Media Bias? Creator Bias?: “Free Willy”

On the Surface: “Free Willy”

The Mere Exposure Effect Workshop
Media Bias? Biased Creators.

It’s great to watch movies set in your hometown.  For many of us, Free Willy is a childhood favorite. This Sept. 22nd, when attending the #OregonMade film event, pay close attention to the implicit biases that show up in this film. The last time I watched “Free Willy” two scenes left me shaking my head in disbelief.  How had I not noticed these scenes before?  Today, it’s my job to turn a critical eye toward all media and unpack biases. 

As creators, it is crucial to recognize our biases, whether conscious or unconscious, can inadvertently recreate racist imagery in media over and over again. The underrepresentation of nuanced Black characters is still a significant issue. In “Free Willy”, there are two Black characters, one is severely stereotyped and both are belittled (see images below).  This is common practice in many films. Often it’s a playful interaction so we don’t notice it, let alone see it as a problem.  

This perpetuates historical stereotypes and reinforces harmful narratives.

Responsible Media goes beyond mere representation; it necessitates a critical examination of the work being created. By actively challenging biases and striving to break free from stereotypes, creators can contribute to a more inclusive and equitable media landscape.

Dismantling biases means acknowledging that historical imagery and harmful narratives have long-lasting effects. It requires effort to educate ourselves, continuously learning about different cultures, and creating with critical intent. By doing so, we empower ourselves to create media that dismantles stereotypes and embraces authenticity.

To understand more about how media bias shapes our perspectives and the world around us, join us on Oct. 26th for the Mere Exposure Effect Workshop live at the Hollywood Theatre.

Get your tickets here. Click here for more information about Responsible Media Group 

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