Phase 3: Final Podcast

Brittany: Hello, my name is Brittany Ramgolam and I am in my first year at York University. I am taking Research for Professional Writers and I am doing this podcast to decide whether using alternative methods is better or if talking to a counsellor is better. With my personal experience of dealing with mental health issues I can conclude that you get the best results while using both methods simultaneously with some sort of routine. To help me decide I have interviewed Jennifer Mackenzie who is a social worker in downtown Toronto.

*Start first interview*

Brittany: What motivated you to become a social worker?

Jennifer: Umm I think it was a lot of things that directed me to go into social work I think first and foremost my compassion to working with people. I’m a people person, I love people and I love working with people. I’ve always been an advocate from a young age for different populations and I think that kind of happened through education.

Brittany: So when you talk with your clients, sometimes they can be prescribed with certain medications and sometimes do you talk with them about alternative methods in dealing with their problems.

Jennifer: I think when we are looking into addressing their problems there’s a variety of treatments and philosophies if you will or approaches that we can, you know, work from and use to support these individuals. I think what’s most important is that an individual has choice and autonomy and an understanding and awareness of different approaches. Medication certainly comes from someone with a pharmaceutical background and is something we often think about with treatment, but it is not something I would say is the cookie cutter approach to solutions of mental health. It could be a piece of a treatment plan but there are many, many you know, different things and programs that are working for the mental health population and medication is not the magic wand. They can be helpful they can improve someone’s quality of life and allow them to be apart of day to day activities that they might not have been able to without it, but a goal is to stop the use. We have to make sure we are looking at all the ways in addressing mental health and ensuring that individuals are connected. I really, really look at how isolation manifests some symptoms when they are not connected and involved. We support them in different compacities and how things can manifest. Im always an advocate for an individual to have choice to be informed, to be educated in terms of approaches and treatments and to have that support so that they can have a safe space to talk about their mental health free of stigma. That’s really important and hard to find sometimes—

Brittany: It is—

Jennifer: And it think its really important in creating that safe space as well as the judgement creates unease it is apart of that safe space—

Brittany: Of course—

Jennifer: And meet the individuals where they are at. If you have an individual who is on medication and not enjoying their experience and isn’t appreciating sleeping most of the day and not being able to feel emotion and getting stuck with that and not feeling good about that. I gotta explore alternative options and changing the medication and that could be a bunch of things and actually hear what’s going on here and what you’re working with. Where they are at and where they see themselves and where they want to go. Right? Not what I think they should be doing but what in fact it is.

Brittany: I’m basing my podcast on an article called Run, Swim, Cook: The New Prescription for Happiness. What do you think about that title?

Jennifer: Run, Swim—

Brittany: And Cook: The New Prescription for Happiness.

Jennifer: I think you’re tapping into healthy coping strategies you could also look at them as self care insulators like exercise and cooking and these are all important things. You know, we could look at them proactively and look at them as healthy coping strategies. I mean, that is a great start and its important to look at all those. We are looking into those and mindfulness and maybe have a positive impact so yeah I think its great. Mental health really is a bunch of things. So, running, swimming, and what was the other sorry—

Brittany: Run, Swim, and Cook—

Jennifer: I think these are life skills too; and I think that is really important cause we are really seeing not really seeing many life skills as we saw historically so we really want to kind of bridge those and teach those and gain new skills. These skills are important for stability for future success. These are insulators into living independently. So I think that should absolutely be a priority. We want you to be successfully you need life skills too—

Brittany: Of course.

*End first interview*

Brittany: That was Jennifer Mackenzie answering a few questions that I had about the topic of mental health and what works best with it. In the end, it is client’s decision on what route they want to take to being healthy. If the medications are not working, then the therapist has to figure out a different way to help them son that they can eventually have a life that they want to live.

Brittany: Mental health can really be something that’s hard to work with. Sometimes medication doesn’t work, sometimes somebody needs a change in their medication. A change in dosage or how many times a day. Some people refuse to take it because of a stigma and that is really difficult to work with because the therapist, counsellor or whoever does know what to do for their client, but the client does not comply with what the therapist believes is best for them. Because, again, there is a stigma. And at the other end of the spectrum some people believe that when they are sitting at home doing their alternative methods that it is actually helping them. However, they do not see that they are actually declining. They need that extra push that extra help when it comes to dealing with their mental health. When you are using an alternative method, you are masking the problem you are not really helping yourself. You are just pretending that just cooking, just running, just swimming; for examples, are working. However, in the end they are not working as much as a person with a mental health issue thinks they work.

Brittany: I wanted another opinion, so I reached out and interviewed my old high school counsellor Sharmin Hasan. I spoke to her for three years, because of our experience the conversation started with a mini therapy session for me and with that I realized that it never ends. There is always work to be done when it comes to the mind and the more you work on it the better it becomes. If you stop it then the issues can arise again and sometimes it can be more prominent depending on how bad it was the first time around.

*Start second interview*

Brittany: I am with Sharmin Hasan who is a—

Sharmin: Counsellor at Lester B. Pearson.

Brittany: What made you want to be a counsellor here?

Sharmin: Well, I’ve always wanted to work with children and youth in some way. Before working at the school board, I was working in a treatment agency doing counselling in conjunction with a psychologist providing therapy. I realized that it was really unstructured role and it required time and I wanted to use my skills in something that was more structured so I love school and thought it would be ideal if I provide counselling to students.

Brittany: Okay. So, lets gets started on the questions. How often do you speak with people who have been diagnosed with a specific mental health disorder?

Sharmin: I would say on a daily basis. Most of my students who are referred to me do either have a mental illness or are in the progress of getting a diagnosis or it is unidentified. Sometimes it is very difficult for young people to seek support in getting a diagnosis so I also do a lot of not intervention just proactive engaging with them so that they can engage in the process of getting medical help.

Brittany: Do you often talk to your clients about alternative methods on how to cope with their said mental health issue?

Sharmin: Absolutely, that is part of my role. Is to explore alternative measures cause not always medication is the answer. Its coping with adversity so looking at holistic approaches, nutrition, exercise, certain specific coping strategies including mindfulness meditation. So those pieces are really important because it allows you to sustain and allows you to expand your ability to deal with adversity.

Brittany: Do you think that students should seek alternative methods on their own or do you think it is better if they get additional help?

Sharmin: Well, sometimes, its good to have support. Sometimes its really good to have a forum to talk things through and realize that an alternative methods can be useful and even if that specific method is not useful. Its healthy and important for the young person to discuss why it was not helpful and not to give up and explore others. So I think being a young person its beneficial to speak to someone so they are not giving up. Not every method will work for everyone so it is usually useful to explore other methods.

Brittany: What is the most useful coping method?

Sharmin: In terms of what?

Brittany: In terms of a student dealing with their mental health issues. Like which one do you think has worked more often?

Sharmin: I would say mindfulness, mindful body scans, I would say future journaling; writing to yourself and looking at it from a future perspective. Nutrition, definitely right? What we know is that a lot of our serotonin produced in the gut connected to the vagus nerve, so it is really important that we are aware of our nutrition because it does impact our life.

Brittany: What is the best way to deal with somebody’s mental health issue? Medication? Dealing with it alone? Talking to a counsellor/therapist? Etc.

Sharmin: There’s no

 standardized answer for this because most times it is a combination. What we know in literature is that medication alone is never enough. So medication in conjunction with therapy in conjunction with physical activity is needed to sustain a balance. Sometimes you can be on medication but there can be an adversity that can be very triggering. Medication cannot fix the imbalance of coping so talking to a therapist is also very useful because you are able to not only bring up your concern but also explore with someone in a very supportive role. So you’re not feeling alone.

Brittany: How effective is talking to a counsellor?

Sharmin: It really depends. Its really individualistic. So what we depend on is one of the key indicators of change is your therapeutic alliance with the therapist, right? So, the therapist could be very knowledgeable have certain expertise but if you don’t connect with one another it is not effective and not going to find it useful. So that alliance and that relationship is very, very, important in terms of usefulness I would say it is very individualistic. For some people they find it very useful because they are able to apply strategies and they are able to act on strategies. For some people in talk therapy they want other methods they want to explore more mental health holistically and that does not have to require therapy and support. It can be someone playing that supportive role in their life.

Brittany: How is working with teenagers different from working with adults?

Sharmin: So, working with teenagers is a lot different than working with adults because sometimes there is resistance. Sometimes they don’t really realize that their adaptive patters impairs their function. For example they might not realize that their heavy substance use prevents them from attending classes compared to adults they are aware of what their target problem is and have to try to change and they are more willing. They are able to follow through with the strategies compared to teenagers who during the session may be all eager. No fault og their but then get distracted or derailed in some way and come back and say that they haven’t tried that. So it’s a lot of that in process of change compared to adults I find that when they are there they are paying for it. They are paying for extended health or out of their pockets so they have more of an invested interest in changing.

Brittany: What is your view on Bell Lets Talk? Does it actually work in spreading awareness?

Sharmin: I think it is a great program I think it does spread a lot of awareness but I’m not too sure on what they do with the funds raised. I feel personally that a lot of funds are being raised in terms of research and awareness but there is a disconnect in terms of providing direct service. The wait times are extensive. A lot of people have to wait for therapy, and some cannot afford external therapy or extended health, right? So, I’d like to see them using the funds to provide more for the Y (ymca), What’s Up Walk In, and stuff like that. Support other research. I think it does a good job in raising increasing awareness to everyone. A lot of people are aware of Bell and they do a good job in terms of publicity, in terms of getting agencies involved and getting supporters but there is no transparency in terms on where the funding goes. I would like to it being allotted to services.

Brittany: Never even thought about that, okay. Well, that was Ms. Sharmin Hasan, counsellor at Lester B. Pearson.

*End second interview*

Brittany: Both counsellors seem to talk about the same things. It’s the clients’ choice whether they want to talk to them or not. But doing alternative methods for your own good and talking to a therapist at the same time is best. Next, I had a conversation with 2 of my friends who’s names are Bryan and Sekander, who are involved with psychology at York University.

*Start third interview*

Brittany: Hi guys, how are you?

Bryan: I’m good, how about you?

Brittany: How are you?

Sekander: I’m good.

Brittany: You ready?

Bryan: Yup.

Sekander: Yeah.

Brittany: So first introduce yourself.

Bryan: I’m Bryan Kemeny, I’m a second year psychology major at York University whos also trying to get a double major in Kinesiology

Sekander: I’m Sekander Alakoozai, I’m trying to get out of my business economic degree; because it is horrible and get into a communication psychology because I am more passionate about it.

Brittany: Perfect. Why psychology? For both of you.

Bryan: I like how, I like psychology because there’s not just the book stuff there’s neuroscience behind it. I enjoy learning how the brain works how physical manifestations can become psychological manifestations and are biological and seeing the differences. It also helps me learn about my own condition which is ADHD. Sekander, why are you going to change your major?

Sekander: for starters I really hate calculus.

Bryan: And then why psychology?

Sekander: Psychology is always good to know to know how the brain works and also how a lot of mental health issues in the Afghan community go under seen.

Brittany: In the Afghan community?

Sekander: No one really talks about it. Most physical health problems are not talked about. You’re healthy if you don’t have high blood pressure some people don’t really talk about mental health as much.

Sekander: It’s not something to be ashamed of.

Bryan: Something you should be ashamed of even though its something you shouldn’t.

Brittany: Exactly no one should ever feel like they should be ashamed about whatever mental health issue.

Bryan: It should be extremely free to talk about.

Sekander: It’s okay to not be okay.

Bryan: Yes.

Brittany: Of course and I hope that this podcast somehow raises more awareness about mental health issues.

Bryan: This is why I talk to everyone about my condition, I’m Bryan I have ADHD sorry for being hyperactive.

Brittany: And that’s okay you shouldn’t even feel the need to do that though. What is your guys view on counselling?

Sekander: My relationships with counsellors, counselling in general is actually quite sour to say the least. More specifically York counselling. They haven’t actually gotten back to me in a while, so I signed up back in November and still to this day I have not gone to a single appointment because they haven’t called me when they are free like when is the appointment and such—

Bryan: it shows the issues within the counselling. I would love to suggest for people to go to counselling but at the moment its not the greatest thing. Firstly over-expensive but the ones that are free are very unavailable.

Brittany: Would you be more willing to go to counselling if it was more affordable?

Bryan: Affordable and easier to access, if we signed up in November we want to see you within months not the next new year

Sekander: Actually, you know still to this day, I have not seen them.

Bryan: And now its April.

Sekander: I’ve only done the beginning part and where they get to talk to you about where your mental state is at and to recommend a certain counsellor for you. And they only recommended one appointment for me and it was on the day of an exam and I told them and after that they didn’t really hit me back up even though I’ve called them many times. Its very discouraging to say the least.

Bryan: That’s the way I would put it.

Brittany: What’s your view on alternative methods? Because the article that I’m basing this podcast off of is called Run, Swim, Cook: The New Prescription for Happiness. What is your view on that title?

Sekander: I think its a good title mainly because whenever things seem stressful and things seem out of reach and out of control its good to remind yourself that you have control over yourself.

Bryan: its also good to know that there are avenues that you can do to control such as swimming, sports, and stuff. I use sports or hobbies you can control my attention span or fidgeting also to control my attention when doing projects or tests.

Sekander: Me, I tend to also play a lot of sports but one thing that also helps me to think in said sports is a lot of trash talk, not proud of it but… so yeah it does help me get a competitive edge

Brittany: That’s completely understandable. So another question I have for you guys is what’s your thoughts on Bell Lets Talk.

Bryan: what I would say its good but needs a lot of tweaking.

Sekander: Please Elaborate.

Brittany: Yes please.

Bryan: I like the social media aspect and I like that they do donate for every text, but my problem is that they are not very open about where it goes, how the money is distributed and how much they get. It has a good public aspect but I also wish they could create s space or building where people can go for their free fruition where they can talk about their problems. Like an AA meeting where you can talk and no one will judge you and freely talk about your problems. Bell is a big company where they can lease a place or build a place.

Brittany: I agree, Sekander?

Sekander: to add onto what he said a cell phone company like Bell, its very odd for them not to have a suicide hotline.

Brittany: Right! They should.

Sekander: When you hear “Lets Talk” you think hotline or actually talking about it but I see very little people actually talking about it.

Brittany: Because of Let’s Talk?

Sekander: I feel like there’s very little people.

Bryan: not everyone has the capabilities of having a phone or having Bell as a service, they use a different company.

Brittany: I get that, but its on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and everywhere.

Sekander: And better yet with the hashtag they can have the hashtag Bell Lets Talk and a number. Have that perpetuate in that. One the number gets out there and it becomes more of a household number

Bryan: Bell Lets Talk, I know that it is on social media and texting but not everyone one has access to internet, power, and these things because it seems like more people that have money get on social media and that’s the one problem with it and should be something that anyone on the street can have money and access it. If they have a message that can add onto the donation.

Sekander: And also to add onto that, its not the best company to base this off of but using it for a lack of a better example but Bell has the resources and funding in order to create a significantly better product than Better Help.

Bryan: They don’t have to make a better product they can just invest into these companies that already exist.

Sekander: there are so many things that they can do there’s one more thing about Bell Lets Talk they do not fund anything that is research based. That seems hypocritical for a company that wants to support mental health issues not support mental health research. To me it seems very irresponsible.

Brittany: Okay, I loved everything you guys have to say. Everything you guys talked about thank you so much for talking to me today.

*End third interview*

Brittany: that was a really good interview I like having a conversation with them and having a younger persons opinion on the topic of mental health that’s the end of the podcast I will be saying a few numbers that the viewers can call. The Kids Help Phone numbers 1-800-866-8686, The Trans Lifeline is 1-877-330-6366, The Ontario Crisis Line is 1-866-531-2600, The Ontario College and University hotline is 1-866-924-5454 and thank you for listening to my podcast.


Phase 3: Final Podcast


Gosh, why is this game so hard? After this match, I’ll make sure to get that assignment done, just a couple more minutes!

Two and a half hours later - you’ve come to realize two things; neither your homework or game is completed.  

I can’t be the only one who has been in this same exact situation. Having to choose between your favourite game and getting things done; it is a constant crisis everyday. Even so, that doesn’t stop me from repeating the cycle onto the next day. Knowing that there are over 150 million people playing video games since 2015 (Afjv), there is bond to be similar situations of the dreaded “to play video games or to be productive.”

While there is the constant reminder that millions of people play video games, there also seems to be a driving matter of issues following the online platform. If there is this many people all contributing towards gaming, isn’t there bond to be some problems following the mass representation? Or more so, mental complications?    

From Scratch media,  this is a matter of opinion, your guide through opinion to the facts. I'm Paola, and today we are talking about Video game addiction.

Around the early 1960s, The first physical video game was developed (APS), causing a rush of excitement for people in the gaming industry. Some of the most famous games included a game most may be familiar with: Pac-Man.

You know Pac-Man? The game where you zoom around, collecting points and avoiding enemies - now, If we look back on Pac-Man, did we ever really consider what the whole point of the game was? Was it to collect points or perhaps just to survive?  You know what I think? I think we were too preoccupied with the game that we did not consider what our final outcome was.

Links of anxiety, anger, mental health, physical problems and addition were often presented to be caused due to gaming too often. Many of these types range in a variety of topics, but for now, I will discuss the topic of addition, ranging from early teens to adults. As for game types, some of the most popular are FPS, or first-person shooters and MMO, or Massive Multiplayer Online based games. In addition to the infamous “Open World” games, such as “Grand Theft Auto” or “Skyrim” to name a few.

The thing is: Many of these games range in multiple types of genres, such as fantasy, historical, survival, horror, adventure and so on. If all the games are varied in types, it may not be the case for which one is more, so to say, “highly addictive.”

Games are generally made to be eye catching to certain age groups, often times experimental with their concepts to enhance the player’s interest.

So, as the market is varying in different types of genres or game styles, the players are being fueled with new sources of addition, or as I perceive it.

Before we start digging into the world of video games, let’s do a bit of background knowledge.  

First off, what is an addiction? Well, it's the fact or condition of being addicted to a substance or activity (OED). More simple terms:  it's something that we particularly need or want to be around all the time.

Not necessarily “needing” per se, but in our minds, we attempt to persuade ourselves into needing it.

It’s similar to how we think we absolutely need that coffee in order to wake up; we don’t precisely need it, we just really want to drink coffee.

If we really want to drink coffee, there is this drive in us to make sure we get what we want; this is just like video games. There may be obstacles in the way, such as work for example, but despite that, we still find a way to reach that gaming controller for our two hour gaming session.

When we look more into what the gaming problem is rising from, some choose to take the opposite side. Kaelan Dorr, author of OPINION: WHO and critics' panic over video games is unfounded, takes on the optimistic side of video games and culture.

Rather than the constant criticism we are so used to, Dorr brings out a positive insight of games in general. From socializing to learning, Dorr presents how video games can possibly be the better half of technology, especially for the young and older generations.

They begin to draw out on the matter that video games can actually be a benefit towards helping others to learn, where games can more understandable than regular teaching methods.

Even so, we aren’t focusing on this; what we want from Dorr is how they perceived the initial reaction of the World Health Organization, or WHO. In their approach, the WHO responded that a new issue was growing with the gaming industry; it was called the Gaming Disorder (WHO).

Apparently, this disorder is, as defined by the WHO, a “ impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences” (WHO).

Short form: Gaming Addiction.  

Those who are caught in this new disorder are drawn towards the demand of solely video games, restricting aspect of their life, such as eating, sleeping, communication and so on.

It may seem a bit over fetched, but instance were games could draw out dangerous situations is not unheard of.

Recently, in 2015, a 32-year old man died due to cardiac arrest.

