Janki Kaneria: Navigating Criminal Justice Reform during COVID-19 – Bryan Tran

This campus commentary was held by Davidson’s Pan-Asian Student Association on Youtube Live during our current COVID-19 outbreak. Janki Kaneria is currently an assistant public defender at the Mecklenburg County Public Defender’s Office.

Something that I did not realize to be so drastically different was the difference in changes by state. Kaeria went to UCLA for law school and talks about a very shocking difference she found in North Carolina compared to California. It was shocking to me that soliciting alms was a crime in NC, which means you are arrested for begging for money. “criminalizing homelessness”

Something that spoke to me during her Q&A was being not only a person of color but a women of color in Criminal Justice. Dealing with all of the microaggressions and doubt, I feel as with the adversity Kaeria had to push through was moving. I also find it quite ironic that we seek to find justice and equality but lack that on an even on a macro level.

Unit 8 Post 2 – Bryan Tran

Weirch’s Interview of Richter reminded me very clearly of the film’s portrayal of the interview near the end. I find that there is a very mysterious and almost abstract understanding of Richter’s words. “Reality is even more dreadful.” This quote resonates a conversation with Professor Seeband’s relationship to photos. Especially seeing his photos of his family when it seemed that life was simple. 

To answer the question of the prompt, from my understanding from the texts and reading, the question of “what happened” does not rely on the personal connection the artist has with the piece but rather what the view takes of it. What is consistent is that there is a backstory, but it is rather what part of the story is important. And especially import for whom. 

Looking through the exhibit knowing the backstory changes the meaning of the paintings. Similarly to how we as the viewers of the film have a different understanding of the paints comparatively to the interviews in the film. It seems as if “we know more.”

“Art does not give answers, it poses the question” – Doris Salcedo

Bryan Tran – Akhmatova Post

! – Censorship was even used prior to Stalin.

? – In comparison to other times and regions, do Russian poets have more freedom or power towards the public?

Notes during our Zoom session

  • Thomas more poetic words and stronger motifs, stronger imagery
  • The tense of the poems are different which cause different emotions
  • Rhyming in Anderson – trying to translate Russian rhyming
  • Thomas’ poem lacks a line that shows an outside knowledge.
  • Anderson is more reminiscent, much more active. Thomas was more passive.
  • Ikon? With a c? Who is this icon Stalin?
  • Holy candle in comparison to just a candlelight
  • Anderson tries to stretch into a rhyme, Anderson much more artistic. Thomas seems more direct

My overall preference in reading translations was Anderson’s because I felt as it was translated to portray the same feel as the original poems. I would say that some people struggled to have a preference, yet agreed on many points. 

For Thomas people agreed that he translated the poems word for word, and that Anderson translated to express equal meaning. We also analyzed some key things that Anderson did to try to portray the same emotions such as have a common attempt of rhyming. Also with how Anderson worded his translation seemed more active and in the moment, rather than Thomas’ passive voicing. We also talked about flow and how well we could read it and all agreed that Anderson’s had a easier read, yet Thomas’ comparisons and examples give more detail.

