On November 24, I attended the PBS documentary Race: The Power of an Illusion. This film was very educational and brought up many points and ideas that seem obvious to us, but are often forgotten. This film is important in our current time, because of the events of the election and constant efforts to stop and prevent racism. Also it is unbelievable to think of the level of racism that actually does exist. This reminded me of the Invisible Children documentary that I saw only a few weeks ago. It is something we are all aware of and know that such events takes place every day, but when we watch such a film we are really moved. It had a strong impact on me because we see the effects of people’s attitudes and we become inspired to do something about it.
Although I had previously known many facts about racism, it was still an eye opening film for me. I grew up in a town where pretty much everyone is just like me. There were a few kids I remember in elementary school who were from other countries and they were ridiculed because they were not just like everyone else. I was not one of the kids who ridiculed anyone, but I also didn’t do anything to stop it. Looking back on it now, there really is no difference between those kids and me. It is awful that because of skin color or traditions, or an accent someone can be tormented so much. I wish that I could go back and stand up for the kids who were made fun of. I am just as guilty for not standing up for them as the kids who laughed and poked fun. After seeing the video and growing up quite a bit, I would be one of the first people to stand up for a person suffering as a victim of racism.
A film about racism is extremely relevant to our lives in Baltimore. It is almost impossible to go off campus without seeing member of many races. There are people who fit and don’t fit the most common stereotypes, but if we all followed the ideas of these stereotypes we would live in hatred and in fear. The video showed how important it is for us to get past this and see people for whom they really are.
This idea of hatred, confusion, treating people badly, and caring about who a person truly is relates to Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare. The deception in this play shows that people are not necessarily what they seem. It is that common saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Prior to the characters realizing this they base their relationships on lies and superficial external traits. In the end it turns out that some people aren’t what they appear and we should give them a chance without any original judgment. It also shows that just because someone is like you in color and tradition does not mean that you will necessarily like them. Although the play does not directly address racism is addresses the ideas of judgment of character based in appearance. The play does illustrate sexism which can be very closely compared to racism. Sexism is the reason for much of the confusion; it is the reason that Viola is dressed as a man. This play does indirectly relate to the PBS documentary.
Also the documentary clearly relates to Jesuit education. This is because part of our education is educating the whole person. By showing this film, we were offered to learn something that is not part of our everyday studies. It also provided us with a way to help others and become aware of the problems around us. Clearly another important part of Jesuit education: education of the person for the good of others.
The film on racism made me reflect strongly on the person I am and the people around me. It made me think more about how it doesn’t matter if you’re not doing something bad, if you’re still not doing anything about it. We often complain about our problems and how bad our day was, reflecting on this film I realize how important it is to think about the situation of others and how bad their day may have been.