He had apparently been on a 3-day gaming binge within a internet cafe in Taiwan. Police declared that his death was caused due to cold temperatures and exhaustion (CNN). It appeared that, not only was he a regular customer, but he also would disappear for up to three days at a time, possibly to repeat the same cycle.

Another instance, same year, a 17-year old died after playing on his computer for 22-days straight. He approximately played the game “Defence of the Ancients,” a MMO game for about six hours a day for the 22 days mentioned (Mirror).

His cause of death? Appeared to be a thrombosis, which occurs when a person does not move around for longer periods of time.

When we begin to realize how much the human mind, and body, can take, it is quite a shock to be informed that, not only was someone killed by their most favourite thing, but it was not a fast process; it took a while.

In my past knowledge, the longest I have ever played was probably around six hours. It was “Overwatch,” one of my favourite games at the moment. Looking back on my time spent playing, I took breaks for food and the restroom, but besides that, I stayed there, glued to my gaming laptop, talking to my online friends for the next match.

After my six hour gaming session, I noticed a couple things:

First - my back hurt so much, as I was constantly slouching in my chair

Second - my hands, specifically a few of my fingers, cramped when I tried to bend them

Third - my eyes and head hurt quite a bit from the brightness of my screen

Fourth - I felt super exhausted and weak

And, finally - I had so much fun playing.

All of this occurred from me, sitting in my chair for about six hours straight, playing my game without much of a stop. Imagine if I’d been one of the cases of “binge gaming”; it wouldn’t have been a good end result.

These instances of intense video gaming is a clear show of addiction. Possibly not fully noticing their trouble as they pressed the start button, only to meet their end as their characters died.

By the way, did we notice the age range? 17 and 32.

Quite a wide range difference, but it cannot be denied that these ages, as well as younger, are when gamers are most in their prime initiative.

Nicholas Holt and Douglas Kleibe, authors of The Sirens’ Song of Multiplayer Online Games focus on immense research about the effects of MMOG, or MMO games on people in different age groups, ranging from addition to mental health and even marketing strategies.  

I really liked this sort of informative journal, especially when they included diagrams in order to show the represented amount of each section.

It’d be an easier case to show you, but I cannot, so here are some stats from MMOG “World of Warcraft” on gender and age (Holt):

  • Males make up around 84 percent of players, while females take up 16 percent

  • The average age range is 12-28 for males, 23-40 for females

This means, that for WoW, many of the players are men in their early teens - adulthood.

Holt and Kleibe don’t mean to just point out on the men only, but it is shown in the study that men are more likely to be playing MMOG than females.

This could also mean men are probably more likely to be addicted to gaming as women play less.

I can relate quite a bit to this. I can say that 98% of my friends who play video games, both real life and online friends, are male. I’ve come across possibly three female friends through my gaming spree, but even so, that is not much compared to the number of male friends I’ve come to play with.

We aren’t here to break down on gender, but more so on the number.

This number for WoW hasn’t changed in over eight years (Holt), from 2009, but even so, it is still a large number of players in the MMOG spectrum.

Such a large number of players in the gaming industry. Besides the fact of whether they are female or male, it cannot be denied that it is quite a few who are very actively still involved.

I mentioned how I would choose to make a range of ages in research; well, this is the range we have obtained. Rather than a younger spectrum, it seems as though gaming is aiming its targets on young adults still.

I’m sure many of use are familiar with some of the big names in gaming, or at least a few: Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, League of Legends, Fortnite and so on. And, as expected, many of these games are violence-based games.

Is there a catch with all of these violent games? Patrick Osborne, author of Evaluating the Presence of Social Strain in Rockstar Games' "Grand Theft Auto IV", talks about the stress of video games, and the sort of mental implements it presents to the players.

Somewhat of a research based experience, I found that Osborne really wanted the world to take note of what kinds of games we are, per se “physically”, handing to our kids and teens.

I, for one, know what he would be talking about. It’s not like I’m unaware of the controversy GTA has gained over the years of their game development.

Story time:

So, when I was around 12-13, my brother would let me play on his PS3. Well, all the games he owned at the time were violent games. The ones I would play the most would be either Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto.

Whenever I got bored of Call of Duty, I’d move over to GTA. Maybe it was because I was a kid, but I never took into consideration of all the violent acts I could do. They ranged from robbing bank trucks, to stealing cars, to killing civilians and purchasing prostitutes.

It’s sad to say, but one of my favourite things to do in GTA was to drive around in a fast car

and hit civilians on the sidewalk.

If I told this to any other GTA players, they would understand where I’m coming from. It wasn’t the fact that I was killing people that caught my attention; it was the fact that it was a game. I was so aware that everything in GTA was fictional, that I never took into account of my violent actions in the game. Rather than trying to live a normal life in the game, I wished to be the villain the game so wanted me to be.

Not only just bad tendencies, but I’d spend hours playing in my living room, running over people and blowing up cars as it was fun to me.

Want to know how often gamers tend to play? Apparently, out of the 150 million people I mentioned earlier, 42% play throughout the week regularly (Afjv). It is their rush, to be able to spend time playing their favourite game, maybe it’s GTA, to just spend all that time, sitting there, not doing anything but looking at the screen.

Considering how young I was at the time, I had much more freedom than most. Even now that I am in university, I still manage to make at least an hour or two every couple of days to enjoy my Overwatch. Why?

Because this is my hobby.

If people look at me, and say “I think she might have an addiction too!” - well no. I don’t.

You know why?

Because I don’t make it overtake me. I have control of how much hours I should play a week. I make sure to take care of myself when I need to, I don’t try to push myself to new limits.

Everyone’s stories are all different. Some may choose to play for the fun of it, or some may choose to play to spend time with their friends. Despite all that, there are some who just can’t say no to the start up screen in front of them.

Osborne describes how those who tend to see negative acts often repeat them in their life. Well, it can be true. Influence is very impactful on others.

  • Some may choose to game because their friends play

  • Some may want to game because they like to be up to date on the latest trends

  • Some just want an outlet to spend their money on

Others just can’t help themselves, a whole new Gaming Disorder which takes them on a ride of their own desires.

Let’s just reflect for a bit.

Now, if we know that video games have slowly begun to take over the minds of the younger generation, what can we do?

Do we stop and try to adapt to their style of life? Maybe not, suggesting all the previous concerns from before. It may not be a bad case to take into consideration of accepting those who wish to game more often, but that is to the side.

we really should think about is the well-being of people’s minds.

What are these games showing them? Is the addiction formed due to the free time given, or the lack of freedom? Is it an escape outlet for those who don’t feel they belong?

It is a long list. A very long list.

This debate of whether video games and addiction has gone on for many years, and it can be true, that a Gaming Disorder is whats causing all of the dreaded midnight game binging, but even so, they cannot be stopped easily.

People have lost their lives due to playing so many games. Others seemed to have developed physical issues due to gaming so often.

Then there are those who don’t show this side of problems to the world. The ones who can easily hide it under their profile.

While all may seem really down and dark, there can be some good for the avid gamers out there.

A study/experiment was taken by the University of Geneva (UNIGE) where they spanned an analysis of those who played shooter games vs control games, such as SIMS (Global News). With this research, the results came back that those who played shooter games more often than control games actually had a better cognition, the ability to take in knowledge through sense, than the control players.

Not only were they able to take in knowledge easier, but their overall senses increased due to the games.

When the research had been completed on this study, it took a rise for the better. Games were thought to be a better learning experience for those who could spend hours on it, reflecting on the mass of knowledge they can now understand through such games.

No one seems to talk about these positive aspects though.

Is it because I’m here to prove that addiction in video games is real? Not really.

Pointing out both the problem and solution is a good way to handle any situation, in my opinion. There can be good in what we want to do, but there can also be bad.

WHO, as I perceived it, just wanted to bring to the light of what is really happening, and changing the views of the growing gaming industry. It’s been changing since the 1960s, and will continue to change as video games develop more so over time.

Against all of our troubles, there isn’t much to do against the rise of addiction to video games. Yes, we can cut on hours of screen time, and yes we can attempt to drive into our kids that “video games are ruining our brains!”

But, in the end, what does that do for us?

It makes us want to play even more. Restrictions makes us what to break them.

All of us are a bit rebellious at certain ages, and these ages groups are not to be looked down upon.  

I’m not suggesting a rebellion of gamers going against adults and the WHO, no.

I’m saying we should try to take a look at both sides of the coin.

We have to take into consideration of all of those who have been with and against us. Why are they so highly against the games? Because it’s to protect us.

An addiction is not a laughing matter; it is a mental issue. Just as anxiety and depression can be formed, so can addiction. We just happen to take it into a more modern form than older times. Take into note of the health drains it has: not only just physical issues, but mental ones as well.

Would you want to develop a disorder which you have little to no control over? I don’t think so.

Many of us just wish to live our lives as we can, and to live it is to experience it.

That’s right, I’m talking to all the homebodys out there. Go outside. Go for a walk. Take in that fresh air, or at least what’s left of it.

Games are everywhere in the world, not just in the form of a digital character in a fantasy world.

At the end of the day, we have to take a look at ourselves, all of us, and think - “Is this game doing me harm, or am I doing harm to myself?”

Works Cited

Nicholas A. Holt, and Douglas A. Kleiber. “The Sirens' Song of Multiplayer Online Games.” Children, Youth and Environments, vol. 19, no. 1, 2009, pp. 223–244. JSTOR,

Osborne, Patrick. “Evaluating the Presence of Social Strain in Rockstar Games' ‘Grand Theft Auto IV.’” Studies in Popular Culture, vol. 34, no. 1, 2011, pp. 109–132. JSTOR,

Unknown. (2015, April 2015). More than 150 million Americans play video games. New Study Finds That Four Out Of Five American Households A Device Used To Play Video Games. Retrieved from

“Action video games could have a beneficial effect on the brain: study.” Global News, AFP/RelaxNews, 15 December 2017,

Dorr, Kaelan. “OPINION: WHO and critics’ panic over video games is unfounded.” WJLA, 20 December 2018.

“Tragic teen gamer dies after 'playing computer for 22 days in a row' Mirror.

“Man dies in Taiwan after 3-day online gaming binge.” CNN.

“Gaming Disorder” September 2018.

APS News, “This Month in Physics History.”

"Pyro Flow" Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Final Podcast

From Scratch Media, this is a matter of opinion, your guide through opinion to facts. I am Seval, and in this episode we are talking about audiobooks.  Audiobooks are voice recordings of the text of a book that you listen to rather than read it and the cool thing about audiobooks are that you can listen to them anywhere. Audiobooks may seem like a harmless way to get your book club reading done ( don’t worry we won’t tell anyone) but what most people don’t know is that audiobooks play a big role when it comes to teaching kids with dyslexia. Dyslexia is a learning disorder that effects 1 in 5 students, so unless you’re in a classroom with 4 students, you most definitely know someone in class who is dyslexic and that’s okay. Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disorders and it effects almost everyone. Even celebrities like  Jennifer Aniston, Walt Disney, Whoopi Goldberg and Muhammed Ali suffer from Dyslexia and they are all very successful. 

To learn more about Dyslexia and how we can help students with dyslexia, I reached out to Terrie Noland, she is the Vice president of educator initiatives at Learning Ally. So Terrie, that’s a very cool title, can you walk me through a day in your life? 

-      I do a lot of internal work with Learning Ally as the leader of our educator initiatives which means I help to come up with our professional learning programs that enables to support teachers in their classrooms to help understand how to use Learning Ally the audiobook and help them also understand how to support students that have learning disabilities like dyslexia and I also work in order to build and establish and educate our community where we are taking those educators that are doing those great things and being able to connect them with other educators around the country so they can share their best practices. 

Dyslexia is a learning disability in reading. Students with dyslexia have trouble reading accurately and fluently and they may also struggle in writing and spelling. If your parents have dyslexia your chances of having it are much higher than someone who has parents with no dyslexia. 

  • If a parent, guardian, or teacher suspects a child may have dyslexia, they should ask the child's school about a professional evaluation. Early diagnosis is more likely to lead to effective intervention. Some of the symptoms of dyslexia are difficulty in learning to read, delayed speech development, slow at learning sets of data, coordination, spelling, speech problems and so on.

  • There are also so many different types of dyslexia’s such as Phonological dyslexia, which is when the person has difficulty breaking down words into smaller units, making it hard to match sounds with their written form.

  • Surface dyslexia: The person cannot recognize a word by sight, making words hard to remember and learn.

  • Double deficit dyslexia: The person finds it hard to isolate sounds also to name letters and numbers.

  • Visual dyslexia: The person has an unusual visual experience when looking at words.

One of the most successful tools to help students with dyslexia are audiobooks. So, how would you say  audiobooks help students with dyslexia in classrooms? 

-      Because students with dyslexia, they have a neurological deficit in their brain meaning that the neural networks and the neural pathways in their brains are not the same in development as that of a typical reader. And that has been understood through what’s called a functional MIR scanning of the brain and so we need to create neural networks in their brain and the way to do that is through intensive evidence based multi sensor functioning language  program. Teaching you how to decode, teaching to how to map the sounds of our language to the letters and that program can take years to accomplish. So as these students that are working to build those neural networks they still gotta get to class, they still have to keep up with their course work they still gotta read all of the same material that everyone else in their classroom are reading but they can’t because they’re just learning how to decode and there are even some students who are not getting that intermission that they need so what audiobooks does is audiobooks come in and while they’re still learning to read building that skill level that it bridges them to that content and it actually supports their development in reading as well. They're hearing a model of what a reading should sound like with that human sound. 

We are all aware of much audiobooks help students with dyslexia but why don’t we offer audiobooks in classrooms? Why do we label  students as difficult rather than help them? 

By not helping kids, we make them think that they are stupid and just not as smart as the other kids and these words such as stupid and dumb can take a toll on kids at such young age. 

There are a lot services that are available to so many school, public and private in Canada and U.S. but only a fraction of them use it to help teach their students. 

Instead of offering audiobooks to students they just give them 1 hour of extra reading at the end of the day which usually never helps students improve their reading level. 

      -   Your comprehension ability should not be determined by your ability to decode and those are two different things so you may have a 7thgrader decoding on a second grade level so we think we gotta give a second grade content if that’s all he can decode. In fact it’s the opposite that a 7th grader probably can comprehend well above grade level. 

Dyslexia is not a disease so there is no cure. It’s a learning disability that includes difficulty in the use/processing of linguistic and symbolic codes, alphabetic letters representing speech sounds or number and quantities. This is why it makes it hard for teachers to find a way to deal with a dyslexic students because, if a student is physically sick they can just send them to the nurse but dyslexia is more of a mental disorder where a nurse can’t prescribe medicine to cure it. Most dyslexics go undiagnosed, some for their entire lives. Just imagine going through life thinking you’re stupid, dumb and keep failing in school and getting bullied for it is very hard and it’s also very hard to over-come it and then you find out at 20 years old that you have dyslexia and there was a reason why you didn’t do as well in school and could’ve found a better way to learn. 

In fact listening to audiobooks helps students improve their reading level and are able to read new books with fever problems. Learning Ally provides audiobooks to students with dyslexia, have you Terrie, personally worked with a dyslexic student and what are some of the feedback you got from students, teachers or even parents? 

-      One young girl was working with we just saw a tremendous growth and improvement with her even desire to read when I first started working with her she was in first grade and she did not want to read. Some of our session were pretty painful and now I can see the growth she’s had and in fact she was here we just read on learning ally the whole session. I have a privilege of working with our most champion teachers and just last week I was talking to a lady in lake Thao she told us learning ally is the single best tool that she has seen in her 26 years of teaching when it comes to intervening for students with dyslexia. She said it changed their identity as readers.

And you were able to see this improvement in her because of audiobooks so next time we are in a classroom with a dyslexic student, one we need to treat them the same way and not like they are “special” because that could also affect their mental health because they might think that they are dumb but they’re not so you want to be careful when your speaking to them. We need to just take a step back and give them all the time and resources that they require to complete a task. Here we are not asking for much, the way that public schools are able to provide textbooks to students they should do the same for dyslexics.  They are the same person it’s just everyone has a different way of learning and we need to provide resources to help them learn the best way they can.   

-      it’s just that my brain operates in a very different way that someone else’s brain and that’s okay there’s not a typical brain and research has shown us that

Well Terrie thank you so much for being part of my podcast and lastly how can the listeners help support and find Learning Ally? 

-      You can be learner and you can be a reader.  And actually own and embrace the word dyslexia we had so many people got out of high school and tell us that they’re proud to be dyslexic. -      You can find learning ally at www.learningally.organd go to our website there you can also find us on all kinds of social media accounts as well like Instagram and Twitter. 

Well thank you so much for listening to a matter of opinion from scratch media I am Seval and I’ll see you later.


WORKS CITED  2.27-2.33 

 Team, U. (n.d.). Understanding Dyslexia. Retrieved from

 Undiagnosed and misunderstood, students with dyslexia face stigma and shame. (2016, September 9). Retrieved from

 Ally, L. (2016, July 12). Dyslexic Students Share Their Experience With Audiobooks. Retrieved from

Doctors, T. (2015, August 11). Jennifer Aniston's Struggle with Dyslexia. Retrieved from

 11 Facts About Dyslexia. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Nordqvist, C. (2017, November 22). Dyslexia: Symptoms, treatment, and types. Retrieved from

"Pyro Flow" Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Phase Three: Final Podcast

“Andreas Theme” Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License,

“Morgana Rides” Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License,

“Pyro Flow” Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License,

“The Sky of our Ancestors” Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under CreativeCommons: By Attribution 3.0 License,


Last summer I spent my days working construction. I found myself surrounded by a pack of burly old men, well seasoned by a hot summer’s sweat, well accustomed to the realm of physical labour and certainly well versed in your run of the mill locker room talk. As a young woman entering this world seemingly manly world, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t intimidated. After all this wasn’t my normal crowd, or my normal kind of work. I knew that physical labour would be challenging and I wanted to do well. However, I was soon surprised by just how welcoming these men were. They were eager to help me, and respected anyone who worked hard. Yet, what made me feel most at home came as a surprise. This construction culture was full of teasing and light hearted humour. It didn’t matter who you were, there was always someone teasing you for something, from how healthy your lunch was to how much you could lift, no one was above some top notch banter. When I first started, I had expected some teasing or even some harassment, my mind was filled with pictures of construction crews whistling at women as they walked by. Although the teasing I did receive could certainly be interpreted as “offensive humour”, it never made me feel marginalized, or belittled, if anything the humour addressed the elephant in the room, me a young woman working among stinky old men. The humour was often used satirically, poking fun at stereotypes associated with women, especially women in a “mans’ world. Comments like “hey don’t break a nail now,” or “Are you sure you don’t want me to lift that?” were all said because it was clear that I wasn’t worried about breaking a nail and in some cases could lift more than some of the men. This humour certainly made me feel apart of the crew, because the same or at least similar comments were being said to everyone by everyone, and I was invite to give it right back to them.

Before this experience I had never really considered “offensive humour” to be inviting or in anyway helpful for that matter. But after working in an environment where taboo humour played such a big role in the family like work environment I can’t help but wonder, should offensive humour be censored and avoided in today’s world?

From Scratch Media this is A Matter of Opinion, your guide through opinion to the facts. I’m Elissa, and today we’re talking about if we should censor offensive humour?

When censoring offensive humour it is important to consider that there is no universal definition for what is considered to be offensive humour. In the book, Taboo Comedy : Television and Controversial Humour by Chiara Bucaria, and Luca Barra, they explain Taboo comedy to be “the whole spectrum of comedy themes and subjects with which potential audiences might struggle because of its unconventional and at times intentionally shocking nature” (2016). As such, we can begin to understand the subjectivity of taboo or offensive humour as different people find different things shocking or unconventional. The general range of offensive subjects goes anywhere from humour based around physical appearance, gender, race, religion and disability all the way to gross, scatological humour, covering everything from various bodily fluids, and excrement to incest or cannibalism. This wide range of offensive subjects is often varied in the level of associated taboo based upon the location and culture of the people, as well as the specific execution and intent behind each individual joke.

