Last week I went to see the movie "Precious." Fortunately, or not, I had read the book beforehand so I knew what I was in for and the movie was far easier to take than the book. For those of you who are not familiar with the story of "Precious," it is about the saddest version of life one could have in this country. Precious is a sixteen-year-old African-American girl living in Harlem in 1987. She is pregnant with her second child, by her father. The first child was born with Down Syndrome when Precious was twelve. Precious is sexually, physically, and emotionally abused by both of her parents, although her father does not live in the home. She gets kicked out of school for being pregnant and is offered the chance to enroll in the "Each One, Teach One" program which turns out to save her from being a victim of her life.
People who know me know that I am easily traumatized by movies and books about child molestation. The book was terribly hard for me to read and I cried. This made the movie easier to watch and the acting was amazing. What I like about this particular story, is that it brings to light the problems faced by children and women in our culture here in America. As an American, it is sometimes easier for me to think about the kind of life that Precious faced as something that "just doesn't happen here." We all know that it does, but this often gets swept under the carpet and our attention goes to other parts of the world and how we can help there and we end up ignoring the social problems faced by our own country.
Since the concept of "education saves from poverty" was introduced in the 1970's, people have been critical, claiming that is does no such thing. This movie brought to light that education in general does not "save," but the right kind of education can do wonders. The program that Precious was enrolled in was not traditional in any sense of the word and I would be surprised if funding for such a unique and valuable educational opportunity would even be available in today's oppressed educational environment.
So that is it. A sad young girl, given a sad life and making the most of it because of a great teacher. All in all, very inspiring and a wake up call to me for social justice (injustice) in America.