Kincaid, “A Small Place” and Sontag, “Regarding the Pain of Others”

The two books by Kincaid and Sontag respectively share a similar theme that by recalling the old and dark history, we should contemplate how our pleasure is connected to the suffering of others. 


In the book A Small Place, Kincaid mentions the ugliness of those tourists that exploits the poorer people for their own pleasure. According to Kincaid, this is more like a spiritual form of utilization rather than direct exploitation that the beauty of tourist destinations can be a cause of suffering for locals (“A Small Place: Themes”). For instance, Antigua’s sunny and blue sky indicates that their fresh water is fairly valuable and rare because of the lack of rain. On the other hand, tourists just do not care about it at all since the beauty of the scenery is the most important for them. 


In the book Regarding the pain of others, Sontag mainly addresses the matters of obligation and domination. She claims that even though shocking war photographs have ethical value and contribute to significant representations of a country’s collective memory, our culture driven by media is overloaded with the images of brutality (“Regarding the Pain of Others, by Susan Sontag”). As the violence and suffering being the prevailing news, photographers and ideologues who are morally aware have become progressively anxious with problems of emotion exploitation.


Personally, I believe that the exploitation of others mentioned in both of two books is still remaining and happening in contemporary society. One obvious example would be the sweatshops that are infamous for the exploitation of the labor force. A sweatshop usually occurred in the clothing industry where a super crowded place with poor and socially unacceptable working conditions. Workers in the sweatshops are suffering under low wages for long working hours and even health problems. I would say this phenomenon is morally ugliness just like tourism in A Small Place according to what Kincaid infers.


“Regarding the Pain of Others, by Susan Sontag.” Garage, 2013,

“A Small Place: Themes.” SparkNotes, Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

Context Presentation – Black Panther – Week 13

The Black Panther film made a powerful entrance into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2018. It was a long awaited film for fans of the Marvel comics and films, but it had an even larger impact on the Black community. Black Panther focused on the rise to power of King T’Challa as the ruler of Wakanda. Wakanda is an African country that was created in the Marvel Universe and has a thriving hidden city with greater technology and resources than any other country in the world. T’Challa is not only the king of this amazing African country, but he is also the superhero Black Panther. The movie has almost an entirely Black cast full of extremely strong and inspirational characters.

This talented cast and amazing story shed a different light on Black culture that is typical in the entertainment industry. In an article on Vox, Tre Johnson explains “This makes Black Panther a palate cleanser of sorts, a healthy injection of powerful, beautiful images of the black body” (“Black Panther Is a Gorgeous, Groundbreaking Celebration of Black Culture”). The film was able to focus on the power of the Black community and give them hope for a better future where they are not oppressed by systemic injustices. It did not create a story in which a white narrative was intertwined into a black story, as often happens in films. Instead it created a black narrative that remained a black narrative, which is a huge move for the film industry towards representing the Black community clearly and more often (Johnson, “Black Panther Is a Gorgeous, Groundbreaking Celebration of Black Culture”). Without films like this, the Black community will continue to feel underrepresented in media. As a white male, I have had a plethora of major figures in the media world to look up to. I can not begin to imagine how it feels to be limited to only a select few figures that have made it into the mass media. Jamil Smith explained in a Time article how important it is to be represented in the mass media in order to feel seen and understood, but also for others to see and understand you (“The Revolutionary Power Of Black Panther”). By limiting the amount and characteristics of major Black characters in mass media it creates a single story of Black culture that often can come off as negative. The Black Panther film was so revolutionary because it represented many Black characters in an extremely powerful way. It has had an extraordinarily positive impact on Black communities, and hopefully it continues to inspire them to feel confident and strong with their culture.



Johnson, Tre. “Black Panther Is a Gorgeous, Groundbreaking Celebration of Black Culture.” Vox, Vox, 23 Feb. 2018,

Smith, Jamil. “The Revolutionary Power Of Black Panther.” Time, Time,

Context Presentation: Black Panther

The movie Black Panther is a film about challenging the power structures of a Nation. The film is about T’Challa and his new situation after his fathers death. His father was the king of Wakanda, and after he died T’Challa was the next in line to take his place. With this change up, there would be obvious challengers to the thrown.

