The Education of Shelby Knox – Better Late Then Never…

The Education of Shelby Knox  (2005) is a must see. The film documents the  activism of teenager Shelby Knox’s and her fight for the right to comprehensive sex education for teenagers and for  basic civil rights for all people no matter their sexual orientation is inspirational. Knox’s struggle is of particular interest because of her conservative christian/ republican upbringing in Lubbock, TX.

Proving that you are never to young to speak up and speak out, Knox shines as a genuine critical-thinker who examines the moral framework of her upbringing and finds it lacking – noting that her god is a forgiving and loving god. Knox’s determination and endless pursuit of social justice reminds viewers why we need voices and activism.

In all honesty – I am late in the game on this one. I should have seen it six years ago, but it is still worth watching. For those of you who have Netflix – the film is available through instant watch or you can buy it on Amazon. And if you don’t know – Shelby is still out there fighting her fight. You can find her blog at shelbyknox.com and her twitter handle is @ShelbyKnox.

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Roman Polanski

So after more than three decades Roman Polanski has been arrested, and people everywhere seem to feel sorry for him. I’m confused. Isn’t raping a thirteen year old an atrocity?

Sure, the guy is a cinematic genius and an Oscar winner. And sure the Manson family brutally murdered his wife and unborn son. And I’ll even give you that he’s old and repentent. Yes, it’s also true that the victim feels that all of this is in the past…

But really people stop feeling sorry for this man. He drugged, raped and sodomize a child.

Assumptions

So I work at a for-profit university, and today we are celebrating opening week by using a movie theme. There was a raffel where students could win free movie tickets, a red carpet – you get the idea.

Today’s activity was focused around the film Grease. The played the musicas our students arrived and people dressed the part – mostly professors. At this point I need to mention that the students where I teach are of all races, but it is fair to say that white students are in the minority. With the Grease theme I couldn’t help myself from thinking about a disscusion I was having in a feminist theory class the other night – a discussion about intertextuality, social context, social construct, and essentialism.

What I keep wondering is can we really expect mixed race students to have the same affinity for and excitement about a film that speaks very little to their experiance? What does Grease mean to them? And also does a celebration of this film perpetuate the social construction of white sterotypes as dominant? It feels that way to me. I feel like my students are being asked to feel celebratory about everything that oppresses and marginalized them.