Friday, August 11, 2006

Religion, Bias, and Class

David Byrne on Jesus Camp and Christian fundamentalists.

More about the actual Jesus Camp here.

Reaction to this film is apparently favorable on all sides of the religious and political spectrum. Conservatives see it as promotion of the right way to raise your kids and be a good American and Christian, and Liberals see it as a affirmation that people who send their kids ot Jesus Camp or whackos at best. I'm interested to see how the documentary is presented - will it be unbiased?

Before you go and say that no documentary can come close to being totally unbiased, I ask you to view the documentary I watched on PBS last night, People Like Us: Social Class in America. This film takes an honest and straightforward look at how class shapes our society. From "white trash" to black "bougies" (a term I was completely unfamiliar with until last night, along with the organization Jack and Jill) to WASP's, the relationships in and among classes in America are explored, as well as the attitudes people in those classes have towards others in their own class and out of it. At no point do the film-makers appear to "take a side" - I never got the feeling that one class was better or worse than another - they are just what they are and that's all.

Back to Jack and Jill for a second - here is an organization that has existed since 1938, and has chapters in Kansas City and Johnson County. Hell, I even found out from their web site that a young man from Rockhurst won their national poster contest. Here is an entire organization that is as important to some as the Boy and Girl Scouts, DeMolay (another organization I don't know anything about, but at least I have heard of it), or 4-H, but because of racial divisions, I knew nothing about. Not that knowing about it is a life-changing experience or anything, but it does point out to me that because of my race (or my class) I am exposed to certain experiences and not exposed to others. It is up to me to break out of the race or class bubble to find these "hidden" pockets of experiences in order to be a more complete person.

To see what types of people live in your community, click here.

I also know that I must be realistic. Seeking out new experiences, to me, does not mean deciding to attend that big 'ol megacurch or going on a crack/meth hunt, or buying a jerky machine from Wal-Mart. I'm talking more about paying attention to what is going on in all areas of our city, not just the places with which I am familiar. I'm talking about being more consciously aware of my attitudes and perceptions with regards to race and class in my neighborhood, in my workplace, and in my city. I'm not saying that I still won't profile people - if I see a scuzzy-looking person walking down the sidewalk in the direction of my car, I don't care what color their skin is or what sex they are - if they look like they look like Kurt Cobain or Lil' Jon, or Ashely Judd with no makeup, I am locking my doors. I see that as a reminder that I need to lock my doors - not that THAT person is going to carjack my ass, but just in case the next one wants to, I'm gonna be prepared. But I am saying that I am going to try not to drop eye-contact with someone that I might perceive as "other." I would like to eventually move past the entire concept of "other." As it stands now, however, I am a work in progress.

And speaking of setting aside preconceived notions of behavior, this is one of my favorite short films. It was apparently an actual pilot for a TV show in Japan.

No comments:

Post a Comment