Today, I’m responding to K’s digital story “The Story of my Story” and this feels right, as today is the day after the US presidential election. I stumbled across this story some weeks ago but at the time I felt its message was too serious and depressing. It brings to light many issues that I have much personal experience with and since I recently left the US, yet again, didn’t wish to think about. I’ve spent much of my life living in countries other than the one of my birth, and have learned that the myths propagated in the US don’t match its reality. I certainly don’t blame the average person, as they are fed the same distorted version of history that I was fed growing up in the US. Many of us are conditioned to blame, fear, and hate the other struggling working-class person just across town, or on the other side of the globe, for our insecurity and suffering. If that person happens to have a different belief system, skin color, country of origin, or sexual orientation all kinds of ignorant distortions are unleashed. And if it is someone who doesn’t share our gender, or even worse, our nationality another set of crude, ignorant, fear based, conditioned responses are heaved into the mix.
K experienced this conditioned ignorance and produced a digital story that describes her personal experience with it. Although, she makes it clear that her story is not only her story but the story of the many exploited peoples around the globe. Those who are forced, as K explains, “… to beg their oppressors for scraps from their fruitful plate,” as so many are. K describes the plate as, “The very same plate they had filled by raping, enslaving and killing my ancestors and my brothers and sisters around the world.”
Apparently, when she was eight years old her mother died of AIDS and she was taken to the US. She describes how all she could take with her was her love of books, learning and knowledge and how she always found happiness in learning new things. Well, she certainly learned how to produce a powerful digital story and one that strikes very close to the truths that I have learned. It’s not a very pleasant story, but one that I believe carries many important messages.
The music has an Asian sound to it and yet later I had the impression that K might be Latina, and then I remembered her saying that she was speaking for “all” her brothers and sister around the world, so she got me, as I was labeling and she was making a point, or at least that’s the way I wish to interpret her music choice. I fell into a judgmental trap of my own making. I must, therefore, argue that her narrative is nicely supported by the music. The pace is slow, but I feel it is perfect for the seriousness of the content. The story is well narrated and it is quite engaging. The story was told in a linear fashion and did not stray or take any detours. K’s story was only three minutes long but takes one on an important journey. The images she chose were very creative as they ranged from simple drawings to shots of outer space. My favorite image is a slide that comes on screen at the 2:30 mark and is a quote from [Malcolm] X, which I included below. I was pleased to see that K’s digital story was sponsored by American Friends Service Committee and Coloradans For Immigrant Rights and created in a workshop facilitated by the Center for Digital Storytelling. Thanks for sharing!