Thursday, April 3, 2008

Oprah: Empowering the People

Empowerment is a concept that I have never tried to define. It is like the idea of love – understandable, but not easily defined. As I have been given the opportunity to discover an academic side not previously explored, I have an interest in learning more about the concept. Although I was uncertain of what blogging was until this class, I find that aside from my initial hesitation it comes naturally. A parallel between blogging and journal writing, to which I am accustomed, is freedom in choice of topic. As a student, freedom in writing does not come often, and it gives me the ability to think on my own terms. I am also able to challenge classmates by the communication available through blogging.

In terms of mainstream media, I am rarely empowered. That is particularly true for television and all of the current reality-based series. However, I was recently channel surfing with my mom when we came across Oprah’s Big Give. Although I had never watched the show before, I was for some reason interested – possibly because of its name. During the episode, each contestant was given $100,000 and required to spend all of it within 24 hours by performing good deeds for people within the community. Easy enough, right? However, rules stipulated that contestants were limited to handing over a maximum of over of $500 per person and $10,000 per organization. Contestants resorted to filling people’s gasoline tanks, taking customers on shopping sprees, delivering household appliances and handing flowers out on the street. For those less fortunate, such experiences were beyond appreciation.

After watching the show, I sincerely felt empowered to help out around my own community. Aware that hard-work and a big heart are sometimes preferable to money, I will look to find my own cause.

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