Launched on March 1, 2014, “I, Too, Am Harvard” (#itooamharvard) is an online photo and hashtag campaign that features portraits of over 50 black and mixed race students at Harvard College holding up dry-erase boards with handwritten examples of racist comments, microaggressions, talk-back messages and quotes, or other difficult interpersonal and institutional interactions they’ve experienced as students. Touching on issues of tokenism, assumption of lack of intelligence, the myth of meritocracy, color blindness, devalued and dismissed perspectives, stereotypical exchanges, and other kinds of problematic interactions, the visually impactful campaign resonated with many people and rapidly spread across the Internet. It further inspired minority students on other campuses to create and share similar projects through their own locally-situated social media campaigns.
This 2002 romantic comedy features a hotel maid who captures the heart of a high profile politician when he mistakes her for a wealthy hotel guest. It is a modern day Cinderella story of two lovers that get caught between the restrictions of a class-based society, while it adds a racialized element to the tale – a white actor (Ralph Fiennes) plays the politician, and the maid (Jennifer Lopez) is Latina.
This music video from mega-popstar Jennifer Lopez was released in 1999 as a Billboard Top 100 single off her debut album. The video begins with shots of a lush jungle setting followed by images of a distant city. Lopez and her girlfriends seem to float between these two worlds. The video portrays Lopez as an "everygirl" preparing for a big night out to celebrate the new millenium. The video intersperses cuts of Lopez primping and scrutinizing herself in the mirror with scenes of her dancing in the jungle setting. The lines between the jungle and the nightclub are clearly blurred, with Lopez and her friends occupying both spaces. The lyrics describe how she's been waiting for so long for a chance to be with her crush and how she hopes that the chance to be with him tonight will end "the days when the sun used to set/ On my empty heart all alone in my bed." As the song climaxes, Lopez emerges soaking-wet from a pool of water.
Jessie Gets Arrestedis a video uploaded June of 2015 by short documentary and film maker Jessie Kahnweiler. The video is part of a series called Jessie Goes There where the film maker tackles issues of race, class, and gender in sort documentary snippets. In the film Jessie attempts to get arrested by various LAPD officers to explore the relationship between white privilege and law enforcement. Her attempts include public drunkenness, trespassing, assaulting an officer, trying to sell drugs, and inappropriately questioning the mayor. The film maker also interviews various Angelinos to explore questions of what white privilege is and how this privilege functions in society.
In this 2014 clip, satirist Jon Stewart analyzes tensions in Minneapolis after mayor Betsy Hodges posed for a photo with a young black man while both were volunteering for a voter registration drive. The photo, specifically, the two pointing at one another in said photo, sparked controversy, including the local media and police department describing their gestures as a notorious gang-sign. In the video, Stewart plays to the absurdity of this framing by drawing comparisons to babies pointing as their first form of communication, the gestures associated with N.W.A, an influential rap group tied to antipolice sentiment in Los Angeles during the late 80’s and into the 90’s, and what happens at sporting events. Stewart draws the conclusion that the comments from the officers are likely influenced by criticisms the mayor made previously about the police department needing to work on building trust and bettering community relations, including rooting out officers that abuse their positions. Stewart ends the piece by adding pointing to his “list of innocent things black people do that look suspicious,” thereby signifying that this politically motivated exchange between the mayor and law enforcement catches black citizens in its crossfire.