That being said, regardless of whether or not offence is taken by a joke there is research to show that no joke is completely harmless or “Just a joke” (2011). In fact, the first real theory considering what humour is, is “Plato and Aristotle’s superiority theory - the idea that comedy and laughter primarily seek to mock an inferior through ridicule”(2011). Many modern studies regarding the use of racist or sexist humour explore the rhetoric associated with humorous devices. In a 2001 study Lockyer and Pickering, explore these rhetorical devices and how offensive humour can be used as a tool to help convince people of various prejudices. Yet not all offensive humour aims to do this. Humour is also a form of critical anthropology (2016). As philosopher and comedian Simon Critchley once said “humour views the world awry, bringing us back to the everyday by estranging us from it” (2002). Many people use taboo humour to educate and provoke discussions, cope with past traumas and provide satirical observations, highlighting the stupidity of certain societal expectations, such as my experience with the construction crew, where their teasing served to mock how ridiculous the expectations were for me to not excel as well as the other labours simply because I am a girl.

As such I find many of the claims in the article “What is the point of offensive humour?” by Simon Weaver and Karen Morgan to be misleading and narrow minded. Throughout the article, the authors explain how offensive humour is supposedly directly related to our morals as a society, marginalizing groups of people, and normalizes bad behaviour. Of course, this refers to one specific form of offensive humour, which often encompasses the intent to convince others of prejudices, elevate one’s status and belittle others. It is the thought process that believes this is the only goal of offensive humour, that have lead to the question concerning what should be allowed to be said on television as well as on the internet. So should we censor offensive humour? Well as I explained before, determining what is offensive is easier said than done. It is clear that distinguishing between intentionally harmful taboo humour and satire is not an easy task. So in censoring offensive humour we are also censoring all of offensive humour’s positive attributes.

In the film Redskins, Tricksters and Puppy Stew (2000), we get to see how various indigenous comedians use comedy as a way to break down barriers and educate indigenous youth as well as white communities. These comedians employ the use of indigenous stereotypes to mock societal expectations, while bringing indigenous issues to the forefront. Most importantly, they use humour as a tool to help bring up uncomfortable conversations, and provoke discussions as many white people feel uncomfortable addressing indigenous issues out of a fear that they will be labelled as racist (2000).

A fear to speak-out is a serious problem amongst many people even within democracy. Yet it is community involvement and participation that helps to make a democracy function properly, as multiple points of view and opinions are meant to be represented (2002). This is why freedom of expression is essential to a constitutional democracy (2002), and further why increased censorship surrounding offensive humour is inherently problematic.

I interviewed Josie Cormier, a 18 year old Ojibwe woman from the small town of Nipigon in Northern Ontario. Josie’ indigenous identity steams from her Ojibwe grandmother, who married a white man. Then Josie’s father who is thus of a mixed race background, married a white woman. As such, despite her involvement in the indigenous community and Ojibwe culture, Josie has white skin. I wanted to know if having white skin would affect her willingness to speak out about indigenous issues.


Studies show that there are three main types of humour. Humour as an expression of superiority, as a release of tension, and as an enjoyment of incongruity (2012). Although humour as an expression of superiority has cruel and negative connotations, humour as release of tension can lead to creative problem solving and a renewed commitment to the task at hand. Humour is often used in social work as “in some situations, humour promotes perspective taking that allows reappraisal of stressful situations from less threatening points of view and even render them ridiculous” (2012). Humour dealing with offensive subject matter, may be interpreted as offensives to some, while others need this humorous outlook to cope. The uses of humour and even offensive humour in various forms of therapy and youth groups helps people to take a break from their stresses and even to worry less (2012). The problems with censoring humour arise from our tendency to lump all types of offensive humour together. Although the type of humour that is used as an expression of superiority is problematic, humour that releases tension and focuses on the the enjoyment of incongruity has many beneficial uses and is essential to a democratic society.

Freedom of speech unfortunately allows for many people to spew hate. Yet, freedom of speech is also the bases of social and political critique, without which we as citizens give full authority to those in power. In Satire: Spirit and Art, it is theorized “that satire mixes attack, play, humour, and judgement in varied ways and degrees” (2015). Yet, despite the use of humour, satire is a form of criticism, as humans we are not above criticism, especially not in a democratic society.

Humour is a form of expression, it allows us to voice our opinion in less threatening ways, while simultaneously entertaining and educating people. Being offended isn’t always a bad thing, it can provoke discussions and even changes in thinking. There is no way to censor humour without unintentionally taking away freedom of speech and expression. The mere subjectivity of what people find offensive or funny makes the task of weeding out humour that “goes to far” impossible. All that we can do is consider the intent behind the joke and deduce if there was malicious intent contributing to the illusion of supposed superiority. Through both Josie and I’s experiences, you can see the merit behind using offensive humour is not always malicious, thus we shouldn’t think of it as such. Offensive humour is an essential aspect of how we grow and heal as a community as well as as individuals, and should not be further censored by authorities

Works Cited

“Andreas Theme” Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License,

Basmajian, S. (Producer), & Taylor, D. (Director). (2000) Redskins, Tricksters and Puppy Stew [Motion Picture]. Canada: National Film Board of Canada (NFB).

Bucaria, C., & Barra, L. (Eds.). (2016). Taboo comedy : Television and controversial humour. Retrieved from

Critchley, Simon .(2002) On Humour. London: Routledge

Driessen, H. (2016). Afterword: Humour Matters. Etnofoor, 28(1), 141-146. Retrieved from

Gilgun, J., & Sharma, A. (2012). The Uses of Humour in Case Management with High-Risk Children and their Families. The British Journal of Social Work, 42(3), 561-562. Retrieved from

Harvey, C. (2002). The Right to Free Expression. Fortnight, (402), 18-19. Retrieved from

Lee, J. (2015). Assaults of Laughter. Studies in American Humor, 1(1), V-Xiv.

LOCKYER, S., & PICKERING, M. (2001). Dear shit-shovellers: Humour, censure and the discourse of complaint. Discourse & Society, 12(5), 633-651. Retrieved from

“Morgana Rides” Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License,

“Pyro Flow” Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License,

“The Sky of our Ancestors” Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License,

Weaver, S. (2011). Jokes, rhetoric and embodied racism: A rhetorical discourse analysis of the logics of racist jokes on the internet. Ethnicities, 11(4), 413-435. Retrieved from

Weaver, Simon., & Karen, Morgan. (2017, May 9). What is the point of offensive humour? The Conversation. Retrieved From

PODCAST: Representation Matters

Media outlets negatively affect the self-esteem of minority females, Black girls especially. The media’s negative influences are mainly rooted in television programs and film, but also include other outlets such as tabloids and mainstream toys like Barbie. These effects are only worsened by internalization and toxic environments.

From Scratch Media this is “A Matter of Opinion,” your guide through opinion to the facts. I’m Laura Younan and today we are discussing how media negatively impacts the self-esteem of Black female adolescents.

A study conducted by Gholnecsar E. Muhammad from Georgia State University and Sherell A. McArthur at Boston University, found that African American girls are depicted in less positive ways than white girls in the media (Diuguid). The study interviewed eight African American females between the ages of 12 to 17. The researchers stated that “Adolescents are affected by popular culture and tailor their fashion, style, slang or sexuality to the music, media and celebrities they listen to and watch,” and went on to prove how the stereotypical and sexualized images portrayed through the media have “demonized and dehumanized black women.”

Black women in film are often portrayed as ghetto and sassy characters, while white women are usually more the classy, successful, timid characters who play the object of affection. We see this in the 2014 film, The Other Woman starring Cameron Diaz. diaz’s character, Carly is the lead role in the movie about three women who are all getting cheated on by the same guy. Carly is a beautiful successful attorney in New York who leads a rich and lavish life, and the only black role in the film is a minor character played by Nicki Minaj. Minaj plays Carly’s receptionist who gives her sassy advice, and encourages the role of a home wrecker claiming that it could be a hobby for Carly. Throughout the entire film her lines only play on the stereotypes of black women. The ghetto, sassy black woman stereotype is so overdone to include comic relief into movies i think it loses any of the comedy it is intended to have.

Although, I may never fully be able to comprehend the adversity Black women face as visible minorities, as a Middle Eastern woman who grew up in Toronto, Ontario, I am able to relate to some of the internal conflict most black women, as well as other minority women, have experienced growing up in Western civilization. I am sure almost all of you are able to relate, even in the slightest way, to this feeling of “not fitting in” at some point in your lives.

Societal standards of beauty praise caucasian features that are elusive to other ethnicities, and I remember crying over the fact that my eyes were  not light in colour, my hair was not straight and blonde, and I was not tall and thin. As a young adult, I, along with countless others I’m sure, still struggle with body image issues. I still hate the size of my ethnic nose and envy people with lighter eyes. I barely ever saw myself or my family life represented in the media, but got so excited when I watched ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ which follows the life of a daughter of foreigners growing up in America.

I was able to see my family and culture in this film; in fact, I identified with the main character, Toula. I remember not thinking my family was normal because of the same quirks I saw in the movie, especially in comparison to the white families I was used to seeing both at school and in other films. I still get really embarrassingly excited when I see people in media that I can relate to. I remember a specific scene where all the white girls had sandwiches for lunch while she brought in traditional Greek food and was made fun of it because it wasn’t what they were used to and relating to that so deeply. I remember telling my mom not to pack me certain foods because they were “weird”, although I loved them at home. Seeing Toula grow up and go to college later on was where I found a sense of hope. It was such a small scene but when her friends from college were interested in her ethnic lunch, where I realized how dumb kids were and that my differences were what made me unique. People have this mindset as a result of their environment. Obviously if they aren’t eating foods of other cultures at home I would not blame them for thinking it is strange, however, this could have been exposed through media more to teach audiences about different cultural backgrounds.

This feeling resurfaced when I watched the film “Aladdin” for the first time, a Disney film that takes place in the Middle East and starred a arabian princess. The film incorporated pieces of my culture beautifully and subtly interspersed them throughout. With both films I remember talking about them all week after discovering them, and showing my mom all the similarities I found to our cultures within both films. All of the mainstream princesses I knew of were pale-skinned with the tiniest waists, usually with long beautiful hair and blue eyes; therefore, it felt indescribable to see Jasmine, who shared similar traits to myself and the people I grew up around.

Of the eleven official disney princesses since 1937, only four are part of a minority group, and only one is Black (Blakemore). Therefore, I’m sure this was similar to the feeling African American children felt when viewing “The Princess and the Frog,” along with “Black Panther” for the first time.

Some fail to acknowledge the vast significance of this kind of representation and do not agree that it really matters. An example of this is a writer by the name of Daniel Van Boom who published an opinion piece entitled, ‘Yes, you're allowed to not love 'Black Panther,'’ outlining that as a person of colour he did not care or notice when minorities played a role on his television set growing up (Boom). However, this does not account for the majority that do recognize this contrast almost instantly and its powerful effects on society as a whole.

For an endless amount of years racism stemmed from the media, whether it was through the impressions from ‘Borat,’ songs like Island Girl by Elton John, Brown Sugar by the Rolling Stones which sexualize women of colour, and the use of blackface in films like ‘Tropic Thunder,’,‘Trading Places,’ and ‘A mighty Heart,’ among countless  others.

Dawn M. Dow published a piece in The Atlantic entitled, ‘The Never-Ending Task of Shielding Black Kids From Negative Stereotypes,’ and her closing paragraph really stood out to me and touched my heart. Dow retells the story of a woman who shares her proudest moment as a mother. The unnamed mother visited a private school with her daughter after the release of, “The Princess and the Frog.” All of the students were playing with baby dolls and her daughter noticed a black doll left behind and quickly picked it up voicing that the doll was so beautiful, causing all of the other students to take notice and put it on a pedestal (Dow). This was only one of the many examples of how positive representation can have a beneficial domino effect, even in terms of mentalities and the treatment of others.

When I read this story I immediately thought of “The Doll Test.” For those of you who do not know, this was a test originally conducted in the 1940s, but redone multiple times throughout the years, where a number of children were independently asked to choose between a white doll and a black doll (Bryant). The children are asked several questions such as which doll is good and which is bad, pretty and ugly, nice and mean, etc (Bryant). In most instances, the white doll is chosen in affiliation with the positive attributes, even in recent studies. Although Dow’s story is one instance, it does display the impact of media and other people subconsciously hold on humans.

We also see the influence that tabloids and celebrities hold. I remember, growing up, always seeing tabloids that poked fun of the bodies of celebrities by using paparazzi photos of them at the beach in unflattering positions. These photos always made me think those shapes were deemed ugly by everyone, and having rolls even when you’re doing things like sitting down was not normal or pretty. There were also and continue to be so many magazines that share and headline weight loss, sex or beauty tips.

The covers of these magazines usually feature white females, and if there is ever a female with a darker skin tone, they are photoshopped to appear a lighter shade. Concerningly, black female celebrities such as Lil’ Kim, Nicki Minaj, Blac Chyna, and many others have been accused of, admitted to, or promoted bleaching their skin to appear lighter. Both photoshopping and bleaching have harmful effects on the young African American girls. This issue of skin-lightening in media and skin bleaching, especially when endorsed or practiced by Black role models, promotes that lighter skin equates to beauty; this is particularly damaging for impressionable young girls.

The personal care brand Nivea actually was quick to pull their “white is purity” campaign in the Middle East for skin whitening cream after it received backlash. Not long after, they released another campaign in Africa for their skin-lightening cream. The ads targeted black women, promised a “visibly fairer” pigmentation, and used the former Miss Nigeria as the face of the campaign (Elizabeth). The first thing that came to mind when I first saw this on Twitter in 2017, was first of all there's no way this can be real and second, I thought of all the children who would see this ad in between television programs, on their gaming apps, and on billboards. Children are often naive and suggestible; thus, seeing things that promote whiter skin could be indescribably dangerous in the future.

Black women are unjustly criticized for features they were born with; they should not feel the need to change or feel unhappy in their skin: no one does. Watching someone like Rapper Lil Kim for example, and how much she’s altered her appearance hurts so much. The fact that society made her feel she was ugly, the her nose was too big, her skin was too dark, her hair was too ‘nappy,’ is so upsetting to see. Yes, I do believe that people should have the freedom to alter the things that they’re self-conscious of, but everything Lil kim altered through the years was, in my opinion, her subconsciously trying to slowly conform into these horrific societal standards.

In 2007, Glamour magazine’s associate editor held a controversial presentation to a group of lawyers in Manhattan discussing the, “dos and don'ts of corporate fashion (Doring).” Her tips included avoiding the use of natural, African American hair (Doring). In 2019, twelve years later, this issue persists. A more recent and well-known incident is “Fashion Police” host Giuliana Rancic criticizing Zendaya Coleman’s dreadlocks at the 2015 Oscar awards. “Fashion Police” is a program where a team of panellists discuss and critique celebrity fashion, so it is expected that they may not always have nice things to say. However, Rancic was careless with her words when she stated, "I feel like she smells like patchouli oil (Steiner)." Zendaya’s response to this via twitter acknowledged the stigma her criticized locs hold, and condemns the irresponsible statement. In her response, Zendaya stated, “There is a fine line between what is funny and disrespectful (...). To say that an 18 year old young woman with locs must smell of patchouli oil or “weed” is not only a large stereotype but outrageously offensive (Coleman via Twitter).” She continued by listing a few of the many men and women who wear their hair similarly, ranging from people she knows personally like her father to Vincent Brown, a Professor at Harvard University. So many young girls look up to Zendaya, so I’m glad that she did decide to speak about this so publicly and list Black role models while doing so.

Self-esteem issues created by societal pressures and negative images within the media are often passed down within families. A film that exhibits this is the 2018 Netflix movie, “Nappily Ever After.” The film tells the story of a black woman, Violet Jones, who is self-conscious about her hair due to the way her mother raised her and her preconceived idea of beauty. Her mother flat-ironed her hair and restrained her from getting her hair wet in public in efforts to conceal her natural curls. She carried this routine into adulthood as it became her standard for beauty, shaming women who failed to follow the same practice.

Susan L. Bryant’s, “The Beauty Ideal: The Effects of European Standards on Black Women,” indicates that African American females are most affected by European beauty standards as these ideals praise features unattainable to minority ethnicities (Bryant).

Another popular source that inserts these insecurities from a young age are mainstream toys, specifically Barbie. These dolls are owned by a whooping 99% of 3-10 year old girls across America. Until only recently, almost all editions of the Barbie doll possessed caucasian traits, and the iconic face of the company is a proportionally unrealistic figure, tall in stature, slim, pale-skinned, long and straight blonde hair, as well as crystal blue eyes—not to mention a face full of makeup.

It was not until 2018 when Barbie launched more diverse dolls with varying body types, ethnicities, hair types, and other features. I’m not sure if you agree with this, but I feel this change occurred much too late and mostly driven by the attention other companies are getting for diversifying their brands as well. Nonetheless, I am glad that it is finally happening and girls don’t have to spend around $95 on ‘American Girl’ dolls for their doll to look like them.

I believe these insecurities originate from childhood, through shows like Totally Spies, Hannah Montana, Disney princesses, Disney’s Recess, Super Friends, among many others. Mainstream television programs are dominated by Caucasian actors and actresses, failing to cover the issues that minorities endeavor, and provide the proper representation and a strong role model.

The progress made in the media is important to acknowledge, primarily because it will encourage the continuation of this growth. Although there is so much more room for media to grow, shows like, “That’s so Raven,” “Proud Family,” “Paw Patrol,” and my favourite, “Doc Mcstuffins” do an amazing job at providing children with positive role models and messages. Shows I grew up with like “That’s so Raven” and “Proud Family” both covered issues of racism and social issues. For instance in “That’s so Raven” Raven Baxter was refused a job based on the colour of her skin. Now, children have Doc Mcstuffins which is a show that follows a young Black girl who plays the role of a doctor for her stuffed animals, influenced by her mother who is a successful doctor. This provides black children with a positive message and an ideal role model.

The show covers issues beyond race; for example, I remember watching an episode with my younger cousin which outlined the importance of consent. I thought it was so cool that this cartoon for children was already focussing on such important issues, and expressing them in such a simple way. The episode had a stuffed gorilla who kept tickling the commander doll. The commander expressed that the gorilla did not listen to him when he said no and that even though he was laughing as he said it, the gorilla should have still listened to him.

The conversation continues. Scratch Media encourages you to share your opinion via twitter, and I am looking forward to hearing what you may have experienced and your views on the powerful effect media holds on us.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Works Cited

Blakemore, Erin. “Snow White Wasn't the First Disney Princess.”,

Smithsonian Institution, 4 Feb. 2016,

Boom, Daniel Van. “Yes, You're Allowed to Not Love 'Black Panther'.” CNET, CNET, 22

Feb. 2018,

Bryant, Susan L. “The Beauty Ideal: The Effects Of European Standards Of Beauty On Black

Women.” Academic Commons, Columbia University Commons, 1 Jan. 1970,

Diuguid, Lewis. “Black Girls Fight Media Images.” Kansascity, The Kansas City Star, 20

Sept. 2016,

Dobrow, Julie, et al. “Why It's so Important for Kids to See Diverse TV and Movie

Characters.” The Conversation, 20 Sept. 2018,

Dorning, Anne Marie. “Black Hair Dos and Don'ts.” ABC News, ABC News Network, 9

Feb. 2009,

Dow, Dawn M. “The Never-Ending Task of Shielding Black Kids From Negative

Stereotypes.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 9 Apr. 2018,

Elizabeth, Devon. “Nivea Is Being Called Racist for Marketing Its Skin-Lightening Cream in

Africa.” Allure, Allure, 19 Oct. 2017,

Hubbard, Shanita. “Opinion | 'Black Panther' Started The Most Vital (And Uncomfortable)

Conversations Of 2018.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 21 Dec. 2018,

Steiner, Amanda Michelle. “Giuliana Rancic Clarifies Apology to Zendaya After Oscar Night

Comments About Her Dreadlocks.”, 24 Feb. 2015,

Yager, Zali. “Is Barbie Bad for Body Image?” The Conversation, 14 Feb. 2019,

Phase Three Podcast


From Scratch Media this is A Matter of Opinion, your guide through opinion to the facts. I’m Mark Chinapen, and in this episode, we’re talking about Kanye West. The Grammy award winning hip-hop artist who is no stranger to controversy. Chances are that you are just as familiar with his unorthodox opinions and egotistical attitude as you are with his music. Since his career inception, he’s made his opinions loud and clear, from crashing award stages during acceptance speeches to his “you have to see it to believe it” Twitter account where he spews out random thoughts like a machine. Kanye truly is an entertaining character, and the media loves it! Yet despite these moments, West has thrown himself into a deep rabbit hole as of late by doing something no other artist or celebrity has decided to do: publicly support Donald Trump. In May 2018, Kanye tweeted pictures of himself wearing the infamous “Make America Great Again” hat. Despite releasing two critically acclaimed albums, Kanye would spend the majority of the year convincing his fans and the rest of America why he supports Trump and what the hat means to him.

