The Blind Side is an award-winning movie that will undoubtedly tug at your heart strings leaving tears welling up in your eyes at one point or another. The true story made into film is about a Memphis boy being adopted by a determined mother of two. After driving by Michael Oher walking on the side of the road, Leigh Anne Tuohy alerts her husband to stop so she can make sure this young man does not need a ride home. After questioning where she can take him, she quickly learns he has nowhere to go and offers a place to stay for the night. As the story progresses Michael moves in with the Tuohy’s and eventually Leigh Anne and Sean adopt him.
The number of injustices in this real-life story is very telling that we need more Leigh Anne’s in the world. Michael was the son of a drug addicted mother, who had many other children to look after and lived in an underserved area with a father that was in and out of jail. To say he was neglected is an understatement. The Tuohy’s, a white family, was criticized by others for taking in this poor, young, black man. In one scene we watch as Leigh Anne listens to a message on the answering machine of a relative asking if they knew there was a “colored boy” in the Christmas card. Michael ends up playing football for his high school team and becomes quite good in his position, so good in fact he is vigorously recruited by many college teams. Towards the end of the movie Michael gets questioned as an investigation by the National Collegiate Athletic Association is underway with concerns the Tuohy’s adopted him so he could attend and play for their alma mater. Everything works out with a very heartwarming ending.
In this film we see black versus white, rich versus poor, a strong woman lead, drug and gang issues, and an assumption by a collegiate organization that Michael was adopted into this family for recruitment purposes. Michael struggles in the film to fit in anywhere and even goes back to where he used to live because he was having a hard time in this white family. This displays intersectionality that he as a poor, black man does not fit with a white, rich family and thinks his destiny is to join a gang in the inner city. When he is pointed out on different instances of being the black man in a white family, we are experiencing the theory of the “other.” Leigh Anne never gives up on him and truly sees him as her beloved son. Once he realizes that for himself, we see the third space that Leigh Anne created for him to be himself and be a part of this family, his family. As we all know this story had a very happy ending as Michael Oher had a successful professional career in the NFL. The courage Leigh Anne had to fight these injustices is more admirable than anyone can put into words.
ABC news. (n.d.). Retrieved April 25, 2021, from https://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/blind-side-star-quinton-aaron-opens-bullied/story?id=38397055
Board, O. (2015, November 30). Leigh Anne Tuohy and Michael oher’s story is featured in the film “The Blind Side.” #OSUSPEAKERS PIC.TWITTER.COM/DK2IXZCSBL. Retrieved April 25, 2021, from https://twitter.com/osuspeakers/status/671403084371767296
The blind side [Motion picture]. (2009). Warner Bros.
A great issue many of us might not think about because it does not affect us is homelessness. I have taken a recent interest in health care provided for the homeless which led me to how they are handling the global pandemic. We have all been battling issues surrounding Covid 19 and all kinds of new policies, but we tend to not think about other’s situations if they do not relate to us and our predicaments. One of my favorite concepts we learned early on in the semester that I have seen in just about everything we have encountered thus far is Adichie’s single story. This concept applies up and down homelessness. We often times have assumptions of people asking for change on the street and make up our stories on how they got there versus really knowing their story.
There have been many major cities and their attempts to help those and provide safe and effective places for these people to reside. The concern of the current shelters is how easily the infectious disease can spread within these small, overcrowded places. With that being said, it presents an issue to continue to do things the way they have been done. This pushed these cities to think outside the box to attempt to come up with a better solution. Unfortunately, I do not agree that these “safer” solutions are better for them. We see in this picture how Las Vegas provided these squares to aide in the social distancing concept. Other cities such as San Francisco have rented RV’s to have a place for those who tested positive to quarantine that do not require hospitalization. This idea is more appealing to me because they are providing these people with more of the resources they lack and are in need of.
Homeless people sleep in a temporary parking lot shelter at Cashman Center, with spaces marked for social distancing to help slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. March 30, 2020. REUTERS/Steve Marcus TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
I personally learned that homeless people are actually more at risk for contracting this disease because of the lack of a consistent place to stay and all that they are exposed to leading them to have weaker immune systems. We see in this short video that it took a pandemic for cities and their representatives to do things they should have been doing all along regarding our homeless citizens. Helping them is important for our healthcare systems as well. If we are able to keep them safe and prevent Covid 19 from spreading then that will alleviate the need for healthcare for them that they cannot afford to begin with. This also will allow for more available resources for people who are positive and in need of hospitalization. I think we can all agree if we have learned anything from the last year it is that we need to all look out for each other and not forget we are all human and we all have needs that we can pitch in and help one another.
Price, M. (2020, March 31). Las Vegas MARKING parking places for homeless encampment. Retrieved March 27, 2021, from https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/las-vegas-marking-parking-places-for-homeless-encampment
Respite centers for homeless are a critical component of the health care system. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2021, from https://nhchc.org/press/council-in-the-news/
In Lisa Ko’s The Leavers we meet Deming Guo or Daniel Wilkinson, a Chinese American boy who was adopted as a young adolescent. In part one we get a sense of who Deming is and are introduced to the struggles he bears that may stem from the difficulty of being an interracial adoptee, starting with having his name changed. I have cousins who were adopted and have always known them to be a normal family just like mine, but I never thought of kids who are from a completely different country or culture and what they face in their lives.
Upon researching about interracial adoption, I came across a journal article that had studied executive function in adopted children from Russian institutions into Spanish homes. It was found that the adopted children had trouble with attention, planning, and their memory. The study discusses several factors and how those factors played out in the results such as if a child was institutionalized at birth or if they were brought in as an older child. From reading about Deming’s experience, my initial thoughts about the adversities of being an interracial adopted child led me to think more, “how does this affect the child psychologically and emotionally.” Deming had a hard time fitting in at school, at first had a battle of personal identity, along with later learning he had a gambling addiction, I was thinking, “well this must be a result of being adopted by a family of a different culture.” I never even thought how it could affect cognitive processes.
Thinking back on what I have read I am starting to put the picture together. If you grow up speaking one language and kind of knowing another, then are thrown into a culture that relies on that kind of known language, how attentive would you be to what is going on around you?
Ko, Lisa. The Leavers. Little, Brown, 2018.
Peñarrubia, María, et al. “Executive Function and Early Adversity in Internationally Adopted Children.” Children & Youth Services Review, vol. 108, Jan. 2020, p. N.PAG. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.104587.