D I S C R I M I N A T I O N    &    N A T I O N A L    S E C U R I T Y    I N I T I A T I V E    --    B L O G
  DNSI Home - http://pluralism.org/affiliates/kaur_sidhu/
  Pluralism Project - http://www.pluralism.org
  Harvard University - http://www.harvard.edu

Friday, January 13, 2006

Labor of Birth

It is Christmas Eve in the world. I am at home with my family after many months. I finally have a moment to reflect.

Since September, I have lived a split life. On weekdays, I am in Boston keeping up appearances as a graduate student at Harvard Divinity, and on weekends, I am a filmmaker in Los Angeles, working in a tiny editing room on our documentary. We are in the final phase of Divided We Fall, shaping our two-hour rough cut into a polished completed film to be released in early 2006. This last phase has been more difficult than I could have ever imagined.

I have not written very much here during post-production. Between our preview screenings in Toronto, Harvard, and Southern California lie a mess of unglamorous stressful moments. There are long hours on the plane cross-country and long nights in the editing room with the team, trying new arrangements and new orders, cutting here, adding there, re-recording narration for the hundredth time, returning to the storyboard, working through frustration - don’t forget to eat something - watching the cut again, congratulating each other, berating each other – maybe we’re getting closer – getting stuck, breaking through – don’t forget. to. breathe. Making this film feels like giving birth to a something big after a four-year pregnancy. And this is labor, the most painful part.

One of the darkest nights for me came on December 11, 2005. That was the night we received news of the race riots in Sydney, Australia (pictured). Once again, the animosity lurking beneath the surface had broken out into violence in a community. Once again, the media reported the event. But there was little attention to the fact that violence is the last moment of an entire process in imagination. Dark-skinned faces are constructed as others, as foreigners, as enemies, in a nation’s consciousness before they are targeted by mobs. The race riots in Australia have shown that the question ‘who are we’ is not exclusive to America but concerns any pluralistic society.

My roommate is from Australia. I asked her, “Why aren’t certain faces seen as Australian?” She asked me, “Why aren’t certain faces seen as American?” Then she pointed out something interesting. She was born in Australia, yet people never ask her where she is from. If they do, she says “Chicago” and that’s that. My family has been in America for three generations, yet strangers almost always ask me where I am from. I answer “California” but that is never enough. They push me until I tell them that my grandparents are from India and there it is – I am an immigrant, problem solved. I appreciate people expressing interest in my ancestry, but I recognize clearly the assumption that usually underlies these questions: they do not see my face as an American face. Yet as my roommate pointed out, her ‘American-ness’ as a white woman is never questioned, despite her Australian birth.

So where are we now with the film? We’re closer than we were before. We need just a few more months. And we need funds. Finishing funds. This is my biggest prayer right now – that we find the support we need to finish, from small donations to larger investments.

Click here to help.

[This entry is cross-posted on "Into the Whirlwind," and was originally posted on December 24, 2005.]

Valarie     direct link     0 comments   Email post: 

Post a Comment

<< Home

About DNSI

The Discrimination & National Security Initiative (DNSI) is a research entity that examines the mistreatment of minority communities during times of military action or national crisis.

More Info:
DNSI Home Page

The Blog

Why a Blog?
The purpose of this web-log is to offer news and commentary in a fluid, dynamic format while our more substantive reports are forthcoming.

Recent Posts
Judge Alito on the Government's Wartime Authority:...
Judge Alito on the Government's Wartime Authority:...
Men Charged with Attacking Rajinder Singh Khalsa t...
Judge Alito on the Government's Wartime Authority:...
"Judge: Sikh student shouldn't have been arrested ...
"Get a Turban for Durbin!"
"The 9/11 Constitution"
Sneak Preview, California
First Draft at Harvard
"Hindus caught in backlash after July 7 terror att...

04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005
05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005
06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005
07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005
08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005
09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005
10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005
11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005
12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006
01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006
02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006
03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006
04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006
05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006
06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006
07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006
08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006
09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006
10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006
11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006
12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007
01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007
02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007
03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007
04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007
05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007
06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007
07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007
08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007
09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007
10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007
11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007
12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008
01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008
02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008
03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008
04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008
05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008
06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008
07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008
08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008
09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008
10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008
11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008
12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009
01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009


Religious Diversity News-Pluralism Project

Into the Whirlwind
Human Rights in India
Ethnic Confusion Britain
Anil Kalhan
Sepia Mutiny

Feeds, etc.

(c) 2005 Discrimination & National Security Initiative 1531 Cambridge Street Cambridge, MA 02138