Friday, September 25, 2009

Pop and Prejudice: How Modern Prejudice is depicted in our Pop Culture

From Psychology Today

Humans are fascinated by prejudice, and our interest in this topic can easily be seen in our films, television shows, books and plays. Some movies and TV shows attempt to address the issue of prejudice head-on (e.g., Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, American History X). For example, Star Trek broke racial barriers in 1968 when it became the first American TV show to feature an interracial kiss between fictional characters.

However, much of our modern pop culture depictions of prejudice seem to occur in more subtle ways and often these depictions of prejudice come with a bit of tongue-in-cheek. HBO's True Blood, for instance, imagines a world where vampires have "come out of the coffin" and depicts an "interracial" romance between Sookie Stackhouse and the Vampire Bill Compton. The writers of the show smartly use the anti-vampire prejudice as a stand in for the racism and homophobia that currently exists in our society (note that the sign "God Hates Fangs" during the opening credits of the show is just one letter off from a common homophobic slur). This allows the writers to more deeply explore the themes of prejudice without blatantly challenging the audiences' beliefs and making them feel uncomfortable.

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