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MSU Encourages Attendance to Screening of Anti-American Film

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

Contributor: Anthony Barash

Michigan State University recently encouraged “all members of MSU” to a screening of The Great American Lie, and a panel which called for “systemic change.”

According to the film’s official synopsis, “The Great American Lie ... examines how a US value system built on the extreme masculine ideals of money, power, and control has glorified individualism, institutionalized inequality, and undermined the ability of most Americans to achieve the American Dream.”

The English Learning Center within MSU’s College of Arts and Letters advertised the event. An email obtained by The Morning Watch shows a faculty member encouraging “all members of MSU” to attend. The email was sent to an MSU parents list.

Further, flyers distributed at the event asked, “Are you interested in forming an Equity Team at your school? You can make a big impact!”

The film’s featured interviewees talked about how the people around them are oppressed by a racist, women-hating, and uncaring patriarchal system.

[RELATED STORY: MSU Classes SLAM America as "Profoundly Racist" and "White Supremacist," Demand no Recording]

“We are here to stand with workers of all different sectors to say enough is enough! What we need is one fair wage,” stated the film. “We need healthcare for everybody!”

According to the film’s director and founder of The Representation Project, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, “The Great American Lie tells the stories of real people whose experiences demonstrate what inequality looks like today as they confront the broken systems around them.”

Further, “Each character, in some sense, tries to imbue their respective industries and communities with more ‘feminine’ values of empathy, care, and collaboration so as to ensure greater equality around them.”

One point in the movie, a middle-aged man claims he is a single father who graduated from college with two degrees. He claims that he is working seven days a week at three separate jobs; one of which he is a special needs teacher. He goes on to say that he’s working 75 hours a week and that he still has a hard time making ends meet.

The post-film panel featured Professor of Educational Administration at MSU, Dr. Terah Chambers, Program Associate with One Love Global, Jordan X. Evans, faculty from the James Madison College at MSU, Dr. Melissa Fore, and Senior Program Director with Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence Merkeb Yohannes.

The panel gave several calls to action.

Panelist Jordan Evans said, “I want uplift how we can’t just say we’re not racist, we’re not sexist, we’re not... fill in the blank, we have to be clear that we are going to be anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic; we have to be anti which means an action.”

"I agree with Jordan, I think those are some really great ideas,” panelist Dr. Terah Chambers began.

“In the courses that I teach that are about, you know, social justice and equity, It becomes very overwhelming...and I think it’s important that we fight for systemic change," she concluded.

“[Current system] It’s intended to create a system that says you’ll be so overwhelmed that you will be burnt out and will stop working for social justice,” said panelist Merkeb Yohannes.

[RELATED STORY: MSU 'Taboo' Writing Event Bashes Capitalism, Calls Competition "Internalized Shame"]

The showing garnered around a hundred spectators with most spectators being middle-aged and older white women. The panelists were asked questions by East Lansing residents Erin Roberts, an employee for the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, and Dana Watson, Health Educator in public health for Ingham County.

The event was held at the East Lansing High School on January 22, 2020.

A recording of the event can be found here.

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