Throughout the course of the year my capstone has fluctuated, morphing into what it is now. My goal was to create a piece of work that takes people out of the stereotypical roles society has placed on them. For my capstone I wrote some of a script and filmed a scene from it. From the scene I wrote earlier in the year to the form it took in the manifestation of it as a video are different in some ways but the idea came through. I hope to continue to create videos and films that allow people to see themselves in all spaces and refine my creative skills in the process.
INTRODUCTION: How do we identify home?
In my essay, I wrote about what home means and the struggles many refugees face when fleeing to other countries in hopes of safety. I used the film Beasts of the Southern Wild to get my message across. As you read, I’d like you to think about how you view home, and how we treat and think about refugees who’ve lost their homes.
ADVANCED ESSAY #2: HOME: AN EXTENSION OF SELF
In a brightly lit room, white walls and shutters take place in the background, along with a light pink toy set. Two young white girls in dresses stand towards the back of the photo. A white woman bends over to talk to a young black girl with fluffy brown hair pulled back out of her face. The young girl wears a pretty little blue dress with a white collar. Her face shows sadness and dissatisfaction. The girls name is Hushpuppy. When she’s home, you can tell she’s a free-spirited girl. She wears her hair out in a fro, a shirt, pants, and boots. She’s a wild little girl, whose spirit is being suppressed at the hands of outsiders. People claiming that they know what’s best for her and her people by inserting themselves in the lives of those they don’t quite understand.
Of the various struggles refugees face during times of war and migrating to places of refuge, one big loss they experience is the feeling of home. They have had their home(s) torn away from them, whether that means their culture, their people, places, and or objects. Broken countries, homelands that no longer serve as a home but as a battlefield. “Sometimes you can break something so bad that it can’t be put back together,”(Beasts of the Southern Wild). Losing home is a fight against one’s identity.
In the film, Beasts of the Southern Wild, the viewer watches as Hushpuppy and her father fight for their home, the Bathtub. The Bathtub is a swampy part of New Orleans that gets the worst hits of storms due to it being below sea level. In the film, they go through some similar struggles that refugees go through. As a large storm was getting ready to sweep over New Orleans, the people of the Bathtub had to choose whether or not they were going to evacuate or stay in the attempt to rebuild after the storm hit. Most of the people leave, but Hushpuppy, her dad, and a few others stayed to fight.
As home is often associated with a house, the truth is, the two are not always interchangeable as some people’s houses are nests of negativity. Places they may be seeking asylum from. When addressing home, it is meant as the attachment to these things. These places, people, objects, and ideas. It is when they give off a feeling of love, nostalgia, and comfortability, can one consider something a home. Home is often also a thing through which ones culture thrives.
It can be extremely hard to keep your culture and cultural practices pristine when you migrate to somewhere with different cultures. You can easily lose your cultural identity if you are trying to escape from a reality, which is the case for many refugees seeking asylum from dangerous conditions. In Beasts of the Southern Wild, Hushpuppy says, “MY daddy says if he gets too sick to drink beer and catch catfish, I should stick him on a boat and set him on fire so they don’t plug him into the wall.” This quote illuminates the will of her father and her people that most others may not be able to relate to. In the film, they fought for their home. Their culture and their people. Hushpuppy’s father tells her what he wants done to him before others who don’t understand what kind of life they lead, to get their hands on him. This was his way of keeping his culture in the midst of devastation.
Similar to Beasts of the Southern Wild, refugees experience rips in their homeland. Whether it be at the hands of their own governments ill governing and enforcement/infliction of their rules and ideals, natural disaster, etc… Refugees must choose in what way they will cope with the present conditions. Will they attempt to flee? Seeking sanctuary in other places, hoping to find a new life, a new home, apart from their poisoned country. Or, will they fight? Putting themselves on the front line, using their voices and their bodies to fight back.
Once in a new place, in most cases of refugees who are undocumented, they are treated as illegal entities. Not human beings, fleeing from death, looking for a life beyond the restrictions of their country. As they move away from their country, they move away from the only home(s) they knew. In their country, they had a life and in their life, they had a home(s). The truth of the matter for most refugees is that they are not always welcomed into countries like America, where you are stripped of your title as human and put into a box labeled with misconceptions and stereotypes. Leading to an ongoing difficult life-path.
As we go through life, we come across countless homes. Extensions of ourselves. A home is a beautiful thing through which life can thrive. We must cherish our home(s) and we must ensure that we allow for others to do the same.
Zeitlin, Ben, director. Beasts of the Southern Wild. Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2012.
“Beasts of the Southern Wild (Blu-Ray).” DVD Talk, www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/58625/beasts-of-the-southern-wild/.
