||I had a lot of expectations for university in London, as my school really did a great job preparing me for the experience; however, nothing they could have told me would have prepared me for the level of marginalizationI experienced as an American in my World Cinemas class. Supposed to be taught as an introduction to global film, the class showed movies from around the world and sought to analyze the cultural constructs of these films and the means at which countires tried to sell these films to a global market. Unfortunately the class agenda was really focused on taking films from around the world, and comparing them with films from America.
"Why was this better than Hollywood?" or "See how they are trying to be more like Hollywood, here?" These questions were standard, and even more standardized was the use of the word "Hollywood" as a synonym for bad quality, in-authenticity, or cultural insignificance. Moreover, Hollywood became a representation of a greater identity–American culture–and as the only American in the class, my opinion was not only the minority, but it was the example, like the time I unashamedly noted that I had not enjoyed a film from Mali on the principle that I felt it was neither interesting nor objective:
"Maybe it’s people who are apathetic to global issues…like Alex...that are the real cause of Africa’s issues."
Utilizing an hour of class for the purpose of marginalizing me with a stereotyped group of Americans, the professor, hammered me with questions on why I had not enjoyed the film, essentially interrogatingme about my political views while using the front of “pushing” me. He wasn’t “pushing”me, but rather, he was trying to make an example out of me. He wanted me to say that I didn’t care about the issues of Africa, that I as an American took no responsibility for the world’s issues; he had done the same thing to a friend of mine in a previous class (she was from Hawai’i). I wish I could say that this class was enriching in some way, but it honestly was the most deplorable academic experience of my life. Every other class was brilliant, but this one was a downer for sure. Who would’ve thought that an ocean apart I could’ve been so tethered to America?