Five African tribes were at war a long time ago fighting over a super metal called vibranium. When one person ingest this metal, he is bestowed with super-human powers and becomes the first Black Panther. He unites four of the five tribes and forms the Nation Wakanda. Wakanda wants to hide the metal from the rest of the world. With this secret and power, it makes the movie very interesting to say the least.

After Challas father dies and he takes over the throne, he has discovered that years ago someone wanted to take the vibranium and give it to people of African decent to help them over throw whoever was controlling them. With this kind of power being thrown out to whoever can be dangerous. After a battle or two, the metal is not distributed and kept away.

This is a very brief summary of the movie itself but the overall plot is there. People are oppressed and want to better them. With this story line, you can see that they depict Wakanda as a less fortunate place with poor people. This takes us back to the beginning of the semester when we watched a Ted Talk about the danger of single stories. They refer to peoples assumptions of places and the people that are there. Even though the world sees Wakanda as a third world country, they are very technologically advanced. At the end, they decide to help the rest of the world advance with its technology.

“Yo, Is This…” advice podcast/column

“Yo, Is This…” advice podcast/column

Writer: Yixiong Shang

Special note: Due to COVID-19, I conduct online education in China as a Chinese student. Under such extraordinary circumstances, this assignment will be written in a personal format.


The text is as follows

In this course, we have considered and understood many moments of injustice in the general context. Sometimes, we see implicit bias, which causes the unequal power structure we discover, and what we hear every day leads to social unfairness—examples of cultural discourse or other reasons. At the same time, it describes a lot of phenomena we have witnessed or read, as well as any further research, is done to understand what is happening and then analyze it based on the concept of the course we are discussing.

In this assignment, experts on racism dynamics analyzed the situation described by people who wrote letters or asked for advice. Regarding specific conditions, they discussed the complexity of the problem and explained some nuances from the perspective of systemic racism. I will describe and summarize these contents and list two to three cases of injustice and inequality caused by racial issues. Specific analysis and discussion of these examples are mainly aimed at a series of social status and class generated by the racial differences of modern races, give a detailed explanation, and put forward my thoughts.

In the blog, Tawny Newsome, Tony Sarabia, and Andrew Ti discussed their opinions on the topic of race. Among them, Andrew mentioned that racism really disappointed him and that it is crucial to formulate a no-language policy. As a comedian and on the comedy podcast network, Andrew believes that he should try to combine honest and challenging conversations with humor in the show. This is the only way to have some of these conversations. At the same time, Andrew said something about Good and Bad Hair with Mo Marable. He said that there is a story about uncensored white people after he thinks that if you want to bring some people around, you must be able to provide guarantees for people. In the black community, people themselves have all kinds of color problems and hair type problems. Therefore, people want to know how to talk to black people by not telling them how to talk about themselves. Andrew explained the term “horizontal” among people of color. For example, this kind of thinking is like an Asian because Asians benefit from American society’s privileges. It is undeniable that some people will try to play down racist behavior or make excuses for people, but for people of color, it can make people feel scared.

In my opinion, the event phenomenon discussed in this blog is more like a microcosm of contemporary society. Similar things happen in many places and many scenarios. Sometimes people need to pay special attention to their words and deeds at any time to avoid unnecessary racial disputes. We have to admit that racial issues are not worthy of attention in the eyes of some people. However, many people accidentally involve or offend other races. In fact, they are not malicious. This is also what the visitors in the blog mentioned. As comedians, they often need to handle such situations and problems very well and very carefully. I think their abilities and methods are worth learning and adopting.

In fact, there are many racial issues and phenomena discussed in similar blogs in today’s society, and there are many different types of problems that they reflect. Next, I will cite two examples and analyze and think about specific racial unfair phenomena and problems.

Just like before, in the public space across from the White House, people are likely to encounter a strange mixture of office workers during their lunch break. Meanwhile, tourists wearing MAGA hats mingled around Decatur House, the former mansion of the hotel owner. For at least the past three weeks, Lafayette Park has become a crucible in that scene of the struggle for the still-existing legacy of slavery in the United States: systematic racism.

