Before I took Documentary research I had no idea what location was, because I had never heard of it. However, looking back to it now I remember that I have thought about this topic, without knowing I was actually thinking about location. I used to think a lot about things like why people look at things the way they do. I learned that it has something to do with who you are and the way you are has something to do with the way you have lived life until now. My favorite sentence I learned in this course is from Coles: ‘’One person’s ought is another person’s naught’’. This is just how life works, we are all different, with different backgrounds. For me as an international student, I noticed that I became more aware of my location since I moved to the US because my location is so different compared to the location from American. So, this course made me becoming even more aware of my location and also dealing with my own location because I was handed the tools via readings to define what I was feeling. Having a completely different location than American students is tough, because you feel different. By becoming more aware via this course, I was able to define my and others’ location better and that made it easier.
In Chapter 3 ‘’What Gives Documentary Films a Voice of Their Own?’’ in the Nichols reading, Nichols says the following: ‘’Commentary is a voice that addresses us directly; it lays out its point of view explicitly’’ (p.47). This means that comments in a documentary create clearness, because they add explanation to what you see on the screen. In the documentary Agents of Change, they comment on all things that happen. Also, all the different people in the documentary Agents of Change, give different perspectives, many different people say how they witnessed what happened. All people in Agents of Change have different locations so their commentary is different as well. Adding a voice in a Documentary is very important because it explains uncertainties. I feel like without the commentary it is easier to get distracted when you are watching a documentary. Nichols also says that location is the foundation of voice, this is true because how loud someone speaks or how slow expresses how someone is feeling and who that person is. Use of language also says a lot about location and background. For example, extravert persons speak louder than introvert persons, and what I have witnessed people who grew up in the city speak faster.
The Documentary Agents of Change is about the African American movements on campus during the sixties. It is hard to believe but during that time it was possible that a university only had 3 black kids out of a 10,000-student population. This began to grow and the African Americans wanted things like an African studies program, to connect with their past. I believe that too, we have to be able to understand our past in order to understand ourselves. Things got bad when the black students locked themselves in. There was a rumor that white frat brothers were trying to get in with guns, that’s when the African American students decided to get guns. This documentary’s story is told by a lot of different people that had something to do with what was happening. Black people had not the same right as white people, they had less opportunities and that is what they wanted to change.
Before I read the Jansen reading I thought about social justice just as fair relations between individuals and society. Jansen aided in my understanding of social justice to explain why it is a risky business. I know that social justice is complex but Jansen helped me understand that more. He wrote that if relations between people are honest and good intentioned they do not necessarily result in a good outcome. This gave me more understanding about the O’Connor murder. Hugh O’Connor had good intentions when he was filming the people in Jeremiah, he wanted to create awareness about their bad situation and he was honest about that. He did not mean to bother them. However, his good intentions did not result in a good outcome (he got killed). When you have good intentions it doesn’t necessarily mean that others (Hobart Ison) understand them, so you have to make sure they do. Also, I didn’t know before that social gospel movements were important in the development of social sciences, this was just interesting for me to know.
This quote captured my understanding:
‘’These partnerships also require recognition that some boundaries between people may be impermeable and that good intentions do not necessarily produce good outcomes. ‘’
In my opinion, it was a very shocking film. It is hard for me to understand that the 14-year-old Emmet Till was murdered because he spoke to a white woman in Mississippi. Nowadays when you kill someone you have to go to jail, but because there was a white jury the killers did not get convicted. I had never heard about the Emmit Till case, but I have heard about what Rosa Parks did. It is so hard to imagine what it must feel like if you are sitting on a bus and you have to give away your seat because of your skin color. It takes a lot of courage to stand up against that. It is hard for me to think that less than 60 years ago black people couldn’t be served in some restaurants. Scandalous things happen and still today happen, we cannot ignore the past, we have to learn from it and make sure that it will never happen again. This film, A Time for Justice gave me a better understanding of the awful things that happened. It does a great job at portraying all the different stories. All these stories make me sad and angry at the same time, it is vert confronting but it also teaches me about the past.