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Film screening inspires discussion on race, acceptance

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Posted: Saturday, August 6, 2011 5:13 pm | Updated: 6:06 am, Mon Aug 8, 2011.

Community members gathered to munch on popcorn, sip on iced tea and discuss the impact Sept. 11 had on the Lodi community during a special screening of the film "My Name is Khan" on Saturday.

Lodi's Breakthrough Project hosted roughly 40 people in the Lodi Public Library community room. After viewing half of the film, group members divided up the room into smaller discussion groups.

In those groups, individuals were able to talk not only about the movie, but about how one of the greatest tragedies in American history has influenced community members' views of other people and other cultures 10 years after the event occurred.

Initially prompted by four discussion topics, members of each discussion group provided insight on how they would have handled certain events in the film, from educating students about Islam to dealing with death.

But conversations quickly turned to how different ethnicities are included or excluded in Lodi, and how the city has changed culturally over time.

"When I moved here in 1976, a friend who was African-American came to visit me from (California State University, Chico)," said Breakthrough Project member Patti Radotic. "And a woman at a store refused to serve her. I was humiliated and embarrassed, but look around you. Look at how far we have come."

Other members of the community shared similar experiences where they witnessed racial profiling and prejudice.

Nancy Mellor of Lodi recalled an experience she had to face immediately following the events of Sept. 11.

A middle school principal at the time, Mellor said Lebanese students at her school were being robbed because they were Middle Eastern. Mellor said the only way she knew how to handle it was to speak to parents and students about the harm of racial profiling.

"Those men on Sept. 11 created a lot of fear, and fear is foolish, but you don't realize that it is there," she said. "People were afraid, and they did things, and I knew I had to say something."

In discussing how people initially reacted to Sept. 11, many said they were scared but that they were not prejudiced against Muslims or the religion of Islam.

One member of the discussion group, I. Khan, said when he was working at the Department of Justice, a man and a woman both had to come in to educate employees not to profile Muslims.

"People saw a beard and dark skin and got scared," he said. "When I was growing up, no one knew much about Pakistan or the Middle East ... The point is to educate."

In addition to education outside of the home, many members agreed that parents should be teaching their children about accepting other ethnicities and cultures at home.

"Parents can show their children that there is not so much fear everywhere," Mellor said. "They need to reassure and act reassured that we cannot fear our neighbor, no matter what race or religion they are."

Contact Katie Nelson at katien@lodinews.com.

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  • Robert Chapman posted at 8:54 am on Tue, Aug 9, 2011.

    Bob Chapman Posts: 997

    Driving without a LICENSE or INSURANCE or valid REGISTRATION are not "minor" traffic violations. The people who complain about the checkpoints are the ones that drink and drive or drive without the legally required documentations, driver's license, proof of insurance and current registration. Let'em gripe. Get legal or get off the road.

  • William Dawes posted at 9:44 pm on Mon, Aug 8, 2011.

    William Dawes Posts: 113

    If I go down to South central Los Angeles, someone would try to shoot me because I am white blah blah blah....It works both ways but we hear only one from the socialist progressives who push the "white privilege" agenda.

  • William Dawes posted at 9:41 pm on Mon, Aug 8, 2011.

    William Dawes Posts: 113

    The checkpoints get unlicensed and uninsured drivers off the streets and many of those are illegal aliens...don't like it? Follow the laws or leave.

  • Robert Chapman posted at 10:37 am on Mon, Aug 8, 2011.

    Bob Chapman Posts: 997

    Mr. Chaney posted, "My wife's side of the family, which is also mine" ???What? You married a relative?

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 6:07 am on Mon, Aug 8, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Doug stated....My wife's side of the family, which is also mine, sees it entirely different, as do the Mexican and Pakistani friends I work and resource with....I'm assuming you don't know many of the poor eastside citizens who seem not to be even acknowledged in Lodi.

