Video Exercises


Watch the videos below and answer the questions that follow.

In June 1963, President John F. Kennedy addressed the American people from the Oval Office with a speech on civil rights. This speech was in response to the National Guard being sent to protect African American students at the University of Alabama. The president declared that a moral crisis existed in America and requested congressional action to expedite desegregation through legislation.

John F. Kennedy—Address on Civil Rights
June 11, 1963

What ideas or statements from the above address did you find most interesting or compelling? In what ways do you think this speech changed the history of civil rights in America?
1b. How does President Kennedy connect desegregation to the ideals of equality of opportunity and democracy?

When Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States, the nation witnessed a new direction in the history of civil rights in America, as Obama serves as the first African American president of the country. The video below from BBC News portrays the reactions of ordinary people to the election of Barack Obama.

Obama Wins Historic U.S. Election
November 5, 2008
BBC News

Do you feel that the Obama presidency has created the opportunities for further civil rights reform in America that people were hoping for in 2008? Why or why not?

Now watch the parody below from the Onion News Network and answer the questions that follow.

Portrayal of Obama as Elitist Hailed as Step Forward for African Americans
The Onion News Network

2b. How is Obama’s background and education, in relation to the history of the civil rights movement in the United States, presented in a satirical fashion? What underlying issues of his candidacy, and the media coverage of him during the 2008 election, were highlighted and used in a humorous portrayal?
2c. Do you think news and entertainment media influence popular opinion about minority groups? Can you give an example of a news report or an entertainment program that is influential regarding how people think of African Americans, women, gays and lesbians, Latinos, or another group whose civil rights were discussed in this chapter?

The Colbert Report, hosted by Stephen Colbert, is a parody of personality-driven political opinion shows such as those found on the cable news networks, wherein Colbert hosts the show in character as a right-wing pundit.

In the video below, Stephen Colbert introduces a new segment, “Better Know a Lobbyist,” and interviews Joe Solmonese from the Human Rights Campaign about gay rights.

Watch the video below and answer the questions that follow.

Better Know a Lobbyist, Gay Lobby Parts 1 and 2
The Colbert Report
Comedy Central
First aired February 6 and 7, 2008

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Better Know a Lobby - Gay Lobby Pt. 1
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Better Know a Lobby - Gay Lobby Pt. 2
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

3. What civil rights issues does Solmonese raise in the interview with Colbert? In what ways are they similar to or different from other groups’ claims of civil rights?

Watch the following video about a recent gender discrimination lawsuit.

Walmart Faces Sex Discrimination Suit
April 27, 2010
ABC News

4a. In what ways do the plaintiffs allege they were discriminated against because of their gender?
How easy or difficult do you think it is to prove claims of discrimination?

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