Some Sikh, Arab and Muslim Americans became targets of hate crimes in the weeks following Sept. 11 for wearing a turban and a beard, characteristics Americans began to associate with terrorists.
To raise awareness of these crimes, a documentary titled “Divided We Fall: Americans in the Aftermath” was shown to about 50 people in the Reitz Union Auditorium on Monday.
Valarie Kaur, the filmmaker, traveled across the U.S. to interview victims of attacks when she was a college student.
“They were described as isolated incidents, but they were not isolated,” Kaur said in the documentary. “They were happening everywhere across America.”
The movie’s message prompted a subsequent discussion about diversity and how people should come to understand and accept other cultures.
“I understand why people want to be left alone,” said Farah Gulaid, a nutrition senior. “But I want to tell you. Just educate people, and let them know who you are.”
Tamara Cohen, UF’s director of Multicultural and Diversity Affairs, said popular culture complicates the image of an American. People want to claim a monolithic vision of America even though demographics are changing, she said.
Kaur’s reason for making the documentary was simple.
“So other people don’t look at the turban and see fear, hatred, something laughable, something less than human,” she said. “So people don’t look at the turban and see an enemy where I see a brother.” [Link]
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