Question: How has sports activism changed over the years in terms of media responsiveness. Has the media become more critical or more accepting of athlete stances on non-athletic issues? How has the population responded to this change in media activity?
Response: Over the years, the media has become more accepting of athlete activism as shown through more balanced coverage as well as more resources to see why these athletes hold this position. I plan to prove this by pulling information from media from the time of early activism, such as newspapers from the 1960s all the way until the modern media coverage of today. I intend to see how the media has changed in their responses. If possible, I’d also likely to incorporate an element of how fans specifically have responded to this, by possibly seeing interview clips of fans from the 1960s about Ali, to viewing the social media comments of fans today. I intend to prove the change in media coverage by calling upon the more favorable media sources explaining activist agendas, examining the history of being moe multicultural and how this has caused the media to be more accepting of different perspectives.
The feedback that I received mostly had to do with my posture and my presentation. However, as it relates to the content of the presentation, my audience commented that I should make explicit what I want to accomplish in my RBA. Previously, I had not given any indication about what I wish to explore in the future, but after the presentation I have added that into the infographic as a series of questions.
Essentially, my main research question is how exactly has sports activism impacted the direct actions of kids and citizens paying attention to the movements of today. My tentative thesis is that the actions of sports heroes has influenced the youth of today and has made a tangible impact on society today.
Link to infographic:
It is now the calm before the storm. Our infographic and research proposal are complete, however this is only the beginning as we all embark on the RBA. With my research proposal, I was told by my peers during our review session that although my background and short anecdote were well done, my conclusion was far too vague. With their confusion on which direction my RBA was going to move forward in, I had to rephrase my final paragraph and expand on my introduction to help clarify what exactly I plan to research further. This made me question what specific outcome of organizations I wanted to focus on as well as how I wanted to define “successful”.
My infographic received lots of positive feedback. With the layout and arrows, the cycle I am planning on focusing on has been solidified. The infographic gave viewers plenty of background and expressed the seriousness and importance of the general topic.
With both the infographic and research proposal complete, I now have a strong grasp on my research question I will be answering in my RBA. What is the most effective method of raising awareness about human trafficking throughout the United States? When I use the term effective here, I will focus on the quantity and scope of people that the method/medium overall positively effects. Bringing in more scholarly sources, I will focus my research on empowering organizations, forms of education, as well as media. Currently I have many personal stories and an understanding of many organizations that work toward empowering individuals, however I am going to have to find scholarly sources to help determine which method overall spreads the most awareness for my RBA.
Coalition of Immokalee Workers: I would research the methodology used to create change in improving wages and working conditions for growers of large retail food chains and supermarkets
Pebble Mine: There are valid arguments for those for and against the building of the gold-rich mine in Alaska. I would analyze the rhetoric of both sides.
AIDS Activism: I would focus on how activists helped change the perception of AIDS and how they created greater focus on AIDS treatment and healthcare.
Activism against Sexual Assault on Universities: I would argue that activism has only been low to moderately effective in reshaping the perception/gravity of sexual assault and punishing the assailants
Activism against Affirmative Action in Universities:
Many white and Asian Americans feel that affirmative action favors underqualified minority groups in university admission and purposefully discriminates against Asian Americans and whites. These claims have even led to lawsuits against universities like Harvard and UNC at Chapel Hill. I think first it is necessary to examine whether there is validity to these claims.
Some arguments point out that Asian Americans are not just one monolithic community whose members all hold the stereotype of being financially well-off and high-achievers. After delving into the history of affirmative action, I would examine whether affirmative action actually produces its intended results and whether the negative repercussions outweigh its successes. Without having done much research, at this point I hypothesize that more transparency in the process of university admission can help reduce the adverse effects of affirmative action. I think this topic can also extend itself to the debate whether minority groups such as blacks and Latinos are still under subjugation in today’s America. In other words, it is controversial whether minority groups are subjected the same disadvantages as they were in the past.
In activism, there are a plethora of subjects one could discuss. Here are my top five:
- Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a taboo subject that is unspoken of around the world. 91% of women in Egypt have been subjected to FGM, usually between the age of 4 and 15. As an Egyptian woman, I am shocked by the lack of conversation around the subject in my grandmother’s household and in the media. I would like to explore the ways we can overcome the taboo using various methods of activism, such as comedy, art and social media in order to make the subject more accessible and easier to address.
- Art and Design Activism: The Guerrilla girls. The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, United Kingdom held the exhibition: Disobedient Objects. Bringing together objects used by activists all over the world, the Guerrilla Girls section caught my eye and showcased an interesting use of art and activism. The anonymous group of radical feminists used culture jamming through art to highlight issues of racial and gender inequality. I am most interested in writing about this subject as the use of art and imagery can be valuable medium in which to evoke a feeling and display a message.
