Monday, December 7, 2009

cha cha changes

My food preferences have definitely changed in the past few years, but they're just one amongst an array of things. Last Saturday night I watched Australia with my younger brother. I was tired, lying on the couch, minding my own business, and he insisted we watch the movie, he said I would love it. Fine, whatever... 165 minutes later and wow. 
I enjoyed it but even more so, the film, Australia, has become yet another reasons why I realize how important change is. The movie is set, ironically enough, in Australia, before World War II. On the surface it may be a melodramatic heartwarming story, but dig a little deeper and it explores the timely conditions of the culture's prejudices against the Aboriginal people. They are the original inhabitants of the land and yet they are not accepted, they don't belong on land that was theirs to begin with.
To think that educated adults actually sent children of mixed racial backgrounds away so that they would tarnish the purity of the White and Black races is pure insanity. And yet it took years for society and the government to realize and recognize this. I think I recall it saying that it wasn't until 2008 that a public apology to the "Stolen Generations" was issued.
I just finished reading The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner. It is a beyond fantastic read, although not a quick one, in case anyone is looking for something new to delve into :). Eric travels to 10 countries in search of happiness. One of the countless quotes that he cites that really touched me was this one: "Man not only creates culture, he inhabits it, he carries it around with him--man is culture." A conclusion from the great Polish writer and global vagabond Ryszard Kapuściński. If it is our culture then, we certainly have the power to change it.
Last Friday, the boy and I went to the movies to see Precious. Based on a Novel by Sapphire the movie is real, raw, and honest. I cried, my heart ached, and although it ended more pleasantly than it began, it upset me to think that some people live this way. I don't know what I did to deserve to have such a full life of love and happiness. Still, with all those emotions aside, the movie was revolutionary in it's own right; the lead character is a female, she is a Black female, she is an overweight Black female, and she is a poor, illiterate, overweight Black female. Plus, the acting is spectacular.
I say all this because societal fears of change are most often a fear of progress. One day a character such as Precious may not have such an impact. She will be normalized, just as those who look different, speak differently, live differently, and yet need in exactly the same way, will hopefully be normalized as well. Although not easy, change can be good. Have any examples to share?

*Photos taken during my overnight in El Cajas, Ecuador

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