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Through Their Eyes: Video Taping Oral History, by Angelo J. Pompano


Guide Entry to 01.04.07:

The intent of this unit is to create a video documentary that will show positive gender, race and ethnic images of people with whom students can identify. This unit addresses the needs of the students by giving them a meaningful project on which to work. The result is an end product that will be a source of pride to be viewed by all of the students of the school.

This unit consists of two parts. Part One deals with the subject of race and ethnicity as it is relates to stereotyping on television and in movies. It gives a definition of the word stereotype and explains how and why gender, racial, and ethnic stereotypes are used in the media. It also discusses the influence of these stereotypes on children. In this section hegemony is discussed as well as the Metropole and Borderlands Models of viewing culture. This is followed by a discussion of the importance of oral history in preserving the real history of the nation. It is noted here that the story of the Amistad for many years was only preserved in the oral history of New Haven.

Part Two deals with using video in school to combat stereotyping. It explains how video can be used to record oral histories that will combat the negative images of race and ethnicity perpetuated by the broadcast media. The students are first taught how to prepare to give an interview. In the lessons section the students view a movie that deals with prejudice. Here the students learn the definitions of prejudice and stereotyping and begin to recognize the Hollywood stereotypes they see every day. Next the students role play to learn what it is like to be from another culture and misunderstood because of being different. They are given the chance to express how they felt in writing. Here they get experience in conducting a taped interview. Finally, they conduct real life interviews of their grandparents to learn the Borderland contributions to society of people with whom they can identify. By recording these oral histories the students will debunk the Hollywood stereotypes. This unit is aligned with the curriculum of the City of New Haven.

(Recommended for Unified Arts-Video Production, and Social Studies, grades 7-12.)

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