Week 14 : Regarding the Pain of Others

Regarding the Pain of Others is created by Susan Sontag about the war photography, which talks about the relationship between human pain reflected in the image and the spectators. Susan uses the mutilated arms, bloodied faces, black and white images in the war and disaster to reflect the cruelty and misery of the world. Although the tragic images can arouse the spectator’s compassion, people’s feeling of helplessness makes these images seem redundant and absurd, which are ubiquitous and incompatible in life.

Since the spread of photographic technology during the First World War, people began to look from a distance at what was happening thousands of miles away, witnessing the somewhat horrifying reality and suffering of others. Definitely, photography as a media to inspire compassion, sympathy, and anger to focus on the disasters and wars outside of the personal world. However, like Susan said, “photography shrivels up as much sympathy as they create”, while we are eating our food, we are watching on television which reports a bloody conflict taking place in some corner of the world. Meanwhile, we are unconsciously bystander of other’s disaster. Even the news and images of war are the seasoning for small talk with friends or family members.

In this book, While Susan focuses on the ethical value of photography itself, she also criticizes the medium through which these images are transmitted. She considers the motivation of the photographers who take pictures about war. Their purpose is to provoke a reaction and click rates. The flood of information caused by TV and newspapers excavates and satisfies the human peep addiction. And people unconsciously get used to and approve this way of life which watches the pain of others. This is a result of the media’s tactics to attract audience rating in way of compassion as cheap commodity, pain as pungent material.

Citation: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52373.Regarding_the_Pain_of_Others

Week4 “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Background introduction and analysis

In 1963, black civil rights activists called for a march in the streets of Birmingham to protest racial discrimination. The movement’s leaders applied for permission and security for the march on Easter Sunday, but the local police chief, Conor, refused. The city authorities then asked the court to issue a ban on the march on the grounds of public safety and order. But the leaders of the march defied the court’s order to stop the march. This action led to the arrest of eight of the leaders of the march, including Martin Luther King. While in prison, King received letters from seven prominent church figures demanding that he call off the demonstrations and rely on negotiations and the courts to resolve the matter. King wrote his famous “Birmingham Jail Letter” on the edge of the newspaper.

As an outstanding black leader in the African-American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr., guided by the theological idea of nonviolence, led the blacks in their struggle for citizenship, against racial discrimination and oppression. The city of Atlanta discriminated against blacks and segregated them. In this environment, Christian theology had a strong influence on King. Compared with Atlanta, Birmingham was also full of racial discrimination and racial oppression, which formed a strong contrast with the ideas of freedom, equality, and fraternity advocated by Christian theology, and became the main motivation of King’s struggle.

King, based on Christian theology, advocated fraternity and against blacks who, dissatisfied with the status quo, resorted to violent means of protest. Some people view nonviolent resistance as negative, but in King’s view, it is a positive act of religious faith as opposed to the collective silence of the church. The flipside of King’s vision of nonviolent struggle, moreover, was an affirmation of American values. In King’s view, the American spirit and the Christian spirit were always one and went hand in hand, which objectively won him the support of the federal government. In the midst of the Birmingham black protest movement, President Kennedy even announced the deployment of 3,000 federal troops to the outskirts of Birmingham to safeguard agreements in favor of blacks.

Information from:



Week 14: A Small Place

A small place is a novel that describes the changes of a tourist destination by comparing the colonial past and present. The past and the present of colonization are never clear, because the explanation of now has to go back to the past, and to go back to the past has to tell the history of colonization. Jamaica Kincaid shows us how to attack Britain and its colonial rule. The content of the novel is closely linked, revealing the corruption of the government and the bad situation of the tourist destination step by step. The novel reveals the corruption of Antigua’s government, which ignores the country and the people, through two facts that Antigua’s ministers all hold green cards and that although Antigua’s medical and economic conditions are poor, the ministers will hire the best doctors and nurses. At the same time, these corrupt governments lead to the bad environment of Antigua, which also nourishes the corrupt government. Moreover, because Antigua’s ministers all have green cards, they will not pity people who are discriminated against by colonialism. These Antigua ministers can sell their country for their own benefit and then flee to the United States. As a tourist destination, the government discriminates against its own people and does not allow Antigua people to use the best beaches. You feel Jamaica Kincaid’ anger, you think she should be, but you only read her casual satire.