This is what Panama Jackson can’t wrap his head around in I Don’t Ever Want to Try Whatever Kool-Aid Kanye West Keeps Drinking (Jackson, Very Smart Brothas, 2019).  He and many others like him can’t seem to fathom why Kanye continues to support Trump, not realizing that he is putting his status as well as his fans at risk. Granted this is Kanye West we’re talking about, somebody who loves himself more than anybody else so if anybody knows what’s best for Kanye, well it would be Kanye! However, as much as he claims to be a self-proclaimed genius, West has crossed the line here with this one.

  What Kanye didn’t realize is that he would not only create another hot button issue but would put himself in what might be his most problematic and controversial decision to date. Why is that? Why are we so pressed on this as opposed to all the other things he did, where the media and general public pushed those off to the side and forgot about them? Well, by allying himself with Donald Trump, Kanye West is involving himself with the likes of radical black Conservatives whose thinking unveils something detrimental to black culture. As a celebrity who pushed his way into politics, he is being a hypocrite when he was vocal about politics in the past. Lastly, he is destroying his status as an icon and influence, two things that as a celebrity of his status that he can’t be willing to lose.

  So, what is Black Conservatism? It is an aspect of American politics that is rarely talked about in mainstream media. It is vital to know who this group is and more importantly how their mindset has an effect on African American Republicans during this political climate.

  Their history dates back to the early 1900’s, under the guidance of Booker T. Washington, a renowned Black educator and political advisor. A key argument is that black Conservatives see that the unequal position of black people is self-done due to their own behaviour of “being black” (Orey, 2004, page 18). In their minds, to involve yourself with pre-dominantly black actions or groups is un-American of you. In the current Trump era, there are three notable Black Republicans who embody these very same characteristics: Candace Owens and the duo Diamond & Silk (real names being Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson respectively). All three are extremely vocal conservative pundits who adore the President and have received praise from Trump, quoted as being his “favourite black supporters” and being “very smart thinkers” (Lartley, The Guardian, 2018. Stewart, Vox, 2019).  

  Now granted, everybody is entitled to their own political views, political choices are a matter of opinion and whether we like it or not, people do have their reasons for supporting their politicians. Through my research however, I have uncovered something unusual with the train of thought of older black Conservatives which has spilled over into the present day. Their discourse and stance is quite similar to that of White nationalists, primarily the way they see African Americans. It comes off as a subtle form of racism in which they think blacks cannot adhere to traditional American values like individualism or hard work. This group would boycott government programs designed to help African Americans, working within this clearly flawed system rather than changing it but most importantly, they do not see racism as an issue anymore (Orey, 2004, page 20).  In their eyes, to blame economic or social issues on your skin colour is no longer due to racist tendencies or discrimination, but on yourself. I cannot stress enough how ignorant this sounds in this day and age where racial profiling and police brutality are still ongoing issues in the United States. 

  While Diamond & Silk are primarily just strong black Trump supporters who see no evil in the president’s actions, it’s Candace Owens who fits the mold perfectly. She has denounced groups such as BLM and the NAACP. The latter of which gave her legal aid during her university days when she was a victim of racial harassment. She has notably accused fellow African Americans of using the “black card” to appear oppressed and has chastised them for using what she claims is a victim mentality. (Mercer, 2018, page 26. Lartley, The Guardian, 2018). What all three have in common is that they believe the Democrats have a stranglehold on African Americans, they think that liberalism has essentially oppressed black people and by switching to a conservative mindset, it can free them from it. The reality to all this, they are really being racist towards their own race. In their minds, they believe they are moving black people in the right direction when the opposite is happening.

  So, what does this have to do with Kanye? Well, Kanye has now pitted himself into the same category as this trio. All three have come to Kanye’s side when he announced his support for Trump with Owens essentially becoming his wingman, even attending the atrocious TMZ interview with him. Diamond & Silk commended Kanye for breaking free from democratic control and attempting to persuade the President to move America forward (Diamond & Silk, Youtube, 2018). Now this would all be good news if it were another President like Obama or Clinton but being that this is Donald Trump we are dealing with; the sad truth is that Kanye is really embarrassing himself by associating with these radical black Conservatives. Besides the obvious Trump relationship, the main problem here is that their way of thinking is a total contrast from Kanye’s. Since his career beginnings, Kanye has always presented himself as unapologetically black in the most braggadocios and narcissistic way possible. Go and listen to his songs like “Black Skinhead” and “New Slaves” where he directly addresses black power in the United States, painting it as a cesspool that promotes black oppression. The song titles alone should give you an idea of how he presents this blackness (Bailey, 2014, pg 154). So how can he associate himself with people like Candace Owens, Diamond & Silk or other Black conservatives who do not see themselves as black, or refuse to act “black”? It then also ties into another question, a bigger one: How can he present his blackness to a President who clearly does not care for it. 

  Nearly three years into his presidency, the entire world is learning who Donald Trump truly is. Instead of presenting a list of all the “great things” he has done, I want to focus primarily on his relationship with hip-hop artists and the Pandora’s box of racist ideologies he has opened.

  Can you Imagine at one point in time, rappers were actually writing songs about him? Rubbing shoulders with him? In hip-hop, Trump was always seen as this symbol of success and wealth. Rapper and singers alike would signify the former reality tv star as this model for riches and status (Landry, DJ Booth, 2018). For decades he was a hip-hop co-sign and within a flash he instantly became a hip-hop joke. Why? Well when you start becoming unapologetically racist and catering to a like-minded, xenophobic chunk of the country, that will tend to happen.

  There is no surprise here that Trump’s presidency has brought back a disgraceful, hate-filled mindset that was assumed to have disappeared long ago. Henry A. Giroux discusses this in detail in his paper White nationalism, armed culture and state violence in the age of Donald Trump. He argues that Trump’s language targets demographics such as people of colour and migrants, that he has elicited a dark side of American society, namely the alt-right and white nationalists (Giroux, 2017, page 891). This is not new to anybody, his insistency to build the wall to keep Mexico out, the horrendous comments he made about immigrants coming to the U.S and his many racist remarks characterize him as the most un-American, American President. It is for these things among many, that has made him appealing to these hate groups, he has made it comfortable for these hate groups to return and it’s truly sickening. Multitudes of hate crimes against coloured people have occurred, in his name! Around 1,000 crimes such as vandalism, beatings and murders in most cases have happened since his election in November (DeVega, Salon, 2017). All in the name of the infamous motto to “Make America Great Again”.

  It is scary to see how a President won’t say or do anything about these things, but then again when a majority of your supporters are these individuals, of course you will let it slide. This also ties back into what was said earlier about these radical black Conservatives. How can they stand there and unashamedly support Trump when a bulk of his advocates clearly do not care for their skin colour or culture? The evidence is there in plain sight, this in turn ties into why this is so problematic for Kanye, the only celebrity or rapper for that matter that supports Trump publicly.

  Let’s take a trip back to 2005, during Hurricane Katrina. The media presented the African Americans of the New Orleans disaster as helpless, comparing them to refugees as opposed to Americans attempting to survive a dangerous situation. The Bush government’s failure to respond to the incident, the lack of empathy towards this ethnic group alongside the media’s cynical portrayal would trigger a young Kanye during a live telethon. West shocked live television when he said: “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” These seven words show how Kanye, at a moment in time when the government failed to help, used his platform to speak up against their lack of support for African Americans (Christian et al, 2010, page 157). He was doing what rappers and artists of today are doing towards Trump, voicing their distaste of his policies and behaviours, whether through music or otherwise. Kanye was so adamant to speak out against the Bush administration, yet he’ll stand shoulder to shoulder with Donald Trump whose administration and actions are just, if not worse than Bush’s. It’s hypocritical for Kanye, his claims for support seem to be that Trump can bring back or create jobs for black people, but numbers show that unemployment rates among black people fell consistently since 2010, and his support from black Americans (which Trump claims has doubled since 2016) actually cut in half, somewhere between 15 to 6% (Bump, Washington Post, 2018). Sure, he may like Donald Trump as a person, but you can’t separate Trump from his politics. (Earley, Daily Edge, 2018).  At this point, Kanye is sounding more ignorant, attempting to defend Trump. His stance is not only hypocritical in terms of politics but goes against something bigger than that; his influence. An aspect of Kanye that packs more weight and emotion.

   Now I want to step back for a minute and put you in the shoes of Kanye West.  Imagine you are a twenty-something year old Kanye, you just pushed yourself into controversy after those Bush comments. While many are chastising you, more are applauding you. Not only did you speak about what was on everybody’s mind, but you also involuntarily became the voice for the marginalized, the voice for black cultural expression (Bailey, 2014, page 124). However, your music would make you the voice for another demographic: the middle class (Christian et al, 2010, page 158).

  Unlike rappers at the time like Eminem and 50 Cent, whose music was characterized by their under privileged and violent past, you were rapping about non rap related things. From religion, to family problems to dropping out of college to pursue one’s true passion. Lyrically you were talking about normal, everyday things. Matter of fact September 11th 2007 would be remembered as the day you killed gangster rap, when your album Graduation went head to head against 50 Cent’s Curtis and broke records in terms of sales, ending hip-hop’s gangster dominance. (Callahan-Bever, Complex, 2015) Your ability to stray away from the norm and make music from the perspective of an ordinary person would influence so many artists of today. You made the genre more accepting towards musicians like Drake and Kid Cudi to open up about their emotions and mental health. Your influence would go beyond music, your impact on fashion is also a big takeaway. You made it okay to walk around with bright pink polos and shutter shades, your fashion statements would transcend designers such as Virgil Abloh and Jerry Lorenzo to create their pieces. Even your attitude, as brash and egotistical as you are, it is what makes you so compelling. As a celebrity, people want to listen to you, they are interested with what you want to say, regardless of how outrageous it may seem.

  Now, I say all this because I want to express how important Kanye West is. He represents the dream in the Black American dream, a symbol of hope and wealth in America (Christian et al, 2010, page 162). As a creative, he represents the power of going against the norm and using unorthodox methods to craft music that blurs genres (Bailey, 2014, page 55). Most importantly, he makes it okay to be yourself. Do you want to dress however you like? Go for it. Do you want to speak your mind and not care what anybody says? Go for it. Do you have a dream that you desperately want to make a reality? Make it happen. Personally, this is what makes me a fan of Kanye. His individuality that he represents through his endeavours is what makes him such an influential celebrity and an icon among many.

  Now, imagine being a celebrity of this caliber, with decades of influence and within a second, losing all of that. Discrediting everything you created, that you represented and alienating the ones that looked up to you with a simple red hat. It’s upsetting isn’t it? To have so many fans, new and old, turn on you in an instant. Or to have others like myself who are conflicted as to whether or not they should continue to support you. Speaking for myself, it feels like wishing for Kanye to come to his senses is a miracle that may never come true. As stated before, his choice is his opinion, but the way he’s expressing it is killing his status and making him a laughing stock. What can I suggest? The way I see it, there are two things Kanye could do. Firstly, he could step away from politics all together which is something he did do, citing that he felt used by the media because of his controversial comments (Jackson, Very Smart Brothas, 2019). Rather I propose he step away to better educate himself on current American politics, to really understand how detrimental the Trump administration is. Secondly, he could work with other black Republicans who don’t ally themselves with Trump.

  There is also another aspect of Kanye that needs to be considered and may have played a role in his actions as of late, which is his mental health. Kanye’s mental health has been at the forefront of his career in recent years, in 2016 he was hospitalized for exhaustion and experiencing bouts of paranoia (Kaufman, Billboard, 2016). On his most recent album Ye, Kanye confirms that he suffers from Bipolar Disorder, evident on both the album cover and numerous lyrics from the songs. Now with this being brought into the situation, it raises another question: could all of this have been a product of his mental illness? Perhaps we were witnessing Kanye going through a manic stage? No one would ever really know except for guess who, Kanye.

  All in all, the Kanye and Donald Trump rabbit hole is deeper than one can expect. The groups involved, from the radical black conservatives to the racist parties that have popped present a danger that we can hope will go away in the near future. As somebody who has been in the political spotlight a handful of times before, Kanye is acting hypocritical. Most importantly, his decades of influence and actions that have changed the music industry may be completely forgotten about because he wanted to “Make America Great Again”. Well, he might need to change that motto because I think it’s time we make Kanye great again.

And that’s a wrap.


Works Cited

Bailey, Julius, and Ebrary - York University
2014. The Cultural Impact of Kanye West. First edition. New York : Palgrave Macmillan,.

N.d. Analysis | No, Trump’s Approval among Black Americans Hasn’t Doubled. Washington Post., accessed March 28, 2019.


Noah Callahan-Bever

N.d. The Day Kanye West Killed Gangsta Rap. Complex., accessed March 22, 2019.

Christian, Elizabeth Barfoot, and Ebrary - York University 2010

Rock Brands: Selling Sound in a Media Saturated Culture. Lanham: Lexington Books.

Chauncey Devega

N.d. Trump’s Election Has Created “Safe Spaces” for Racists: Southern Poverty Law Center’s Heidi Beirich on the Wave of Hate Crimes | Salon.Com., accessed April 2, 2019.

Earley, Kelly

N.d. Simply Distancing Himself from Donald Trump Isn’t Enough to Redeem Kanye West. The Daily Edge., accessed March 8, 2019.

Diamond and Silk - The Viewers View

N.d. Diamond and Silk Have a Lot to Say about Kanye West.

Giroux, Henry A. 2017

White Nationalism, Armed Culture and State Violence in the Age of Donald Trump. Philosophy & Social Criticism 43(9): 887–910.

Jackson, Panama

N.d. I Don’t Ever Want to Try Whatever Kool-Aid Kanye West Keeps Drinking. Very Smart Brothas., accessed January 28, 2019.

Gil Kaufman

N.d. Mental Health Experts Weigh In on Kanye West’s Continued Hospitalization. Billboard., accessed April 5, 2019.

Landry, Drew

2017. An Awkward History of Trump Rap References That Haven’t Aged Well. DJBooth., accessed April 2, 2019.

Lartey, Jamiles 2018

Trump Praises Controversial Pundit Candace Owens as a “Very Smart Thinker.” The Guardian, May 9., accessed March 12, 2019.

Mercer, Caithlin, Reuter’s Institute for the Study of Journalism. Oxford University


Orey, Byron D’Andra

2004 Explaining Black Conservatives: Racial Uplift or Racial Resentment? The Black Scholar 34(1): 18–22.

 Stewart, Emily

2018 Diamond and Silk, Fox & Friends’ Favorite Black Trump Supporters, Explained. Vox., accessed March 12, 2019.


Additional Resources

Huber, Lindsay Perez

2016 Make America Great Again: Donald Trump, Racist Nativism and the Virulent Adherence to White Supremecy Amid U.S. Demographic Change. Charleston Law Review 10: 215–250.

Lewis, Angela K.

2005 Black Conservatism in America. Journal of African American Studies 8(4). JSTOR: 3–13.

Smith, David

2019 Candace Owens Woos the Right as Provocative Face of Trump Youth. The Guardian, March 2., accessed March 12, 2019.

Zak, Monica Hesse and Dan

N.d. Who Are Diamond and Silk? How Two Small-Town Ex-Democrats Found Fame as “warriors” for Trump. Themorningcall.Com., accessed March 12, 2019.



"Pyro Flow" Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License 

Rhodesia by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (


Phase 3: Final podcast

Final Podcast Script/Transcript (Brining Back Wakanda)


“From Scratch Media, this is A Matter of Opinion, your guide through opinion to the facts. I’m Connor Stacey, and today we’re talking about the film Black Panther and the civil rights movement it brought with it”

An extended piece of the Intro:

“The main focus question of today’s podcast is “what brings about change?” and this question is complex but there are many examples of things that bring about change, like protests, petitions, and fully involved movements. Aside from this, there are many other things that incite change and act as symbols of hope, superheroes. Recently there has been a lot of chatter and buzz about the recent Oscar-nominated film Black Panther due to the main reason that there is more to this movie than meets the eye. This film, in particular, has created a movement or a rebirth of being more open and expressive with your culture and specifically the African American community. So buckle up listeners because today we are going to be taking a deep dive into the eye-opening world of Wakanda.  


