Today in our morning session, I decided to participate in the conversation on "Empires and Imperialism." I tried to keep an open mind while entering the classroom but the fact of the matter is, I don't agree with imperialism. The victimization of other counties, making them seem less than what they are is exactly how our country brainwashes it's citizens. Imperialism is the center of many political issues today, such as our international relation problems with Iraq and many other countries.
Most of what we spoke on in the lecture was vague and we weren't really having a conversation. The microphones were passed around to different students to speak up but everyone had something completely different to say, and we didn't really go past the surface of any one topic. After the lecture was over, I had shallow knowledge of various imperialist problems in almost every single continent, but I would not be able to hold a conversation on this topic with anyone. I agree with most of what our guest speaker was talking about but she was more radical in a sense that she would prefer for the U.S to stay isolated from everyone else's problems. I disagree, I feel as if America does have some sort of responsibility to help others TO AN EXTENT. Now hear me out; yes we are one of the most developed countries, yes we have the resources, but it doesn't mean that we have to have our noses in every single conflict in other countries. More times than none, America has made the conflict even worse and has benefited from it. The North American Free Trade Agreement, also known as NAFTA is one example that proves that America benefits from the exploitation of Mexican farmers.
After lunch, we visited China Town for a lecture on racism. During the lecture, we talked about a horrific event that happened in South Philadelphia High School. A group of Asian Americans were attacked at school and their administration refused to help them. The administration also pointed fingers at a group of African American students and blamed them for the attack. Our speaker also spoke on the three pillars of racism. One pillar is Slavery, another Genocide, and the last is Orientalism/war. I disagreed with these three pillars because it perpetuates the idea that certain people of color only experience one "pillar" of racism which is absolutely false. African Americans have experienced genocide and have been put in the front lines of war just as Native Americans have been slaves. The creator of these three pillars believes that those on one pillar should not participate in the oppression of those on other pillars, in other words, the Native Americans should not perpetuate the racist ideals against African Americans. I don't believe that the institution of racism is all that simple, it's a bit more complicated than that.After the China Town visit, we got to witness a beautiful but short ballet performance. One of Professor Lamas' previous students performed multiple scenes from Spartacus. The told the story of Spartacus's death and how his wife struggled after that. I love the art of ballet and it was very cool to be able to witness that.
The camp held a mandatory event that included the Dean of Admissions of Penn. He spoke to us about not being influenced by the "top" lists of colleges because our lists should be based on what we want out of our college experience. He said that there are schools that are just as good as the Ivies that have higher acceptance rates. He opened the discussion up to questions and one student spoke on Penn's "segregation" problem where people of color are marginalized and made to feel unwelcome. I thought the question was completely valid especially in light of the racist Christmas card put out by one of Penn's Fraternities. Dr. Furda danced around the question (like a true politician) and listed all the resources available to minorities such as the LGTBQ center or the African American resources center. This didn't really address the question as to why there is a notorious diversity issue at Penn. This question also helped me open my eyes and made me want to do more research on diversity at the schools I apply to because I would hate to feel unwelcome in a college environment.
On a lighter note, I went to the evening session for class and we watched one of the most confusing movies I've ever seen. I forgot the name, but it was about a man who could change the world with his dreams. Once his therapist finds out about his gift, the therapist goes crazy and starts changing and "solving" different issues in the world. For example (spoiler alert) his therapist solves the racism issue by turning everyone grey and solves the over population problem by getting rid of almost all the humans on earth. The movie was very trippy, I understood some of the metaphors for life such as the ability to change the world with our dreams, but the ending was so confusing.