Before 7 pm on June 1, local, state, and federal troops were deployed, wearing riot armor from head to toe, releasing rubber bullets, and spraying tear gas at a group of peaceful demonstrators gathered in the park to protest against the “blacks.” slogan. Since then, the controversy about systemic racism has swept across the country and the world. The Trump administration has repeatedly denied that discrimination against blacks is the foundation of its political, economic, and social structure. It is undeniable that for hundreds of years, racist policies, whether explicit or implicit, have cast a shadow on blacks physically, emotionally, and economically. After the Civil War, the United States might think that it has dragged chattel slavery into the dustbin of history. Despite this, the country has never done a good job of burning the remains of wounds. On the contrary, it left behind the still-burning embers: the black education system that Americans cannot accept, substandard medical services make them more likely to die of disease and disease. The economy prevents millions of people from earning living expenses. This kind of systematic discrimination is also a matter of life and death. Police violence kills only a few hundred African Americans each year. This is the beginning. The coronavirus pandemic is understandable. Black Americans often find themselves affected by discriminatory policies, living in polluted areas, and in many cases even lacking basic choices of nutritious food. Perhaps even more surprising is that the rest of the United States realizes these realities. For decades, the truth of systematic racism has been shrouded in the carpet, lest it makes white Americans uncomfortable and damages the electoral opportunities of those who can solve the problem.

Another incident I want to discuss is the recent series of police killings and documented police violence in large-scale peaceful protests. A student is being dragged from a car to a student in Atlanta, Georgia. The 75-year-old man was pushed to the ground. According to opinion polls conducted in the past two weeks, the American public’s awareness of law enforcement has begun to reflect the sentiments of black Americans more closely. Even before the recent protests and killings, black people expressed doubts about the police. If you are black, this is a punitive criminal justice system, but you can find forgiveness, compassion, and understanding if you are white. Not only because of your skin color, but also because a person’s life is of lower value than other citizens, and this is because of their skin color. The people marching in the street endured this injustice. They demand that Americans no longer be punished by themselves as before. They are evacuating the monument for the traitors who are still enslaving them. They called for lynching to be a federal crime. They want equal pay; they want political change. They want people to listen carefully and to will to change their mentality and behavior. In addition to fear, tension, and uncertainty, there is also a pessimistic cynicism-a feeling that nothing will happen if a person is a victim of police violence or misconduct. This systematic injustice caused by skin color problems has become a common phenomenon. We need to pay attention to it and consider practical methods to control it to avoid larger-scale conflicts and unnecessary troubles. As an Asian student, I was full of worries and fears when I saw such incidents. However, I know that the vast majority of Americans and the police are not as unbearable as the incident’s situation. But I still fear and worry about the occurrence of that kind of small probability event because once it happens, the consequences will be catastrophic.

In fact, according to the blog’s content and the two examples mentioned above, I can’t help but think of a concept I learned in the course of this semester. In the process of learning, there is a concept called “one” and “another.” Hegel first introduced it, it has a slave, and the slave owner is dynamic. People are treated differently based on their wealth, race, gender, and many other reasons beyond their complete control. Besides, the conceptual situation does not always have to be between the subordinate and the subordinate owner. In fact, when discussing a wide range of racial issues, this concept can be used to describe the general situation.

All in all, I believe that regardless of their background, race, sexual orientation, gender, and other characteristics, people should have a fair opportunity in society. Besides, it needs to be distributed fairly, and benefits and rewards should be distributed relatively according to the size of the contribution. Racism is not unique to the United States, nor is it limited to whites versus blacks. Racism and racist are always derogatory terms. Anyway, only those who criticize racial issues will use these terms. Racists themselves do not say, “I am a racist.” Racists believe that race has a scientific basis. They think that many appearance and personality traits and abilities are unique to race and that these traits are passed on to future generations through genes. The most important thing is that racists believe that their race is the highest, while other races are inferior to themselves. Some racists’ views are very black and white and think that whites are good, but non-whites are not good. Finally, I still call on people to end a series of social inequality caused by unfair system problems and racial problems, social class problems, and so on.

