Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Learning on POV

The Learning is a must-see if you want to see the impact of economic globalization on the lives of four Filipina women. In my course on globalization and race, we just finished mapping the general trajectory of 500 years -- from colonialism to the developmental model which is known today as economic globalization. Economic hypergrowth, based on flawed assumptions about limits to development as imposed by the planet's ability to sustain free trade, paints the macro perspective. In this film, this economic process shows the impact on the micro level of personal experience of four women.

The film is powerful and should generate a lot of dialogue in our families and communities.

The students in my class are wondering why courses like the one they're in is not a mandatory course for all students. Yes, why not?


  1. Thanks for posting, Leny. I just watched this last night. And just a few days before, I watched The Help. As an educator with high school and college students in my earlier life in the DC area and in Honolulu, I just cringed and felt deeply pained. Ramona Diaz as the film-maker captured such an important story but one that was hard to watch.

    I cringed for the newly arrived Filipino teachers and for the Baltimore youth and for the situation that was rife with potential misunderstanding and sacrifice. I cringed because the context and time needed to create a deeper racial understanding seemed limited in a school setting like that. And I cringed because while we see encounters that yield moments of genuine connection,curiosity, and inquiry between teacher and student, the larger economic forces that propel the women to seek work, to raise their children via skype, to seek Disney land aspirations, and over-spend for balikbayan gifts and large homes back home, continue to roll over lives and communities in ways that seem justified, but have a deep cost.

    That said, we so rarely get a chance to understand each other's starting points in life and in the world. And we rarely get this kind of mirror that reflects back on the contradictions and our courage to deal with those forces, especially when it is in embodied in family that place expectations of economic advancement and survival onto one's back.

    I deeply appreciate Ramona Diaz's effort to document this "neo-Thomasite" movement of teachers to the US without portraying the women or students as victims. Her ability to gain their confidence and trust and to help tell their story, I'm sure has changed their lives as well.

  2. Thanks, Grace. I saw in these teachers a sense of wholeness, an ability to count on their strength as Filipinas.

    This doesn't excuse the structural injustice (and the movie didn't dwell on this, understandably) but there was enough evidence of the social costs to this migration/displacement caused by the global economy.

    Yes, the teachers are now with their families in the US except for one. And am glad this info was an aside rather than the "happily ever after" ending to the film.