Reversing Roe (2018)

Reversing Roe (2018) is a Netflix documentary that takes “a deep historical look at one of the most controversial issues of our time, highlighting the abortion debate from various points along the ideological spectrum in a winding story of abortion in America”.

(Source: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8948614/)

After watching the documentary, make a list of the various arguments the two sides of the abortion debate use. Which group did you find most convincing? Discuss in groups.

Read these to reviews:  

https://humandefense.com/reversing-roe-excludes-pro-life-women/

Write a brief blog post about Reversing Roe where you comment on the reviews: How do they differ? Which review do you agree most with, and why?

Electing a President

Some political campaings are remembered as mud-slinging (negative campaigning). This week, we will learn about the process of electing a president by studying various texts and sources in addition to watching the movie The Ides of March (2011).

Before watching the movie, you should answer these questions:

  1. What is a caucus?
  2. When do the Democrats and the Republicans have their conventions?
  3. What is decided at these conventions?
  4. How is a candidate chosen?
  5. What is the party ticket?
  6. What is a party platform?
  7. What is the Electoral College?
  8. What do you think is the decisive factor in winning a presidential election?
  9. Find out who the Democratic candidates for the 2020 election are. What strikes you as special about the candidates?

In order to understand the US political election system, there are numerous videos you can watch:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRu_JcarCDY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gseOeyS0NQ

After watching the videos, discuss: What are the strenghts/weaknesses of the American election system?

After watching the movie, discuss these questions:

  • What stood out as the main points/highlights in the movie?
  • What themes are explored?
  • What assumptions were embedded in the story?
  • What challenged you? What questions did it raise for you?
  • What characters in the movie change the most and why do you think?
  • Is politics more than likely to corrupt or ‘wake up’ idealistic wide eyed visionaries and dreamers? 
  • What role does media play in politics?
  • What is the message of the movie, in your opinion?

Source: http://www.pilgrim.org.au/blog_m/?p=123

Written assignment

In the movie, Paul Zara says “there’s only one thing I value in this world . That’s loyalty. Without it, your’re nothing”. Discuss this statement and comment on its relevance when it comes to American politics that you learn about in the movie. In your discussion, you should also comment on the title The Ides of March and its relevance.

Selma

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Amendment 15
United States Constitution
Ratified February 2, 1870

As it is Black History Month, we will be working with the movie Selma (2014) directed by AvaDuVernay. In groups of three or four, you should be working with these tasks after watching the movie. Read about the historical background here. 

Answer the questions from map 1. Look at the Alabama Literacy Test. What do you think of the questions? Sum up your thoughts on the questions in a paragraph or two.

President LB Johnson ensured the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Here you can read more about his presidency. Watch his civil rights speech (parts of it) and read the full transcript here. What American ideas, ideals and values are expressed? Look for literary and/or language devices that are used to enhance the message of the speech. Sum up your ideas in a few paragraphs.

The 13th amendment

The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1865 in the aftermath of the Civil War, abolished slavery in the United States. The 13th Amendment states: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” (Source: https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/thirteenth-amendment)

Before watching the Netflix documentary, you should revise a little about slavery in the US. Then watch this to learn about the impact of the 13th amendment.

Discuss the power of the media: Super predator. Criminal. Think about the power of media and the power of words. Discuss media and how words impact the perception and criminalization of people of color, both in the past and the present (animalistic, violent, to be feared, threat to white people, criminals, etc.). Give modern-day examples.

Discuss prisoners for profit: Were you aware of the Prison Industrial Complex and how corporations are profiting from incarceration?

Were you surprised to know about ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council—a committee of politicians and corporations influencing laws that benefit its corporate founders and pushing forth policies to increase the number of people in prison and increase sentences)?

Talk about CCA (Corrections Corporations of America, leader in private prisons that is required to keep prison beds filled—the leading corporation responsible for the rapid increase in criminalization) and how that impacts our communities. The film argues that there is a direct link between American slavery and the modern American prison system. What is your take on this argument?

“Noone in the hood goes to trial.” Discuss your understanding (or what you learned) about bail, plea bargains, and refusing to settle your case. How did the story of Kalief Browder impact you?

“You immediately become numb. That’s what jail does to humans, that immediate dehumanization, and sensory deprivation that nobody can really understand unless they live through it.” Discuss the impact this has on those currently incarcerated and what this could look like upon release.

Source: https://schd.ws/hosted_files/nywcmemphis2017/7e/13th%20Film%20Discussion%20Guide_By%20Amy%20Williams.pdf

Comprehension questions:

  1. What is the 13th amendment loophole?
  2. What was the Birth of a Nation? How were colored people portrayed?
  3. Explain what the Jim Crow laws were.
  4. Which president signed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Act? When?
  5. What was President R. Nixon’s main aim?
  6. Explain what the Southern Strategy was.
  7. Who initiated the War on Drugs and what was it?
  8. Why did the presidential candidate Dukakis lose the presidency, and to whom?
  9. What bill did President Bill Clinton ensure? And what were its consequences?
  10. What is Stand your Ground and where does it take place?
  11. Who was Emmett Till?
  12. Source: https://schd.ws/hosted_files/nywcmemphis2017/7e/13th%20Film%20Discussion%20Guide_By%20Amy%20Williams.pdf i

Practice vocabulary from the documentary by working on this: https://www.vocabulary.com/lists/2811635

Write a blog post where you list three ways this documentary has impacted you. What did you learn? What insights did it provide? What questions do you still have?