I also read another novel of this week, regarding the pain of others. There is a passage in the book that resonates me with  Jamaica Kincaid’ Antigua. As long as we feel compassionate, we feel that we are not complicit in the inflictors of pain. Our compassion declares our innocence and our incompetence. At the same time, regarding the pain of others made me think. Can we really feel the pain? I don’t think you can experience the sufferings of the indigenous people of Antigua when you haven’t experienced this kind of corrupt government and bad environment. I think the pain recorded by novels is not in line with reality, because even if novels are not written for art, novels themselves are artistic. In order to shock readers, the description of the environment itself may not really show the suffering of the real world. In addition, when you travel, you may only notice the blue sky, the waves under the sun, and the luxury hotel facilities. However, you can’t believe that the indigenous people of Antigua who were once under British colonial rule were still discriminated against in their own country. When you’re swimming in Antigua’s pool, you don’t know Antigua doesn’t have its own sewage treatment system. When you’re eating delicious lobsters, you don’t know that Antigua’s people are still hungry. I think if colonial rule brought advanced science rather than terrible oppress and exploit. If they take the rule of civilization rather than brutality. Will Antigua become beautiful and prosperous


Work Cites:

Zhiru, et al. “Regarding the Pain of Others.” Douban, https://www.douban.com/group/topic/1299996/

Week 14 : Regarding the Pain of Others Analysis

Susan Sontag’s “Regarding the Pain of Others” is a book focused on war photography. It explores the relationship between the suffering of the person reflected in the image and the viewer.When suffering all kinds of inhumanity, darkness, misery, life and death, all we do is slide the phone, turn on the TV, and click the mouse. While browsing the interpreted so-called news images, smacking the fragrant coffee, watching and sighing for a while, we continue our respective lives. All these have forced war photography to get closer to the vague images in exchange for a short stay of people’s attention, and this behavior itself also makes war photography and readers more indifferent.

War is the subject we are covering this week. When we hear the word “war”, we first think of inhumanity, darkness and death. In this article, the author described to us countless tragic war scenes, such as the American Civil War, which was the first large-scale war after the Industrial Revolution. Most of the 3.5 million people who participated in the war were volunteers. The war killed 750,000 soldiers, maimed 400,000 soldiers, and an unknown number of civilians were also affected. All these figures and bloody photos remind people of the importance of world peace.

But what this book wants to highlight is that as bystanders who have not experienced war, can we really perceive such pain? The pain of being photographed itself is inconsistent with reality, because even if it is not taken for the sake of art, photography itself is artistic. The photographer hopes that through such a tragic scene, people can see the pain of others and work hard to do something. But when it arouses people’s mercy, what he shows is not a real scene in itself. There are some photos that we will shudder every time we turn them over. If you have ever stared at some photos of torture, you must be able to leave in your mind the feeling of being in an extremely shocking state that is hard to erase. What we have for suffering is often more than pure pity, because how is pity felt? Why do we have mercy on certain things, all we can use is our own memory. (Susan 20)The suffering caused by war is beyond our comprehension, although we can see the scene of war through photos, so we call for world peace.

Work Cited:

Sontag, Susan. “’Regarding the Pain of Others’.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 23 Mar. 2003, www.nytimes.com/2003/03/23/books/chapters/regarding-the-pain-of-others.html.

“Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag.” Goodreads, Goodreads, 26 Aug. 2004, www.goodreads.com/book/show/52373.Regarding_the_Pain_of_Others.

Week 14 Presentation: A Small Place

We have not experienced war, but also no stranger to colonialism. Colonialism is an aggressive policy by which powerful countries use various aggressive means to turn backward countries into their colonies. “A Small Place” is political narrative prose published by Kincaid in 1988 that accused colonialism and rebuked the Antigua government.

Antigua is a small island nation in the West Indies that has been under British colonial rule for a long time, and it has gained independence after breaking away from colonialism but continues to be poisoned by neocolonialism. Neo-colonialism is an indirect and concealed method of colonial aggression adopted by Western powers after World War II. Due to the vigorous rise of the national liberation movement, imperialism could not continue the old colonial policy and instead used economic advantages to carry out economic and political actions against non-Western countries, continue to control the country that has gained political independence. The new colonists are the continuation of the old colonists, and “tourism” is one of the forms of neo-colonialism. Tourism, as the pillar industry of Antigua, is actually still controlled by the United States, Britain, and other countries. The Antigua government continued to cooperate with colonial rulers for personal gain, forming a class basis for the continuation of tourism colonialism. Kincaid pointed out that although Antigua has become independent on the surface, the colonists continue to exist under the name of “tourism”, the local people are still suffering.

