Dear Doctor J, my peers and the world,
Let it be known that this class has helped remove several veils that covered me before taking this class. First and most importantly I believe that human rights while extremely important are a losing battle when I look at the way not only the American government but other have specifically limited the fair treatment of all citizens and non-citizens in their own country. Even in America we continue to scape goat multiple groups inlcluding MUSLIM-americans, who only represent 0.8% to 2.6%, something compribale to the jewish-american population. Still they are a complex group consisting of the following ethnic backgrounds: (Below is from WIKI on Islam in the United States)--->
" Native-born American Muslims are mainly African Americans who make up 24% of the total Muslim population. Many of these have converted to Islam during the last seventy years. Conversion to Islam in prison, and in large urban areas has also contributed to its growth over the years. South Asian immigrants (from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) make up 26% of the Muslim population, and Arabs make up 26% of the population. The remaining 24% percent is from other groups."
SO we have to understand that when we scapegoat a religion we are actually attacking numerous ethnic groups, religious and economic classes and a mix of Americans who have been here for a 100 years or a 100 weeks. Either way, the post 9-11 world, has shown human rights of Muslims in the World and in this country have not been Protected.
SECONDLY, the lecture and preceding Q and A with Dan Savage was also deeply moving and in some ways saddening. I have been depressed on and off due to my procrastination in school, my visual injury, my general lack of a future before and after going through rhodes, but never to the extent that I would contemplate suicide. I moved a lot growing up as well and I got picked on so I could relate to that as well. But for 15 and 16 gay boys and lesbian girls to actually feel that their futures were not worth continued living made me realize that this society has lost its love of community and of the good other. When did we as americans really accept people for being different you might SAY, and I would respond that the fact that most immigrants have been accepted as American is a good sign, and most people accept your religion it be Buddhism or Judaism, still it is sad that my gay brothers and sisters have been given the short end of the civil rights stick, when all they want to do is have marriage and kids like the rest of America. SO my first solution, we make it easier for gay couples and infertile couples to adopts --- maybe a 2 page form and a cover letter, then someone talks with them and within a year they can get a child if its a good match.
Lastly, I have learned that documentary film is a tool and a form of academic expression that can easily be disseminated and convince others of the need for either addressing social injustice or positing potential policy solutions.
My last thing to say is thank you to all my peers and Professors for sometimes putting up with this crazy scholar here. I hope that someday whatever issue or idea we privledge above the rest can help get fixed or we can create more awareness and education in the next generations. Hopefully I will be teaching someone in Memphis Next school year and I hope to stay in touch with you all.
Jon Schwartz - Scholar at Large.