So I work at a for-profit university, and today we are celebrating opening week by using a movie theme. There was a raffel where students could win free movie tickets, a red carpet – you get the idea.
Today’s activity was focused around the film Grease. The played the musicas our students arrived and people dressed the part – mostly professors. At this point I need to mention that the students where I teach are of all races, but it is fair to say that white students are in the minority. With the Grease theme I couldn’t help myself from thinking about a disscusion I was having in a feminist theory class the other night – a discussion about intertextuality, social context, social construct, and essentialism.
What I keep wondering is can we really expect mixed race students to have the same affinity for and excitement about a film that speaks very little to their experiance? What does Grease mean to them? And also does a celebration of this film perpetuate the social construction of white sterotypes as dominant? It feels that way to me. I feel like my students are being asked to feel celebratory about everything that oppresses and marginalized them.