In my essay, I tackle the idea of living in the now. My goal for my essay was to enlighten people on how important and impactful small moments can be. How we should appreciate what we have in front of us because nothing is a given. I am proud of the work I did to make it clear and elaborate with the help of my peer editors. For my next Essay, I want to make sure that I have multiple people look at my essay so that I can get a lot of feedback and advice.
LIVING IN THE PRESENT
by Nile Shareef-Trudeau
This is about recognizing all the blessings that are right in front of me. All the blessings that I pass up because of the toxic conditioning I have as an American. Unlike many people around the world, the way my country is set up has made me think I have all the time in the world. An infinity of tomorrows. Because of this, I take so much for granted. I’ve felt so sure that tomorrow will come. I stay stuck in times past or fantasies of the future. Instead of living; appreciating each day as the amazing blessing that it is.
There’s a recurring event that happens at least once a day in a nook known as my room. A feeling of anticipation of what’s to come, from sounds so familiar yet mysterious. Two little feet, size twelve in kids, traveling up my staircase. I await all the possibilities. At times these feet are loud and clunky, at others slow and creeping. From these two sounds, I can tell who it is. The seven-year-old stinker of a sister I love so dearly. The incredible and loving little Lama of mine.
I can’t count all the times I’ve been annoyed when she comes up my stairs. I often didn’t care about the magical things, thoughts, and ideas she had to offer. I had sunglasses that covered the light that she radiated when she came into my room without even realizing it.
Though this event passed for small and insignificant, with my new realizations, it provides me with an opportunity to instead soak in and savor every moment of it. I could count each step it takes for her to reach me. Hear the clicking her tongue makes as she speaks. Feel how my heart warms in her presence, each little thing she does. Looking at her in a gaze of amazement, taking in all that she is. Her soul stands personified in front of me, and I’m in love with it.
Little moments are often overlooked but it is in these moments that we feel the most. Many people don’t appreciate these moments as much as they should. In these moments it can be hard to be completely present. However, if you can get there you truly feel alive. You experience raw cut emotions of realization. I am living right now, in this moment. I’m feeling, seeing, hearing. Each moment of life is a blessing and it should be understood/treated as such.
I went through a rough patch last year where I was sucked into a tornado of negative emotions. I chose to cut my hair as a release.
I felt a twinkle of insanity; an uncontrollable excitement rushed over me as I gripped the scissors in my hand. Cutting away my luscious lion mane and knowing feelings of rebirth and self-empowerment. “I feel a heavy weight lifting,” I said to my sister Lotus on the other side of the call. All the shadows my hair cast on my shoulders and nape of my neck being shown to the light. Now with all I’ve uncovered about myself, I can move forward. I wanted so badly to move on from this state of being. Growth is all I was looking for, so I cut my hair off. In that moment I allowed myself to feel. To take a chance. Brushing past all the thoughts that tried to tell me I would regret my decision. Not knowing what the outcome would be but not caring because if not now, when?
As American people, we are programmed to walk through life looking for a bigger picture. We are constantly thinking about the future. We wonder and work to figure out how we will harness it. With this being said, we miss out on all the important things: the nows. By being stuck on the future and dwelling on the past, we miss out on exploring, enjoying, and exercising the present moment. To do things just because: like examining details of a drawing; A simple creation from my mind: how the drawing on my wall consists of a hand, but this hand specifically is a left hand. That of which is gripping a small book with its pudgy fingers. These things often seem insignificant. Some may say, “Why would I sit around and look at the junk in my room?” What people don’t understand is by doing these things we begin to live in a world so real. Getting to know the present moment. Tomorrow isn’t certain, and the past is said and done. This is what it’s all about. Putting in the work to evaluate things we can change that are right in front of us. Rather than looking for things that are no longer in our grasp. Not to mention, we begin to get rid of this idea that life is boring but instead fascinating. With each moment and thing a new adventure. Then, and only then, will you be living your life in color.
At the root of all change is controversy. In both Lord of the Flies, and in the division of the Black Power Movement, the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, there are clear examples of a difference in opinions being the cause of some sort of change. For change to occur there must be controversy. Where there is controversy, there is conversation or action which is how a change is sparked.
It was a time of racial disputes. There was a heap of police brutality. Officers who would abuse their power and harm and/or violate Black people. A young boy was confronted by a police officer. Alongside some other Panthers, Huey P. Newton witnessed this. They addressed the situation by watching with their guns out and making sure the police officer didn’t do anything he wasn’t supposed to. The Black Panther Party is known for their presence. On Socialist Alternative, members of the panthers wrote, “The gun had a huge psychological effect, both on the Black community and the police. For the police, it reversed the fear that they so enjoyed creating in others. But for the Black community, it fired their imagination, people felt empowered by seeing Black brothers and sisters protecting their interests.” As stated, many people sided with the panthers because of the way they stood up for the community. However, since their ideas were so radical many others thought that the image the Black Panthers put out was militaristic and therefore not helpful to the movement. I think often times it is a variety of different things that help create a successful movement. It is the different expressions and routes people take to get a common goal is what inevitably allows for change. The action that was taken by Huey P Newton, and a great sum of others went about fighting for civil rights their own way. Becoming the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, and using their own tactics, which are much more head on.
