Book Review | Media Literacy for Justice: Lessons for Changing the World
De Abreu, Belinha S. (2022). Media Literacy for Justice: Lessons for Changing the World. ALA Neal-Schuman.
Yohuru Williams’ foreword opens Media Literacy for Justice: Lessons for Changing the World calling for a global village where young people can engage in informed dialogues about “equity, justice in health outcomes, environmental justice, and a host of other issues rooted in our common humanity.” This global village is a digital village, shaped by the lives of our students as digital natives who must take on “the monumental task of distinguishing fact from fiction while discerning credible sources” with educators, both librarians and teachers, whom they may never meet face to face. one-on-one with Zoom University. Comme il faut un village, global educator in media literacy and author of Media Education for Justice Belinha S. De Abreu sought out a set of contributing authors whose writing ends the ten chapters with a concept for reflection and lesson. These lesson thoughts and concepts are at the heart of this text, providing a necessary resource for teachers and librarians focused on media literacy in K-12 classrooms and in higher education as well as in community centers across North America. Four appendices provide additional resources, from nonprofits to music, for educators wishing to develop lesson plans tailored to their particular students. Although my book review is limited to the first and last chapters, librarians using popular culture media in the classroom will also find the sixth chapter particularly interesting.
De Abreu begins the first chapter, Challenging Conversations in Challenging Times, by acknowledging that the pandemic era has compounded a pre-existing social problem – our ability to talk to ourselves, to speak in front of our students and fellow educators, rather than engage in meaningful activities. communication with everyone. The lesson and the challenges are clearly laid out when De Abreu writes:
The lesson is that we the people still have the choice and opportunity to educate ourselves to find the truth and better answers than what is presented before our eyes daily. The challenge is to do it with respect, with established relationships and with the relationships we build.
When we open the classroom with access, equity, and justice at the forefront, a relationship must be built between educator and student around mutual respect and self-recognition that can be executed at using a set of questions focused on identity formation provided in Chapter One. . Next, De Abreu invites us to examine our own language and our communication with others as “what we say matters” (3). Yet past and present statements and media are often censored, and this is where De Abreu connects media literacy and intellectual freedom through an examination of “cancellation culture.” She calls out to the American Library Association, asking its members directly, “As more and more people become dissatisfied with what is said, heard, or read, will cancel culture lead to censorship? “. A review of the Intellectual Freedom blog has the answer – censorship predates cancel culture, and any new censorship that results will be addressed. Meredith Baldi and Prescott Seraydarian provide the reflection for this chapter, detailing a new course in their Quaker school called Producing Peace: Civic Literacy and Producing Media that asks students “a fundamental question: How can I use media to improve the world I live in?? Students respond by producing their own media, as illustrated in the detailed lesson concept that ends the first chapter.
The final chapter, Finding the Balance, is more suited to the privacy section of the intellectual freedom blog, as it focuses on issues around information privacy, made worse by biased social media platforms. While De Abreu begins with “algorithmic social justice”, the strength of his argument comes from his own student’s critique of artificial intelligence (AI) – although the technology offers opportunities for living in a more advanced world, these advances do not live in a fair world if biases and harmful data collection practices are ignored. Beyond teaching the technology behind the social media platforms that shape the lives of our students, educators can respond directly in a way supported by a combination of media literacy and information literacy . De Abreu writes:
If we teach students how to view information online and offline from different media formats with a critical eye, consider point of view, and understand bias and representation, we can broaden their access to the world and better equip them to tackle social problems. the injustices.
Information literacy classrooms with librarians as instructors work to achieve this goal throughout a student’s college career through dedicated courses or single classroom sessions. The text’s final reflection and lesson concept are written for academic librarians wishing to better understand algorithmic biases and raise awareness of the influence of AI on their personal newsfeed. The three contributors, Ansh Chandnani, Denise E. Agosto, and Ryan Farrington, also add to existing debates among library professionals about neutrality and information justice.
while I recommend Media Education for Justice To my fellow educators, I must acknowledge that text quality issues may limit its appeal to only a subset of readers. This does not reflect the author and contributors, but rather the publisher. All the text present is quite small, printed on very thin paper, which led to words bleeding into another. The figures provided were reproduced in black and white rather than their original color, which resulted in contrast issues often accompanied by blurring. As of June 2022, no digital edition is available; readers may need to use a magnifying lamp to access the text while educators will be frustrated at not being able to print or download valuable lesson concepts to complete. When a digital edition becomes available, readers can use text magnification, text-to-speech, or other accessibility software that ensures we can all listen or read Media Education for Justice.
As always, please report any censorship occurring in your library.
Victoria Rahbar is an early career Web Services Librarian. She holds a Master of Arts in East Asian Studies from the Center for East Asian Studies at Stanford University and a Master of Library and Information Science from iSchool at the University of Washington. She conducts research on the global distribution of Japanese anime, manga, and video games through a DEI lens. She applies her research to the needs of libraries, speaking on issues of cultural representation in manga at academic conferences and anime conventions. She is particularly interested in how current digital publishing practices disrupt past ideas about censorship and the challenges of manga.