“so today as we dig deep into one of marvels most famed superheroes’ feature films I am going to touch upon a couple of opinion pieces that I’ve found that relates to this topic today but the first one is written by Shanita Hubbard and is entitled ‘Black Panther’ Started The Most Vital (And Uncomfortable) Conversations Of 2018” and I think she really touches upon some important points and she mentions in the article that black panther had so many marketing strategies and this massive campaign and from the moment that it released you knew that there was something bigger behind this project and the main thing is that this movie was backed by a ton of influencers and celebrities, this movie had tons of credit and backing. GoFundMe pages were started, campaigns were started, it was just in a word magical because in a way everyone came together because they wanted to experience the magic that is Wakanda, they wanted to experience this movie and they wanted to embrace something that hasn’t been done to this extent before. The one interesting topic that Shanita brings up is that in this movie, it allowed us to get real and uncomfortable about the history of slavery and colonialism and stereotypes about blacks. We need to talk about the film's main villain, Erik Killmonger, because this villain was just so significant to the balance of this movie and he flipped the whole villain stereotype, the whole villain trope on its head and Shanita mentions too "Was he really the villain?" because in the film he operated with the same mindset employed by colonizers, he killed innocent people in pursuit of his mission and caused war where there was once peace but in this movie you are able to connect with Killmonger on another scale, he just wanted what was best for his people and wanted what was best for Wakanda. His pain was reflected in this movie and he also touches upon slavery when he says this passionate line moments before his death "bury me in the ocean with my ancestors, who jumped from ships because they knew death was better than bondage." These lines became the headline, the subject of endless media conversations and also started and spawned many opinion pieces that made you think, mostly about the culture of Black Americans and the overall ramifications of slavery. Killmonger was the embodiment of the pain and suffering that most African American's have felt throughout history, he embodied that within this movie and that’s what made it easier for people to connect with him because he’s a very powerful character in the film and overall a character that anyone who watches the film can connect to. This now brings me to the second opinion piece I am going to mention which is called 'Black Panther' and the Revenge of the Black Nerds" So during today's podcast the focus question as I mentioned earlier is "what brings about change?" and so this article, this opinion piece mentions that Black Panther really opened up the gates to change, so the author of this article, Laurence Ware mentions that growing up, liking superheroes was not popular, especially if you’re a "black nerd". The found comfort in some of the other black superheroes when he was younger like for example, Bishop Lucas from the "X-Men". When Black Panther came out it gave the author a new sense of purpose, it gave him hope, and with that, he mentioned that becoming a "black nerd" is cooler now. Laurence Ware also mentions that King T'Challa embodies this superstar, rich and sleek and is like the African version of Bruce Wayne. This character ends up giving massive amounts of hope to young kids that look up to the character, that people that are stuck in ruts, who don’t know what to do, look at this character and they are just in awe. They can connect with this character, this character gives them hope for something better, he shows them the light. T'Challa has his own issues too, everyone has there own problems but he comes out on top and he just is the prime example of a superhero that acts as a role model for the younger generation such as Captain America and the Avengers and what those characters and movies have done the younger generation looks up to these people, these fictional superheroes because it is a promise of something better, its a promise of something amazing, something extraordinary and this movie and this character gives all of that to the audience of the movie to the fans of the comics, the younger people, everyone. I'd also like to touch on the other superhero films with black protagonists that maybe didn’t have the same impact as Black Panther and the main one that I am going to mention is, of course, Blade. Blade was just set out to be your average kickass, badass, slash em up vampire film, with, of course, you guessed it, Wesley Snipes. The reason this film did not have the same effect as Black Panther is that Black Panther had so much backing and hype going into it and for blade it wasn’t the same because blade didn’t really have that huge marketing campaign behind it, it didn’t really have much of a boost. Blade wasn’t set out to be more than just your average Marvel film, that involved vampires but with Black Panther, you yet again take another beloved marvel character but you amp it up a notch and make it way more than just your average Marvel film. You take these two incredible films but put them side by side and Black Panther has Blade beat. There were no campaigns or GoFundMe pages for Blade and you didn’t have Blade’s release date during black history month, it wasn’t supposed to be like that and that’s what makes black panther such an incredible and special movie because yet again it has the components of your average Marvel film like Blade its got the action,  maybe Blade is a little darker in terms of tone and everything because of the setting and the language and the overall grittiness but this had heart, again grittiness at some points and just touched people on a different scale, on a different level and there’s a major difference between the two films and its very easy to tell the two apart. Nevertheless, two great Marvel films, just one film in particular, which is Black Panther had a bigger agenda on its hand and did a better job, and swept the crowd off its feet. This yet again brings me to my next point which is the fact that this film gave other people hope, other minorities hope, other communities hope than just the African American community and this is touched upon in an opinion piece entitled 'Black Panther' inspires more than African Americans". The main focus of this piece is just mentioning that 'Black Panther' gave the author of this piece who is Muslim, hope that one day Arab Americans will see a superhero from their own community on the big screen and that many people dream of seeing their own minority groups being represented through superheroes. The author also mentions that he has hope that this new found Muslim hero would provide hope for everyone and all the children in the Muslim Arab communities and just act as a symbol of hope. Hopefully, this character will do what Black Panther did for the African American community and will get more people to spark more conversations about issues that are going unheard. This Muslim character would do that for his community and I just think that is a wonderful thing.


So with that being said Ladies and Gents this concludes today's podcast, I hope you enjoyed what you heard and I hope you took something out of what I said and yeah, now I’m going to let you all go back to your daily lives, so this has been a matter of opinion with Connor Stacey and alright guys tune in next time, see yeah later, peace out.


Credits Section for the Music

On the Ground Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Brittle Rille Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License


Achilles Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License



Works Cited

Hubbard, S., & Hubbard, S. (2018, December 21). Opinion | 'Black Panther' Started The Most Vital (And Uncomfortable) Conversations Of 2018. Retrieved from


Ware, L. (2018, February 16). 'Black Panther' and the Revenge of the Black Nerds. Retrieved from

Obeidallah, D. (2018, February 18). 'Black Panther' inspires more than African Americans. Retrieved from




How often do you use water? When you take a shower? When you brush your teeth? When you brew some coffee? Or make some tea? When you wash your face? When you cook? When you wash the dishes? Now imagine if you didn’t have any of the ease to do that with a turn of a tap. That’s how ninety one percent of the citizens on the Six Nations reserve live.

From scratch media, this is a matter of opinion. Your guide through opinion to the facts. I’m Ibrahim, and in this episode we’re talking about the water issues on the Six Nations reserve.

To give you a roadmap of what we’re gonna go through today, we’re gonna go through what drinking advisories are, some cases and stories. Why it is important, what has happened the issue. Why it’s so detrimental to the Six Nations community. We’re gonna talk about some shady business practices. We’re gonna talk about a solution, and whether those solutions will work.

So to start us off: a drinking advisory is an advisory put in by the government to say “Hey this water isn’t safe to drink. Be weary, boil it before you use it”. A single advisory can leave about five thousand people without drinking water. There’s more than a hundred advisories at any given time across the nation. And eighty of these are long-term. Now this issue brings up the question; if environmental racism is thriving in Canada.

Dawn Martin-Hill, a professor at McMaster university for Indigenous studies. She’s been living on the Six Nations reserve for 36 years. But only got connected to a dependable source last year. Only nine percent of the people on her reserve have access to this water. A lot of them don’t even have working water pipes. Dawn believes that her water supply caused most of her family to pass away due to cancer. Due to there being no other high risk factors available. They didn’t smoke or anything. She assumes that this is the cause. That they drank this water and that’s why they passed from cancer. However, her assumption does have some basis. A lack of water has been linked to diseases such as: hepatitis A, gastroenteritis, giardia lamblia or beaver fever. It has also been linked to scabies, ringworm and acne. (Out In The Open, 2018)

What surprises me most about this issue is that it takes place thirty minutes away from Hamilton. Professor Dawn drives thirty minutes to go to McMaster university. This isn’t a third world country. This isn’t a problem located in the middle of nowhere. This is in Southern Ontario. It is very local. When you think of the places with a lack of water, you wouldn’t think of Canada, with all the fresh water available. (Out In The Open, 2018)

The Six Nations reserve has received many short-term advisories, including contaminated water in the wells located there. In 2013, a 41 million dollar water plant was installed on the outside of the reserve. However this only supplies 9% of the 13 thousand people living there. Just imagine that you’re sitting in one of your lectures and there’s a hundred students in total. Now imagine that just the first row, let’s say nine students; had access to water. And everybody else either had no water or a contaminated water supply. That’s how severe this issue is. (Out In The Open, 2018)

And the reason this issue exists? After installing the water plant, there was no funds to operate and connect it to people’s homes. 41 million dollars went into making this, and the government did not think to put more money into operating it and do what its meant to do. Dawn said that she started off her days by boiling large amounts of water for cooking, cleaning, bathing, before being connected to the plant. She says that “It’s not a normal existence. You step out of the reserve and everybody has running water. In this day and age there’s no way that we should be scrounging for water”. However she’s only one of the lucky few that has to access to this. As I said before, the plant only connects to 9% of the community. So just imagine filling up those buckets every single day. Maybe a couple of times a week. (Out In The Open, 2018)

Iokarentha Thomas, a mother of five, also lives on the Six Nations reserve. Since the age of 16, she lived without running water. Her family doesn’t have access to showers, toilets and baths. Instead they use buckets for these activities. She and her husband drive 8km twice a week to gather water from a public tap. They also drive another 10 kilometres to the town of Caledonia to buy bottled water to drink. (Shimo, 2018)

Theron Thomas, her six year old son had a rash on his arm. And no matter how many times he went to the doctor, and no matter how many lotions or ointments he was prescribed, the rash always came back. It turned out that he had a skin disease called impetigo. The reason he contracted this disease however, was because his mother would collect rainwater from the roof. And due to the bacteria from the rooftops shingles, it caused him to have a rash. Iokarentha said that it made her “feel like a bad mother”. And that she “gets angry when comparing [her] life to someone who doesn’t live on the reserve”. (Shimo, 2018)

Martin-Hill, the professor from earlier believes that increased suicide rates through aboriginal youth, which is by the way 5 to 7 times more, is related directly to a lack of drinking water. In the Six Nations community water is seen as sacred and as a symbol of life. However, Martin-Hill has started to believe that this signifies how indigenous people are treated like second-class citizens. (Shimo, 2018)

Now that we’ve gone through a couple of point of views of people who live on the reserve, we’re going to focus on the shady business practice that I talked about earlier. Nestlé, the food and water company, pumps about 3.6 million litres a day, although being asked to stop. They pump from a place called Erin Well. It was land given to the Six Nations through a treaty and a tract. The 1701 Nanfan Treaty, and the 1784 Haldimand Tract. During the American revolution, the Six Nations: Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca and Tuscarora sided with Britain. And due to this, they were rewarded with 3,845 square kilometres of land around the grand river. However, Ontario broke these agreements. In 1930, The Natural Resources Transfer act was instated. This act gives the provinces the water, and the right to sell it. This was supposed to be regulated by the federal government. And the constitution states that the federal government has to “accommodate and consult” with First Nations and make sure anyone else does the same when taking natural resources from First Nations’ land. (Shimo, 2018)

JD Salt, a mother of two who is self employed, also lacks water on the reserve. She herself paid thousands to connect her house to a nearby well. However, she found that the water was contaminated. Meanwhile, Nestlé pays Ontario $503.71 per million litres that they extract from the spring. They give none of this money to the Six Nations. I mean honestly, just think about how disgusting that is. To make bottled water from a resource from a community that lacks drinking water. I mean, at least put up a charity or something or install some type of water fountain in the community. JD Salt thinks that “Nestlé is taking out water for free. Why not dispense it to people?”. (Shimo, 2018)

Peter Gleick is the co-founder and president of The Pacific Institute. It’s a global water think-tank and non-profit organization. It focuses on bringing awareness to water crisis’ around the world.

Peter says, and I quote: “Nestlé is commercializing natural resources in a community that doesn’t have access to reliable, safe, affordable drinking water and it is a stunning example of the disparities we see around the world in access to safe water. The rich can pay for water and the poor get [cheated] over and over again.” (Shimo, 2018)

Now we can focus on whether this is environmental racism or not. In my opinion, yes it definitely is. This is Canada. This is constantly voted one of the best places to live. How can we have a problem this severe in the province of Ontario? Not even Northern Ontario, but Southern Ontario. This is a populated area. This isn’t like rural country or something. It's not out in the middle of nowhere. It’s just a 30 minute drive from Hamilton, and a 90 minute drive from Toronto. Imagine if this problem did exist in Toronto. Do you think it would last anywhere as long as the Indigenous community has faced? I don’t believe that it would. If it was at the core of Toronto or someplace like that, I guarantee you it would be considered an emergency. (“Quality of Life”, 2018)

The Six Nations crisis is an emergency in my opinion. It is extremely, extremely bad. And I don’t understand why it exists. Like why would the government install such an expensive water plant, but not go through the effort of actually making it useful to the entirety of the Six Nations community? Why only 9%? Yes it’s a lack of funding, but it’s also an emergency and they need to fund this -- they need to fix this. The Liberal government is planning to fund $1.8bn over the next 5 years to end this problem. Justin Trudeau has promised to solve water issues on reserves by March 2021. However, the estimated cost of the issue is $3.2bn. That means that the government is more than a billion dollars short to fix this. And again, back to the water plant, how do we know that won’t happen again? How do we know that after the plant has been opened, that it will be regulated, and that it will be connected to where it needs to be connected so it can give water to those who need it. (“Tracking Trudeau’s Promise”, 2017; Shimo, 2018)

Reconciliation, especially in recent years has always been a focal point for the Canadian government. However, when issues like these exist, it makes it hard to have any progress. This is a serious issue and it needs to be fixed and as soon as possible. And personally, I don’t think it’s being taken as serious as it should be. Martin-Hill says and I quote: “Why do white people live with water, and we don’t? They don’t have to live how we live. There’s a lot of environmental racism”. And she makes a really excellent point here. How come this issue is solely affecting aboriginals on the Six Nations reserve and across the other reserves all across Canada? How come it’s not in towns or cities? I feel like the government doesn’t truly care about these people. And this is just another form of racism. And that’s all it is. (Shimo, 2018)

Works Cited

Shimo, A. (2018, October 04). While Nestlé extracts millions of litres from their land, residents have no drinking water. Retrieved from

Why so few people on Six Nations reserve have clean running water, unlike their neighbours | CBC Radio. (2018, April 20). Retrieved from

Pacific Institute. (n.d.). Retrieved from

The 80 Countries With the Highest Quality of Life. (2018). Retrieved from

Ottawa News Bureau Online Producer. (2017, December 28). Can PM Trudeau keep drinkable water promise to First Nations? Retrieved from

Works Consulted

Patterson, B. (n.d.). The Council of Canadians. Retrieved from

Sounds and Music Licenses

“Pouring Hot Tea Sound” Cori Samuel (

Licensed Under Public Domain

“Having A Shower” ezwa (

Licensed Under Public Domain

“Babbling Brook” stephan (

Licensed Under Public Domain

“Doing The Dishes” Andriala (

Licensed Under Sampling Plus 1.0

"Pyro Flow" Kevin MacLeod (

Licensed Under Attribution 3.0 License

“Hot Sizzling Sound” Mike Koenig (

Licensed Under Attribution 3.0 License

“Water Churning” Mark DiAngelo

Licensed Under Attribution 3.0 License


I’m writing this after I’ve recorded and submitted my podcast. However, the two main sources that I used are a CBC Radio article and a Guardian article about water issues in the Six Nations reserve. They're both cited above.

These two articles worked really well together because it gave me separate case studies to bounce off each other. For example, in the CBC article I talk about how Dawn Martin-Hill’s family was wiped out from cancer and she suspects that polluted water consumption was the cause. In the Guardian article, we see Iokarentha’s child also get health problems however his problems were because of a lack of water, causing his mother to let him bathe with rain water. In this way, both of the articles worked very well in complimenting each other as they both expand off of each other.

The CBC article also talked about the water treatment plant installed on the reserve. It focuses on what has been done for the community, although they’re failed efforts. In the Guardian article, we get to see what’s being taken away from the Six Nations reserve with the part about Nestle pumping water from Indigenous grounds even though being asked to stop.

I can see these articles as two characters. One talks about failed attempts, and the other talks about attempts to sabotage the issue further. As a writer, I can utilize these sources to speak their own agenda while also keeping the base issue in common, which proves to be useful.

Week 12

I have learned that I work well when I write down everything I need to do before hand. I also found that the method of mapping out my entire podcast like we did in tutorial helped me organize my ideas better so they don’t seem out of place.

I’ve also found that using the podomoro technique of working, I was able to get lots of work done in short increments of time which I will take with me further into my university life.

The research for this podcast was a challenge for me. I tried utilizing different variety of sources but found that only articles truly conveyed what I needed to write. To explain further, scholarly sources are almost impossible to find about issues due to these sources taking years to be peer-reviewed and published. If I’m talking about an issue from last year, I won’t find what I need on Google Scholar. This was a pain in the butt, but articles really helped me as they are uploaded as issues arise, giving me what I need.

Phase 3: Podcast


Just one more game. Honestly, stopping after this one.

One humiliating death later, wherein your friend asks you if you’re up for one more round. To which you quickly press the ‘start match’ button.

Video games have been around as early as the nineteen-sixties and have grown ever since. And if you think “Pong” was the first videogame created, think again! Because interestingly enough, in a land before “Pac-Man,” there was “Computer Space.” It was sort of a primitive “Space Invaders.” And even before that, there was “Space War,” and “Galaxy Game.” It goes without saying, but it seems ‘space’ was a real go-to for video games back then.

So why are these original “pay-to-play” video games so important? We can see that years ago, many were playing these arcade style games for hours upon hours. So, it gives reason to believe that video game addiction has existed for decades, yet we still find children developing violent tendencies, mental issues, bodily problems and just plain annoying temper tantrums from too much time in front of a screen. Now this begs the question: Are violent video games negatively affecting young gamers’ minds? Or can we let our children continue their midnight battle royal sessions?

The debate over whether or not video games cause violence in gamers is still yet to be put to rest. And even more restless is the argument over what video games do to the body. In this podcast, that is not what we’ll be talking about. Instead, we’re going to focus on a smaller, but still related, version of this debate; whether or not violent video games cause violence in young gamers, mainly under the age of 15. And since we’ll mostly be talking about FPS’s, or first-person shooters, we can assume kids usually start gaming around the age of 9 or 10. That’s right; gaming and puberty: Double Feature.

Before we can really delve deep into this topic, allow me to take a moment to bore you with a little video game history. But don’t worry! We’re gonna skip most of the “PG” games and get straight into the real “PG-13” and up games. We’re talking about the famous “Chiller,” “Street Fighter,” “Mortal Kombat,” … “Legend of Zelda – CD-I”? The latter was more violent on our hearts, but I digress.

“Chiller,” the video game born from movies like “Friday the 13th,” and, “Nightmare on Elms Street,” hit the markets around 1986. You played as a serial killer, committing mass brutality to progress through the game, gaining points for every innocent victim slaughtered. Chilling, right?

Not long after, “Street Fighter,” and, “Mortal Kombat,” released, bringing more violent energy blasts and ‘fatalities’ to arcade screens globally. While it was difficult to get the gory games in the spotlight with Nintendo’s bestselling, “Super Mario,” and, “Legend of Zelda,” games, the genre surged in popularity. Now it was around this time that events began to occur.

In 1997, thirteen-year-old Noah Wilson died after his friend, Yancy, stabbed him in the chest. It was reported that Yancy performed a “Mortal Kombat” fatality, despite his action never occurring in the video game.

In 1998, ‘The Westside School Massacre,” took place, killing four students and a teacher. There was no definitive connection between motive and video games besides the fact that both perpetrators enjoyed playing an FPS called “GoldenEye 007.”

There are other cases but, unfortunately, too many.

As we can see, these incidents draw connections to video games; pretty forcefully at that too.

New York Times’ Seth Schiesel talks extensively about this topic in his article, “The Real Problem with Video Games.” His article centres around the legal issue of violent video games. I quite like his article because he uses an aspect that is easy for the majority to relate to; Donald Trump’s incessant ranting.

Schiesel begins on this topic, agreeing with my main points, despite the what the title implies. One point that really caught my attention was his line, “Video games do not create murders.” A simple line, but effective as many people tend to look at video games as a crime enhancer, rather than an outlet for stress relief or a temporary escape from reality.

Simply because a video game depicts violence does not mean that it essentially promotes it. “Grand Theft Auto,” aside, most FPS’s personify you as a hero, taking down baddies as you blaze through levels. There aren’t many games at all which instruct you to cause terrorism or kill those close to you.

Now some may argue that my omission of the specific minority of video games was purposeful. And those people would be wrong, as I am addressing it right now. Yes, there are games similar to, “Grand Theft Auto,” in which the objective is to cause mayhem. But the games themselves aren’t the problem, no. The problem is the age at which children begin playing or, more accurately, are allowed to begin playing violent video games by parents who couldn’t care less.

Cris Rowan, an experienced author of many articles on Moving to Learn, supports my idea that children should not be allowed to play violent shooters from a very young age, because, “when children play video games, their sympathetic nervous system responds with a hyperarousal state of “flight or fight” characterized by adrenalin release from adrenal glands and dopamine production in the brain.”

Now that jumbled mess of words that you heard me struggle to pronounce was from the author himself. But in other words, too much stimulation can lead underdeveloped minds to, essentially, ‘bug out’ when exposed. This can usually result in violent tendencies, shorter tempers and, almost always, a lot of hysterical wailing. I, being an avid gamer myself, can personally reinforce this point.

Now, it’s story time. So, when I was about twelve-years-old, I had just gotten my anxious, little hands on a Nintendo DS.

I had told my Mother, “Of course I’ll still focus on my work!”

I still remember my DS yanked from those same hands when I got my report card… and, embarrassingly, the screaming that followed.

Tantrums are the first sign of violent tendencies, speaking from experience. When a child is allowed to play video games as they please, violence becomes something they think is acceptable. I believe that when a child, teen or even adult can feel a sense of guilt and/or remorse after a mistake is when they may be allowed to play more violent video games.

