February 27, 2020 Reflective Writing

The portrait that most closely resembles my typical Thanksgiving experience would probably be John Holyfield’s Blessing II for obvious reasons. Holyfield’s portrait shows a family of color having their Thanksgiving meal and my Thanksgivings are similar. The biggest similarity is how they all hold hands and pray over the food because I come from a Christian family. The portrait that resembles my experience the least is probably the one from the soldier’s perspective. No one from my immediate family has been in the military so I never had that insight of being overseas during a holiday that celebrates family most of all. I also have never had a Thanksgiving away from my parents or my brother so I can’t imagine what it is like for U.S. soldiers.


February 27, 2020 In-Class Writing

Cencere Baker & Kenneth Luk

A food desert, according to the Salem Press Encyclopedia of Science (2019), is defined as “an area that does not have a supply of healthy foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats… The areas, however, usually have an overabundance of fast-food restaurants and convenience stores selling cheap and processed foods.” (Harmon, 2019). In a report from the United States Department of Agriculture titled, Characteristic and Influential Factors of Food Deserts, they conduct a study in which they gather research from these areas and collect data on different factors, such as income level and access to transportation, and how those factors contribute to a food desert. What they found was areas where poverty levels are high, oftentimes in dense urban areas, a food desert is more likely to form (USDA, 2012, page iii). Based on this research, we can see that social class plays a major part in people’s diets and the outcomes of these food deserts are people in poverty are not getting the proper nutritional value from these cheap food options to maintain a healthy lifestyle.


Dutko, P., Ver Ploeg, M., & Farrigan, T. (2012, August). Characteristics and Influential Factors of Food Deserts. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Retrieved       from https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/publications/45014/30940_err140.pdf

Harmon, A. (2019). Food Desert. Salem Press Encyclopedia of Science. Retrieved from                                                                                                                                   http://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/detail/detailvid=2&sid=9fa1445e72d2-4089-ab85-991bc35da9cc%40sdc-v-                                                                                     sessmgr02&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPXNzbyZzaXRlPWVkcy1saXZlJnNjb3BlPXNpdGU%3d#AN=87324136&db=ers


February 25, 2020 Reflection

Foods that are common in my family/culture are what have been named soul foods. Soul foods include collard greens, mac & cheese, chicken, biscuits, cornbread, fried catfish, etc. I’m not exactly sure how these foods are representative of social status because I do not know the history of how those foods became associated with my culture, but being that it originated from the American South, I believe it is safe to assume it has its roots in slavery. This type of food is also what started some black stereotypes such as, black people eat fried chicken. This shows that foods and eating habits do have an influence on social identities and stereotypes. Other cultures that also place a large emphasis on food, such as Asian and Hispanic cultures, also have similar stereotypes formed about them.


February 20, 2020 In-Class Writing

Reading Discussion:

I believe gender and masculinity play a strong role in shaping our consumption of popular culture and American culture as a whole. America has always valued strength far beyond weakness and you could see that within the other things America values; for example, action movies. The action movie industry another money-making powerhouse, along with football, that is most appreciated in America. These movies that have beefed-up main characters who hang off helicopters while holding a machine gun are adored by consumers and earn billions in box-office revenue. But the difference between the action in those movies and the action in football is no one’s life is at stake in the former. I believe Almond is presenting a strong critique of football violence because of how he brings in those examples and points out something we were all oblivious to; the impact of the sport on people’s lives. This essay did change my perception of football fan culture because while I was never truly part of that culture myself, I start to see more of the ethical dilemma that lies in contact sports as a whole. Having these massive fandoms that celebrate the teams and players is something that perpetuates this blindness from the dangerous reality of football.


