Ethics

When I was remixing engineers as my ethnography, I did not want to misrepresent them. I realize that some may not have difficulty portraying a group because they could say that it was their interpretation of another person or group. While I agree with this idea to an extent, I did not feel comfortable sharing my opinions and perceptions about certain groups because I really was not sure how I felt about them myself and I did not want to offend them in the process. For example, for my ethnography, one of the groups I attempted to interpret was engineers. Once I started, I realized how I really did not know what to say about them. There are so many different subgroupings of engineers and I really did not much about them. All I knew was that I really do not understand their classes. Because I feel this way, I realized that it is important to know something about the group that I am remixing. Before I started remixing the engineers, I had not thought about the complexities of their group. I had just though, “Yep, they are engineers—good at Math and bad at English.” However, when I went to remix that, I realized there is so much more to them than that. Of course, I knew that the people themselves inside the engineer major had depth of person, but when considering them purely on the level of their major, I realized how much of them I did not know. Thus, when remixing a group, it is important to know the group.

The meme that I created was a very poor representation of them, and I found that I could not even boldly own my own work.  Maybe this is because I have engineering friends and I did not want to offend them. This is something I also can consider—who is my indented audience for a particular project? Different audiences are going to have different levels of understanding and preconceived ideas about certain things. For example, when, as an English major, I remix engineers, I am making a statement about them. When I show the remix to my friends who are engineers, they respond by, “Is this what you think about us??” in a tone of utter dismay and disappointment. The level of understanding that they have of their own major is so much deeper than the level that I have.  When I decided on doing my ethnography over the Industrial Revolution, I felt less pressure. I think is is because, as I said earlier, I did not want to offend anyone. Those people who lived during the Industrial Revolution are obviously not alive today, so the pressure of offending them because I had mis-represented them did not exist. Because I had so much trouble, I realized that a huge part of my ethics is making sure that I represent a group to the best of my ability.

I thought that the question as to whether or not I wanted to sign my remixes was interesting. Looking back on the remixes that I have done, I realized that I do want my name associated with my work. The profile that I did of my mom was easy to attach my name to since I used iBooks and I was the “Author.” Personally, I like knowing the author of works because if I like what they have done, and I know their name, I can search them and find more of their works. When things are anonymous, it is obviously much more difficult to search the artist. However, that being said, I think that at times anonymity can be a very important and beneficial thing. For example, in Kenya, there is the ICC Witness Project, which is an ongoing collection of anonymous poems.  Their goal, as stated on their Tumblr page is, “to give voice to some of the missing witnesses for the ICC trial. We want to make sure those were where part of the Post-Election Violence that rocked Kenya in 2008 are not forgotten” (ICC Witness Project).

I still have not decided what I think about copyright laws. I have been thinking about this topic all semester and feel very undecided about it. I think that some copyright laws are good, but I also think that in some instances they are frustrating. I like that copyright allows for the artists to be protected. But, I do wish that sometimes we could have access and use copyrighted materials at no cost if it was for non-profit. I think there should be a balance between using copyrighted materials. If I wanted to make my mom a birthday card using clip art, I think that I should not have to ask permission from the author. If, however, I want to profit from that birthday card I made, then I see why copyright laws are helpful and offer protection.

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