Despite not having permission, Media Arts students decided to show a controversial video on Thursday, February 8th on G-house TV. Students felt compelled to show the video in order to bring more awareness to the topic of racism and try to lessen the tension of the topic. Media Arts teacher, Mr. Machtay however, specifically told the students not to show the video because he felt it was racially insensitive.
Mr. Machtay was disappointed that his students decided to show the video despite him telling them not to. He said, “For 14 years I’ve always trusted my students, and for the first time I felt like I had lost their trust. These are things that people lose their jobs over so it worth making students aware of that.”
The controversy over what could be shown on the broadcast started a few weeks prior when some students and teachers were upset over a G-house video that had students making announcements using different accents. The video that Mr. Machtay banned the Media Arts students from showing was supposed to be a follow up to that video, but because of the criticism from the first video, Mr. Machtay did not want it to be seen.
The Media Arts students took it upon themselves to show the video on a day when Mr. Machtay was at a professional development The video was a a parody based on the play “Avenue Q”, which featured a song called “Everybody’s a Little Bit Racist”. Although the students knew they were not supposed to show the video, they felt a need to express themselves. An anonymous Media arts students said, “We are in school to show our creativity and our unique ways. We should not succumb to authority. They worked on the video for two weeks. We had discussed racism in class and had been told to make a video about it. We spent so much time to create a positive message, but it was crushed when we couldn’t show it.” Another student added, “One part [of why I showed the video] was my own pride because we had constantly been censored. It didn’t feel right and he really wanted to show it. It was a culmination of many things leading up to his action.”
The intent of the Media Arts students was not to offend anyone, but to create discussion. “A lot of people saw it as a rebellious action, but we were not trying to send a message that racism is okay. Racism is prevalent and it happens and we have to bring awareness to it We want to get people to know more about racism. It’s up to us to make a learning experience,” said a Media Arts student.
This isn’t the first time Media Arts students have felt stripped of their rights. According to Media Arts student’s they’ve felt limited and deprived of their creative freedom of expression for awhile. One student said, “I am tired of limitations. We are in school to show our creativity and our unique ways. We should not succumb to authority. We were not being too extreme. We were not offending anyone.”