February 18, 2020 In-Class Writing

Reading Responses:

One of the responses that I read was Sara’s and she writes about how Johnson is challenging the negative correlation between disability and happiness, which was something I also touched on in my response. Throughout the story, Johnson puts us, the audience, in her shoes to help us understand that people with disabilities can lead happy lives using herself as an example. One thing that Sara points out in her response that I did not was how Johnson is refusing to act like a token and physical appearance should not determine what you can or cannot do. I also read Sebastien’s response and he also expresses that same idea. People tend to believe since people with severe disabilities need assistance and guidance most of the time, they are viewed as if they cannot make their own decisions and she wants to change that view.



In the past, there have been a couple times where I felt people have made assumptions just based on my appearance. Things like assuming I watch basketball or I know all and like all the popular rappers. Being that way did feel a little uncomfortable because it was an inaccurate assumption. I’ve also had experiences where people would befriend me and then say “I have a black friend” to others and those situations made me feel like I was being used just so people can say those words and impress their friends.

Today I feel it happens to be less and less frequent. This is because I believe that people, for the most part, are becoming more open to other cultures and people are not defined by their race like in the past, especially here on the West Coast because of the diverse groups and cultures that are present. However, I cannot say that for the whole country because there are still regions where that amount of diversity is not present.


February 11, 2020 In-Class Writing

What my audio literacy narrative is going to be about is my journey of coming to terms with my race and accepting my individuality. It starts with my cousin calling me an Oreo. What this means is that while my skin is black, my personality is that of a white person. I was hurt by this comment and it led me to think more about race and how I am viewed by other members of my race and my friends. While growing up, what I enjoyed most was videogames. On weekends and extended breaks from school, all I would do is play my Xbox until the sun came up. This interest led me to obtain friends who also enjoyed video games, but none of them were black. All my cousins played sports growing up. I was basically the only one that didn’t. I had cousins in basketball, track, football, volleyball but did not find joy in any of those sports no matter how hard I tried so I felt out of place. I started to feel as if my cousin was right and I really am black on the outside but white on the inside. Then in my 8th-grade year, I discovered an artist by the name of Childish Gambin0 a.k.a. Donald Glover. Often times in his songs, he spoke about his childhood and it was similar to mine. He got called an oreo often in his years growing up but instead of trying to fit in, he chose to be himself and it resulted in major success for him. He became a big inspiration for me growing up and I looked up to how comfortable he was in his own skin. Another inspiration for me was rapper Tyler, the Creator. He also had a similar experience growing up.


February 4th, 2020 In-Class Writing

Audio-Essay 1:

Expectations for the assignment:

  • The audio-essay tells a story that gives a deeper insight into our cultures and the different challenges we face being from a specific background.
  • To use new technology to tell our stories through a different medium than most of us are used to.
  • Spend enough time learning the software so our stories come out polished and free from distractions.
  • Tell our stories in a clear and well-thought-out manner.


  • Finding the right personal experience that makes for a good story and hit the main requirements of the assignment.
  • Adding emotion into my recording because my voice usually gets monotone in public speaking or recordings.
  • Using the software to help the tone of my story.
  • Sharing a story that feels too personal telling to an audience.

Addressing these Challenges:

  • Talking to my parents or other family members and see if they have a good story or refreshing my memory on some stories I could have.
  • Try my best to put more emotions into my words.
  • Learning the different things I can do with the software and experimenting with it before creating my audio-essay.



In Cadogan’s story, he tells of the many encounters he has faced with the police and just other civilians simply based on the way he looks. These are the situations that you see all the time on social media and on the news of people getting beat up and, in some situations, killed. While Cadogan is lucky that his late-night walks did not get him seriously injured, I see myself as even luckier living in such a diverse state like California, where those situations are not all that common. Even though I have not had any aggressive encounters with the police, I still feel a sense of nervousness when I am in the presence of an officer because of the fear that has been instilled in every one of my same race.

One of the ways Cadogan is trying to change these social scripts is by simply telling his story. When someone reads his story and sees this issue from the perspective of a black man, it may inspire them to help change the social scripts with him even if they are not black. He wants people to realize that the only way to change the norm in our society is to speak up and use our voice.


January 30, 2020

For today’s discussion, I decided to compare with Kenneth’s response.