See, in children, dopamine, that chemical that makes you super-happy, has more effect. Because a child’s mind is not yet fully developed, when doing something that makes them happy, they feel no need to stop. I mean, why would they stop? They’re playing games and it makes them feel an enormous amount of joy. Why would you think about the condition of your eyes, mind or what happens when your parents turn it off? To answer the latter, a bomb. A bomb happens when their parents turn it off.

Paying more attention to how much a child consumes is a parent’s job. If one were to teach their children the importance of mistake-making or knowing when to stop frying their eyes, children could play the same FPS’s, but just with more sense under their belt.

Regrettably, what I have just informed you of, only accounts for a few of the reasons behind violence stemming from video games. So, you may be stuck with me for another nine to ten minutes depending on my WPM (Words Per Minute).

Kevin Loria, an approved writer for Business Insider, writes an eye-opening article about the addiction of video games. A rather confusing but informative line, nonetheless, is that, “65% of households have at least one member who plays games three hours a week or more, and the average gamer is 35 years old,” which essentially means that most households have at least one gamer who is usually at the end of their youth.

Now in the minority which is omitted, the children’s situations work different. A main reason being that they have more time to rectify their addiction. As young minds are as susceptible as an egg, addiction can occur quicker than one might think and probably quicker than the children might think as well. Again, this is why children should not begin playing shooting and violent intensive games from a young age; even including a cartoonish game like “Fortnite.”

As I’ve stated before, but refused to go into depth for word count, video games shouldn’t only be seen as a crime enhancer. Most gamers… game to let off steam, destress, to escape from the world for a moment, to keep in touch with friends or all of the above including fun.

Many see video games as a means to increase aggression, which is, admittedly the case sometimes, if you were to consider something like “Dark Souls,” which intense boss fights are, quite honestly, mind numbing and headache-inducing. Aside from that, however, studies have shown many gamers have low stress and aggression levels. And yes, I said studies. So, please bear with me as I riddle you with statistics.

According to a study conducted by Jim Hawdon, a professor of sociology and Director of the Virginia Tech Centre, “First-person shooter video game players are 67 percent less likely to produce hate materials than are non-players.” As well as an interesting revelation that, “Reddit users are 2.87 times more likely to produce online hate material than are non-users.”

Yup. You Reddit (read it) correctly, forum browsers are more likely to spread the hatred than FPS players fighting for their virtual lives. It would make sense as an FPS player would have already destressed winning and losing online battles and, therefore, have little to no harboured feelings of hate. And, if gamers see the planning, explosions, death and dangers in a game, why attempt it in real life knowing the consequences?

Going back to Seth Schiesel’s article, The Real Problem With Video Games, he brings up an interesting point which, I found, compliments my previous arguments. He states that there might be more of a connection between violence and creative writing than that with video games. His article reads, “When the United States Secret Service and the Department of Education studied violence in schools, they found that 37 percent of attackers “exhibited an interest in violence in their own writings, such as poems, essays, or journal entries,” while only 12 percent exhibited an interest in violent video games.”

According to this research, most school attackers express their violent tendencies through writing rather than under the influence of violent video games. While I realize that I speak in respect to literature, given the course, the statistics speak for themselves.

So why are video games given such harsh treatment and bad reception? Well, violent video games are easy to blame. Unlike writing, which could be hard to understand, video games visually show gun use and, in some cases, scenes that can be interpreted as mayhem or terrorism. Blaming video games have more of an attention-grabbing effect as well. If one heard that a school shooter expressed themselves through writing, it would not be persuasive enough as a headline. However, if one saw that a school shooter played something like, “Call of Duty,” or, “Battlefield,” then gears start turning. People have a specific thing to blame easily. Why blame the complex topic of writing when there’s a company producing games which turn people into murderers!

So, this begs the question I’m sure may or may not be burning in the back of your mind; If there is so much support with video games and violence, why do people still associate the two? Are any violent crimes motivated by violent games? Are violent video games completely harmless? Well I’ll tell you since you didn’t ask.

I should really send a ‘Thank you’ letter to Seth Schiesel for his brilliant views which will now support me a third time. One simple line is the answer to the controversy behind violent video games supposedly causing violence, which is that, “It’s not the content; it’s the culture.” This means that violent content does not cause violent actions, but violent culture which is the culprit.

In games such as, “Halo,” “Call of Duty,” “Battlefield,” and even, “Mario Kart,” they have communities behind them. Abandoning humour for this section, any game with online chats can constitute the interactive culture which drives my ensuing point; that the gaming community is toxic.

Gamers in multiplayer can be heard using verbal abuse towards players, hurling insult after reprimand. When playing a game with a community behind it, one mistake can spell words which should never be used in succession.

The gaming community is not a safe place for sensitive gamers, people who can’t handle insults and much less, a child. Insults are not limited to in-game events either. Depending on how well your voice can be heard, gamers do not hesitate to lash out with racist, sexist, degrading and sometimes blasphemous remarks and slurs. And the worst part is that most children who can work a headset use these slurs as well.

I can’t begin to retell the amount of times I heard adults and kids alike yelling at me, calling me names that could possibly classify as assault. As a gamer, it doesn’t really strike any nerves, but more gets me to think about how horrid some communities can be for certain games. It’s unsettling to hear a child’s voice speak curse words as if they even know what they mean.

As far as these communities go, there is no known way to completely stop the verbal abuse that goes on in chatrooms. With toxicity comes diversity; there isn’t always one specific phrase or word that can be found and prevented. As more and more slurs are created, there will always be someone in the chatroom ranting about how people are cheating and lagging. With online games, if you lose, it’s apparently never your fault.  

When insults are thrown back and forth, words will eventually not be enough. There are cases where threats are sent to players implying physical harm to the player, their family, and even death threats. These are the situations in which violence is truly constituted by video games. It goes without saying, but a child would most definitely not receive special treatment.

For children, their susceptible minds can be influenced to believe that it is acceptable to harm someone else when insulted. And their pressure threshold can be reduced to that of a landmine.

If there were stricter rules in place for chats, the gaming community would honestly be a better place. Unfortunately, there are no signs of that happening; at least not anytime soon. And in terms of video games with voice chats, there’s no known way to always keep track of everything everyone says or implies. The only foreseeable solution is, you guessed it, stop your kids from playing shooters. At least until they have enough sense to know right from wrong. After all, no one wants to suddenly hear their child swear in the middle of a temper tantrum.

However, contrary to popular belief, or lack of admittance in most cases, video games actually help build certain cognitive skills and social skills, as Vanderbilt University student, Emily Hughes, writes in her article, Effects of Video Games on Child Development. Being a passionate gamer, it’s been a long yet necessary road, but it now warms me to tell you the benefits of gaming as a child.

Hughes begins by telling us that, “…playing video games can be beneficial for a number of cognitive functions and may also contain social benefits.”

When I was a child, around the age of thirteen, I used to play a very primitive version of “Halo Wars.” Before, I used to suck at the game. Really badly. So much so my friends felt bad for defeating me.

But as I got older and played more, I could line up the cross-hair without even thinking and, before I knew it, my reflexes were more coordinated and sensitive. My friends didn’t like the quick change.

As children play video games, no matter what it is, it can teach their subconscious. These skills can range from educational knowledge to visual-spatial skills. And while these skills sound more ninja-like, they can guide children to a path they’d like to take in terms of their future. Quick analysis screams engineering, mathematic skills could spark an architect and creativity may lead one to the canvas.

Violent video games may seem like an easy route to a successful career as a convict, but based on previous events and extensive studies, they really shouldn’t be given that view. While, yes, lengthy time in front of a screen can develop violent tendencies in young children, video games can’t be blamed for their addiction; just as cigarettes aren’t outlawed despite only inducing harmful effects. Or alcohol… just alcohol.

Socially as well, video games can impact children’s lives. For the better, of course. I know I’ve given the gaming community a lot of fire for their toxicity but the people that you would meet in school and real life may be different. Despite some communities being toxic, they are still, in fact, a community. Playing video games is a quick way to make friends as simply knowing of one can spark a conversation. You can meet other people online as well and maybe even find lifelong friends through a game chat. A little hard to believe but it happens!

The debate on whether video games develop violence in children is needlessly prolonged. While smoking causes far more harm, cigarettes remain available. Video games have a small chance of sparking a violent interest among their countless other ignored benefits. We see these first-person-shooters as the kindle which lights the unstable flame, but what really causes these video game influenced crimes, is other gamers, toxic communities, the lack of a ban-hammer dropping.

Violent video games, like shooters, will continue to take fire because, essentially, it’s easier for people to blame one single aspect they can hope to control than the complex network of forces that actually constitutes the problem. And yes, I did take philosophy.

In any case, evidence suggests that video games are in fact less likely to cause hate and/or hate crimes, while those who scroll through forums daily, smartphone and computer addicts, are the likely factors. So, at the end of the day, we need to ask ourselves; are video games to blame or the device you’re using to listen this?


 Works Cited


Kirps, J. (n.d.). The Very First Video Game Ever Released (and Its not Pong). Retrieved from

The Evolution of Video Game Violence. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Schiesel, S. (2018, March 13). The Real Problem With Video Games. Retrieved from

Rowan, C. (2018, October 28). Moving to Learn. Retrieved from

Loria, K. (2018, June 19). How playing video games affects your body and brain. Retrieved from

Staff, S. X. (2018, February 22). Violent video games may serve as an outlet for aggression, not a precursor, says Virginia Tech expert. Retrieved from

Hughes, E. (2014, April 24). Effect of Video Games on Child Development. Retrieved from


week nine  

While researching my topic, a variety of sources have stood out and taught me new, interesting facts and lessons. One article came from the Huffington Post entitled, “Watching TV Can Lower Children's Self Esteem, Study Finds” by Michelle Marques. This article discusses television shows and the harmful effect they have on the self-esteem of children. Marques cites a survey/research conducted by Indiana University in order to solidify her argument. What I also found interesting was her mention that the only caucasian male children are able to acquire positive results from watching television as the white males, in fact there self-esteem improves. This is a result of the portrayal of white males in television shows and cartoons (Marques). The article later outlines alternative television programs with more diverse casts. Although the amount of information is limited throughout this piece it supports my claims and gives them credibility.

A scholarly article I found most interesting and assisted me the most was Susan L. Bryant’s “The Beauty Ideal: The Effects of European Standards on Black Women”. Bryant provides an empirical review of existing literature, suggesting women of color (Black women specifically) are immensely affected by European beauty standards. These ideals praise features elusive to other ethnicities (pale skin, straight blonde hair, light eyes, and a thin physique), which ultimately excludes minority groups (Bryant). Although this focuses on Black females in a more general aspect, Bryant does focus on young girls in some areas. Specifically she discusses the “doll test.” which is a test that evaluated the self-perception of Black children; majority of participants identified the White doll as more attractive than the Black doll. This stems from European beauty standards, societal pressures, and harmful portrayals of women of color in media (Bryant). published “Why it’s so important for kids to see diverse TV and movie characters” an interesting piece written by three university professors (two of which teach child study and human development, and the third teaches drama and dance.); Julie Dobrow, Calvin Gidney, and Jennifer Burton. Their educational backgrounds are relevant to the subject providing immense credibility. The authors host an interesting conversation regarding the significance of diversity within media and the progress made throughout the decades (beginning with the 1970s). The piece cites statistics of the population of minorities in America in comparison to the population of minorities within television programs. They also brought up an interesting point that villains in programs commonly have foreign accents (eg. Dr. Doofenshmirtz from “Phineas and Ferb”) ( An interesting fact provided was that children notice differences. The article states, “We’ve found that first- and second-grade children, when presented with a variety of drawn cartoon character faces they haven’t seen before, have no problem sorting them into “good” and “bad” characters (”

week twelve

Going into this course I was terrified of this assignment, and thought it would be more difficult than I am currently finding it. This process has taught me about digging deep into research, examining multiple sources, and the importance of planning and dissecting projects into smaller steps. Going in depth into research is significant in order to construct a strong, well-rounded piece and refined knowledge on the subject. I have learned that paying attention to and utilizing writing tools improves your writing, thought-process, and ability to communicate effectively. I have also learned about using a variety of search engines and the power of using keywords when conducting research.

I have learned that I work better when I map out my assignments and take it a few steps at a time. I have struggled with providing a more natural delivery rather than sounding too serious and/or monotone. Prior to this course I listened to very few podcasts, mainly only listening to them to help me sleep/relax. Now, I have begun listening to more and have acquired an interest in them. Mainly I have been listening to ‘The Basement Yard’ by Joe Santagato. Not only will listening to podcasts help within this course, but also for future presentations and acts as a convenient way to amass information.

works cited.

Bryant, S. L. (1970, January 01). The Beauty Ideal: The Effects Of European Standards Of

Beauty On Black Women. Retrieved from

Dobrow, Julie et al. "Why It's So Important For Kids To See Diverse TV And Movie Characters". The Conversation, 2019,

Marques, Michelle. "Watching TV Can Lower Kids' Self Esteem: Study". Huffpost Canada, 2019,

Phase 3

Week 9:

Throughout the overall process of developing this podcast and gathering all the info and sources for the podcast, I found multiple sources that stand out on there own and are particularly useful for the podcast. The first source is entitled “Black Panther: A 50-Year Journey from the Civil Rights Era to the Silver Screen” which perfectly outlines the rise of the film “Black Panther” and the movement it brought with it. This article also touches on the “Golden Age of Superheroes” and some of the superhero movies that we choose to forget about. One other source that particularly stood out to me as well is entitled “Black Superheroes Matter: Why a ‘Black Panther’ Movie Is Revolutionary”. This source covers all the bases and has multiple interesting points of view and the connections made are intriguing yet still factual. Since these articles are very interesting and informing, they are a nice transition into the podcast.

Works Cited

Black Panther: A 50-Year Journey from the Civil Rights Era to the Silver Screen. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Johnson, T., & Johnson, T. (2018, June 25). Black Superheroes Matter: Why a 'Black Panther' Movie Is Revolutionary. Retrieved from

Week 12:

Throughout the whole process of developing my podcast for this course, I learned that I really enjoy the editing process and that the more time you put into editing the more it will be worth it afterwards. I found it pretty easy to edit mistakes or little things while using audacity which was pretty beneficial when working on the podcast. While in this course I also learned that any type of tool that helps your writing or your critical thinking is essential and is very beneficial in the long run. The main thing that I learned in this course is that conducting research is way more important than it seems and it can be interesting at times if you’re really invested.

Phase 3

Week 10:

Sound at the beginning was difficult to edit but now that I have edited two interviews that I did it became easier. I still have to figure out where to get not copyrighted music and to put it on in the background. My voice to myself in a recording sounds so weird but I guess that happens to everyone when they hear themselves. I actually like editing a clip for an hour and seeing how I can make it sound better with amplifying, getting rid of white noise and more. My podcast persona is a lot more professional than I am in real life and surely more put together. as I listen to what I have so far if I did not know the speaker, I would say that she knows exactly what she is doing. When I figure out how to put in background music, I hope that it enhances the whole twenty minutes. Of course I want my speaking to be above the music by a lot but I still want the listener to be able to make out the music.

Week 9:

These two links in particular are sticking out to me because one is a 300+ page book on mental health and distress and almost absolutely everything that has to do with it. It has chapters titled “stigma and discrimination”, “validity”, “genetics and distress”, and many more. Not every page is free to read but by reading the table of contents I get more ideas of stuff to research. By doing that I can find many other websites that can help me figure out what is a better cure for mental health issues.

The other link that I think is important to cite is a study that looked at anxiety and depression and how it effects a student being connected to activities in high school. As estimated it effects the student in negative ways because they do not know how to properly interact with teachers and other students and seem to need more help with their school subjects.

 Comby, John, et al. “Psychology, Mental Health and Distress.” Google Books, Google, mental health and distress&ots=fDFt6NTv5q&sig=5tHG2VDKnmpYfEHyRUVZrDTCxw#v=onepage&q=psychology mental health and distress&f=false.

 Ian M. Shochet , Mark R. Dadds , David Ham & Roslyn Montague (2006) School Connectedness Is an Underemphasized Parameter in Adolescent Mental Health: Results of a Community Prediction Study, Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 35:2, 170-179, DOI:10.1207/s15374424jccp3502_1

Phase Three

Week 9

Several Sources

After reviewing over my previous podcast outline, I wanted to place more emphasis on narrowing a certain area to focus on. Since two main topics I mentioned, mental health, as well as physical health, appeared to be the strongest points i wanted to make, I’ve decided to narrow it down even more. After doing more research, I’ve gone down to directing my attention towards the area of mental health, more so on the idea of addiction in video games. I mentioned in my podcast episode a disorder called the Gaming Disorder; this is where I can start off on. A few sources that approached to me as reliable were:

Evaluating the presence of social strain in Rockstar Games’ “Grand Theft Auto,” which explained about how the forms of entertainment displayed within the game actually could result in negative effects on the players. Ideas such as morals, explicit content and violence are prominent in the game series, which happen to be areas I wanted to point out in my research. It depicts how these types of video games have bad results on people’s ways of thinking, relating back towards my area of focus. By using this source, I intend to evaluate different areas that game addiction can occur from these games.

The Sirens’ Song of Multiplayer Online Games explains, as well as focuses, around the genre of MMO games, or massive multiplayer online games, and how they are influencing, or even massively producing addiction to the contents. Describing how those who call themselves avid gamers are more prone to having a higher chance in raising their gaming hours. Classifies the overall concept of why games are so addicting to others, which I found to be useful in order to range my source from FPS. Now I have knowledge on FPS, MMO and Open World games.

Video games on prescription give the different perspective of mental health and video games. Within the article, it shares how researchers are using multiple gaming outlets to act as a healthcare tool, such as for anxiety and depression. On the other hand, the author, believes that these may be the start, or continuation of gaming addiction in children, as well as adults. Gives a medical view of the situation, but also provides different examples of how gaming healthcare is being using in the industry.

All of these sources appears to complement each other as they share similarities in topics, but share differences in background knowledge. I wanted to try and broaden my search even more, so I attempted to find sources which hold specific, or detailed research on their topics, such as Siren’s Song focuses only on the effects of MMO’s; this is the type of research that can ease my way into shortening down my list of focus areas.

To use these types of sources in my podcast are “characters” would defiantly a plus. Each reading can simply be their own person, and it makes it easier to take on the role of a person then having to re-introduce a citation. I’d want to make these three sources into possible characters for my final podcast, but as well as include some opposite examples as well. To take the format of a character, it can seem hard, but seeing how each writer has their own writing style, it is possible. Such as, Grand Theft Auto holds numerous citations, holding a formal yet opinionated view, while Prescription is more informative yet highly intellectual. By placing an emphasis on character style, a podcast could have the interviews without the voice.


Armstrong, Stephen. “Video Games on Prescription.” BMJ: British Medical Journal, vol. 349, 2014. JSTOR,

Nicholas A. Holt, and Douglas A. Kleiber. “The Sirens' Song of Multiplayer Online Games.” Children, Youth and Environments, vol. 19, no. 1, 2009, pp. 223–244. JSTOR,

Osborne, Patrick. “Evaluating the Presence of Social Strain in Rockstar Games' ‘Grand Theft Auto IV.’” Studies in Popular Culture, vol. 34, no. 1, 2011, pp. 109–132. JSTOR,

Phase Three

The Final Curtain

The Podcast

Show Transcript

Show Notes:

12pt Font Podcast


"Pyro Flow" Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

General Music:
“A Quiet Thought” Wayne Jone
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

“Atlantis” Atlantis by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (

“Echo_Scalvi” The Mini Vandals
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

"Impending Doom Film Trailer Other" Doug Maxwell/Media Right Productions
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

“Tribal Affair” SYBS
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Week 10-11: Sound

I am blessed to have had prior experience with podcasts before entering this class. I have effectively grown numb to the sound of my voice. Alone, editing, with my headphones on, I can almost disassociate my voice from myself. I am able to edit and produce as though I were the director, and not the actor. The self consciousness comes in when I am forced to confront my voice when other people can hear.