In the face of the lingering legacy of the old colonial and the trauma of the new colonial, Kincaid did not suppress her inner anger, or adopted a gentle and euphemistic tone like other writers of her generation, but used her “cursive” style. As a “descendant of the colonized” who immigrated to Europe and America for many years. She angrily exposed the illusion created by the colonists, presented to the world the real history and current situation of the colony, and expressed her hatred of colonialism and hatred of the incompetent Antigua government. In today’s globalization with the theme of peaceful development, there are still many places controlled by colonial countries like Antigua described in “A Small Place”. The independence and prosperity of those areas and the equality and well-being of the people are nowhere in sight. Kincaid wrote history and reality, truth and illusion with its extremely tense, frank, and unique language charm, which made me fall into deep thinking.


Kincaid, Jamaica, et al. “A Small Place Section I Summary and Analysis.” GradeSaver, www.gradesaver.com/a-small-place/study-guide/summary-section-i.

Published by E. M And View all posts by E. M And, et al. “Jamaica Kincaid: A Small Place; Literary Analysis and Review.” Things of Interest, 31 Mar. 2018, thingsofinterestweb.wordpress.com/2017/03/19/jamaica-kincaid-a-small-place-literary-analysis-and-review/.

Smith, Haley, et al. “A Critical Analysis of ‘A Small Place’ by Jamaica Kincaid.” The Odyssey Online, 15 Oct. 2019, www.theodysseyonline.com/critical-analysis-of-small-place-by-jamaica-kincaid.

Week 13: The Representation of Black Women in STEM

An underlying theme in the film Black Panther, is the representation of Black women and their active involvement in the progression of their country and their desires to improve lives beyond their own. The release of this film was an overall representation of Black people that was unlike most media, but it also showcased and celebrated a Black woman, King T’Challa’s 16-year-old sister Shuri, who excelled at STEM and became a valuable piece in finding solutions to problems that many did not know how to handle/solve. 

Wakanda, the country in the film Black Panther, revealed a world in which the women were essential to its growth and survival. “. . . Black Panther helps us to envision a technologically and intellectually advanced African nation in Wakanda, one in which Black women play important roles. Princess Shuri, Ramonda, the mother of Shuri and T’Challa, and Okoye, the leader of the Dora Milaje, are the very definition of ‘Black girl magic,’ a term coined by CaShawn Thompson in 2013 ‘to celebrate the beauty, power, and resilience of Black women.’ As with the case of imagined technologies, one can hope that these visions will also become reality for the futures of Black women” (Allen 20). Shuri in particular was a character who emulated the gain in creating a space in STEM for women, especially Black women, to feel safe in. In witnessing such representation in this film, it allows for more Black women to feel inspired and motivated to work in an environment that has proven to be difficult and hindering. “. . . we cannot expect women and underrepresented minorities to remain in work environments where they cannot grow and thrive. We also cannot expect girls to enter fields where they do not see positive role models. It is imperative that we stop the constant drip from the leaky STEM pipeline by working hard to retain women — and especially underrepresented women of color” (Jefferson 37). It is valuable going forward to showcase Black women in valued and respected roles as the immense history of antagonization of their race and gender has caused them to falter within the scope of their self-identity. This issue then affects their willingness to pursue a career that they cannot visualize themselves partaking in. 

Black Panther has particularly incentivized more Black women to feel represented and motivated to go on to working in STEM which proves the influential status of the entertainment industry. “The success of American black women is dependent on the information, direction, encouragement, education, influences, and what others can offer (Clewell & de Cohen, 2010; St. John, 2010)” (Grant-Horsey 8). By highlighting the value of Black women in the film through Shuri’s intellectual feats in technology and being vital to her country’s economic progression, her technological prowess became a tool to improve lives beyond her own rather than upgrade weapons to demonstrate power. Having the ability and intelligence to improve her country and well beyond it, Black Panther shows the positives in having more women of color in STEM.


Works Cited:

Allen, Marlene D. “If You Can See It, You Can Be It: Black Panther’s Black Woman Maji.” Journal of Pan African Studies, vol. 11, no. 9, 2018, p. 3. Gale Literature Resource Center, http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=0&sid=3c20728d-a876-4da5-b07a-d63569a5b439%40sessionmgr4006.

Grant-Horsey, Wyn. “American Black Women in STEM Finding Their Voice: An Ethnographic Study.” 2020, p. 161. ProQuest, https://search.proquest.com/openview/63efa646e290289b86b136dbfb63d79e/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=44156.

Jefferson, Erika. “Where Are the Black Women in STEM Leadership.” US Black Engineer and Information Technology, vol. 43, no. 3, 2019, p. 1. JSTOR Journals, http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=0&sid=8867dd6f-25a9-4aa2-85f8-cc5914668c57%40sessionmgr4008.

