“Family Guy,” “South Park” education
Diversity speaker Matt Glowacki usually begins his speeches by telling the crowd that he has no legs.
He was born without them, he says, but it doesn’t hold him back.
Instead, he uses his perspective to travel the country educating people about how to handle diversity.
“I think I have a very interesting take on the world and I think my unique perspective that I have is going to give me a way to present things in a different way than people thought,” Glowacki said.
That’s why Glowacki came to Towson Friday to give his presentation “Diversity According to Family Guy and South Park” in the University Union Chesapeake Rooms.
His speech, however, was not the typical lecture. Glowacki interacted with the audience, employing humor and using clips from the popular TV shows “Family Guy” and “South Park.”
“When we watch shows like ‘Family Guy’ and ‘South Park,’ we laugh out loud and we talk to people about how inappropriate whatever they’re saying is,” Glowacki said. “And so it makes us think about biases and gender issues and stereotypes. And it’s a good conversation, so…we’re going to use the shows and explain how they relate to diversity.”
Many of the references in these shows, Glowacki said, are funny on the surface, but their deeper meanings can be explored to learn about diversity.
Diversity is not noticing differences in people, but rather accepting people for who they are, Glowacki said.
He told the audience that he experiences diversity when his wife forgets he doesn’t have legs. This, he said, is diversity, not having a friend of each race.
“The idea of this program is to try and bring people into awareness of diversity all around them that they might not be able to identify as diversity or diversity issues,” Glowacki said.
He hopes that after hearing his presentation, students will walk away with a new understanding of diversity.
“I want them to walk away with a new understanding of how to watch things in the media, treat people who are different from themselves and have a hard conversation with their friends when their friends say inappropriate things and how to handle that,” Glowacki said.
And he believes using “Family Guy” and “South Park” is the best way to achieve this understanding.
“I used to sit in rooms with my friends and watch ‘Family Guy’ and ‘South Park’ and I would be laughing at things they wouldn’t laugh at, and I’m like, ‘wait a minute, there are things that I get that other people don’t get, I could do a speech about this,’ and so that’s why I started doing these talks,” Glowacki said.
Junior Latin American studies and Spanish major Kelly Kivlan said she attended the event after seeing a flyer advertising it.
“It looked interesting and I wondered whether these shows are helpful or hurtful to diversity,” Kivlan said.
She said that by attending the event, she gained a different perspective.
“To embrace equality, we need to talk about it,” Kivlan said.