  • A similarity between our responses to the readings was bringing up the point of human nature’s tendency to stick with the people that you are similar to because it is who you feel most comfortable with.


  • A difference between our responses is Kenneth elaborates more on how we are more divided based on hobbies, interests, and beliefs; rather than it being based on race.
  • Our responses on J.D. Vance’s article also differ in that, Kenneth agrees more with Vance’s views that the people who receive government assistance, are lazy and are undeserving, but I think that everyone needs a second chance because you are never going to get something right the first time you do it and I apply that belief to life as well. I agree more with Caitlin’s point which is that you are not with these people all the time so you never know what someone else is going through and what problems they may have.

I wanted to elaborate on the point of what makes a community after reading and hearing everyone’s responses. While it is true that people usually stick with people of their same race or culture, I believe that community is something that transcends race. I think that it is hobbies, interests, and beliefs that form a community. For most people, you find those similarities in people of the same race, but that is not always true for everyone. Throughout my life, I have always had friends of various races because those are simply who I found community with.


Cultural Bloopers 

The Black impact on rap music which is the most popular genre today.

People make uncomfortable jokes about black stereotypes.

I have some people ask me what black church is like assuming I have been to a black church (which I have).

Black people love soul foods.

The Black cookout.

One that is fading out is, is the pressure to date or marry another black person.


January 28, 2020




Transgender is a term used to describe people whose current gender identity differs from their assigned gender at birth. Some people feel as if their gender doesn’t fit into the two commonly known categories being male or female. The sex many of these people were assigned at birth and their gender identity don’t match, which is what started the term transgender. People in this community refer to themselves as transgender, transexual, and non-binary. It is not possible to change someone’s gender identity, so many people of the trans-community go through what is called a transition where they try to pair up their bodies with their gender identity. During the transition, many are prescribed hormones by their doctors or undergo surgeries, however, being transgender is not dependent on medical help. 

Transgender people in the US face several social issues regarding their identity, namely discrimination, health, and economics. Despite the huge progress of the LGBTQ movement in the past decades and that raises public awareness toward the transgender community, transgender people still face pervasive discrimination in many areas of their life, including work, housing, school, and public accommodation. With transphobic harassment still prevail in the community, according to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, around 15% of transgender people are living under poverty while 19% of transgender people homeless. This increases the burden of their living and makes it more difficult for minorities to adapt to the community. Moreover, this also imposes a negative public image and still faces the stigma in the surrounding. Alongside with bad living environment and unemployment, the current healthcare system is not meeting the needs of the transgender community which even deprives of their basic human right. These issues make the tough life of transgender people. 

Although the fight for transgender people in the US is not over, the trans community has overcome multiple obstacles over the past decade and has garnered support for the movement by multiple groups across the country. According to a report by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), “more than six in ten (62%) Americans say they have become more supportive toward transgender rights compared to their views five years ago,” which is a big step in the right direction. Over the years, there have been new debates over which bathrooms trans-individuals use and there have been measures in 7 states with the goal of expanding the rights of transgender people in 2019. This shows how norms and social scripts can change and how they are changing as we speak. 50 years ago, the word transgender did not even exist but now it is commonplace, especially here in San Francisco. 











My name is Cencere Baker and I am from Burbank in Southern California. I graduated from John Burroughs High School and some of my hobbies are playing video games, watching movies and TV, and exploring the city. I am a Media Studies major here at USF and I am also part of the Overwatch team for the USF Esports club here on campus.

Some of my favorite movies are WALL-E, 500 Days of Summer, and The Incredibles; and some of my favorite TV shows are The Office, Adventure Time, and Master of None. One movie I have watched recently that I was amazed by was 1917, directed by Sam Mendes because of the cinematography and camerawork.

In the future, I want to travel to several different countries and discover new cultures and intertwine traveling and media studies. Some of the places I want to visit are Korea, France, England, Prague, Australia, Japan, and the Caribbean.