I need the outside input to ensure that listeners will have a pleasant listening experience, however trying to listen to my voice, while other people judge it, is not an enjoyable listening experience for me.  There’s nothing like some self-consciousness to resensitize you to the sound of your voice. The benefits of this resensitization are twofold. Beta listeners are an excellent litmus test for enjoyability. I will hand my friends some headphones, and the episode, and will track along with the timestamp and make comments based off of their comments. This resensitization also helps me spot mistakes in my own recording. Things I might have missed after hearing them over, and over.

As for my audio persona? I try to be cheerful without being grating, and informative without being dictatorial. I’ve found if I smile while I talk, my tone comes off more friendly and engaged. Pitching my voice higher makes me sound more excited, while lower makes people take the information more seriously. The faster I talk, the more frantic I appear, and slowing my voice down gives the individual words more gravity.

I find music to be wonderful to indicate transitions. As I haven’t yet recorded the episode, I am unsure weather or not I’ll use sound effects, I’ve never used them outside of film projects, however if something feels like it could use some form of audio punctuation, I’ll be sure to consider sound effects to do the job. I fear that too many effects may detract from the focal point of the podcast however. I am not a sound designer, and thus must use only my knowledge of genre conventions to know how much is too much, and what is not enough. I hope I will be able to strike a fine balance.

Here is a short clip of what I have so far. I hope it does not disappoint.

Week 9: You’re A Real Character

As I outlined in week eight (Phase Two) I have already found some particularity intriguing works to present as characters in my piece. Here are some of them.

Animals Australia’s What is factory farming? – Us and the planet (2012). This is a video that describes factory farming succinctly, and informatively. I will be using a section of it as a soundbite in my episode and this I must make it a character in the episode. Then there’s The influence of psychological traits, beliefs and taste responsiveness on implicit attitudes toward plant – and animal-based dishes among vegetarians, flexitarians and omnivores (2018). This article discusses the psychological indicators that make people more or less inclines to adopt an eco-conscious diet. The words in the article are invaluable to answering one of my research questions and thus I will probably make it a character in the episode as well.

The last article I’ll be discussing in this post became a character because not only did it help answer some of my questions, it also had me asking new questions that changed the way I thought about the topic. It was pivotal to forming my focus question. It’s With changing tastes, flexitarianism is the most popular item on the menu (2018) by Professor Sylvian Charlebois. This article was the one I began with. The one we were made to choose at the beginning of the class. It has been pivotal to my research and thus it will be represented in the episode.

I have never doubted writing is anything other than communication. That is not a new thought. Writing enables us to project our thoughts and ideas into the future. In this sense I was not intrigued, or caught off guard by the idea of using the articles as potential ‘characters’.

Phase Three

Week 12

After this semester’s podcast assignment, I have learned that my abilities as a researcher (prior to this class) were still quite narrow. Through this assignment I’ve found that I can use multiple forms of resources, I don’t need to stick to just primarily scholarly sources, but I can pull from popular sources as well. As a writer, I’ve learned more about the thinking and communication that goes into it. Being that this is not a research paper or traditional essay, what I write and what I say were crucial to formulating my opinion. I’ve learned to not be too wordy and to attempt at making my arguments more succinct and straight to the point. It’s something that I think is probably the biggest take away for me, that is narrowing my focus down. As a writer and podcaster, I’ve learned that narrowing my focus not only makes my opinion and argument more structured but gives it more legitimacy as I don’t need to cover a wide range of topics and deviate from one another. 

Week 10/11

Finding a way to make my podcast sound enjoyable has been a bit of an issue, mainly because I find myself reading out my draft in a monotone way that doesn’t makes it sound drab. To alleviate this, I have made cue cards or power points that I quickly glance at which has helped me to ad-lib certain elements. By doing this, I find that I’m less likely to just read out what’s in front of me and be more likely to sound a bit more spontaneous

As far as sound effects and music, I’m sticking to one song throughout the majority of the episode. I find that when other podcasts use too much music, to me it detracts from the speakers. With other sounds, I’ve incorporated a few sound clips of Kanye from an interview and from when he met Trump respectively. While they do bring some legitimacy to my topics I am adamant about using other sound bites because I do not want to heavily rely on them, otherwise they would end up telling my entire story for me.

Week 9

The sources that I have found to be extremely useful are three scholarly sources that I examined during my initial pitch and have kept in mind throughout my research as the main ones that will complement the other sources I have. Explaining Black Conservatives: Racial Uplift or Racial Resentment has been a tremendous help for me when discussing my first point on Black conservatives and their place in current U.S politics. The article examines the history of where and how they first started and the main reasonings for their political choice. Having this historical point of view has been beneficial when discussing the more current day, radical Black conservative because there are many parallels from the article that correlate to their current train of thought, essentially showing that history repeats itself.

  White Nationalism, Armed Culture and State Violence in the Age of Donald Trump is one of the primary articles for my second point, the president and his stance on racial issues and minority groups. The article goes into extreme detail on how his presidency has brought back many racist, white supremacist groups into the forefront of American culture. The articles/sources that complement White Nationalism will detail these issues even further.

   Lastly, the book The Cultural Impact of Kanye West will round off my third argument, the influence of Kanye and why so many people adore and feel inspired by him. Looking into his career highlights and moments of controversy (such as his George Bush 2005 comments) and the social implications it has on modern African American society.

  With each of these sources, I have found at least four characters that symbolize my arguments. Firstly, there is the radical Black Conservative who supports Trump no matter what. They use their political stance as a form of self-inflicted racism towards their own culture. The second character is Donald Trump (who is really a character in and of himself!) who is a manipulative liar, biased towards particular racial and financial groups with a laundry list of allegations and accusations towards him that would impeach any other president. Kanye West is the third character; an iconic superstar who has made/said a myriad of things that have slowly divided his fanbase, with his recent Trump support being the line he finally crossed. The fourth character (one I find myself identifying with) is the Kanye fan, somebody who grew up with his music and bypassed his previous controversial moments, but who know feels divided as to whether or not they should keep supporting him or boycott him.


Bailey, Julius, and Ebrary - York University
2014. The Cultural Impact of Kanye West. First edition. New York : Palgrave Macmillan,.

Giroux, Henry A.
2017. White Nationalism, Armed Culture and State Violence in the Age of Donald Trump. Philosophy & Social Criticism 43(9): 887–910.

Orey, Byron D’Andra
2004. Explaining Black Conservatives: Racial Uplift or Racial Resentment? The Black Scholar 34(1): 18–22.


Phase Two

Week 5

A popular source is a source which is not scholarly but rather can be found easily. This can include anything from newspapers or magazines. They are usually written to inform, entertain or persuade the general reader, and can be written by anyone whom may not be a specialist in that specific topic, freelance writers. It is accessible for everyday basic language. To test their credibility is to look into who has written the piece and which website it is coming from, which should generally be creditable. Finding sources with two or more similar results is helpful.

A keyword is a word, which when researching about a certain topic, can be searched to access information about the word faster. It can narrow your research and is very useful research strategy. Keywords that I have complied are vegan, junk food, vegetarian, diet, and nutrients.

Week 6

The two scholarly sources that I am using for my research when creating my podcast are JSTOR and Google Scholar to help me with articles that can make my research clearer. A scholarly source is written by experts or experts in the field and is intended for a specialized audience. It is a peer reviewed source which adds credibility to the work since it is review by other experts.

The key words I have searched for in both JSTOR and Google Scholar are vegan food, dairy products, and meat products. I have mainly used these key words to identify and narrow my research. With the help of these key words I am able to speculate and critique many other opinions that I would not have known before. From this experience I have learned that the technique of key words helps narrow down your research and make it simple for you to access.

Week 7

Government, industry, and institutional sources are all useful, and to which all serve as authoritative arguments in a piece. Credibility helps in my podcast which further helps support the arguments I have made, making the piece very powerful. It is important because readers or listeners tend to respond and give feedback on persuasive articles based on an authors perception.

Week 8

0 – 5 minutes

Hook onto the topic of vegan food in general. Then introduce the article and discuss further about vegan junk food and how it has become more mainstream. Explain and talk about nutrition values with both vegan food and non-vegan food.

5 – 10 minutes

Introduce the main question we are researching about. Does consuming dairy or meat products affect your health. Here we will be discussing health benefits of consuming dairy and health benefits without consuming dairy.

10 – 15 minutes

Continuing with the second part of the question. At this point we will be discussing health benefits of consuming meat products and health benefits without consuming meat products.

15 – 20 minutes

Here the question will finally be answered, and we will determine whether being vegan for the rest of your life is healthy or not.  I will then say what my opinion on the matter is and close the podcast asking for listeners to consider whether or not being vegan is beneficial for your health or not. Exit with a fair well.

Phase Three

Week Twelve: Reflection

As I reflect on the process of creating a podcast, it is clear that I have learn quite a lot this semester. I gave gained further research skills, increased my writing, thinking and communicating tools and overall improved my writing abilities.

To begin, this course helped me to realize the importance of a variety of sources, both scholarly and popular. As popular sources are geared towards the general public they can make scholarly sources easier to understand, and help give writers context and insight into common knowledge and opinions. Furthermore, this course has taught me to consider the reliability of all sources, even ones that are supposedly scholarly and peer-reviewed. I have found using the PARCA test, which includes asking questions regarding the article’s purpose, authority, relevance, currency and accuracy, to be a necessary step in considering the reliability of a source. Finally, I’ve learned to gather research from various perspectives. In order to make a proper argument you need to consider opinions other than your own.

Next, this course provided me with many tools to improve my writing, thinking and communicating. Asking questions, and provoking thoughts can help to keep your audience interested. Changing up the style, pace or even who is talking can help to keep your audience engaged and wanting to keep hearing what you have to say. You can use characters to help the audience to further connect with the facts you are trying to tell them. These characters provoke more empathy in an audience and give your information a more realistic and believable touch. In an opinion piece you can frame your facts and information so the audience believe they are coming to the opinion you wish to convey of their own volition. This in turn helps you as an author to appear more reliable.

Finally, this course has improved my overall skills as a writer. I have learned to cater my writing style for my audience. Writing like I would in an academic paper is not always the most effective way to captivate my audience, especially when targeting the general public. Also, the tone that I present in my writing can have a great impact on how the audience interprets, and thus understands what I am trying to say. I can use humour as a tool to captivate my audience, and still come across as professional, depending on how well I execute the humorous tone. As a whole, I have learned the importance of considering my audience when writing or simply trying to communicate well with others. Words and what is taken from them is ultimately subjective, we as writers and readers have own personal biases that we much consider when presenting our opinions or considering those other others.

Week Nine: Characters

Redskins, Tricksters and Puppy Stew has been a particularly helpful documentary as it helps to put faces with statistics. This association humanizes the suffering associated with verbal harassment as well as the free speech movement. Throughout this film we see many indigenous comedians on and off stage. We see the intent behind their jokes, such as reclaiming their identities or even voicing change in a non-threatening manor. This relaxed, yet hands on approach to activism is a nice contrast to the ridged confines of government censorship. These comedians themselves are presented as positive characters in my podcast. They help to show that you can take an issue very seriously and still mock the outrageousness of its origin.

This documentary and the narrative it forwards also helps to compliment my interview with my friend Josie. She is a white looking indigenous woman with great involvement in her community. Her point of view, is very much accented by what these comedians have to say. This allows me to gain the trust of the listeners, as I have people from varying backgrounds, each with something crucial to add to the discussion.

Next, the article “The Uses of Humour in Case Management with High-Risk Children and their Families” helps to add an academic element to my argument. This article cites a variety of studies essentially supporting the coping strategies used by many of the above mentioned comedians. Furthermore, it takes a more scientific approach to the overall subjectivity of “offensive humour”, discrediting the false claims made by the opinion piece in which I have centred my podcast around. This article serves to paint Simon Weaver, author of the opinion piece, in an antagonistic light. Helping to highlight the narrow scope of his opinion, and his personal biases.

Finally, the article “The Right to Free Expression”, helps to highlight that “freedom of expression is at the core of constitutional democracy” (2002). This article points out many of the hypocrisies in a democratic society. In turn, I will be able to point out the problems with government censorship and the infringements on humans rights. Of course, free speech comes with potential problems. Many of the problems surrounding this issue originate from the subjectivity of the metaphorical “line to be crossed”. In my podcast I will discuss this line, and ultimately the major consequences stemming from an overly controlling government.

In conclusion, writing is a form of expression. Whether or not the style of writing is academic, casual or even a visual representation of a scientific study, writing serves to transmit information amongst humans. As such, written work is essentially people saying things. It is thus very helpful to think of written works as more than just information to be digested, but as ways we share people’s stories, beliefs and lives. We all have stories worth telling and thus we are all characters in our own lives.

Gilgun, J., & Sharma, A. (2012). The Uses of Humour in Case Management with High-Risk Children and their Families. The British Journal of Social Work, 42(3), 560-577. Retrieved from

Basmajian, S. (Producer), & Taylor, D. (Director). (2000) Redskins, Tricksters and Puppy Stew [Motion Picture]. Canada: National Film Board of Canada (NFB).

Harvey, C. (2002). The Right to Free Expression. Fortnight, (402), 18-19. Retrieved from

Phase Three

Week Nine

As we enter phase three, I have narrowed the scope of my research and ended up with a variety of sources that are proving to be particularly useful. A journal article by Pamela Palmater, a Mi’kmaq lawyer and activist, that explores police racism and sexualized violence against Indigenous women and girls is standing out especially. Palmater argues that incidents of police violence against Indigenous women are almost always treated as “employee discipline matters,” and that “police racism [and sexism] . . . [are] both a cause and barrier to addressing the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada.” The journal article also looks at Tina Fontaine’s case in detail and outlines federal and provincial inquiries into police violence against Indigenous people that have occurred from 1989-2013.

As I said in earlier blog posts, the institutional sources I’ve found really compliment the arguments made in Palmater’s article. When comparing a report from the RCMP about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls to a fact sheet compiled by the Native Women’s Association of Canada, the inconsistencies between state and activist data highlight the strained relationship between Indigenous women and law enforcement. While the RCMP’s report put the national number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls just below 1200, the NWAC’s report emphasizes how difficult it is to gather data because “there are no national data sources regarding missing persons in Canada.” This divide between law enforcement and Indigenous women is also demonstrated in a CBC article that reports that this statistic may actually be closer to over 4000 missing women and girls, suggesting that maybe the RCMP’s report didn’t reflect the truth.

When thinking about how I could use these sources as characters, I saw that three distinct players were arising from my research: Tina Fontaine, who would stand for the victims of violence, the perpetrators, which is the police force in this instance, and activists. If I look at sources as people saying things through writing, then I become less concerned with finding information to support my claims than I am with using these people’s stories as a way to craft the narrative of my podcast.


Native Women’s Association of Canada. (n.d.). Fact Sheet: Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women and Girls. Retrieved from _Aboriginal_Women_and_Girls.p

Palmater, Pamela. (2016, August). Shining Light on the Dark Places: Addressing Police Racism and Sexualized Violence against Indigenous Women and Girls in the National Inquiry. Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, 28, 253-284. doi: 10.3138/cjwl.28.2.253

Royal Canadian Mounted Police. (2014). Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Overview. Retrieved from

Tasker, J.P. (2016, 16 February). Confusion Reigns over number of missing, murdered indigenous women. CBC. Retrieved from

Week Twelve
Throughout the production of the podcast, I have learned a lot about my own abilities as well as many useful communication and research strategies. Ultimately, I learned that I’m not as great of a researcher as I thought at the beginning of the semester. I came into the course thinking that it would be a piece of cake: “I already know how to do research.” However, I’ve encountered far more challenges than I anticipated, and I probably deserve that for being overconfident. Something I’ve struggled with over the last twelve weeks is limiting the scope of my project. When I first began the research process, I wanted to include every bit of seemingly relevant research I found. I had to accept that, when it comes to research, sometimes less is more. On a similar note, I had to learn to be open to a change in direction as my research progressed. I had to be willing to change the narrative to fit the research instead of the other way around.

I’ve also learned the value in pitching my ideas to another person. Sometimes things made perfect sense to me on paper or in my head, but when I had to think out loud, I could more easily see where my weaknesses were. Another strategy I found helpful to get thinking about what I wanted to achieve with my podcast was picking other podcasts apart. When we did reverse outlines in tutorial, it was easy to see what was effective or ineffective about the podcasts we listened to and got me thinking about what I’d like to emulate in my own. One of the most valuable writing/communication strategies I got from this semester is the effectiveness of narrative in argumentation. When I think of my research as a story, or certain articles as characters, it helps to relay that information in a more engaging, relatable way.

When it comes to research, I’ve learned that it’s important to consider the author of the source; they may have biases that could weaken or delegitimize my argument. Additionally, research is about including a variety of sources. Whether my sources are popular, scholarly, government, or institutional, they all have their merits and their shortcomings. I’ve learned that research can be exhausting and frustrating, but fortunately it can also be very rewarding.

Phase Three:

Final Podcast Link:

Script: From Scratch Media this is A Matter of Opinion, your guide through opinion to the facts. I’m Julia Vaiano, and in this episode, we're talking about how anxiety disorders in adolescents are on the incline because of their busy schedules. As a result of this, they don’t have time to take care of their anxiety and distress, by spending time with loved ones, or doing what they enjoy. This problem is escalating out of control, and more attention needs to be brought to this matter.

First, I would like to begin by telling you what it’s like to live with anxiety. Living with anxiety is feeling anxious majority of the time or for intense periods. (CAMH, 2). An anxiety disorder consists of irrational and excessive fears, feelings of anxiousness and tension, and difficulty in handling daily tasks. (CAMH, 3).

To me, having an anxious brain is exactly how a writer, named, Kelsey Wallour puts it, it’s like having a brain that is wired like the “energizer bunny,” (Wallour, 1). No matter what you try to do, no matter what the time it is, the wheels of your brain never stop turning at full speed. By the end of the day, you're left feeling exhausted because it feels like your brain ran a marathon. And the next day, you wake up, to run the same marathon all over again.

On some days, your thoughts, worries, and fears can become so unbearable that it can trigger an anxiety attack. Can you close your eyes for me? Ok, great. Now, try to imagine this.

Imagine, your heart thrashing, as sharp pains ricochet across your constricting chest. You’re struggling to breathe, which is causing your heart rate to escalate further. Tears blur your vision, and a tingling sensation builds in your fingertips and spreads throughout your trembling hands. You close your eyes, and try to will your racing mind to slow down, but all attempts fail. Instead, your worst and most terrifying irrational, fears continue to race a million miles an hour in your brain. Now tears are raining down your cheeks, your sobbing uncontrollably, and holding your head in your hands, waiting for the chaos whirling in your mind to come to a standstill. 

During an anxiety attack, it’s impossible to convince yourself that what you’re panicking about won’t happen to you, no matter how irrational it may be. Kelsey Wallour, explains it best in her article for Huffington Post when she writes, “Logic has no place where an anxiety disorder is running the show and panic is wreaking havoc,” (Wallour, 3). 

Living with anxiety and experiencing, recurring anxiety attacks is something that many adolescents can relate too more than ever before. “Anxiety [...] in high school students has been on the rise since 2012. [...] About 30% of girls and 20% of boys---totalling 6.3 million teens have an anxiety disorder, according to data from the National Institute of Mental Health,” (Schrobsdorff, 2). To put that into perspective for you, that is like the entire city population of Toronto having an anxiety disorder, according to its population in July 1, 2018. (Carrick, 3). [Pause]. I know that is insane to wrap your head around!