Week 13: The Importance of Belonging

This week we are viewing Black Panther, a movie that elicited many positive responses from the Black Community as it showcased a Black director and predominantly Black cast.  The movie brings up the subject of African diaspora and the loss of cultural identity.  African Americans move to American for many different reasons, whether it’s career opportunities, education, healthcare, or family.  Killmonger’s father moved to America as a Wakandan spy, so Killmonger was raised in American.  While he knew something of Wakanda, he wasn’t brought up in Wakandan culture; all he had was what his father left behind. He was left with fragments, with stories, but he had to piece all of that information together the best he could, on his own. In spite of his best efforts, he was close to the culture, but he never had complete access to it. 

On the other hand, you have people that live in the same area as their ancestors or are surrounded by family and friends like them, and they know exactly who they are.  T’Challa knows exactly who he is and what he is supposed to do.  He has been groomed and supported by his culture to become the Black Panther.  This sense of belonging within his community allows him to deal with the difficult situation of his father’s death as well as his overthrow by Killmonger.  The Mayo Clinic discussed how important a sense of belonging is for our physical and mental health.  Having a support system and knowing you are not alone, allows you to cope more effectively with difficult times in your life.  This is why many people move back to their home country or decided to move to a place where they feel they belong.

A number of African Americans are moving to the Motherland, many inspired by the recent “Year of Return” movement initiated by Ghana, 400 years after the first Africans were brought in chains to Jamestown, Virginia.  In 2019 Ghana gave citizenship to 126 people of African descent, many of them Americans.  One American who moved was quoted saying, “There is a comfort that comes with being around people who look like you, and seeing [people like you] on billboards and in government positions,” said Reid, 36 (Jones, 2020).  Many that have moved say they feel a sense of belonging and view their new country as a safe haven from racism.


Works Cited:

“Is a Sense of Belonging Important?” Mayo Clinic Health System, 8 Mar. 2019, www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/is-having-a-sense-of-belonging-important#:~:text=The%20sense%20of%20belonging%20is%20fundamental%20to%20the%20way%20humankind%20organizes%20itself.&text=The%20social%20ties%20that%20accompany,difficult%20times%20in%20our%20lives. 

Jones, Princess. “Why Black Americans Are Moving to Africa.” New York Post, New York Post, 30 Mar. 2020, nypost.com/2020/03/28/why-black-americans-are-moving-to-africa/. 

Sparkles, Kira. “Black Panther’s Killmonger Represents a Loss Cultural Identity.” The Mary Sue, 7 Mar. 2018, www.themarysue.com/killmonger-and-cultural-identity/.

Week 13: Black Panther Analysis

In class, we’ve discussed various types of discrimination that have occurred recently or in the distant past. After watching Black Panther I believe a common theme is challenging power structures. As king, we see Killmonger attempt to topple a Western dominated order and topple structures that oppress black people. Overthrowing powers that are unfair and unjust in a society is an important part to a successful society. One of the first units in class this year required us to listen to a Ted Talk carried out by Chimamanda Adiche that pertained to the dangers of a single story. Adiche mentions a common misconception when people first think of African countries, and it has to do with the fact that a lot of people believe that many African countries are labeled as, “Third World.” This ties into perfectly with a certain scene in the movie where the tribe uses vibranium to become a technological superpower, but isolate themselves and hide from society by pretending to be a third world nation. Zoe Kelland, a writer for, “Global Citizen”, debunks the myth that Africa is poor and always will be. One in three Africans are defined as middle class, and whilst many Western economies are in crisis, Africa’s economy continues to grow (Kelland). All in all, Wakanda disguising themselves as poor seems to be a metaphor. The stigma that African countries are predominantly poor is addressed in the movie and we see that societies in Africa can be wealthy. Another theme that I noticed throughout the film was the idea of conflicting identities. In class, we studied the concept of the “Other”, the theory that covers how being a woman is constructed in contrast to being a man, which most cultures have treated as the default fully human type of a person. There is a fundamental tension in the notion of being African American because to be black on some level means not being totally accepted as an American by much of society. Although the concept of the “Other” revolves around women in society, there is a theme here that still depicts African Americans as being the other. After watching the film, I noticed many similarities that we covered in class that appeared to be evident in the movie. I believe that if black populations were untouched by colonization and discrimination, they could’ve advanced in their own cultural context. Killmonger represents those who are aware of this vision and wants to share it with society and specifically black communities that have not been able to succeed under oppression.


Works Cited:

Snyder , Kaija. “Debunking 15 Common Myths and Misconceptions About Africa.” Global Citizen, www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/africans-are-all-poor-and-15-other-myths/.

