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Recently, the idea of “truth” and factual basis has come under scrutiny. It’s no longer enough to label something true, even with evidence, as “alternative facts” are now given legitimacy. The blurring of the line between sensationalization and fact is not a new phenomenon, especially within political media, but it’s something that film can also inherently perpetuate. The “based-on-a-true-story” genre can become a vehicle for simplified narratives that spread harmful generalizations. While these fiction films are celebrated within Hollywood and among critics, they hold legitimate implications and should be called out as such.
Every year, you hope to see some sort of film that leaves you feeling profoundly changed. Most years yield disappointment, with films holding high aspirations only to go so far, but not quite enough. This year, we’re lucky enough to get a film to make up for the previous disappointments: Barry Jenkins’s “Moonlight.”
From our first day of O-Week, we are told Rice actively works to build inclusive and diverse spaces and a “culture of care.” O-Week coordinators assemble their new students into O-Week groups of diverse identities and backgrounds. We view the residential college system as a social equalizer and living space for all students, and espouse that we value inclusivity and diversity. In practice, we often fail to translate these ideals into reality. Whether it’s college auction items for Beer Bike, dorm hall decorations or terrible yaks, a number of issues have arisen that exclude marginalized voices from the community we claim to care so much about. Rice students of marginalized identities occupy this tense space between the rhetoric of inclusivity and the erasure and dismissal of their identities and experiences.