- Transgender & Trans Race Movement: Trans explores the differences and similarities of the trans gender and trans race movements. If one can be transgender, can one be trans race? Referring to the Dolezal vs Jenner debate, I would like to look at the struggle of racial fluidity, leading to a further discussion on categorization.
- Planned Parenthood: I am interested in exploring the history of planned parenthood and its effects on communities. The series, The Midwife highlights the issues of a lack of education and birth control in East London. How have women gained more control over their lives and how did this develop?
- Ocean Governance: Our climate is constantly changing and we are in need of international agreements on how we are reducing our effects on the ocean. In a space of no borders, international responsibility becomes critical in keeping the ocean safe, clean, sustainable and healthy.
Activism!: Direct Action, Hacktivism and Future of Society by Tim Jordan explores the subject of power in the realm of activism!. The goal of activism! is to fight and dissolve power in order to alleviate the discrepancies of social justice. Furthermore, Jordan notes we must “end the exploitations of Others by Selves” (146) and thereby reduce difference and oppression. With the example of male oppression, men are viewed to have more power. This dominance can seen in many different mediums such through the power of a making decisions and controlling a country. Men take up 90% of the Senate and, therefore, have more power than women when making decisions for a country – showing a large difference of power. Furthermore, power can be portrayed socially: in Saudi Arabia, women are not granted the power of transportation and freedom due to laws abiding women from driving cars. The lack of freedom is a form difference and oppression of power. Power is a means of naming the enemy where the access to power provides the ability to make a difference and therefore perform in activism.
Furthermore, in chapter 4, Jordan highlights the power of culture jamming and the use of isolated moments of humour and anger. In his example of McDonalds, an activist replaces the billboard from “feeling hungry all of a sudden” to “feeling heavy all of a sudden?” (108). This example portrays the simplicity of power and how it is diffused to reduce the power McDonalds over its customers – who, now can retaliate against the distribution of McDonalds’ fatty foods. Power is everything and even in this mere example, it is the root to difference and exclusion.
- Environmental activist group Earth First! was formed in 1979 in response to the RARE-II re-evaluation of public lands in the US and from there became one of the leading radical environmentalist groups in America. Focusing on topics related to wilderness and wildlife preservation, the group later gained notoriety for its practice of more radical, hands-on tactics, including tree-spiking, tree-sitting, and using banners and paint to decorate dams with cracks. As Earth First! and splinter group Earth Liberation Front (ELF) became more confrontational and controversial, accusations of FBI planting of ideas, especially acts of violence that lead to arrests of members, abounded.
- Journalism has a significant role in both communicating and participating in activism. Cases such as the the one depicted in Spotlight, reporting on the Snowden leaks, and Amy Goodman’s arrest while covering the Dakota Access Pipeline are all examples of journalism engaging with activism. Interesting research in this area could examine specific cases of the First Amendment protecting freedom of the press concerning activist movements. Current trends in widespread access to online, non-professional information sharing is also relevant to this topic.
- In early 2016, the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was occupied by 40 armed militants, lead by Ammon Bundy, whose father, Clive, was involved in a 2014 standoff also concerning rights to publicly-owned lands. In this area, I am interesting in looking at the history of public reactions to public land as well as more recent events, specifically comparing law enforcement reactions to the Bundy standoffs and Dakota Access Pipeline encampments.
- In recent years, activist voices concerned about the abundance of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food products have gained prominence. Calls for boycotts of GMOs and legally-mandated labelling of GMO products have prompted national discussion, despite the lack of conclusive scientific evidence. While no legislation exists yet, many individual stores and brands have started advertising as GMO-free. A possible research topic in this area is investigating the dilution of other environmental narratives by buzzword-heavy, factually-suspect claims.
- Throughout the Southwest, water rights are a complicated issue that touch on areas ranging from agricultural productivity to Native sovereignty and religion. Two recent lawsuits, one against the EPA in the 2015 Gold King mine spill and another against Snowbowl Ski Resort in response to artificial snowmaking on sacred mountains, highlight issues in Native water rights. Research in this area could look at Native appeals through the US legal system concerning rights and usage of water in the Southwest.
Of these, I’m most interested in exploring different instances of occupation-based engagement with public lands. Government responses to activist movements have varied significantly, as has the success of different examples. Comparing the Bundy and DAPL engagements is particularly interesting because of the intersection of these issues with Native sovereignty, racial biases, and gun regulations. There is also a lot of room to look at what happened to individuals from each movement that entered the legal system as a result. In the Bundy standoffs, there was no significant direct physical engagement. Many arrests were made and of those, some individuals pleaded guilty to specific charges, others were tried and found not guilty. In Standing Rock, there was much more direct physical engagement from both the government and private security hired by pipeline companies. Individual responses to being arrested varied significantly, including some who may end up incarcerated in order to avoid giving names of other activists. I think looking at America’s public land is of importance now, as questions concerning our climate future become increasingly critical. There is also a strong connection to American history and federalism especially concerning rights to land and federal and state oversight on different types of land.