Week 13 Context Presentation: Wakanda in Relation to African History

After watching Marvel’s Black Panther, the take Marvel brings in displaying black culture in a major film was unprecedented. The movie focuses and takes place in a futuristic world known as Wakanda. From an outsider’s perspective it seems that Wakanda is a representative of what Africa could reach as far as advancements and society if cut off from the rest of Europe. Before the Europeans arrived in Africa, Africa had vibrant economic, social and political structures. These were severely disrupted by Europeans to create wealth for themselves. European dominance over most of Africa through the transatlantic slave trade lasted 440 years, from 1444 to 1885 (Alcott, 2008). 

  In the news, Africa is often portrayed as a third-world country with very few resources. It has even been said that “Africa has been identified as a place with endless poverty, diseases, conflict, and violence” (Jones 2018). Although in Marvel’s Black Panther, Africa, in the form of Wakanda, is displayed in a much different light. Black Panther’s vision of Wakanda is seen as a bustling metropolis of vibranium-powered futuristic skyscrapers, racing trains and soaring spaceships” (Johnson, 2018). 

Similar to the European expeditions of Africa in past history, foriegn countries in Black Panther try to exploit Wakanda for its natural resources in the form of vibranium. In one scene in particular, Klaw (a protagonist in the film), played by actor Andy Serkis, set’s a heist in order to steal artifacts from a museum that are important objects to the Wakandan people. This creates an indirect parallel to real life events, yet still hidden, under the events happening in Marvel’s fictional country of Wakanda. 

Today, Africa is still facing the effects of the European dominance and suffers from a lack of resources. Africa also suffers economically due to various reasons including lack of equal trading as well as the taxes imposed on the country. However, in Black Panther, Wakanda is thriving alone without the help of any outside sources. 


Works Cited

Alcott, Washington. “The Underdevelopment of Africa by Europe.” Revealing Histories, Revealing Histories, 2008, revealinghistories.org.uk/africa-the-arrival-of-europeans-and-the-transatlantic-slave-trade/articles/the-underdevelopment-of-africa-by-europe.html#:~:text=Before%20the%20Europeans%20arrived%20in,years%2C%20from%201444%20to%201885.

Johnson, Tre. “Black Panther Is a Gorgeous, Groundbreaking Celebration of Black Culture.” Vox, 23 Feb. 2018, www.vox.com/culture/2018/2/23/17028826/black-panther-wakanda-culture-marvel.

Jones, Nate. “A Brief History of Wakanda, Black Panther’s Fictional Utopia.” Vulture, 15 Feb. 2018, www.vulture.com/2018/02/black-panthers-wakanda-explained.html.


Week 13: Black Panther’s Cultural Significance

The film Black Panther not only incited a milestone in the growth toward racial equality in the media, but it also spured a revolution during times when political administration greatly encouraged racial prejudices and discrimination. Speaking from my own perspective as a white female, I have grown up seeing individuals that look just like me in movies, TV shows, documentaries, and cartoons. However, those who are not white do not find this same representation of themselves in the media, and in many cases those that are represented are displayed in distorted or inaccurate ways – with seemingly degrading roles or negative portrayals. The release of Black Panther opposed this historical underrepresentation, exemplifying its cultural and revolutionary significance.

The film Black Panther does not diverge itself from difficult or complicated themes of race and identity. Instead, it faces and elaborates on these issues, and highlights the importance of African American narratives – emphasizing that black lives matter. “Rather than going for hearts and minds of racists, it celebrates what those who choose to prohibit equal representation and rights are ignoring, willfully or not” (Smith).

The TIME article I cited discussed the importance of the release of the film in 2018 relative to the political climate at the time. “In the midst of a regressive cultural and political moment fueled in part by the white-nativist movement, the very existence of Black Panther feels like resistance” (Smith). The themes throughout the film challenge institutional bias.

Black Panther directly addresses the underrepresentation that has long been an issue. Its significance not only spans the United States, but has had a global impact and has incited a major cultural response. “For now, moviegoers from Taiupei to Tanzania to Turkey to Trinidad will see a new vision of what blackness means and what Africa stands for. Black Panther is an export of which we can all be proud” (Jenkins).

Works Cited

Smith, Jamil. “How Marvel’s Black Panther Marks a Major Milestone.” The Revolutionary Power of Black Panther, Time, time.com/black-panther/.

Jenkins, Alan. “The Global Significance of ‘Black Panther’ (Guest Column).” Hollywood Reporter, 23 Feb. 2018, www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/black-panther-global-significance-1087878.