Many high schoolers are describing their lives as being overwhelming and stressful. According to a report from the Globe and Mail, "Grade 12s, for instance, were four times more likely than Grade 7’s to report high levels of stress, and more than twice as likely to rate their mental health as fair or poor,” (Anderson, 2). Robert Mann, who is a head researcher for a Toronto-based Centre for Addiction and Mental Health claims that, “Most of us consider the adolescent years the peak of your life---your life is ahead of you, the world is your oyster---but that seems not to be the case,” (2). 

            When I really think about it, Robert Mann is right. I want you to imagine being 16-years-old, and the following scenario is your life. Every day you go to school, come straight home, and spend hours writing papers and studying for tests so that you can maintain your perfect, A average to be accepted into the University of your choice. Then you have to spend, approximately 15 hours a week at your part-time job like my cousin in Grade 11, so you can earn money to pay for your University tuition fees. And the cherry on top of all this is that you have to deal with daily anxiety and recurring anxiety attacks. 

How can adolescents even have time to take care of their anxiety and mental well being when they are juggling school and a part-time job? They just can’t. It’s impossible. 

Now, I just gave you a lot of information. I want to break that down, and first talk about how adolescents experience a tremendous amount of anxiety when it comes to school-related stress. Many teens worry about excelling academically, satisfying their teachers and parents, and being able to compete with their classmates' academic achievements. (Smith, 2). 

Academic stress can also be attributed to a large amount of work expected leading to feeling exceedingly overwhelmed. I know it’s important to strive for good grades for the University admission process, but striving for good grades, and pushing yourself to the point where you are overworked and exhausted can cause extreme stress, and exacerbate anxiety.

Unfortunately, many students can relate to this, in particular, a seventeen-year-old girl named, Nora Camden. Nora’s anxiety became so severe that she decided to get counselling for it. Nora claimed that as the University application process approached, her anxiety was crushing her. She developed an intense fear of saying a wrong answer in class if a teacher called on her. She also struggled with feeling not qualified to be in certain classes. (Schrobsdorff, 4). 

When it comes to who is placing the pressure on her to excel in school, she says:

NORA: “I don’t have pressure from my parents. I’m the one putting pressure on myself.” (Schrobsdorff, 4). 

Another student named, Faith Ann, also comments on how she’s struggled with anxiety. She felt ill to the point where she would throw up due to the overwhelming pressure she felt, and would often have to stay home from school. (Schrobsdorff, 2). 

Faith Ann comments on how she struggled to get through a given day.

FAITH ANN: “It was like asking me to climb Mount Everest in high heels.” (Schrobsdorff, 2).

Jake Heilbrunn is a 21-year-old author of the book, Off The Beaten Trail. He is also a mental health activist, who during his first semester of college struggled with crippling anxiety. (Heitler, 7). 

Jake insightfully explains that the way our education system is structured by placing a strong emphasis on achieving high grades actually induces anxiety in adolescents. (Heitler, 7).

Jake has said: 

JAKE: “Our education system has a heavy focus on grades. Students may share the belief that good grades=success, and bad grades=failure. Buying into the belief that grades are the sole factor that determine success and happiness in life promotes anxiety. It’s terrifying when we believe that we are a failure, and will continue to be a failure, if we don’t get A’s and gold stars. This isn’t to say that students shouldn’t work hard, seek advice or tutoring, and strive to learn. The problem comes when students adopt a belief that, “grades are everything.” This belief can lead to anxiety, cheating, depression, and even drastic measures like suicide,” (Heitler, 7). 

This quotation spoke volumes to me. Throughout high school, I was a perfectionist, who maintained, a straight A average, and was on the Honour Roll. Maintaining a high average caused my anxiety to flare up. Every time a teacher would announce they were handing out marks, a wave of intense anxiety would pummel me. My stomach weaved itself into knots, my heart hammered in my chest, and my hands trembled on my lap. The teacher would hand me back my paper, and as soon as I saw an A or A+, written in red marker, on top of the page, I felt like the wave of anxiety crushing me receded, and I could finally start to breathe again. 

It’s easy to experience anxiety when it comes to pressure from parents or pressure coming from yourself to achieve high grades that will look great on University applications. However, I also think that the heavy workload distributed to students causes severe anxiety as well. Students, who dedicate a lot of hours on homework tend to be more focused on school, but they also feel more stressed and experience more physical symptoms caused by their stress. (Strauss, 4). 63% reported that the amount of homework they received often made it difficult for them to spend time with their family or friends. 61% have admitted that they had to quit an activity they loved doing because of their intense, homework load. (Strauss, 4). 

It’s challenging to manage to complete school work while participating in extracurricular activities, yet students need to have more time to do activities that they enjoy to reduce their anxiety and stress levels. In high school, I participated in the Drama Program, but I wish I could have done even more. There were so many times where I didn’t audition for a play because I felt like I wouldn’t be able to manage the homework load and rehearsals successfully.

But I realize now, looking back on it, that drama helped me destress, and reduce my overwhelming feelings of anxiety and panic. I love acting, and to me, it was my therapy. Every time, I stepped onto the stage, it’s like whatever I was anxious or worried about that day disappeared into thin air like magic, and I had this momentary break from my anxiety. 

Drama was also an excellent way for me to be social because it paved the way for me to connect with other students, and make friends with students, who had similar interests. Whenever I was feeling plagued with anxiety, I always looked forward to going to rehearsals, where I got to act, hang out with my friends, and have a good laugh in between scenes. 

When it comes to my younger sister, Alexa, dance was her therapy. For the longest time, she was a part-time, competitive dancer. When Grade 11 rolled around, my sister felt so overwhelmed with homework, maintaining an A average, that she chose to quit the dance program. My sister is taking courses like biology, chemistry, functions, and physics. These courses are extremely difficult and demanding. She spends hours doing homework each day, which is why she felt that she had no choice, but to quit. It was very difficult for her to quit because of how much dance helped her to destress, and improve her overall mental well-being. She was a happier and more lively person when she was dancing.

ALEXA: “Dancing was a lot of fun! I loved my tap and jazz classes. While I was dancing, I felt like I could forget about all my problems, and just focus on dancing. It was fun to feel a part of a team and to spend time with my friends. When I was dancing, I felt less stressed, calmer, and focused. I also had more energy. I honestly wish I could have less homework, so I could have remained on the team, and continued dancing because it made me really happy.”  

It is really sad that students, like my sister, are forced to make a choice to give up something they love because they are faced with too much academic pressure to succeed.

Now, I want you to imagine, being isolated and cooped up in your room for hours on end to study or write papers. You’re feeling anxious, overwhelmed, exhausted, and maybe even on the verge of an anxiety attack. You think that spending time with your family or your friends would be the perfect remedy. But then you realize, if you go out, it’s just going to put you behind in your homework. This my friends is what kick-starts the never-ending, vicious cycle of feeling anxious, overwhelmed, and like you are on the verge of another anxiety attack. So, because you don’t want to worsen your feelings of anxiety and panic, or have another anxiety attack, you settle with staying in your room to do more homework instead of going out to socialize. 

Many students experience that scenario regularly. These students are feeling anxious and overwhelmed due to their heavy, homework load. According to a study conducted by the Journal of Experimental Education, students, “Had an average of 3.1 hours of homework a night,” (Strauss, 1). I don’t believe that statistic is accurate. I, along with many of my friends in high school, did approximately 4-5 hours of homework a night. 

Many students, who were apart of this survey claimed that they felt they were missing out on establishing critical, social skills because of how much homework they had.

STUDENT 1: (described her homework load as being): “Plenty manageable...If I never try to do anything else,” (Strauss, 5). 

Student 2 commented that:

STUDENT 2: “Most people have no social life because of all the homework they do; how is that helping them in the real world?” (Strauss, 5). 

And Student 3 stated that:

STUDENT 3: “I’m struggling between trying to maintain [my grades, but] more to maintain my identity, soul, and sanity! Teachers don’t seem to teach students that there is more to life than...hours of homework a night,” (Strauss,5). 

If students actually find a way to get through their heavy workload, they still don’t have time to relax, destress, and work through their anxiety, because many have to go to their part-time job. As I mentioned earlier in the episode, many students work approximately 15 hours a week. That’s a whole lot of hours when you still have to factor in going to school and doing your homework.

A recent project by The Globe and Mail found that Grade 12 students in Canada discovered that older adolescents are anxious about student debt. (Anderssen, 3). Anxiety in adolescents is only worsening because of how costly University tuition fees are. By taking, on a part-time job, students feel that they can save money for University, and this will eliminate some of the debt that they will have later on in life.  

Imagine being tempted to quit your part-time job because of how anxious and overwhelmed you are feeling, but then you check the bank app on your phone to see your balance. You see a staggeringly low number there, and you are immediately flooded with anxiety, as you realize that you are never going to be able to pay for University if you don’t maintain your part-time job. The Undergraduate tuition fees for one year at York University is $7, 743. (York University-Future Students webpage). If you multiply that by four years, you are looking at $30,972. That doesn’t even factor in the books you have to purchase for each course. It also does not include how much it would cost to live there if you had pay for residency, or if you had to pay for a meal plan.

There was a study that had 2,0000 participants that was released in 2017 by Northwestern Mutual, which is an American insurance and financial planning company. According to this survey, “Financial anxiety also has made about a quarter of millennials feel physically ill,” (LaMagna, 3).  

It makes sense because University tuition is insanely high, so how is that not going to contribute or worsen an adolescent’s already existing anxiety. Students can’t even contemplate quitting their part-time job to take care of their anxiety and mental well being because it will make it more difficult to go to University if they don’t work and save up money.  

The main point I’m trying to make is that anxiety disorders in adolescents are on the incline, and we need to provide adolescents with more time to take care of their anxiety and mental well-being so that they can feel more relaxed and grounded. These adolescents need a little bit more “me time.”  Fawne Hansen is an author that has written a book called, the Adrenal Fatigue Solution. According to her, “It’s so important to take a little time for yourself because it, “refreshes and re-energizes you. It allows you to think more clearly and make better decisions. Taking “me” time also builds your self-esteem over time, as you come to realize that you are important and deserve to have a little time to yourself. [...] Other benefits include the ability to sleep better, less fatigue, depression, and anxiety, greater resistance to sickness, and less tension,” (Hansen, 1). 

That’s why I think Students need to be given less homework, so if even if they have to have a part-time job, they’ll still have time for themselves. Teachers should emphasize to students how important it is to have time for yourself, especially students that are dealing with anxiety. Stress exacerbate anxiety, and we know that stress affects the physical and mental function of students. Therefore, anxiety can have a debilitating impact on adolescents. Ultimately, this will affect the quality of a student’s life and their academic performance. When students experience too much anxiety, they can be at risk of feeling overwhelmed, and unable to relax and recover. This can lead them to being incapable of focusing or finding a balance in their lives. 

I know how hard and how frustrating and overwhelming it can be to lack balance in your life. I’ve often questioned choices I’ve made after spending hours at hours on my computer at my desk. Sometimes, I’ve wished that I could have done less homework, and spent more time doing things that I love. I think that would have made me a happier, less anxious teenager.

For me it is easy to imagine, how much happier and more calm adolescents would be if they could have time to do activities that they enjoy. This would create more well-rounded and confidant individuals. By having more choice in their life, adolescents will also feel more in control of their lives, and be less anxious. It can also reduce the frequency of their anxiety attacks. 

            If adolescents had less homework, and more time for themselves, they could properly take care of their anxiety, and do things like spending time with family and friends, or extra-curricular activities that they enjoy that will help them de-stress and improve their mental well-being. It is important to recognize that anxiety is a serious problem that needs to be addressed because it is a condition that is crippling, and the public needs to be more aware. 

            This has been Julia Vaiano for Scratch Media. Thank you for your time and for listening. 

Music Credit: “Pyro Flow” Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License,

Acknowledgements: Thank you to Emilio Vaiano, Diana Vaiano, and Alexa Vaiano for portraying the characters in my podcast. All three of you were a huge help, and I greatly appreciate it!

Cast (in order of appearance):

Faith Ann: Diana Vaiano

Jake Heilbrunn: Emilio Vaiano

Alexa Vaiano: (As Herself)

Works Cited:

Anderssen, E. (2018, May 17). Number of Ontario teens with psychological distress rising at alarming rate: Study. Retrieved from

Hansen, F. (2017, November 13). Why You Should Schedule Some 'Me Time' Every Day. Retrieved from 

Heitler, S. (2018, June 21). High School and College Student Anxiety: Why the Epidemic? Retrieved from 

LaMagna, M. (2018, November 08). Why Ariana Grande's new song is hitting home with millennials worried about their finances. Retrieved from

Quick Links Menus. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Schrobsdorff, S. (2016, October 27). What's Causing Depression And Anxiety In Teens? Retrieved from

Smith, K. (2018, November 25). 6 Common Triggers of Teen Stress. Retrieved from

Strauss, V. (2014, March 13). Homework hurts high-achieving students, study says. Retrieved from

Wallour, K. (2015, October 15). The Reality of Life With an Anxiety Disorder. Retrieved from 

20105 Anxiety Disorders. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Blog #10: Sound

I would classify my audio persona as being amicable and professional sounding. I tried to speak in a conversational tone, and to use straightforward language that I think would be easy for my listeners to follow. I decided not to use any sound effects because I felt that it would make my podcast sound more light-hearted, which is not the tone I wanted. I’m covering the rise of anxiety in adolescents, which is a very serious topic, so I didn’t want the sound effects to convey the opposite of that or to distract my listeners. I decided to only incorporate the show’s theme song as the intro to the podcast and the outro of the podcast. I played around with using other copy-right, free music in the background of my podcast, but I felt that it detracted from my speaking. The goal of my podcast is for my audience to remember the significance of my message that I’m trying to communicate with them. When listening to other podcasts, I found that the background music was more distracting than not, which is what I think is what ultimately discouraged me from using music in the background because I didn’t want it to detract from my speaking.

Sample Intro Link:

Blog #9: Character Sketches

One source that stands out to me as being particularly useful is an article called, “Teen Depression and Anxiety: Why the Kids Are Not Alright.” In this article, the author interviews, and includes quotations from adolescents speaking about their lives and their on-going struggles with anxiety. There is one young adolescent, who is interviewed that I would like to use as a character.

Faith Ann is a high school student, who has suffered from anxiety since the eighth grade. According to the article, she was always worrying, “about grades, about her future, about relationships, about everything. Many days she felt ill before school. Sometimes she’d throw up, others times she’d stay home.”  A quotation that I particularly want to incorporate when it comes to creating Ella’s character in my podcast is how she describes her everyday battle with anxiety. Ella in the article was quoted saying, “It was like asking me to climb Mount Everest in high heels.” 

Another character I would like to include in my podcast is a young man’s perspective on the anxiety and pressures he feels from balancing school, work, and preparing for college. Tommy is described in this article as being, “a high-achieving 18-year-old senior in Kent, Wash., [he] is the first college-bound kid in his family. He recently became a finalist for prestigious scholarships, all while working 10 to 15 hours a week at a Microsoft internship and helping to care for his younger brothers.” When it comes to Tommy’s reflections on his anxiety and how he deals with the overwhelming situation he remarks, “It’s hard to describe the stress. […] I’m calm on the outside, but inside it’s like a demon in your stomach trying to consume you.” 

Another character I would like to incorporate in my podcast is Robert Mann, who was interviewed for an article by the Globe and Mail that is called, “Number of Ontario teens with psychological distress rising at alarming rate: study.” Robert Mann is a head researcher for a survey that was conducted by a Toronto-based Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. There are so many excellent quotations that Robert is quoted saying in the article. One quotation that I thought related to my podcast was how he reflected on how adolescents view their lives to be more stressful and grimmer because of their anxiety and the overwhelming pressure they feel. Robert Mann claims that “Most of us consider the adolescent years the peak of your life—your life is ahead of you, the world is your oyster—but that seems not to be the case.” From there, I want to discuss the findings of the survey that Robert conducted. An example of discovery from the survey I want to include was, “Grade 12s, for instance, were four times more likely than Grade 7s to report high levels of stress, and more than twice as likely to rate their mental health as fair or poor.” I want to analyze the entire survey in depth and use it as supporting as evidence on how there is an incline of anxiety rates amongst adolescents more than ever due to society’s overwhelming expectations.


Anderssen, E. (2018, May 17). Number of Ontario teens with psychological distress rising at 

  alarming rate: Study. Retrieved from



Schrobsdorff, S. (n.d.). What's Causing Depression And Anxiety In Teens? Retrieved from




Phase Two

week five.

A popular source is a non-scholarly source accessible to and created with the general public in mind; those who carry a limited amount of knowledge on the subject. Although these sources are not scholarly and are not written by experts in the field they are discussing, they may be useful in many circumstances. In some cases, these sources may be used for citations in assignments, however often should not be your primary/only source. These sources are also great for entertainment purposes, convenience, to have an updated/refreshed knowledge on current political, environmental or pop culture events/issues. Examples of this would include websites such as Buzzfeed, Wikipedia, Cosmopolitan, Refinery 29, etc. Scholarly sources would be those which are more citation-based, research and written by scholars/experts.

In order to determine the credibility of a source you may want to take a look at the author (if no author is cited, you may want to refrain from using this source or take caution), the citations used (if any; again, if no citations are made this may not be a reliable source), consider taking a look at other sources to deem how factual the one in question is, look at the date of research and/or publication (studies may be irrelevant to your focus), pay attention to its domain (.com, .ca, .net, .org may be purchased by an individual. Websites ending in .edu and .gov indicate a government or education/university/scholarly piece.), and the style of writing (formal or informal? Are there errors in spelling/grammar?) (Kevin B. 1). Another more obvious tip would be analyzing the style of the actual website’s design/layout (Kevin B. 2). Using this guideline makes it a bit more obvious why a website like would be more reliable than someone’s prezi, blog, or an individually purchased website if I were researching a topic like Amelia Earhart, for instance.

A popular search engine I believe everyone is guilty of using before trying others, or any at all, is Google. We may also use Google scholar, university websites, government websites, etc. Something students also tend to struggle with is the use of keywords. Students, myself included, are accusable for is using too broad or too specific of a search. Keywords I would apply for my podcast (on the poor self esteem of young minority girls created by the media) research include; minority children, self-esteem, stereotyping, doll test, minority girls, mental health, minority representation, media representation, etc.

week six

A scholarly source is a piece of work written by a scholar with a deep and well-researched knowledge on the topic at hand, a variety of citations to other texts, research, etc. should be made by the author. This may include books, journals, articles, etc. Scholarly texts I found useful in my research process includes the article entitled, “Self-Concepts, Self-Esteem, and Academic Achievement of Minority and Majority North American Elementary School Children” written by Dario Cvencek, Stephanie A. Fryberg, Rebecca Covarrubias, Andrew N. Meltzoff. I deemed this a reliable source as it was written by scholars from the universities of California, Santa Cruz and Washington and was written in July/August of 2018, which is very recent. The authors have also included multiple reliable sources, citing their prior research. The article fits positively in with the guideline for deeming a text reliable I have cited in week five’s blog post. I found this post by searching through Google Scholar

The importance of using the right search engine affects your overall research. For instance, if I were to search up “mental health” in a science website, I would get facts and information based on the science of mental health, rather than statistics and the psychology behind it. I’ve experienced this in past projects. A more recent example would be when searching up terms for my law class through Google, but receiving a definition for something different.

works cited.

B., Kevin. "How Can I Tell If A Website Is Credible?". Uknowit.Uwgb.Edu, 2019,

Carlson, C., Uppal, S., & Prosser, E. C. (2000). Ethnic Differences in Processes Contributing to the Self-Esteem of Early Adolescent Girls. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 20(1), 44–67.

University of Wisconsin-Madison, "Using Popular Sources | Library". Library.Wisc.Edu, 2019,