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Published February 16, 2011, 10:22 PM

Speaker at UND Says Media Helps Diversity

A man who knows something about diversity issues says if you think media creates stereotypes, you should look more closely.

A man who knows something about diversity issues says if you think media creates stereotypes, you should look more closely.

Speaking at University of North Dakota, Matt Glowacki said TV shows that use humor to portray diversity might be on to something.

Glowacki is aware his appearance might shock a few people. He will be the first to point out he does not have legs by doing a handstand on a table to make sure his audience notices.

Glowacki is a public speaker who uses humor to talk about diversity and how it is presented in the media. He focuses on TV shows like South Park and Family Guy, both of which have characters in wheelchairs.

The shows have been criticized for creating stereotypes, Glowacki said it is the opposite.

"The reason why parody and satire are so powerful is, while you're watching you laugh. That is a response. An actually physical response to the input. At that point it means you thought about it," said Glowacki.

He said these shows point out inconsistencies in how we view things like disability and racism.

Born without legs, Glowacki uses his own life experiences and these media examples to get people talking about things they are not always conscious of.

"This program allows people to learn from what they see everyday," said Matthew Finley, a University Program Council Coordinator who organized the event.

"If you think you know it all, you can go somewhere else and meet people you didn't even know existed. There's always more you can learn about diversity," said Jason Granzella, who was at the event.

According to Glowacki, learning more can sometimes start with the click of the remote.

"As long as you are watching the show, knowing what they are trying to do. They teach through the use of parody and satire," said Glowacki.

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