Welcome to the 2018 Human Rights Film Series
No matter what side of the political spectrum you may be on, there is no denying the fact that our current President has redefined public dialogue about fundamental human rights issues confronting our world today. Name the issue--terrorism, racism, climate change, immigration, freedom of the press--and it is virtually impossible to have a discussion with family, friends or colleagues about these issues without referring to our current administration's position. Say what you will about the man, at best, he has reignited public discussion about some of the most critical human rights issues of our times. At worst, he has, through his bully Tweeter pulpit, caused increased dividedness within our country as a result of his deeply entrenched positions that are at the core of his Make America Great Again agenda.
Are CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post hucksters of "fake news," or staunch pillars of the Fourth Estate? Are Syrian refugees desperate humans in search of asylum, or potential terrorists we should not permit to cross our sacrosanct borders? Is climate change a Chinese hoax, or a scientific fact? Are there really "good people" among White supremacists? Given the overwhelming power and reach of our current President's unfiltered Twitter broadcasts, we thought it would be fitting to offer a half dozen films that serve as counterpoint to his position on some of the most critical human rights issues confronting our world today--with the goal of allowing you, as students, citizens and voters, to decide what is the objective TRUTH versus what is FAKE NEWS.
In response to his pronouncements on Charlottesville, we offer 13th, an Academy Award-nominated documentary that offers a disturbing view of the plight of African-American men in our society.
As an antithesis to the administration's denial of climate change, drawback of environment regulations, and snubbing of the Paris Treaty, we present to you Al Gore's Inconvenient Sequel.
As a counterpoint to the administration's travel ban, and painting all members of an ethnic group with a single brush (how can we forget his campaign promise to ban all Muslims, or describe Mexican men as "bad hombres"), we give you Constructing the Terrorist Threat, a compelling investigation of Islamaphobia in U.S. media and pop culture.
And to those who want to close our borders to all non-white aliens, we ask you in your hearts to consider the plight and the suffering of the millions of humans forced to flee their homelands as a result of drought, famine, genocide and war in the harrowing documentary Human Flow.
As students, faculty and citizens, you are the ultimate jurors in the arena of public opinion. After weighing the administration's position, versus the arguments presented in these timely documentaries, it is totally up to you to decide what is the objective truth. Through your voice and your vote, only you can decide what is right, and what is wrong, and ultimately define what are truly alienable human rights in the Age of Trump.
Edith Krause, Ph. D.
Karl J. Skutski, M. A.
Mark Frisch, Ph. D.
Mary Ann Hess, M.A.