I got an A for watching movies!

Yingyu Sun Computer Science, Viterbi Life, Viterbi Plus, Yingyu

Happy Friday! I’m writing this blog post during my least favorite class (who needs Operating Systems, right?), but let me tell you about my favorite class I’ve taken here at USC. During the spring semester of my sophomore year, I took a class called Exploring Ethnicity Through Film. It was exactly what you might expect from the title: we watched a number of films throughout the semester and talked about the portrayal of ethnicity and race in film.

It was a super interesting class, and not just because we got to watch so many cool movies! Talking about the constructs of ethnicities in American film opened my eyes to a lot of the underlying tones and patterns we often miss in popular media. Sometimes we get distracted by the flashy CGI and the crazy action scenes, but this class taught me to look more into thing like why characters are being portrayed a certain way, how costumes can change your perception of a character, and how different color tones can make you feel a certain way about a scene.

The professor chose a great selection of films for us to watch, including Star Wars Episode IV, Rocky, Creed, some smaller indie films like Amreeka and Smoke Signals, and some older films like Enter the Dragon and The Mask of Fu Manchu. Every film was focused on a different aspect. With Star Wars, we talked about how Western films often portray white males as heroes and saviors. We even spent a majority of lecture talking about how Princess Leia is always wearing white clothing to make the audience think of her as a fragile and innocent female that needs Luke and Han Solo to come help her out (no spoilers, I promise!). We discussed how Asian-Americans evolved from being blamed as a source of corruption in Western communities to being considered the “model minority” in comparison to African-Americans during the Civil Rights Movement.

This class did a great job in engaging the students with the content and with each other, and I definitely had some very interesting conversations with my classmates about our opinions on the films. It’s always nice to be thinking outside of a strictly technical mindset, and this class definitely gave me an outlet to do just that. I would recommend taking some classes that you think would be interesting just to see what it’s like!

That’s it for today friends 🙂 I hope the semester is going well, and as always, fight on!

About the Author

Yingyu is a junior studying Computer Science. Click above to find out more!

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