Students discuss stereotypes in media
Schizophrenia and mass shootings were among the topics discussed as part of the “Minorities in Media” panel discussion at the Asian Culture Center on Wednesday evening.
The panel was led by Jennifer Simmons, predoctoral intern at IU’s Counseling and Psychological Services.
A part of the “Over a Cup of Tea” series, the talk focused on mental illness and its stigma in society.
Simmons started the discussion by highlighting the July 2012 shooting in Aurora, Colo.
On July 20, 2012, James Holmes entered a midnight screening of the film “The Dark Knight Rises,” killing 12 people.
It was reported that Holmes had mental health problems, Simmons said, and that it’s highly speculated he was schizophrenic.
“The word ‘schizophrenia’ gets thrown out a lot,” Simmons said. “From what I’ve seen, in general public that term seems to instill the fear in most people.”
The onset of schizophrenia is usually in a person’s late teens to early 20s, Simmons said.
“When a person gets diagnosed, it’s a huge change in their life,” Simmons said. “There’s a lot of fear around the diagnosis in general.”
Simmons said only 5 to 10 percent of people with mental illness commit
“The actual diagnosis of it is merely widespread,” Simmons said. “Diagnosis of schizophrenia usually involves hallucinations or delusions.”
People with mental illness in less-developed countries were shunned far less than in the United States, Simmons said.
“Outcomes for schizophrenia may depend heavily on people’s culture,”
Simmons asked students what they believe is the root cause of violence.
“I think it’s just because of past experience,” senior Kathryn Hollman said.
The biggest contributor to homicide in the U.S. is economic disparity, not mental illness, Simmons said.
The group also discussed the implications of words such as “crazy” and “retarded.” Some said the word “crazy” has different connotations today than in the past.
“I think ‘retarded’ is stated more as a clinical term,” Hollman said.
Terms such as “idiot” and “imbecile”, Simmons said, were previously used as
“The reason we moved away from them is they turned away to slang,” Simmons said.
Simmons also discussed the portrayal of Asians in media. She said men are often portrayed as passive while women are a “foreign, exotic, alien stereotype.”
The group then briefly discussed the YouTube hit “Gangnam Style,” a single created by a South Korean pop artist, Psy.
Senior Justin Zheng, student assistant for the Asian Culture Center, said the center will feature a discussion of “Gangnam Style” on Nov. 2.
Zheng also said the center’s staff felt it was important to bring in a student knowledgeable enough to lead a discussion, such as Simmons.
“We really want students to dive deeper into the issues,” Zheng said.
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