Bryan Tran – Unit 4 post 1

Mary Church Terrell and Ida B. Wells-Barnett fought for human rights in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Terrell was an African American activist who attended Oberlin College. She was in the growing upper-middle-class group of African Americans that fought against racial discrimination. She was born on September 23, 1863, in Memphis, Tennessee. Both of her parents were former slaves. Her mother owned a hair salon, and her dad was a successful businessman who was one of the South’s first African American millionaires. Even Though they divorced, their affluence supported Terrell’s education, which allowed her to go to Antioch College laboratory school in Ohio. Her first career was in 1885 teaching modern language at Wilberforce University, a historically black college founded collaboratively by the Methodist Church in Ohio and the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She started her activism in 1892 when her friend Tomas Moss was lynched in Memphis by whites because of his competitive business. This was when Terrell joined Ida B. Wells-Barnett in her anti-lynching campaigns. Even though Terrell helped with the anti-lynching campaigns, she focused on the notion of racial uplift, which is the notion that with blacks being educated, they would end racial discrimination. Terrel specifically fought for women suffrage and civil rights because she says that she belonged “to the only group in this country that has two such huge obstacles to surmont…both sex and race.” In 1904, she a founder and charter member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. When abroad from 1904 to 1919, she could persuade the foreign press to publish her articles on human relations.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi, on July 16, 1862. She as born into slavery during the Civil War, and when the war ended, her parents became active in the Reconstruction Era politics. Similarly to Terrell, her parents believed in the importance of education. Her father was involved with the Freedman’s Aid Society and helped start Shaw University. The university was a school for newly freed slaves. Her religious beliefs led her activism and devotion to racial uplift. Both her parents were devoutly religious. Religious parables provided the rhetoric of her arguments, which shaped the direction of her writing. Her social, political, and economic justice was not just for civil rights but based on the tenets of Christian ideals. At the age of 16, both of her parents passed away. This personal tragedy that made her become the oldest of the family. In 1893, she joined black leaders in calling for the boycott of the World’s Columbian Exposition. She also traveled internationally to spread her activism on lynching to foreign audiences. She would openly confront white women in the suffrage movement who ignored lynching. This act caused her ridicule by women’s suffrage organization. Even with some backlash, she remained to stay active in women’s rights.

Terrell and Well-Barnett made contributions to the development of human relations and civil rights during a period when women, black or white, were permitted only limited participation in public life. They also were at the forefront of campaigns to promote specific services to the black community. Some examples of these services were daycare, parental education, recreational programs, employment services, and a range of other services for youths and the elderly. Both of these activities reflected their style and self-expression that characterized black women reformers.

Bryan Tran – John Kasich Campus Event

John Kasich’s talk was interesting to me, I had to actively remind myself that he was not a running politician due to his persuasive speech. It seemed to me that he was doing the typical politician talk about all of inspirational/motivational talks. He has some interesting points of how we as the youth must push for change but “slowly”. This to me was a little confusing in his talk because it made it seem as if he was distinguishing the youth from the people in power. Someone asked that “how can we as individuals has politicians hear our voices?” His response was to keep pushing and make your voice heard. To me this response was the vaguest response. He started to talk about the difference between being “woke” and “enlightened”. He questioned why our generation uses the word woke because to him that just means to become awake, instead of being enlightened as to be granted a sense of knowledge. He believed that being woke leaned that you were better than the other part that is not woke. He stated that “To be enlightened is the light that can be found”. Another statement that intrigued me was the importance of building a party. He approached the topic very aggressively, when a student asked the question. To him it seemed as he was frustrated at the youth complaining that their voices aren’t heard. He was very passionate on the idea of building your party and to have supporters. He even brought up the idea that some ideas are just not supported by the majority so they are invalid. 

Macbeth Commentary – Bryan Tran

I thought the showing of Macbeth was wonderful! Macbeth was my second play at the Duke Hall and it was presented very well. My favorite part of it all was the realization that the actors were fellow students, even some that I personally know! I feel like having that realization that I have to put effort into seeing “the truth” just shows how great the acting was. I also really enjoyed the interpretation and stage design. Having the witches go through trap doors just added another spooky effect. The witches to me had a very uneasy feeling that was somewhat different than the textual version. Also the simplicity of costumes allowed the acting feel more true and come to life. To love on the actors more, there ability to live through the character’s eyes and understand the meaning of text shows that power that the actors held. Also with some characters being opposite sex also was unrecognizable. Overall I am extremely excited to attend more fine arts performances!

Unit 3 Assignment 3 – Bryan Tran

Analyzing both texts from Gourevitch and Sontag, there are many distinct connections. One of them is the impact the government and media can have on war. Sontag talks about how the government censors television, and that only certain things are told to the public (Sontag 67). This makes it impossible for anyone to know the fully know the real story from just an image. An example that is used is the South Vietnamese general shooting the Vietcong because, from just the picture, we see a man getting shot caught on camera, yet the actual story was that it was staged (planned photo) (Sontag 59). We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families, Gourevitch talked about how France announced to the Security Council that their objective was to stop conflict yet within a week. Naturally, France had already occupied a quarter of the country. ( Gourevitch 152). The reasons why these two examples are similar is because it is hard to base what is accurate on what we are given in images and media. Both parties talk about how, as war prolonged government started to censor photos and messages so that citizens can be distanced from the horror. Media is any war that can lead to very different reactions. An example of this from Gourevitch was when there was broadcast about the “genocide and that a million refugees had wound up in this nearly perfect scene of hell on earth,” this broadcast by itself caused the public to feel compassion and imagination which lead to the imponderable sprawl of febrile humanity at Goma. “There is no war without photography” (Sontag, 66). When reading this quote, I thought about the passage from Gourevitch about how the French were taking pictures of their soldiers helping the Tutsis because it seems that everyone’s intentions are different when photos were taken, from remembering the truth of war or something different.

