Sunday, September 20, 2015

Viola Davis Makes History

Viola Davis has always been someone that I have idolized; from her amazing performance in The Help, to her powerful, yet elegant performance as Annalise Keating on How to Get Away with Murder. Today, she has proven herself to be more than just an extremely talented women, she has made history by becoming the first black actress to ever win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in A Drama Series.

Viola graced the Emmy stage and began her acceptance speech by quoting Harriet Tubman, "In my dreams, I see a line. Over that line, I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me over that line, but I can't seem to get there no how, I can seem to get over that line."This quote, drawing tears from adoring audience members such as Taraji P. Henson and Kerry Washington, was a powerful and beautiful statement. She continued,"The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity."

In Hollywood, the issue of lack of opportunity for minorities has recently caused much controversy. For example, the 87th annual Academy Awards that happened earlier this year were, quite frankly, extremely white. Not a single actor or actress of color was nominated. With so many lead roles being written for white men and women, where does that leave people of color? Even roles that are written for people of color tend to be whitewashed. What can be done to change this? Perhaps racial discrimination is a aspect of society that is so fundamental that it cannot be changed. However, society is making progress one step at a time. The nominations for the 2015 Emmy awards were one of the most diverse group of people yet. Still, the question remains, what can you do to help dissolve 'the line'?

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Consequences of Categorical Moral Reasoning

In the coming of age story of thirteen-year old Joe, in Louise Erdrich's novel The Round House, justice and how one perceives justice are some of the main themes. Joe lives on an Indian reservation in the late 1980s. After his mother is violently raped by a white man, Linden Lark, on this reservation, Joe struggles to define the line between legal and personal justice. Joe decides that in order to seek justice for his mother's rape, he must make sure Linden is no longer a problem. Joe concludes the only way this is possible is to kill him. The moment before Joe shots Linden Lark however, he hesitates,"Murder. For justice maybe. Murder just the same. I had to say this a thousand times in my head before I said it out loud. But there it is. And I can take him," (280). Joe acknowledges in this moment of hesitation that the act of killing is wrong, but disregards all consequences to do what he believes is just. Therefore, Joe uses categorical moral reasoning because he creates a solution not based on the backlash and act will cause, like a consequentialist would, but rather he decides what actions to take based on his morality and his beliefs.

I, on the other hand, am a consequentialist. Therefore, I believe that Joe was wrong to take drastic actions to kill Linden because consequences are inevitable. Even though Linden Lark was never persecuted for the crimes he committed against Joe's mother and another women, Mayla Wolfskin, previous to his death, the author alludes to inevitable justice as Joe discovers, "If I hadn't killed Lark, he'd have gone to jail for life anyway...I'd never tell anyone"(310). The author plays with Joe's discovery that the death of Linden Lark wasn't necessary, which in turn creates a regret and guilt in Joe. This is evident in the fact that he would not tell his family, or his best friend Cappy, or the police this discovery. He was too scared to admit the fact that he committed unnecessary manslaughter, according to the author, which was a direct consequence of his categorical moral reasoning. If Joe had considered the consequences of killing Linden, rather than acting on revenge-driven morality, a life would've been spared with the exact same outcome; Linden would've been out of the picture and Joe's mother would be safe to once again pick her beloved bush beans (294). 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Let's Talk About Feminism

Princess Diana
Today, September 6th, 2015 marks eighteen years since 2.5 million viewers from all around the globe tuned into watch Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997, (an event my mother claims to be one of the saddest days of her life). Princess Diana was more than just a member of Britain’s royal family, she was an icon. She was a real life Disney Princess. Little Girls all around the globe grew up idealizing Diana and even now, they grow up idolizing princesses such as Arial from The Little Mermaid, Princess Jasmine from Aladdin, Cinderella, and Queen Elsa from Frozen. However, Disney princesses are often unable to help themselves, needing a man to save them from their own lives. Little girls are growing up aiming to one day be courted by Prince Charming, rather than growing up believing that they get to decide who Mr. Right is. What does that teach them? That’s were Princess Diana was different. She was a Princess with independent thoughts and beliefs. She took her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry to Disney World because she wanted them to grow up like normal kids. She opposed sending her sons off to boarding school, which was a long reigning royal tradition. She spent years campaigning to spread awareness for the AIDs epidemic. Princess Diana embodied compassion, ambition, and positivity that made her such a fantastic, female role model.

Princess Diana with her sons at Disney World
Dare I say Princess Diana was a feminist? Feminism, a word today I can’t hear without seeing an eye roll. The word 'feminist' has developed an inherently negative connotation, and it is time to address this. We can ask ourselves why this has happened, but the fact of the matter is that 'feminism' is associated a certain group of individuals who are outspoken, and can be mistaken to be supremacists. As it is part of human nature to support or refute those who choose not to conform to societal normalities and stand up for radical change, the reaction to feminism tends to be on both ends of the spectrum. Feminism is not women arguing that they are better than men, or that they deserve preferential treatment because of their gender. It is rather women standing up for their own rights to be equal to men. The 19th amendment guaranteed women's equality before the law. However, on average women are still paid significantly lower than men in the workplace. It is an important issue that effects every generation, race, and gender.
Flowers left in tribute to Diana
September 6th, 1997

As the world remembers and cherishes Princess Diana, we continue to debate the role women have in society and the media. After all, paparazzi chasing Diana's car played a significant role in the cause of her fatal car crash. Was it because she was a women in the spotlight? Would it have been different if she was a man? The world may never know. Rest in peace Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-1997). 

For more information, check out Princess Diana's Royal Biography