In the book, Lord of the Flies, Jack does something similar. Jack calls a meeting following the rules the boys on the island worked together to create. He uses the conch and opposing the state of their priorities, he attempts to be elected as the official leader. “‘I’m going off by myself. He can catch his own pigs. Anyone who wants to hunt when I do can come too’” (Golding pg 127). As controversy arises within the boys, Jack decides to take action. Rather than making rescue and shelter top priorities as Ralph thought best, Jack thought food was the most important. Both of their goals survival. This controversy clouds the island and splits the boys apart. None of the boys stood by Jack when he had called for the vote. Afterwards, many end up following him.
As Jack did with the boys on the island, Stokely Carmichael brought a different vision to the Black Panther Parties agenda. Carmichael says “‘Whites who come into the black community with ideas of change seem to want to absolve the power structure of its responsibility for what it is doing, and say that change can only come through black unity, which is the worst kind of paternalism..... If we are to proceed toward true liberation, we must cut ourselves off from white people..... [otherwise] we will find ourselves entwined in the tentacles of the white power complex that controls this country.’” Instead of having white allies, as the Party did initially; using these white allies to help their vision, Stokely Carmichael thought that the Black Power movement wouldn’t do any good if they had these white allies by their side. This is an extremely controversial statement. Many thought that the only way Black people could have liberation was with the help of White people. Carmichael and many others believed true liberation would come if Black people were separated from Whites. Therefore, any help from white people was unwanted. In another article they say, “Contrasting views on a strategy for Black liberation began to emerge.”
Jack and Ralph had contrasting views on a strategy for survival.
Golding , William. Lord of the Flies . The Penguin Group , 2006.
“The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense.” Socialist Alternative, www.socialistalternative.org/panther-black-rebellion/the-black-panther-party-for-self-defense/.
Baggins, Brian. Black Panther Party, www.marxists.org/history/usa/workers/black-panthers/.
Duncan, Garrett Albert. “Black Panther Party.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 27 Dec. 2018, www.britannica.com/topic/Black-Panther-Party.
How am I supposed to take on these mongrels if the sun won’t let up? I’m sick of always being weak. Everyone is trying to bring me down. Even mother nature isn’t on my side today.
Alright, if I can just get to their camping grounds. But what would I do then? I might as well just accept this fate. I mean, the rest of the village has. There’s nothing I can do to help save my village now. Yet, this force keeps nudging me on. Pulling me towards the depths of heroism and sucking me into a great pit of empathy. I feel remorse for those who have done wrong by me. All the villagers who told me I was useless. A joke, because I enjoyed reading instead of wrestling. Kari, the helpless bookworm. That is what they called me. So why? Why do I feel this empathy now? I could protest that it’s all because of you. You united us all. Mama you left us too soon. I miss you and your chunky chili, packed with the richest of flavors from Papa's garden. You could taste the love. With every bite you felt warmth. I think it made us greedy because like your Chili,
I don't want to share my village. Our village is not for those whose lips haven’t tasted your Chili. For anyone who has, knows what goes into making that Chili. Appreciates the ones who have poured their hearts into it and would never think to ruin Papa’s vegetable patch. Those fools. They have come. Ransacked our homes and declared this Chili pot of a village their own. Do they even know your recipe? Do they hold within them the love that you so graciously bestowed upon our village through your Chili? I am convinced the town lost their hope when we lost you. That terrible day. We tried to hang on. I’m still trying. Once the mongrels came the pain was too much to fight with. You push me forward. I know you would want me to try. Even though I don’t have the arms to hold our hopes or the back to carry the village. I know one thing. You gave me your love. You never doubted me. You told me I was destined for greatness.
MAMA. I cry out to you now to let you know I’m sorry. I’m sorry I couldn’t be a better son. You always told me to be kind and true to myself. I wish I was a better son. The books, I don’t know why but I’m drawn to them. Their stories capture me and make me forget the harsh reality. The days we went with no food. None of your Chili. The beatings unto the ones I loved, I bared witness. I was helpless then and I am helpless now. I tried to be brave like you told me but I can’t find it within me. I want to stand up for our people.
