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Level: Grade 9-12
Author: Matthew Johnson, Director of Education, MediaSmarts
Duration: 2 to 3 hours
In this lesson students learn about the history of blackface and other examples of majority-group actors playing minority-group characters such as White actors playing Asian and Aboriginal characters and non-disabled actors playing disabled characters. They consider the key media literacy concepts that “audiences negotiate meaning” and “media contain ideological and value messages and have social implications” in discussing how different kinds of representation have become unacceptable and how those kinds of representations were tied to stereotypes. Finally, students discuss current examples of majority-group actors playing minority-group characters and write and comment on blogs in which they consider the issues raised in the lesson.
This lesson is part of the That's Not Me: Diversity in Media lesson series.
This lesson and all associated documents (handouts, overheads, backgrounders) are available in an easy-print, pdf kit version.
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