement.  However, Waiting for Superman is every bit as important.  Waiting for Superman takes a long, hard look at the public education system in the United States and reminds viewers that this system involves children with names and futures.  This film is extremely depressing and makes it very clear what a disaster our public school system is, especially for inner city children.

What makes this film so good is the way in which people are standing up and fighting for children.  Prominent figures such as Bill Gates and Geoffrey Canada.  Geoffrey Canada is a prominent educator who is responsible for extreme growths in the education system.  Throughout this film, you begin to realize that there is a social movement starting.  You don’t know when it started or when it will grow but you can see and feel it beginning.  This is why I believe this documentary most closely relates to the Genesis stage of social movements.  Public education has been ignored my entire life and most likely long before I was ever born, however, a movement is definitely evolving within this film.

The video I have posted is the official trailer for the documentary, Waiting for Superman.  It gives a clear picture of what the film is about and in the 2 1/2 minute clip you are already emotionally involved.  It includes testimony from the prominent figures I discussed above.  It also includes some of the unbelievable methods used to decide a child’s future.  These methods are enough to convince me that a movement needs to take place and something has got to be done to improve the public education system.

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Artifact #5 – A Turbulent Time

A Turbulent Time: Perspectives of the Vietnam War was an excellent experience for me.  Not only did this activity touch on the social movements we have covered in class but also covered an extremely important time in history that most college students could stand to know more about, including me.  It was an exciting, fresh, and beneficial exercise.

I was most influenced by the portion of the exhibit dedicated to letters from students who had been directly affected by the war.  I remember writing those same letters while I was going through grade school, however, my letters were usually based on my love for a family member or something positive.  One letter I read at the exhibit was a letter of sadness.  This particular little girl was confused why her dad and her dad’s two friends plane had been shot down and why none of them we’re ever coming home.  She explained how much she missed her father and wondered why this had happened.  It was a very moving letter from what was obviously a very young girl.  I connected this letter to the second stage of social movements: social unrest.  Social unrest occurs when people rise up and express their concerns and frustrations over an issue.  This girl rose up with enough courage to put her feelings down on paper and express her concerns and frustrations with the war.

I am once again beyond impressed with this course.  The boundaries for this class are non-existent and the methods of learning are unpredictable.  I only wish that I didn’t have to wait until I was a senior before I enjoyed a course.

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Artifact #3 – The Invisible Children

When I look back on my time at ISU, this video will always stick with me.  It was one of the moments that I can honestly say, I learned something new in college!  I was both extremely moved and proud while watching this movie.  It never ceases to amaze me the good that can be found in people and the lengths they will go to fight for the things they believe in.  I thought this video did an excellent job of capturing the progress of the movement and how far Invisible Children has come and how infectious it became to others.  As I look through the stages of social movements, it’s very easy to connect this to the enthusiastic mobilization stage.  According to book, the enthusiastic mobilization stage is “populated with true believers who have experienced conversion to the cause.”  This was extremely evident in the movie as the movement began catching momentum and notoriety.  This cause is something the “roadies” truly believed in and were willing to dedicate a good portion of their lives supporting and some were even willing to die for the cause.  It is very motivating to me to see people become that passionate about something and makes me want to find something I believe in as much as the “roadies” believed in Invisible Children.  I was not the only person in class motivated by this video, I even overheard several classmates talking about becoming a “roadie”.

The video I have posted is the “roadie” application video for Marcus, who is now an Invisible Children roadie.  This video shows how motivating and inspiring the roadies are and how Invisible Children can transform lives.  He uses the quote, “you get one life, but a million different ways to live it.” several times throughout the video and goes to show you that the possibilities are endless.  This video also strongly portrays that Marcus is a true believer.

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Artifact #2: Transforming Perceptions of Social Reality

In the section, “Transforming Perceptions of Social Reality” located in Chapter 3 of the textbook, the author talked about the importance of identifying other people’s perceptions of the past, present, and future in order to change those perceptions and move forward with a social movement. In my opinion, the past is the largest and most difficult perception to alter.  For whatever reason, people in the past had been convinced that the ways things were being done was normal.  I’m almost positive that 50 years from now I’ll look back in bewilderment at how I considered certain things to be the norm.  The author gives examples of ways to alter these past perceptions.  One way past perceptions were altered was during the prolife movement.  A leaflet was produced using police photographs of dead women and deformed babies on bathroom floors to show those opposed just how gruesome and dangerous illegal abortion was.  The artifact I used is a video of the civil rights movement which displays some of the more mild abuse African Americans were forced to endure approximately a half century ago.

This video displays only a fraction of what blacks were forced to put up with during the civil rights movement, but I think it gets the point across. Simply displaying the horrors of certain issues through media can be incredibly influential in reshaping peoples perceptions.

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Artifact 1

While doing the required reading, Studying Social Movements as Interpretive Systems: “The Question”, it didn’t take long for me to figure out what I was going to write my first artifact about. In fact, the first paragraph was all I needed for this assignment. The paragraph covered the first part of “The Question”, which individuals? This is the first step in studying social movements. Which person(s) create and lead the social movement and how do they get others to follow. The text describes social movements as being made up of people with low tolerance for ambiguity, a familiarity with crime and violence, and/or a common regional, racial, or religious experience. I completely agree with this for the majority of the people who make up social movements with the exception of a familiarity with crime and violence. I find this part of the statement hard to believe and I hope I never believe violence is necessary for social change. Which brings me to the photo I chose as my artifact.

I feel like this image chose me more than I chose it. At first glance, it could easily be misconstrued to support the textbooks claim. However, I refuse to believe violence is necessary to force people to do the right thing. There is a never ending number of solutions for any problem. Quickly resorting to violence is a cowardly way of approaching a problem and in my opinion, that is not what Senator Paul Wellstone was getting at with this quote.

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