Cultural Studies Theory

Authored by: Victoria O’Donnell

Handbook of Visual Communication

Print publication date:  November  2004
Online publication date:  December  2004

Print ISBN: 9780805841787
eBook ISBN: 9781410611581
Adobe ISBN: 9781135636531


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In a recent episode of ER, the long-running television drama about a Chicago hospital emergency room, two African American surgeons, Dr. Peter Benton and Dr. Cleo Finch, are seen attending to a patient while nearby on the other side of the room, a group of five medical students, four men and one woman, are getting a tour of the emergency facilities. Dr. Finch, who is very light in color, says, “What is wrong with this picture?” Dr. Benton, who has much darker skin, is focusing on his patient and says, “Hmm?” Dr. Finch then says, “Those medical students—not a black face in the bunch. Getting no response from him, Dr. Finch says, “That doesn’t concern you?” Dr. Benton looks up at the students and replies, “I see five. Not exactly a representative sample.” She responds with, “I’m glad you take such an interest.” He chuckles and nothing else is said, but the look that is exchanged between these two doctors, who are also lovers, is probably meant to imply that Dr. Benton is not going to make an issue of racial diversity and that he can be quite patronizing when it come to logic. This is consistent with his character on the series, for he is a brilliant, competent, and ambitious but arrogant surgeon.

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