Movies in the Morning; Students in the Afternoon

This morning I watched, “I Am Not Your Negro,” which is an amazing documentary featuring James Baldwin. This is a definite must-see for anyone who wants to gain more clarity on how racial issues in the U.S. started with slavery and continue today. It is hopeful in tone and challenges all of us to face the problems that confront us instead of turning a blind eye. I watched this documentary so that I could help one of my college students with a paper he is writing. I also watched it because I have wanted to see it and this was a perfect opportunity.

Part of the paper is about the documentary while the other is about the 1619 Project, which was organized by The New York Times to “re-examine the legacy of slavery in the United States.” It is a current-day collection of poems, essays, stories and photos by New York Times writers with the goal of educating the public on the longstanding legacy of racial discrimination in America. (I’ll be writing more on this another time since I found these writings quite edifying, to say the least.)

After that very excellent documentary, I watched “The Witch” to help one of my high school students with a paper comparing the film with Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “Young Goodman Brown.” These are both about the Puritans and their concerns about the temptation of the devil versus walking down the right path with God. I must say that I found the film and the short story thought-provoking. My student and I had a spirited discussion about the symbols in both the film and the story and also discussed how the religious oppressiveness of the Puritans could foster such behavior. I felt good that we were touching on lots of different subjects in our conversation which seemed to give her (and me) the chance to think deeper about that time in history.

A good day. Movies in the morning, students in the afternoon. I love it when I get to learn along with my students. That is one of the best parts of my work.

I hope you have a good evening.

I’ll check in with you again tomorrow.

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