In this camera original tape shot for the television series "Chicago Slices," Karen Hutt interviews Ben Noven, an Uptown high school student. For a 15 year old, Ben is quite articulate as he talks about his school, his take on the adult world, gangs, and race relations, among other topics.
00:00Copy video clip URL A few brief intro shots of Chicago, including the Sears Tower under passing clouds
00:27Copy video clip URL Karen Hutt introduces the piece from the sidewalk outside Ben’s house in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. She explains that Ben is a 15 year old student at Lincoln Park High School, and that they will be meeting Ben and talking with him about his life.
02:10Copy video clip URL Karen asks him about his day at school, and he runs down each period of his day. She goes on to ask him about teenagers today.
03:00Copy video clip URL Ben explains that his position is that a lot of people unfairly blame teenagers, particularly older people who grew up in a different time. He also explains about how high school is different from elementary school. He says that it’s not very hard to get friends in high school because you have a lot of classes with different kids.
05:08Copy video clip URL They talk about the challenges of power struggles between adults and kids, and how one’s perspective changes as one gets older.
06:45Copy video clip URL She asks him about racism, and he responds that a lot of kids make racist statements, as well as adults. He goes on to talk about the discrimination that goes on and tells the story about how a black friend of his was followed in a store.
09:20Copy video clip URL They discuss his interests, including sports and music. He goes over to the stereo to put on some techno music, which is his favorite. He continues the discussion about race, saying that “a white person can act black and a black person can act white.”
12:55Copy video clip URL They head outside, and Ben gives a tour of his street. He talks about people who come through the neighborhood, including his friends, and how they fear it because they make assumptions about people. They talk about the diversity of the neighborhood as they walk around the block.
19:20Copy video clip URL Three girls roller skate in front of the camera, laughing. They skate away, then come back. They start shouting their opinions about random topics like bombing in Bosnia, recycling, neighborhood clean up, and other topics.
21:30Copy video clip URL They talk about Ben’s parents who are activists. He says that they focus on education and aren’t afraid to challenge the educational system. He says that he doesn’t mind it. He says that his parents think of him as a capitalist because he says he likes money.
24:40Copy video clip URL Hutt asks him about the new Clinton administration and what kids think of him so far. They briefly discuss politics, then move on to his sense of his future. He says that he wants to be an actor.
27:15Copy video clip URL They continue their conversation as they walk, discussing role models and a new series of commercials done by NBA players Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan.
28:30Copy video clip URL Another neighborhood boy, Willie, joins them as they walk. He tells Karen that he thinks the neighborhood is bad because there are a lot of gang bangers. Ben says he thinks that adults often make things up and accuse kids of certain violations like writing on the walls at school.
32:40Copy video clip URL Willie tells Hutt that he enjoys sports, and then says that he wants to be a carpenter. Willie says that he has some friends who are in gangs. She asks them how people choose not to get involved in certain activities. Ben says that it has to do with self confidence.
35:00Copy video clip URL The picture and audio get shaky for a few moments. Ben talks about some of his hobbies, and then they talk about the changes in the neighborhood. They briefly discuss neighborhood gentrification, and how things get “better” only for people who are wealthy. They go on to discuss perceptions of the suburbs versus the city.
42:15Copy video clip URL Ben talks about people’s perceptions of others, and how people use stereotypes in referring to others. He says it’s unhelpful to describe someone by their religion. They go on to talk about judgments that people make based on a person’s house, skin color, or other prejudice.
48:08Copy video clip URL They say goodbye in front of his house. This is followed by Karen reflecting on her experience in meeting Ben, calling him well adjusted, culturally centered, and concluding that he’ll “be alright.”
49:25Copy video clip URL End of tape.