Unit 3 Assignment 2 – Bryan Tran

In chapter one of Regarding the Pain of Others, by Susan Sontag, she talks about the way that we have many different interpretations of the photos that convey many mixed emotions but in the end, lead to actions. Sontag argues against the study of images of suffering to prevent similar outcomes. She disagrees because she sees the possibility of different outlooks of the photos such the example of how an Israeli Jew sees a photograph of a child torn apart in the attack on the Sbarro pizzeria in downtown Jerusalem and a Palestinian sees a photo of a child torn apart by a tank round in Gaza (Palestinian child killed by Israeli ordnance) (Sontag 10). She even goes on to say that war is nonspecific and that even photos such as “The Face of War” and “Les Gueules Cassees” can not prevent war (Sontag 15-16). ]

Sentence: Photos themselves have power in which people give them, similar, or even different. 

In chapter six, Sontag talks about our urges and curiosity that we have for gruesome images and what it means. Sontag expresses that after people see a picture of suffering, we become distant from it. She also talks about how there is this somewhat sexual nature behind a dismembered body. She expresses our desire to gaze and how, in actuality, it is a form of pleasure. This pleasure is called the love of cruelty and that we enjoy seeing pain being put on others. 

Sentence: Humans have an innate desire to look at photos as an urge or curiosity and even sexual. 

In chapter eight, Sontag expresses that there is a positive side of gaining knowledge of disparity, but it is how we react that is important if we do the act of remembering or just a memory. She explains that remembering something is active and continuously at movement that it takes effort. While memory is something that is still, and that it is our job to not forget about the memories, memory is what needs to be remembered. She also talks about how we must analyze these photos for the gaining of knowledge and not frustration. The reaction of anger causes us to have a very immature point of view from the picture, yet to gain understanding, you have to put your emotions aside and critically analyze the pureness of the photo. 

Sentence: The atrocities of humans must be remembered if and only if it is commemorated with critical analysis.

Unit 3 Assignment 1 – Bryan Tran

Hannah Arendt

  • Hannah Arendt was born in Hanover, Germany in 1906.
  • Studied philosophy at the University of Marburg with Martin Heidegger
  • Had an affair with Heidegger.
  • Worked for the organization Youth Aliyah, which rescued Jewish youth.
  • Had a second husband named Heinrich Blücher.
  • She was imprisoned.
  • She and Blücher fled Nazi Europe and went to New York, in 1941.
  • She and Blücher lived on Riverside Drive in NYC and in Kingston, NY near Bard College where Blücher taught for 17 years.


“Banality of Evil” in Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism

  • Arendt – a sobering reflection on “the lesson that this long course in human wickedness had taught us — the lesson of the fearsome, word-and-thought-defying banality of evil.”
  • She thought the essence of totalitarianism was to make functionaries and mere cogs in the administrative machinery out of men
  • Some accused her of suggesting that the atrocity of the Holocaust had been commonplace, which of course was the very opposite of her point 
  • Arendt argued that Eichmann, far from being a “monster,” as the Israeli prosecutor insisted, was nothing more than a thoughtless bureaucrat, passionate in his desire to please his superiors\
  • Arendt’s book was criticized by the Jewish community


Adolf Eichmann

  • He was a German high official who was hanged by the State of Israel for his part in the Holocaust, the Nazi extermination of Jews during World War II
  • he became a member of Heinrich Himmler’s SS, the Nazi paramilitary corps
  • He was the coordinator of the “final solution” which was mass extinction
  • He was captured and was put under trial about his acts. And claimed to not be anti-Semite.
  • Eichmann portrayed himself as an obedient bureaucrat who merely carried out his assigned duties