Context Research Presentation- Black Panther

The Black Panther is a marvel movie that came out in 2018 and was a box office hit that produced over a billon dollars (Smith). The movie has made many advancements for African Americans in the film industry since it was directed and acted by African Americans. Throughout the Black Panther, numerous topics like racism and colonialism were prevalent as well as Pan-Africanism. Pan-Africanism is the idea that people of African descent should be unified (Kuryla). During the 19th century, the idea of Pan-Africanism came about by African American individuals in the United States and Africa. The idea was introduced to the world in 1900 at the Pan-African Conference (Maloney). At the conference, many of the worlds African American leaders attended to discuss Pan-Africanism and its cause, which is racism and colonialism. The leaders at the conference agreed that African people need to unite to overcome the colonialism and racism that is throughout the world. By eliminating those factors, the unity of Africa can be achieved.

The idea of Pan-Africanism was introduced within the Black Panther. The movie takes place is Wakanda which is a highly developed and technological advanced country, but they allow the rest of the world to believe they are undeveloped. Part of the ideas of Pan-Africanism is to create societies that reclaim their country’s power, history, and culture. Wakanda and its leaders protect their country by staying hidden. They don’t want the rest of the world to take their power source, vibranium, or the culture they have built. Another reason that Wakanda stays hidden from the rest of the world is to limit the possible racism they could face. They are an extremely powerful country, so if other nations and countries were able to discover them, they could face racism for being strong leaders. Wakanda and the people living there oppose the racist idea that African Americans are unable to be powerful leaders and have great wealth or technology.

At the end of the movie, T’Challa, the leader of Wakanda and the Black Panther, starts to share Wakanda’s resources with the rest of the world. They believe in the support and aid that countries can provide to each other rather than colonialism. Another one of the ideas of Pan-Africanism is that colonialism must be eliminated for unity of Africa and African people. The movie shows that Wakanda is a prime example where countries can be successful and unite without the colonization of other countries. The Black Panther is a great superhero movie, but by looking at it in a different light, can exemplify relevant topics within the world and society.


Work Cited:

Kuryla, Peter. “Pan-Africanism”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 1 Oct. 2020,   Africanism. Accessed 3 Apr. 2021.

Maloney, Wendi A. “African-American History Month: First Pan-African Congress.” African-American History Month: First Pan-African Congress , Library of Congress, 19 Feb. 2019, Accessed 3 Apr. 2021.

Onyango, Rosemary A. “Echoes of Pan Africanism in Black Panther.” Journal of Pan African Studies, vol. 11, no. 9, Aug. 2018, p. 39+. Accessed 3 Apr. 2021.

Smith, Jamil. “How Marvel’s Black Panther Marks a Major Milestone.” Time, Time, Accessed 3 Apr. 2021.



Context Presentation: Black Panther Film

The Black Panther film, directed by Ryan Coogler, portrays themes of colonialism vs. isolationism embedded throughout the entirety of the film. The viewer is able to see the struggle Wakanda faces, while wanting to continue with isolationist national policy in order to avoid any potential conflicts with other nations. The root of this isolationism is to protect the nation of Wakanda and its people, and viewers see this often in T’Challa’s struggle when deciding what the right thing to do is: to protect his nation or protect as many refugees and struggling individuals as possible (Coogler). In all of the nations surrounding Wakanda, themes of colonialism are very real and very present. T’Challa and other Wakandan leaders fear colonialism because of the extremely valuable Vibranium that they possess; they fear being exploited by other nations for their resources and do not want to endanger any of their own citizens (Coogler). The film emphasizes how (an although fictional) nation in Africa is able to thrive and flourish without colonization taking place. Through class readings, we saw how colonization affected Okonkwo and his tribe in Things Fall Apart written by Chinua Achebe. We quickly saw how native tribemates became the subaltern after colonists arrived and began to change their entire lifestyle and culture (Achebe). This was the very concept that King T’Challa and Wakanda worked so hard to avoid. 

Another important impact of Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther film was on people of color around the world who were finally being represented in a major film (Coogler).  Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, the creators of the original Black Panther comic, explained in a 1990 interview that they decided to create this character for their youth black readers who were hardly ever represented in the media (Mattimore). I would also like to focus my context-research presentation on the historical-context and environment in which the original Black Panther comic was released. 

