I’ve been on an autobiography kick lately, or rather binging biographical documentaries. I’m fascinated by people’s lives, famous or otherwise, but famous people tend to get the attention.
As we in America stand at the crossroads of modernity/democracy/progress and regressive authoritarianism, it’s easy to get dejected and to feel like there’s no point in fighting for the future. I’m an expert pessimist so this is almost always my natural response. If I were able to find a country on earth that satisfied my values I’d have moved decades ago. Alas, we must roll up our sleeves.
What the documentaries I’ve watched have in common is the tale of people who did not give up. In spite of great obstacles, much of the progress of the last 50 years came from their hard work. And I do mean hard—it wasn’t convenient and easy to stand up for women’s equality or LGBTQ rights. It wasn’t a pleasant experience to constantly demand your humanity be respected regardless of race. I’m sure that they, like me, would much rather spend their life enjoying every minute, but that’s not going to be the way.
So I recommend as we all wrestle with the troubles of the times to spend time getting to know the ones who’ve paved the way for us, and who are counting on us to take up the baton.
On Netflix I recommend:
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson
Hating Peter Tatchell
Feminists, What Were They Thinking?
I Am Not Your Negro
Just A Girl Who Decided to Go For It
Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir