What Does the Future Hold for Raceless Individuals and their Offsprings?

The American Academy of Children & Adolescent Psychiatry expects the multiracial children population to be one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. population. Individuals who identify as “raceless” and who have offspring are increasing the population and the likelihood of having more progressive children. Although the number of mixed-race-families are increasing, the label of whether a child is black or white will be tougher than ever. In my presentation I explore many popular offspring of blended families still face the struggles of what box to check.

Do Raceless Individuals Exist?

The Impact of Viral Videos

After reading Racist Visual Rhetoric and Images of Trayvon Martin by Lisa Lebduska, I can see clearly how scopic regime is the difference between the way our culture constructs fiction and fact.  To every story, there are some elements that trigger a reaction in us and determine specific ways of seeing. In order to make sense of the things we see, we visualize an image that takes place in the scopic regime.  Why is it that images and videos have such an impact on us?  I would have to say that it’s because imagery and visual mediation is such powerful tool that it can both alleviate pain and stress and cause pain.

In today’s society, imagery plays such an important role and sadly, many of what we see in social media can often be damaging and volatile. A rumor posted on social media can rapidly and extensively spread and in the case of Trayvon Martin, the media has conflated images and texts collaboratively tell the story of such a tragic case. The question can be asked, why does some videos go viral while others do not? On both sides of the Martin and Zimmerman’s case, there has been a deliberately “engineered” action to use viralty to spread content and mobilize support. As Jones and Hafner stated “One important though sometimes neglected aspect of digital literacy in the ability to use digital tools to manage, distribute and focus attention.”

Clearly, it is the rhetorical influence that viral videos have upon the public to control how we exchange information and related to each other. As participants in online discourse communities and social networks, it has become very easy to  share mutual interests, help one another with questions, voice complaints and share experiences and information.


The Virality of Memes

Memes inception is here to stay. Memes provide an opportunity to connect with people of all sort. To say that memes has not had any effect on popular culture is like saying global warming has had no effect on the world. Another added bonus of memes is that it encourages participation and shareability. Memes have the ability to be shared across a wide range of platforms and on smartphones as well which is major. Memes encourage collaborative community while also cultivating a new form of discourse community— they are unlike traditional culture.

The Virality of Memes

Tracking Viral Visual Images

Today in class, we’re building on the thinking / work you’ve done with the readings, and also your first drafts of this week’s presentation in order to see how images circulate / make visual arguments in practice. Therefore, each group will work on the image of the drowned Syrian boy who washed on the shore, recently.

Young boy washed up on the beach.

Photo credit: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/02/shocking-image-of-drowned-syrian-boy-shows-tragic-plight-of-refugees

This image has gone “viral” in a number ways, and is a fascinating case study (much like the Obama Hope image that Greis explores) of how images circulate.

In pairs, you will research this image together, track its circulation, and discuss what you find. You will have 15-20 minutes together to do this. Make sure to take notes as you can, and before we come back together as a class to discuss the assignment, you and your partner should make a collaborative post (include both of your names), summarizing your thoughts (categorize as “The Image That Shook The World” (it’s OK if you don’t completely finish – do the best you can, and then work to revise it for Thursday’s class). Here are some things to consider as you work:

  • What is the original context of this image (or images, since there were a series of them)? Who is the “author”? When/where/why was it taken (or created)?
  • What kind of visual imagery does it involve? What type of argument does it make (including its emotional appeal)?
  • What about the remixes of this images? What arguments / appeals are they making?
  • How did this image go “viral”? How did it circulate? Through what networks (social media & otherwise)? How did the consumers of this image become producers of new meaning?
  • What meanings did this image taken on? How was it appropriated?
  • How did you go about doing your research here? Provide us with the citations / links you are looking at.

Meme’s Ability to Change Over Time

Memes are created for various reasons and they can be duplicated thousands of ways that sometimes users who create them may not no the origin of its existence. Because of viral media as Greis puts it, “once produced and distributed in a networked pathway, images rapidly undergo change in terms of location, form, media, genre, and function” (335). What once was a photo in a comic book circulated into a proliferation of memes. Thousands of users rely on the internet everyday and with the addition of social networks it is easy to spread content as simple as a meme online. The internet makes it easy for users to create memes as well with just a few clicks. But those who create these memes, how many of them know its origin? Memes do not and will not remain the same because each user who contributes to creating them have a different purpose from another user as to why they created it in the first place whether because they intend to be funny or serious or even romantic. Memes change over time through the web and users never look back. Next time you see a meme ask yourself, what actions, process, or result of manipulation created the meme to begin with?

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What’s So Special About a Meme?

This presentation will explore the meme. When tying this into the understanding of memes it all goes back to discourse communities. Memes are single ideas that together, connect entire discourse communities. Regardless of the chosen affinity, a well constructed meme “will be one that triggers the appropriate set of conceptual and emotional associations for a given audience within a given cultural context” (Wetherbee 2). The topoi, this connector contributes to the interaction across social media platforms. The meme connects users for Facebook to Instagram and Instagram to Twitter. Sites such as Tumblr, Reddit, and individual blogs in WordPress are a part of a larger idea.

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Got Milk? Got Meme?

When thinking about this project, it was easy for me to pick “Got Milk? as an example of a viral visual image. Got Milk? is an advertisement campaign designed to help increase milk sales in the United States. Since the launch of the campaign thousands of parodies and imitations have been created. Greis explains that “…new technologies afford opportunities for amateurs to create, publish, and distribute and social critique at viral speeds, making possible, in part, what Henry Jenkins (2006) has dubbed a “participatory culture.” (340).  

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There is more that what meets the eye with Shia Labeouf’s “Just Do It” viral video. The video has transformed the Nike logo. In this video we are able to see the true effects of circulation of a medium. The video is to say the least subtle and gives a hard push to anyone who has been lazy in following dreams. Mr. LaBeouf, Luke Turner and Nastja Säde Rönkkö created the video with the intention of it being used for transformation. Since then the initial video has been remixed and transformed into various medias ranging from still images to song parodies. These have in turn have lead to more participation and involvement. This only leads to question what mediums have been created in such a way that not only provokes creation but also allows it as a part of its own creation.


Meme Presentation


When we think about how we communicate on a screen several things come to mind, text messages, emails, Facebook messages or maybe twitter. What we don’t think about is how these modes of communication change how we send each other information. As it says on page 90 of Chapter Four (Cohen and Kenny) “one of the biggest downsides of digital culture is transmission loss of meaning and depth in text in short messages”. This along with the combination of emoji’s and short speak make us pre programmed to keep it short and get to the point. It also opens the door to miscommunication because how I type something may not be the way its read by someone else, which can either be a funny misunderstanding or something more serious like offending someone.


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