GOOD

Participation, Not Marginalization: Using People's Stories for Social Good

Filmmakers capitalize on the stories of the underprivileged, but the subjects make no profit. A solution: help them to tell their own stories.


If we filmmakers capitalize on the stories of the underprivileged in the name of social good, shouldn’t they be reimbursed in some way?
When I was interviewing a woman in Dharavi slum, Mumbai, she told us how she witnessed her mother being gang raped and later found her dangling from a tree where she’d hung herself. She told us about life on the streets and being married off to an abusive alcoholic.
Are these stories important to tell? Yes. If done right, storytelling is public education that has the power to change societies.
But what about the woman who cried through sharing those stories? Public education takes a long time and she might not see the benefits for her community in her lifetime.
Every day the women in Dharavi offered us food and tea. They shared whatever they had including their stories, which they gave away freely to those who are better equipped to capitalize on them.
I wasn’t paid to be out there documenting, but what if I was? Should I share my salary with them?
Maybe the burgeoning storytelling movement needs some innovation of its own.
One day another woman turned the camera around and interviewed me. I was startled. Then impressed. Good for her for reversing the gaze.
She asked: Who is going to see my stories? Are you going to commercialize them? There are many things to do in your own country, why did you come to Dharavi?
Maybe sometimes we should be story facilitators and help others tell their own stories instead of doing it for them.
Enter participatory storytelling, whereby participants learn about narrative and use technology to produce their own media.
By giving them control, we get a genuine storyteller’s perspective, plus they’re empowered through participation, not representation—which is the only solution to marginalization anyway.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons\n
Articles
Screenshot via Sweden.se/Twitter (left) Wikimedia Commons (right)

Greta Thunberg has been dubbed the "Joan of Arc of climate change" for good reason. The 16-year-old activist embodies the courage and conviction of the unlikely underdog heroine, as well as the seemingly innate ability to lead a movement.

Thunberg has dedicated her young life to waking up the world to the climate crisis we face and cutting the crap that gets in the way of fixing it. Her speeches are a unique blend of calm rationality and no-holds-barred bluntness. She speaks truth to power, dispassionately and unflinchingly, and it is glorious.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
Ottawa Humane Society / Flickr

The Trump Administration won't be remembered for being kind to animals.

In 2018, it launched a new effort to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska that had been outlawed under Obama. Hunters will be able to shoot hibernating bear cubs, murder wolf and coyote cubs while in their dens, and use dogs to hunt black bears.

Efforts to end animal cruelty by the USDA have been curtailed as well. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the USDA issued 4,944 animal welfare citations, in two years the numbers dropped to just 1,716.

Keep Reading Show less
Science

The disappearance of 40-year-old mortgage broker William Earl Moldt remained a mystery for 22 years because the technology used to find him hadn't been developed yet.

Moldt was reported missing on November 8, 1997. He had left a nightclub around 11 p.m. where he had been drinking. He wasn't known as a heavy drinker and witnesses at the bar said he didn't seem intoxicated when he left.

Keep Reading Show less
Communities
via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Gage Skidmore

The common stereotypes about liberals and conservatives are that liberals are bleeding hearts and conservatives are cold-hearted.

It makes sense, conservatives want limited government and to cut social programs that help the more vulnerable members of society. Whereas liberals don't mind paying a few more dollars in taxes to help the unfortunate.

A recent study out of Belgium scientifically supports the notion that people who scored lower on emotional ability tests tend to have right-wing and racist views.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics