“All’s fair in love and basketball”

Love and Basketball, tells the story of two young African American kids who share a love for basketball. Quincy is the son of a professional basketball player and looks to be just like his father. Monica is the daughter of a mom whose only goal in the life is to please her family. The movie follows the love of not only basketball but the love of each other. It challenges the gender roles we have learned to expect from males and females and illustrates that if you set your heart on something and never give up, you will succeed in following your dream.            As a couple, Monica and Quincy interact with one another through gender specific behaviors. Quincy tends to be the more aggressive person in their relationship and usually making all of the decisions. Such as when they should date and when they should break up. In a packet given to my classmates and I, the author writes, “Men tend to be proactive and verbal in social interaction. Women tend to be more engaging, emotionally involved, and empathic with others”. Quincy has a very traditional gender identity regarding the characteristics of his sex. He is aggressive, direct, and dominant. He demands attention and uses his power to get what he wants. He is viewed as strong and unemotional. Monica, however, shows signs of both genders. Socially, she reacts more as a male would, especially in basketball. She is extremely hostile and argumentative on and off the court. Monica knows what she wants and will not get held back. She plays basketball and refuses to take part in normal female activities. On the other hand, Monica does show feminine characteristics when it comes to her relationship with Quincy. She is emotional and sensitive and always interpreting Quincy’s actions. She only shows this side of her when she is with Quincy.

It is astonishing just how much their parents play in the roles of influencing their gender identities. In Nonverbal Behaviors in Interpretation Relations, a study shows, “Children are very careful observers of their parents, siblings, teachers, and peers. Little boys and girls learn to act like “big” boys and girls by observing others in their environment and modeling their behaviors” (Richmond, 210). Quincy has this passionate will to be exactly like his father. His dad is controlling, demanding, and manly. Everything he does, Quincy aims to mimic. Being a man like his father is his biggest goal in life. With Monica, it is a little different. Monica’s mom influences her gender identity in an opposite way. Monica doesn’t want to be anything like her mother. She goes against the typical female identity because her mother displays all these gender identities. Her mom is a homemaker and takes on the role of being the perfect wife. Monica wants to show her mother that a woman can be anything she wants to be. She wants the power a man has to show her mom that she can follow her dreams.

I think in a sense Monica and Quincy’s gender roles compliment each other, but in a few aspects it complicates things. They are both stubborn and have aggressive personalities. It helps that they have basketball in common by Monica always wanting to do the boy stuff and behaving like a boy would. This gives them something to relate to. But within their relationship, this causes quite a struggle. Two strong, hardheaded personalities are hard to combine. Quincy wants to be in control and have all the power in the relationship. Monica wants to have a say too, she isn’t going to let anyone control her or overpower her. Gender roles in this film are presented through the Social-Learning theory and the Identity-Construction theory. Quincy imitates the Social-Learning theory by wanting to be just like his father. The theory “emphasizes imitation of models and examples they see in society” (Emmers-Sommers). As mentioned above, Quincy mimics his father the best he can. His father is his role model and he will do anything to be just like him. Monica exemplifies a great example of the Identity-Construction theory because she has made a “conscious commitment to a specific image of self” (Emmers-Sommers). She will do whatever it takes to become who she wants to be. Nothing and no one will stop her. She is a basketball player and that isn’t going to change no matter what. She has committed herself to her dream and showing everyone including her mother that a woman can do anything she wants to do.

Three nonverbal categories that dominate Quincy and Monica’s relationship are touch, physical appearance and space and territoriality. Touch is the most significant aspect of their relationship. As children, they were always pushing each other and fighting. But as they got older their touch went from wanting to cause harm, to wanting to show affection. As a couple, they were always touching each other to show desire and to be intimate. Physical appearance dominated their relationship in the early years because it shows that Quincy wasn’t attracted to Monica. He didn’t know he was in love with her until he saw her in a dress at spring dance. She has a tight, white dress on that showed all of her curves. Her hair and makeup were done and she looked like a woman. Up until that moment, Quincy had never really viewed her as a woman, just a friend that he saw as one of the guys. Another nonverbal element in Quincy and Monica’s relationship is space and territoriality. Richmond says, “Personal space is an invisible bubble that surrounds us and expands or contracts depending on personalities, situations, and types of relationships” (138). The level of space changes throughout the movie. At first, Monica and Quincy keep their space and are not quite sure how to react to one another. As a couple, they start spending a lot of time together and there is no longer that awkward space between them. Even as basketball players, you’ll see that they are both used to having their personal space invaded on the court. When they play with one another, they are up on each other and it’s more of a sexual gesture. What once was separate is now joined. Overall, the qualities have positive and negative affects on the relationship. Touch is always going to play a big part in an intimate relationship. Touch is an important aspect in showing affection. They need to be physical to show their love for each other. A negative nonverbal element on their relationship is physical appearance. It shouldn’t have to be about appearance to realize you love someone more than anything. I think Quincy has loved her from day one but didn’t realize it until he saw her looking like a woman. This desire Quincy has for an attractive woman delayed their relationship from starting sooner. I think space and territoriality was a positive element for them. They needed to loosen their personal space to get closer to each other and they did. I think this is why physical touch during their basketball games at night did not bother them. If anything, it made them closer.

Personally, I think both Quincy and Monica are very confident and resilient people. They both view themselves as invincible and good at what they do. Neither one of them allows anything to get in the way of their dreams. However, I do think this can sometimes be a front they put up for the public. Deep down they doubt themselves a little and worry that maybe they aren’t what they dream to be. They would never admit it but they are terrified of failure and losing control of their fate. Quincy’s popularity, and athletic ability affect his interactions with others. He comes off as the big man on campus and can be pretty intimidating. Monica isn’t popular and doesn’t have a lot of friends but her athletic ability gives her the confidence she has. I think Quincy’s perception of self is pretty much right on target for how everyone views him. Monica knows she is good at what she does and so does everyone else but the public doesn’t seem to respect her the way they respect Quincy for his athletic ability. This is mainly because of the way women are viewed. They aren’t supposed to be athletic according to men, and women’s basketball just isn’t as popular as men’s basketball.

After viewing this movie, I learned that never giving up on someone you truly love is something you have to do in order to find happiness. Monica never got over Quincy, she has loved them since they were eleven years old and she never stopped loving him. Even after five years of not talking, she knew she was never going to get over Quincy. She knew she had to give it one more shot. I was able to relate to multiple images and themes in this film. I have experienced being the tomboy who plays all the sports with the boys and not being noticed as a girl. I never got the chance to show them this until we got to high school when I grew into more feminine appearance. They didn’t see me as a woman until they finally saw me, as a woman.

The fact that Monica has to initiate each intimate talk with Quincy about their relationship is consistent with me. I always find myself being the one wanting to define the relationship or figure out where this is going. I want my significant other to know how I am feeling and what I am thinking. I feel like Monica is the same way. She didn’t have the patience to wait around on Quincy to figure out he still loved her; she had to show him he still wants to be with her. Sometimes guys just need a little boost. I’ve never dealt with conflict the way Quincy and Monica do in the movie. They seem to yell at each other and get aggressive and even shove one another. I mainly deal with conflict by voicing my feelings and then avoiding the problem. Most often, Quincy and Monica took their conflicts out on the court.

Monica is consistent with how I behave and handle situations within a relationship. It was surprising just how much I could relate to her. I learned by watching her, that I can sometimes be too aggressive towards my significant other when dealing with defining the relationship. I also came to the realization that I have been in her shoes. I have held myself back from things I love because I am hung up on someone I’m still in love with. I am not sure if waiting five years to realize this is particularly healthy but I have been in that situation where I held myself back for years. I learned that you really have to fight for the one you love to find happiness with them.

If I could give Quincy and Monica advice on how to work on their communication, I would tell them not to wait till its too late. They were lucky in that it wasn’t too late for them to still be together but usually it would have been. If you really love someone, do something about it, tell them, show them, do whatever it takes. You have to be proactive and honest. If Quincy had just told Monica why he was upset with her instead of going out on a date with another girl, things would have turned out so much differently for them.

I really enjoyed watching Love and Basketball and being able to relate to the characters and their feelings. I really felt like I was witnessing first hand what they were feeling. I felt hurt when they felt hurt and it is hard for a movie to capture that with an audience. This is a great movie illustrating gender roles and where we find our identities. Watching a relationship unfold like that and witnessing their struggles and triumphs was enlightening.

Emmers-Sommers, Tara M. “Couple Relationships, Family Relationships.” Communication. 14 Apr. 2009. Web. 5 Nov. 2011. <http://www.family.jrank.org/pages291/communication.html&gt;.

Love and Basketball. Dir. Gina Prince-Bythewood. Perf. Omar Epps and Saana Lathan. New Line Cinema, 2000. DVD.

Richmond, V.P., and McCrosky, J.C., and Hickson III, M.L., (2012). Female-Male Nonverbal Communication. In “Nonverbal Behavior Interpretation Relations” (pp.208-231).

Sex and Gender Differences in Nonverbal Communication Packet from Class


Crash Character Analysis

The film Crash takes its audience through multiple characters lives and illustrates just how much evil there is in the world today.  While taking the audience on this ride of emotions, it teaches us to realize it is never too late to redeem one’s self and change. Race played a big part in the negative actions against each other throughout the film, but it also focused in on relationships not just between husbands and wives but also with friends, family, authority, and society. I chose to follow Christine during the film because she captivated me with her confidence and determination yet being so completely vulnerable in every scene.

            Despite what the society would like to believe, the world has not changed as much as we think. Stereotypes are more present than ever. Racism is still seen everywhere and predetermined judgments have become more real to us than ever before. The main reason for this is the lack of acceptance of other cultures and unwillingness to understand why individuals are the way they are. Crash demonstrates this throughout the film through every character. Christine proved a great character to analyze because of the easiness to relate to her, which fascinated me.

Christine demonstrated her feelings through a number of nonverbal behaviors. Her Contentious style gave her this demanding attitude for being right. Much like the Dominant style, this style includes aggression. Christine comes off as very aggressive towards her husband after their run-in with the police. When they arrived home, she instantly started a fight. She wanted to fight. She pushed and pushed until he finally gave in and yelled back. She is very self-assured of herself and goes against the many stereotypes given to her through her race. Her movement in the bedroom came off as severe and forceful. She undressed very dramatically and did not sit still. Her appearance in the film was that of sophistication. She came off as wealthy, classy, and educated. Her clothing choice provides us with the idea that she is of high status. Men see her as attractive. The dress she was wearing when Cameron and her were pulled over was a bit seducing which Officer Ryan took advantage of. Her ectomorph frame made her seem unable to fight back. She looks very fragile with her thin frame. Her vocal behavior was seen as hostile at the beginning of the film. She was consistently sarcastic in the scene with the police officers as well as at home with her husband. Almost every offhand comment she made towards Cameron was sarcastic and mocking. She speaks intelligently though, coming off as well educated and complex. She is fluent when speaking, never stuttering or hesitating. When reaching a point she is trying to prove she raises her voice, reiterating her aggressive nature.

Christine uses touch to find reassurance from Cameron after their fight. She attempts to link arms with him while walking through the set at his work. She does this to show that she is not only sorry but also to prove that she still loves him and needs him. When he pulls away, it is clear that her world is about to come crashing down. She needed that reassurance from him that everything was going to be okay and he would not give it to her. While their fight was due to the actions of the racist officer, it stemmed down to Cameron’s lack of awareness of the racism Christine thinks he doesn’t see. Chronemics affect Christine dramatically. She wants to live in the present but is constantly referring to the past. She constantly reminds Cameron of their African American past and why things are the way they are. She refuses to let the past define her or her husband, which is ironic because by reacting this way, the past is indeed defining her.

Christine feels very strongly that she and other African Americans including her husband are still discriminated against. She feels intensely against putting a stop to this but it nearly puts an end to her marriage. She is confident and successful and knows it. Her perception of self from an ethnic standpoint affects her interaction with others. As much as she fights against the idea of being defined by her race, her obsession over it leads to her unintentionally letting race define her.  Christine allows it to rule most of her interactions in society and in her relationships. According to the Standpoint Theory, Christine is letting her ‘social location’ (which is defined as gender, race, and class) run her life. Kinefuchi says, “Social locations shape people’s lives. All people are placed into racial or ethnic groups based on dominant classification systems, which influence how they perceive and come to understand the world around them” (71). From a racial standpoint, Kinefuchi states, “experience and perspective encompass a critical understanding of how one’s life is shaped by larger social and political forces” (74). Christine understands what social and political forces have put her ancestors through and accepts that her heritage is a part of who she is. However, she allows it to rule a little too much of her life. She almost seems to be against all whites in general, believing them all to be racist and harmful.

Some socioeconomic variables that contribute to her identity are her education, wealth, and status. I do not think that the majority of individuals see Christine the way she sees herself. Even though Officer Ryan views her and treats exactly as she expects him to, the other officer obviously does not see her this way. Christine needs to understand that there are always going to be a few people that see you the way you believe them to see you but this is sometimes due to expecting it from them. Society as a whole in North America sadly does notice the color of her skin as one of the first things one notices. But this is also due to the fact that appearance is the first thing one observes in nonverbal communication and can be the most dominant element. Although North Americans notice her race first, I believe it is usually not in a negative way as it used to be in the past. Society seems to look past race these days especially after communication takes place. They probably view her as successful, educated, and confident. All of which are true, she should be proud of this. When looking at the Standpoint Theory again, Individuals are going to view each other differently, depending on their upbringing, and education level. “Vantage points are the result of a person’s field of experience as defined by social group membership” (Kinefuchi 74). How an individual was raised and educated is naturally going to affect how they view others. If one was raised to look past race and see people for whom they really are, viewpoints are going to be fairer.

Personally, I view this character as a hardworking, highly intelligent, beautiful woman. She is my favorite character in this movie because she is determined and refuses to accept anything less than she deserves. She stands up for her beliefs and shows her emotions with pride. This character is absolutely misunderstood, especially by her husband. Her anger and hurt towards her husband is due to a very dramatic situation they were both placed in. I think in her vulnerable state, she looked to her only sense of security, being Cameron, to save her. And he couldn’t. This is a horrible situation and it is hard to say what the correct action would have been. Christine views her culture group as discriminated against. Its not that she wants blacks to be superior or dominant over whites, she just wants to be seen as equal. She measures her ideas of other culture groups in relation to her own. She see’s whites as unfair and unjust people because of how they have been treating African Americans for centuries. Christine’s level of xenophobia is interesting. She comes off strong and confident, but deep down she really is terrified of whites in power positions. I think history has led her to have this fear, which is understandable. However, I do not think she is simply afraid of white people. She just struggles when put in a position where she could be taken advantage of.

This character taught me many things. For one, Christine made me really want to stand firm in my beliefs and not back down for anyone or anything. She also influenced my clearer understanding of how racism is not over. After viewing the film, her character along with others really pushed me to take notice of the world around me. But it also taught me that there is this internal ‘good’ in every single person regardless of how evil they may come off as. One of the universal truths reinforced by this character was that of how we find reassurance. In relationships we look for reassurance from our significant other for not only love but also for a sense of security. I believe a big part of being with someone intimately is this need to feel safe. Another truth Christine reinforced for me was that we sometimes let our emotions get the best of us. Reacting abruptly on our emotions can end brutally.

After watching Crash and closely analyzing Christine, I learned a few things about myself. I found myself relating to her through the film, not in discrimination but in relationships. I realized that I too need reassurance of love and safety through touch. I expect my significant other to protect me from all the bad things unconsciously, when in fact this is just not possible and completely unfair to him. I also learned that I too let my emotions direct my actions too easily. I need to start taking some time to calm myself before reacting so quickly. Christine and I both have a direct approach when interacting with others. We don’t hold back. We say what we want to say and refuse to accept being wrong until its too late. I can think of many instances of pushing someone to the limit because I believed so strongly that I was in the right when I really just needed to let it go and pick my battles. Lastly, if I were able to influence Christine a little with becoming a better communicator, I would tell her to see things from both perspectives when in a conflict. I think if she did this she might have realized where Cameron was coming from. I would also tell her not to go into conflicts so aggressively because it immediately sets the tone for hostile communication. It is a lot more difficult to reason with an angry person and understand what they are trying to convey when they come off dominant.

Overall this movie was a big eye opener. It was real and made you think about how society rules us. I believe there is always someone or something from the past that has influenced a person to be the way they are. It is not an excuse to treat people poorly, but it is a window into the understanding of where these hostile actions come from. Christine was a compelling character to analyze. A lot of her nonverbal communication behaviors were relatable and I enjoyed letting myself see why she is the way she is. It was clearing to see all of the similarities between us when it came to handling conflict.

Orbe, Mark P., and Etsuko Kinefuchi. “Crash Under Investigation: Engaging Complications Of Complicity, Coherence, And Implicature Through Critical Analysis.” Critical Studies In Media Communication 25.2 (2008): 135-156.Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 13 Nov. 2011.

Richmond, Virginia P., James C. McCroskey, and Mark Hickson. Nonverbal Behavior in Interpersonal Relations. Boston: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon, 2011. Print.

My Brain in a Nut Shell

My initial reaction to Daniel Pink’s argument that society is shifting from the idea of left side brain dominance to right side as more beneficial in the work force was shock but then understanding. I was shocked at first because naturally, you would think that being very logical and fact driven would be the more valuable characteristics to have in the work force. But, after reading about the examples of John Henry and then how the people of India make significantly less than American’s that have the exact same positions, it makes sense that we would need to start leaning towards more right sided brain competencies. Almost anyone can learn the logistics of how to do something if they put the effort in, but to be intuitive and creative spurs new ideas and perspectives that no other people can do. No one is ever going to have the same thoughts or visions as you. The way we perceive things and the ideas that we come up with are always going to be unique to us which no one can “learn” to come up with these holistic ideas unless your brain focuses on these things.

The brain type test that I took gave me results of being more right side dominant with 51% while my percentage score for my left side was 49%. With these results being so closely able of going either way, it is hard to think that I am for sure right side dominant. But, I do believe that my brain ratio was somewhat accurate, being that I am a very visual person and learn better by seeing things rather than hearing them. When it comes to learning, I do like to see the bigger picture first, and then work backwards figuring out how I get to the big picture. However, I most definitely do not find it easy to express myself through art, dance, or music. I do love drawing and painting but I hate dancing and have no musical skills whatsoever. The occupations they sought helpful to me are very far off. I would never become and actress nor would I become a forest ranger.  Since my ratio for left brain and right brain were so closely equal, it is hard to say what led one side to be more dominant. I am very sensitive, emotional, and aware of others around me which I would say helps prove I am more right side dominant. But having the pressure of being the oldest of six kids and concerned with pleasing my parents probably helps with my left side being so closely dominant.

After seeing my cognitive composition, I think it allows me to realize that I do notice nonverbal behaviors without even realizing it. I am very attentive and notice many random things through out the day that most people over look. Knowing now that this is because of my brain ratio, I will start putting more thought into what I am taking in. Small nonverbal cues are easy for me to interpret and this test reassures me of my specialty. Knowing that I am creative, also helps me to see a different side of people and understand them on a different level. One way my cognitive composition might affect my relationship with others would be that I could

imagine things that are not really true. The test also says I am a nonverbal person which can be confusing to my friends and significant others when I am only expressing my feelings nonverbally. Although these things could possibly complicate a relationship, they also have the ability to be a positive attribute. Being able to feel people out and being aware of others needs allows me to connect with them on a deeper level and be more understand and caring.

It is important for people to know that my brain ratio is almost completely half and half dominancy. I consider that pretty well rounded when it comes to brain composition. I adjust to be successful at communication whether I need to be communicating with my right side or left side ideas. I am extremely attentive and like to connect with people to communicate. I always assume people are genuine and want to be friendly. In some cases I may be shy, but once I get to know a person, I break out of my shell and connect with them immediately. I open up very quickly and say what is on my mind. All of these things are helpful when it comes to communicating, which leads me to have stronger relationships with friends, family, and others.

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