Issues of Culture, Race, and Disability Issues
In the article, “What Does Race has to do with Ugly Betty?” Jennifer Esposito challenges the notion and perception advanced by the representation in media, especially on the cultural issues around race (95). Jennifer contests the idea presented by media that the 2008 election of the United States President Barrack Obama was the beginning of an era, in which racial matters have no place in society, and in the same understanding, does not matter. Contrary to the understanding being created, Jennifer would want to indicate that this approach to racial matters is not right and should be reviewed continually.
Jennifer argues that it is not possible to act or think without featuring the issues of racial categories. Racial factors and categorization, she argues, are principles of the organization particularly in institutions like schools, popular culture, and even the government (Esposito 97). She further explains that the instances of racial discourse are even more pronounced in popular culture. She, therefore, intends to ‘correct’ the notion created by the television comedy program, which started airing two weeks after the election of President Obama as misplaced and in need of continuous examination.
Concerning my take, I would partially agree. It is true that racial discourse is eminent since popular culture and racial dimensions are easily aroused. I would also observe that culture, being an important aspect of human life, influences several other issues and dimensions in human life. However, the argument that since it has been an organizing principle in many institutions we can never think or act without racial categories being eminent is not right in my view. This is because humans bear the capacity to unlearn certain perceptions and stereotypes as they replace them with new knowledge.
Kathleen LeBesco’s view on the “Disability Gender and Difference on the Sopranos” in general and the portrayal of ‘fatness’ on the sopranos is that fatness is a disability as indeed put in the representation (185). This is evident in the manner LeBesco proposes to examine the two issues of fatness and amputees. LeBesco actually refers to both expressly as a disability. LeBesco, however, proceeds to create a variation by stating that fatness is an ‘inauthentic’ variety of disability because of its controllability (187). This is in contrast with the case of amputees, which the author argues is ‘authentic’ as it is not controllable once it occurs. LeBesco notes the aspect of social justice and underscores that the disabilities of the sopranos are highly exposed to and seen through the experiences and attitudes of the male characters, for example, Tony.
I would not agree with LeBesco’s point of view that fatness is also a disability, even though termed as ‘inauthentic’, fatness does not really make one totally disabled to undertake certain activities, and the fact that it is controllable does not make it a disability. However, having expounded on the past experiences of Tony, and how he came to learn how socially disabling any perception of difference can turn out, I would agree that a closer investigation of the framing of a fat character would provide a nuanced analysis of the perception of the differences.
These two studies are considered “cultural studies” because of the aspects of human relationships in different settings that both address. Questions of human relationships and perceptions, which then influence human actions form an integral component of culture
Esposito, Jennifer. What does Race have to do with Ugly Betty? An analysis of privilege and
Postracial representations on a television sitcom. Television and New Media. 2009.
LeBesco, Kathleen. “Disability, Gender, and difference on The Sopranos”. Women’s Studies in