Tenowé, my home village. Papa, Minari and Hinetu, my sisters. Anar, my brother. Maybe I should just turn around, go back home and be ready for what comes next. I can’t stand the thought of these barbarians being in charge of all our land. The land we nurture and care for. They don’t deserve to come here and do this to us. We’ve lived in peace with them for all these years why now? It doesn’t matter. I won’t let them take it! It doesn’t matter if I have to fight the chief myself! I will make them leave.
I’ve only walked to the river, but their camp is past the hills, I’m already tired.
*DROPS TO GROUND
What a disgrace I am! There’s no way I can face them alone, but the thought of them stepping all over us like this makes me sick. We are a peaceful people but they need to learn a thing or two if they think they can just raid our village and make us do their bidding. Fight for what is right. That is what you told me.
And that is what I will do. No matter what gets in my way. I know you are with me. I know you gave me something more powerful than fists. You gave me a heart, you gave me love. And I will use my heart to get our village back! For you...Mama.
September 21, 2018
The clock ticks to twenty minutes before closing. It was time for me to go home. I began to turn off the many lights that lit up the shop. I hear steps creaking from upstairs where my Grandad is, which means he’s gotten up from where he was working and is getting ready to take me home. When I am done closing up, we head out to his car.
After the many times my grandad has taken me home, I am pretty much prepared for what the subject of the ride is going to be. It could be one of three things, either the pristine work I am expected to be doing in school, how I should set my future up to be better than all those who came before me, or we just jam to the various genres of music being played on one of his cd’s.
“You know there are a lot of people doing different things in the world,”
My grandad says to break the otherwise silent car ride. I nod my head at first, not really understanding what he was talking about.
Ahh that’s what he meant, here we go. Just agree with what he says and maybe he won’t have extra questions and we can move on from this quickly, I think as I gaze out the window to the trees on lincoln drive.
“We accept them, although it’s pretty weird. You know, people aren’t really understanding that we need men and women to be together so that we can make more life. And then changing your body like that, it’s just not right.”, He goes on.
“Mhmm,” I reply.
I realize this is who my mom gets it from. I like to think she’s a little more open minded to topics of controversy. Then again, I can’t forget the time she stereotyped me as looking like a lesbian; short cropped hair and a nose ring. I was thirteen and had just recently cut my hair very close to my head. I was very excited because I had just gotten a fake septum ring for my nose. Later when I showed my mom, she said it was cute. However, she wouldn’t let me wear it outside the house because people might think I was a lesbian. This made me so upset, and eventually brought me to tears. Not because I was secretly a lesbian but because I never thought I should be worried about what others think of me. If I looked a certain way and people assumed things about me, so what! At the end of the day, they don’t know me.
“People may try and pressure you,” My Grandad says.
“But you can’t let them get to you.” He adds.
“Yeah,” I say, while I laugh in my thoughts because of how ignorant he is being to the fact that being gay isn’t a choice. If I was LGBTQ, pressure from my peers wouldn’t have an affect on who I am.
We arrive at my house and I’m free of his corrupted idea on the LGBTQ community. As I gather my things and step out of the car I look back and think about the recent experience I had with attempting to figure out my sexuality and finding myself. I wonder how my family would have handled it if I came to the conclusion that I did identify to be in the LGBTQ community. I let out a hmph kind of sound, with a smirk on my face as I walk up to my door, key in hand.
As I think back on this instance and the other times similar to this one, I realize that these are the moments that shape people. Those so called “make or break” moments that people have. I believe that hearing the views of my elders and those who surround me is important in the development of myself. Yes, hearing this from my Grandad, or even my mom doesn’t have an affect on my sexuality but it does open my eyes to the ridicule others must experience. Giving me a greater sense of sympathy and more of an open mind. I am thankful for this, because for some, this experience could have made them ignorant and oblivious if they chose to “go with it” instead of learn from it. We can choose our path in life and accept other people, as well as get it through our heads that we may not understand people’s notions. We must be able to adapt and find peace within ourselves, and the ever growing society we live in.
At first my slide was just a word and design with a hidden meaning. You weren’t able to understand how it connected or expressed the essence of “Nile” without a thorough explanation from me. When critiquing my slide my classmates informed me that I could maybe add a definition of the word in my slide but it wasn't needed since I explained it.
I made the changes to my slide so that it could speak more so for itself. Although it still is simple, it looks a tad more special and I added the changes that were advised to me by my classmates plus a few extra changes that I thought would spice it up.Think these changes enace my slide greatly.
The research I did from all the source provided, really helped me to better understand the elements of a good slide design. I used space and the spacing of the different things to allow the presentation to look clear rather than cluttered. I used lines to draw the eye to the focal point of my presentation. The color I used changed to a slightly lighter purple than before, so that the text was still seen. Some shapes to go with my “Special Person” theme, and a small shadow behind the focal point to make it bounce out and shine brighter than the rest. I think I made a lot of good changes to my slide and like it much better overall.