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Search for Common Ground—Soap Operas for Social Change

March 3, 2010

Why does one have to be up at 5 a.m. to hear the great and wonderful things that are happening in the world—the people and ideas that are generating social change and bringing the possibilities of peace where there was once conflict and blood shed? These kinds of stories should be at the forefront of the supper hour news programs but as they say, “Good news doesn’t sell!” If we heard good news all the time we might be more content. Advertisers want to create the best psychological climate to sell their products so we are fed information that creates disquiet and a void that we are constantly trying to fill. I digress so I’ll get off my soap box and get back to what I really want to talk about—if we change our minds we will change the world.
 
When I flipped on the T.V. at 5 a.m. PBS was airing a documentary on the organization Search for Common Ground 
 

 
SFCG produces soap operas for social change! What a concept—we know that T.V. has greatly influenced western culture over the past 50 years. Shows such as, All in the Family, featured characters like Archie Bunker who was so distasteful that people began to realize that being a bigot was not cool. Social media and the power of the soap opera have come to Africa. 20 countries are now creating television programs to help change people’s way of thinking.
 
The program that was featured on the documentary takes place in Kenya and the weekly plots revolve around a soccer team. The members of the team and from different tribes and if they don’t learn to cooperate they won’t win games. The show is now into its second season and although it will take more than one soap opera to eliminate tribal warfare and prejudice it is a positive step in that direction.
 




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