The Black Panther comic was released in 1966, during a time where the civil rights movement was gaining momentum, as well as the Black Power Movement (Mattimore). Stokely Carmichael was a critical leader of the Black Power Movement. He gave a moving speech at the University of California Berkeley, just a few months following the debut of the “Black Panther” (Stokely). Huey Newton and Bobby Seale then named their organization The Black Panther Party. According to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, The Black Panther Party for Self Defense was focused on promoting social change by challenging systemic injustice and the police who enabled it (“The Black Panther”). One of the main ideals of The Black Panther Party was that they did not believe that the decades of oppression against people of color could be fought against only through nonviolent protesting. Hence, the reason they named their party after self defense. 

This concept of protesting through means other than only nonviolence was also explored in Coogler’s Black Panther film. Erik Killmonger, King T’Challa’s long-lost cousin, came to Wakanda because he wanted to send Vibranium out to those who needed the tools to defend themselves. He was specifically referring to his Black brothers and sisters all around the world. King T’Challa and Wakanda as a whole philosophically believed that there was no need for unnecessary violence, and as mentioned before, also believed in isolationism. This meant that he was not looking to get involved in international affairs, especially supplying Vibranium to enable violence (Coogler).   

Ultimately, Coogler’s Black Panther film had a monumental impact on people of color because it brought to attention issues regarding colonialism and how oftentimes, history can be misconstrued when told from only one perspective. The film illustrated how Wakanda thrived and became a prosperous nation without colonialism, showing that colonialism is not necessary to develop into a flourishing nation (Coogler). The concept of colonialism is often portrayed by White writers who explain colonialism in a positive light and from their perspective only. Typically, these White writers believe that colonialism and assimilation into White cultural aspects will benefit the nation as a whole. However, both the Black Panther film and Achebe’s Things Fall Apart show that this is not the case from the perspective of those undergoing colonialism. Achebe’s Things Fall Apart was an incredibly impactful work of writing because it was written about Africa and actually written by an African individual. This work shed light on a perspective regarding colonialism that was not considered in history textbooks (Achebe). It uncovered how Africans truly felt about colonialism and how it impacted them. Achebe also showed his readers how the policy of colonialism also created “the Ones” and “the Others” as explained by de Beauvoir’s Theory of Otherness. Upon the arrival of their White counterparts, Africans immediately experienced “Othering” in the sense that they were labeled as different. White colonists labeled themselves as “the Ones” and began to use colonialism policy to attempt to culturally assimilate African individuals to resemble Caucasian culture (Beauvoir). 

Works Cited:

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. Penguin Publishing Group, 2019.

Beauvoir, Simone de. “The Second Sex.” The Second Sex, Vintage Classic, 2015. 

The Black Panther Party: Challenging Police and Promoting Social Change. (2020, August 23). Retrieved April 01, 2021, from

Coogler, R., Cole, J. R., Feige, K., Göransson, L., Lamar, K., Berman, D., . . . Kirby, J. (Writers), & Morrison, R. (Director). (n.d.). Black panther [Video file].

Mattimore, R. (2018, February 15). The Real History Behind the Black Panther. Retrieved April 01, 2021, from

Stokely Carmichael. (n.d.). Retrieved March 31, 2021, from


Context Presentation: Black Panther Film

Black Panther is a film directed by Ryan Coogler. Even though the film was created from a fictional character of the Marvel Comics, the movie still had a huge impact on African American history.

The film is about a Prince who takes over his nation after the tragic death of his father. T’Challa returns home to be crowned King of the Wakanda nation. He is faced with many opposing tribes that didn’t want him as King, as they claimed he wasn’t ready for that position of power. Wakanda is a nation that didn’t accept help from any other country nor did they meddle in any other countries affairs. The main theme of the movie was the challenging power structures. T’Challa faces a lot of hate for his position, specifically his fight with Killmonger. Killmonger uses his royal bloodline to challenge the new King. He ends up winning and being crowned King of Wakanda. As King he attempts to topple the Western dominated world order and the structures that oppress black people worldwide. Though overthrowing powers is always a controversial topic in history, it is always an important of a successful society.