    I have known many people over the years who were and are poor economically. However, in heart,soul, mind and spirit, they were/are rich and wealthy. They see life itself as a blessing. They are hubble and happy with the cards that are dealt.
    If you want more money, want more recognition, want more but feel cheated that others have what you desire, then of course you will see the glass half empty...

    Personally, I would rather have a large family who loves each other and children who appreciate my existance rather than have any money. You are only poor if that is what you perceive. I am rich weather I have money or not.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 11:30 pm on Sun, Aug 7, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    My wife's side of the family, which is also mine, sees it entirely different, as do the Mexican and Pakistani friends I work and resource with, and it's certainly not rosy. I'm assuming you don't know many of the poor eastside citizens who seem not to be even acknowledged in Lodi. You should hear what they say about the constant Cherokee Lane dui/license checkpoints, which seem to have the main purpose of targeting ethnic groups for minor traffic infractions under the guise of getting drunk drivers off the road. I don't think any of you have seen any really hard times in your life and really don't know the real feeling of having to actually succeed by yourself without mommy and daddy's help. I'm very passionate about my poor friends. You think they're poor because they want to be? Lodi offers no chance whatsoever for one of those people to get ahead in life. Where are they in the hierarchy of Lodi? Or the Sentinel? Oh, and Rich, you surprised me by signing your own name. Did you do that of your own free will? Thank you for editorying my blog. I hope you and/or Marty have enough guts to sign your next commentaty or editorial.

  • Robert Chapman posted at 8:52 pm on Sun, Aug 7, 2011.

    Bob Chapman Posts: 997

    Charles Nelson... You don't understand Doug, he thinks the people who worked their behinds off for what they have should just hand it over to the have nots. Typical liberal socialist agenda. Sound familiar? Listen to Obama and the other socialist stooges, this is their "vision" of a fair and balanced America.

  • Robert Chapman posted at 7:34 pm on Sun, Aug 7, 2011.

    Bob Chapman Posts: 997

    Ramond wrote "Who isn't offended by the things Doug says?" OK, Raymond, I give up. WHO? I never was any good at guessing games.....

  • Raymond Cook posted at 2:01 pm on Sun, Aug 7, 2011.

    Raymond Cook Posts: 125

    Who isn't offended by the things Doug says?

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 12:52 pm on Sun, Aug 7, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    In the spirit of “ My name is Khan”, I think the goal and intent is very positive and
    constructive in getting people to talk. How can it hurt to help people understand differences that tend to divide rather than unify.

  • Charles Nelson posted at 12:03 pm on Sun, Aug 7, 2011.

    Charles Nelson Posts: 257

    Doug, "Why do the Anglos have all the wealth and council positions?". I'll go with "they earned it", and "they were elected by the voters".

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 12:12 am on Sun, Aug 7, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Doug... I see Lodi completely different. The Mexican side to my family and friends see it as a warm and friendly place. Its like you are living in a different city than me.
    I think some Mexican people are offended by what you say. I think you mean well, but your anger gets the best of you sometimes.
    You came here in 1987. I was here since 1953. I have not seen what you have ... not even close.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 10:51 pm on Sat, Aug 6, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Just who were some of the attendees? Anyone from the city hall and management team? Any ethnic representatives from the Muslim or Pakistani community? The large Lodi Mexican community? Did the Sentinel bother to send a photographer to take any photos of the attendees? And no explanation of how the conversations turned to how ethnicities are included or excluded in Lodi and how this town has changed culturally over time? I think everyone knows that the only culture Lodi knows is the arts for the well to do and wine society. Lodi is as bigoted as it was when I came here in 1987, and possibly even worse now. Thanks to the corrupted good ol' boys and girlies system and the cheap labor pool they created in eastside Lodi, the Caucasian population in Lodi is now the minority. So why do the Anglos have all the wealth and council positions, management jobs and better paying positions nearly everywhere in Lodi? Go figure.

    Edited by staff.



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