1. Thandie Newton describes in her TED Talk the struggles she went through in the beginning of her life. She explains how her mixed race caused other children to see her as different at a young age. It was other people that defined her "self" and not her. She describes this "self" as an identity that we give ourselves. She began to see herself as someone who did not fit in and faced constant rejection. "The self changed, got affected, broken, destroyed, but another one would evolve...How many times would my self have to die before I realized that it was never alive in the first place." Thandie Newton explained that her "self" was never constant. It fluctuated back and forth every time it bounced back from rejection. This outside influence shaped her "self" and left her unable to define it on her own. She also acknowledged at a young age that one's "self" always wants to fit in with the others, but this was not a possibility for Thandie. She later realized, however, that activities like dancing and acting were a way to reinvent her self temporarily. When she danced she was able to let her vision of her "self" slip away and fit in with the movement. She finally felt like she was a part of something and meant to be there. When she acted, she was able to climb into the shell of a new identity and become that new person. Again, she felt accepted when she became these people with "selves" that fit in. When Thandie was asked to define race she replied with the color of a person' skin. She was told that this is inaccurate. She found out that race is based on biological difference rather than difference in skin color. There is actually more biological difference between two black people from different African countries than a black person from Africa and a white person from Europe. This is because all human beings trace back to Africa, so Africa has had the most time to develop diversity in genetics. Thandie realized what race actually is, "Race is an illegitimate concept that our selves have created based on fear and ignorance". Thandie's viewpoint of her "self" had changed when she found that out. She realized that there is no such thing as race or racial differences. Thandie embraces awareness about one's "self" and acceptance of their personal differences. 2. The way Thandie Newton was seen as an other was similar to how Dolphus Raymond was seen as an other in "To Kill a Mockingbird". Dolphus was a rich, white man who chose to live with the black people of Maycomb. He had many mixed children because he married a black woman. Many characters in the book did not like the way he lived. He explains to Scout his life secret, "Secretly, Miss Finch, I'm not much of drinker, but you see they could never, never understand that I live like I do because that's the way I want to live." (Lee 268). Dolphus Raymond had defined his "self" on his own rather than let social norms define him. He made the choice to isolate himself from the white side of Maycomb for the most part. Thandie Newton also came to find that she needed to define her "self" on her own without any outside influence.
1. The new movie, "Love, Simon", is the story of a gay teen who struggles to tell his friends and family what he has been hiding. He falls in love with his anonymous pen pal who is also gay. He spends the movie searching for this boy and trying to confess his secret at the same time. Only 23 movies about gay characters came out in the past year and the director of "Love, Simon" Greg Berlanti attempted to explain the reasoning behind this. "My sense is that they make fewer and fewer movies these days, and they're more reliant on preexisting things and want more sure bets. You see less of these smaller kinds of films and less risks taken." Berlanti believes that the reason a movie like this is rare to see is because the studio is scared to put it out. They're afraid that this type of movies' numbers won't be as good as a typical movie that isn't original. There have been several movies that star gay teens but the reason that this one stands out is because of its positivity. The movie celebrates people who are gay and lets the audience know it is okay. It's not the story of a kid who gets bullied, but rather the story of a typical high school student who has friends and does normal things. The fact that he is gay doesn't cause people to see him as an other. The movie embraces these differences and allows the audience to know that a difference in sexuality isn't the end of the world. It also proves that a straight person can relate to a gay person and that the two aren't so different. This relatable film leads to compassion for gay people that straight people may not have been able to reach before. The movie is a spin on the classic film "Say Anything" except with a gay couple. Again, trying to prove that being gay is not an anomaly, Greg Hernandez, owner of the blog, Greg in Hollywood stated, "If they can get teenagers to see this, that's key. If this makes a decent amount of money, I think we might be seeing more of them". This movie has the potential to raise awareness about having empathy for people who are different. 2. The way the movie, "Love, Simon", embraces otherness is similar to lessons taught by Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird". In many instances Atticus attempts to teach his children lessons about empathy. He specifically wanted Scout and Jem to have empathy for people who are seen as an other so they could fully understand them. Atticus forced Jem and Scout to spend time with a woman named Mrs. Dubose and later explained his lesson, "...I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand." (Lee 149). Atticus was teaching his kids that Mrs. Dubose wasn't a naturally repulsive woman, but she was going through hard times to make her act that way. "Love, Simon" teaches empathy for people who are seen as an other and also wants the audience to know that differences in sexuality don't mean a person is different entirely. They may still think and act similarly, they just have one trait that is different.