I wanted to connect the movie Black Panther with the successful party called the Black Panther Party. The Black Panther Party was founded in 1966 in Oakland, California by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. The main purpose of the party was to patrol African American neighborhoods to protect residents from acts of police brutality. The Black Panther Party came into the national spotlight in May of 1967, when a small group of it’s members marched as a protests against the pending Mulford Act. The party viewed the legislation as a political plot to oppose the organization’s effort to fight police brutality in the Oakland community. The Black Panther character was born in the Civil Rights era, and he reflected the politics of that time.  The character symbolized courage, challenge, grace, and rites of passage. The Black Panther is a character that matters the most in the film industry because he is the best chance for people of every color to see a black hero. That in itself is its own kind of power.




“Black Panther Party.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 9 Feb. 2021,

Cawthon, Cliff. “Black Panther: The Marvel Film’s Meaning Runs Deep.” March 7, 2018 | Real Change, Real Change, 16 Mar. 2018,

Smith , Jamil. “How Marvel’s Black Panther Marks a Major Milestone.” Time, Time,


Black Panther Context Presentation: A New Type of Role Model

Black Panther made history as being the 33rd film to gross over 1 billion dollars at the global box office (Yamout). It is possibly the first mega budget film directed by a black director and featuring a predominantly black cast. (Smith). While the movie is fictional, and features a fictional African country and superheroes, it confronts many real-world issues regarding race, power, gender, and politics. This film made history with the cultural impact that it created.

As stated by Jamil Smith in Time magazine, the character of T’Challa represents more than a superhero, he is a black hero. In the media and the world we live in today, there are few black characters portrayed as heroes. (Smith). As someone who is white, I never really considered what it might be like to not see people that look like me in positions of power or as protagonists in films. We all need role models, and this film changed the narrative by providing a black lead who is both strong and in touch with his emotions. The character of T’Challa is relatable and shows kids and adults alike the possibilities of who they can be are endless.

Not only does the film portray a black male lead, but also several female supporting leads who portray strength, independence, and intelligence. The fiercest warriors in the film are women and they fight fearlessly for their country. T’Challa’s sister, Shuri, is the smartest person in the country and is the mastermind behind the technology that protects them and supports them. (Silverstein).

Black Panther made history by proving that a film does not need to have a white, male lead to be successful financially. But the success of the film is so much more than money. When people can see themselves in the characters they see on screen, they feel both empowered and inspired.


Works Cited

Silverstein, Melissa. “Wakanda Forever: The Overt Feminism of ‘Black Panther’.” MarketWatch, MarketWatch, 22 Feb. 2018,

Smith, Jamil. “How Marvel’s Black Panther Marks a Major Milestone.” Time, Time,

Yamout, Dania. “The Cultural Impact of ‘Black Panther.’” Medium, Medium, 6 Apr. 2018,,modern%20day%20American%20hip%2Dhop.


The Reluctant Fundamentalist

While reading The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a consistent thing that you will notice is the consistent attention towards appearances, and judging the way others look as well. There is more to the paying attention towards appearances, though. Changez comes to America for schooling to Princeton on a scholarship, in fact he graduates the top of his class. However, he struggles with an important ability to understand and narrow down his impressions of the American society, as he is from Lahore, Pakistan. By reading the two different types of government types, the four words will say the difference alone. In Pakistan, they live under a federal republic; which, this has a republican central form of government. Moreover, the  goernmenr of United States of America is ran by a democratic republic. Included, our different approaches to what we choose to and what we can wear has an effect on Changez. The women of his originating civilization do not dress as lightly as they do in the States; in fact, their women are most commonly covered with little to no skin showing. With this being said, I refer the the image presented during the module over Persepolis. (Image provided below) While the matter of sexism has been addressed on multiple occasions throughout the semester, it does not and will not magically disappear. In the Middle East, we have observed multiple sexist situations, especially with how the women act and dress, but this is in the eyes of us who have been around feminism for all our lives, or a good portion. Allow this to be a time to try and view their culture through their eyes to better understand why they choose to live the way that they do, their culture. We are often closed-minded to opening our brains to thinking the same way that they do. Instead, we need to consider understanding their process of thinking, and this is shown on multiple cases by Changez when he tries to understand our culture.



Image from Class:

Some more deep reading on the way Pakistanis live:,highest%20unmet%20needs%20in%20Asia.

If interested, here is a topic over What is Culture?