Teaching Kids About Culture While Removing Generational Gaps
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Keeping Cultures Alive Through Generational Differences

A look into television and how through generational differences, families can work to keep cultures alive.

Keeping Cultures Alive Through Generational Differences

Television has the unique ability to portray relatable situations and struggles that many people are going through to connect the viewers to the show. This ability allows television shows to gather a larger audience to provide relief for them in that another "family" may be dealing with similar difficulties as them and allow them to be entertained while escaping their reality for a short time.

Television shows can connect people who associate with the show by utilizing certain elements throughout the episodes that evoke emotion and a deeper sense of connection between the audience and the show. An example of these elements would be quick flashback shots, the shot angles of the camera, as well as voice-overs and background songs. The third episode of the hit ABC television show, "Black-ish" demonstrates that African-American families want to keep their culture alive because generations have different priorities.

The stereotype of acknowledging another African-American person in a certain way when in passing aligns with the suggestion that the show is making regarding that it is difficult for the older generation to teach the younger generations certain mannerisms. This is due to the society in which each generation grew up being significantly different from each other. In the opening scene of the third episode of "Black-ish," Zoe, the oldest daughter is seen walking into school talking on her cell phone, dressed nicely, and making a clear effort to dissociate with her brother, Junior.

The framing of the shot has Zoe centered in the middle walking ahead of her brother and her father, focusing the center of attention on her in the shot and representing how she is far more popular than her brother. The shot pans over to her father, Dre, struggling to carry in a project with Junior, when a young African-American boy and his father pass by. The shot zooms in on Dre as he notices the father of the boy and slows down the shot to emphasize the nod that he gives. The camera then pans over to the father, maintaining a close zoom as he returns the nod. The shot quickly pans out and shows Junior who is completely oblivious to anything that is happening.

The shot framing and angle shift to show Dre's confusion and anger as to why Junior did not give "the nod" to the young boy that was passing and realizes that Junior is unaware of "the nod" and abruptly drops the project and walks away. The specific camera angle and shot formatting emphasize how Zoe and Junior are in a high-class society and act completely different from each other. It also focuses in on how Dre is extremely disappointed in Junior for not doing "the nod," something that is commonplace for him but was never taught to Junior.

Societal differences make it difficult for a culture to transcend between generations and provide a challenge for the older generation when raising the new one. Throughout the opening scene, various film elements highlighted key moments in the episode. Sound effects also play a large role in staging a scene to convey the exact meaning that it is intended to. Background songs, as well as voice-overs, are key elements that are help convey the message and the meaning.

In the opening scene when Zoe, Junior, and Dre are walking into the school when you hear Dre's voice over talking about how Zoe and Junior are so different. In the background, "Hard Knock Life" from the musical "Annie" is being played. Throughout the opening scene, Dre is dealing with a conflict over the stark difference between his son and his daughter as well as Junior's inability to understand "the nod." This song exemplifies the conflict that Dre is dealing with how generational differences have created a rift between him and his children.

Connecting important cultural mannerisms to different situations throughout life and history are important when showing how generational differences have affected families in keeping their culture alive. When discussing with his father regarding how Junior did not know to do "the nod," Dre's discussion with the family quickly shifts into a flashback and voice over in which both sound effects and camera framing are utilized. The voice over puts emphasis on how much this problem is bothering Dre and how it truly is something he is dealing with as a parent.

The quick shots of different scenes such as President Obama giving a speech, babies in strollers, two people meeting on a ski slope, etc., show them all giving each other the nod. These quick and comedic shots emphasize how far back and how commonplace "the nod" truly is in their culture and how Dre is concerned that if Junior doesn't know the nod, how much else does he truly know about his culture.

Sound effects, camera framing, and camera angles help convey messages and meaning of television shows to the viewers. Using different camera angles and shots, different perspectives are provided to the scene which allows insight into every character's perspective. Sound effects stimulate the sense of hearing of a viewer when they are watching the show and allow messages to be sent subliminally. In this episode of "Black-ish," these elements worked together to convey the message that it is difficult for African-American families to keep their culture alive due to generational differences.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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