Friday, July 6, 2012

Civil Rights and Emotional Thoughts

After an early morning breakfast and quick review of my notes before class, I decided to brush off the defeat from yesterday and start anew. I knew that I couldn't let the loss in the debate phase me and that I needed to move on.

The morning started off with a review and discussion of the cases read last night, which all dealt with civil rights. The cases were all very saddening but also angering. The amount of contradiction in the cases was just appalling.
  • Dred Scott v. Sanford - Dred Scott sought to win his freedom because he claimed he had been emancipated since he had been taken to live on free land (Illinois). Scott temporarily won freedom but then later lost it when his previous owner wanted him back. After suing and trying to win his freedom again, the Supreme Court decided that Scott wasn't even considered a citizen since he was an African-American slave. He lost the case.
  • Plessy v. Ferguson (Separate but equal) - The Supreme Court adapted the constitution to support racial discrimination. Florida was the first state to adapt "Jim Crow" laws, and other Southern states soon quickly followed. Honor Plessy, who was 1/8 African-American, sat in the "White Only" section of a passenger car on a train. He was then arrested and convicted but later fought this in court. Justice Brown rejected Plessy's claim that Jim Crow laws violated the 13th and 14th amendment.
  • Brown v. Board of Education (Separate but not equal) - Mr. Brown was angry that his nine-year-old daughter Linda had to walk a mile across railroad tracks to attend an all-African-American school instead of being able to attend a Caucasian school nearby. Linda applied to the Caucasian school but was rejected because she was African-American. Earl Warren because Chief Justice during this case and expressed his conviction that racially segregated schools denied African-Americans their 14th amendment rights. The Supreme Court ruled that "separate but equal" in terms of schools in the South was unconstitutional.
After the morning session I got a quick lunch before heading with majority of our cohort to the Columbia Admissions Talk in Lerner Auditorium. I was hoping for more personal information about Columbia's admission process, but the talk fell flat. An admissions officer gave general and simplistic information about the admission's process. They then released Columbia's supplement questions, but those can be easily found online. All in all it was rather disappointing.

The afternoon session of class was very interesting. I was happy to get my quiz back from yesterday and found that I received a score of 11/10! We then watched a 90 minute film which captivated me from beginning to end.
  • Torturing Democracy - The 9/11 attacks frightened and angered all of America. Two weeks after the attacks, Vice President Dick Chaney formed the War Counsel, which launched legal attacks against the Middle East. Any Arab was at risk to being turned in as a terrorist. American soldiers gathered up detainees and tortured them, relentlessly screaming and insulting them. It turned out a large percentage of detainees were shepherds and no evidence or guilty had been found in them, but the Americans would not stop. None of the detainees were protected by war laws, and interrogation camps were similar to Stalin camps. Detainees even had leashes put around their necks and were treated like dogs, some came very close to death during interrogation, and the water-boarding technique was horrifying. The movie was very riveting but at some points in the film I was completely ashamed at America.
When class was over, we had a meeting with Ms. L, which was nice. Then I got a quick dinner before getting dressed to go to my first Broadway play! I saw War Horse, which was absolutely amazing. I am so glad I went. The suspense, sound effects, and acting was riveting and I was so honored to be there.

(From left to right): Kristen, Chiara, and myself
Seating group!
Inside Broadway
War Horse poster

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