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Reflection Essay- Collin Clark

Reflection Essay

When I look back on the film, “If God Is Willing and da Creek Don’t Rise”, I felt that some of the arguments raised by Mr. Lee were not as strong as others in his film. I am familiar with quite a few of Spike Lee’s other works and understand his general tone. I felt that this film made several decent arguments and several poor ones. Spike Lee touches on three important themes which are the new housing built after Katrina and the ‘injustices’ involved and the lack of people willing to help Americans with the effects of globalization. The beginning of the film where it shows the highlights from the Super Bowl and how excited the community was I felt conveyed how New Orleans acts as a whole which is a very proud community. Then the film delves into how Katrina has affected the interviewee’s lives.  Lee did find unique people for his film and most of them were entertaining and had good points. The case where the city council decided to demolish the dilapidated projects really got me flustered but not for the reason Lee was intending. I thought to myself, is this really a valid argument? And is this really racially charged? Let me begin this by saying I think it was an incredibly unethical decision to not let the public in to the meeting but I can understand this as well just so they could get things accomplished. The peoples, predominantly Black peoples, homes were completely destroyed by Katrina and they wanted to live in the projects for the time being. The city realized that this was an opportunity to get rid of the projects and have a clean slate for development, which does not occur often. They also started building new homes where the old ones used to stand. The Black community disagreed with this greatly and saw it as the city wanted them out and was pricing them out. I feel that this is the worst argument in Lee’s film because like I said in class after the film, these were houses that did not exist and the ones that did were beyond repair. One can only build a house for so much money wherein it can only get so cheap to produce a home. So it wasn’t that they were pricing the people out of the area they just had a rare circumstance where only new homes could be found. I feel that the Black community would have felt someone was against them if the city ignored the area and did not develop it so there are two sides of the same coin in this argument. This situation relates strongly to two of the topics we discussed in class about flood vulnerability and local knowledge versus professional knowledge. There was a clear difference presented by Lee when he interviewed locals and then reported on the city council and federal government. Spike Lee’s strongest argument I felt was the comparison of Katrina to the earthquake in Haiti and how the reaction from the United States differed so greatly in terms of the time it took to help. This comparison was unique and made a strong impression on me because Lee also opened up a whole other new topic that all too often gets overlooked. I believe there is a huge disparity in Americans helping foreign countries faster and more often than here at home. Spike Lee was very accurate with his statement. The reaction time between the two was night and day difference and that is unacceptable. This follows along with the environmental justice ideas of capabilities and globalization. With the knowledge of so many people in poverty around the world, it becomes easier to overlook domestic issues.  Many Americans have the capability to help others in foreign countries because it affects their emotions and makes them feel better feeling that they have helped a person in need.

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