1. The Song of the Feet is a poem that goes back in time recalling all of the great things black females have done in the past. This could be a protest to discrimination and being classified as an other. The Song of the Feet could be a metaphor for taking a stand and speaking for what is right. In line 1 of the poem it says, "It is appropriate that I sing." This line stresses the importance of protest for equal rights and fighting against otherness. "Singing" in this case is speaking up. The last line of the poem is, "I am a Black woman". This shows that the speaker is proud to be what she is and letting the public know that she is strong and bold. 2. The speaker of the poem stands up for what she believes just like how Atticus spreads his beliefs in "To Kill a Mockingbird". In the court room for Tom Robinson's case, Atticus stood up for Tom Robinson and proved him innocent. He questioned the victim with force to prove his point, "Who beat you up? Tom Robinson or your father?" (Lee 251). Atticus knew Tom was innocent, so he tried however he could to prove it to the jury. He attempted several times to force the secret out of either Mayella or Bob Ewell. However, Tom Robinson was named guilty because the white people of the jury were all biased against him due to his race. If Tom was not seen as an other by the white people of Maycomb, the verdict could have been the opposite. Tom Robinson ended up dying later in prison, which is a shame because he was truly innocent. Atticus did the best he could to help a black man avoid jail, but in this case his wise and emphatic words couldn't beat racism. The fact that Atticus tried to defend Tom Robinson gave the black part of Maycomb hope. The future could be a time where whites and blacks could live in harmony and support one another when they need help.
1. In the recent movie, "Black Panther", a message is portrayed about the capabilities of black women. Many of the heroes and warriors in the movie are black women. They possess great strength and wit. Also, the black women who star in "Black Panther" do not comply to the social norms that say they should look a certain way. The movie embraces the true and inner beauty in these women. Their hairstyles and clothing may be different, but it teaches the audiences a lesson that black women don't have to wear their hair a certain way to fit in. They have a choice on how they want to present themselves, and "Black Panther" emphasizes that this choice should not lead to judgement. These black women are not only carefree, but they are also strong. They do the work that men do in a typical Marvel movie. This is a reason why "Black Panther" was such a success. It showed us the power of black women and that they do not lack certain attributes to do the jobs of men. It also showed young black girls that nothing is out of their reach. The article states, "It sends out the message that black women do not need to fit into any specific beauty standard. They should be respected and are beautiful as they are". This message is especially important for young black girls to hear so they know what value they have as a person. They should know that they can make decisions by themselves and shouldn't rely on social norms to decide what they do. They may be seen as an other by some people, but others will be able to see the bravery and strength it takes to express one's self in a different way. The article describes the way these women look, "...bold (and bald) women, royal matriarchs, independent, intelligent ladies and stern, witty, humorous women". Black Panther is trying to prove to the audience that black women can be all of these traits, not just men. 2. The unexpected strength and wits of these black females is similar to Boo Radley in "To Kill a Mockingbird". In the book, many members of Maycomb County judged Boo and thought he was a freak. They didn't realize the physical or mental strength that he possessed. Scout told the story of when she was rescued by an unknown man, "He slowly squeezed the breath out of me. I could not move. Suddenly he was jerked backwards and flung on the ground, almost carrying me with him." (Lee 351). Scout was saved by Boo from the knife of Bob Ewell. She didn't doubt that he had the physical strength to do it, but she was surprised to see that mentally, he was a hero and not a maniac. He had the courage to stand up against an armed man to save Scout and Jem, who later became friends of his. "Black Panther" and "To Kill a Mockingbird" show that a person who looks or acts differently can possess the same strength and capabilities as any other person.