Authored by Lachin Hatemi M.D.
Published by www.kulturekritic.com
The main character of the movie, Carl Brashear (played by Cuba Gooding), decides to leave this disadvantaged upbringing of his native Kentucky in 1948 to join the U.S. Navy. Young Carl was determined to overcome racism and eventually become the first black American Navy diver.
As dramatized by the movie, Carl accomplishes his dreams with great difficulty, first by enrolling in a navy diving school in New Jersey. At every stage of his training, Carl encounters outright hostility from his classmates and superiors. In the end and against all odds, he achieves his dreams, albeit at a great personal cost.
Brashear’s life story shows that with persistence and hard work even a poor kid can achieve greatness against all odds.
Today, we do not have outright racism at our schools. Nobody wakes up black kids and hose them down with ice cold water, as Carl had to endure. Professors cannot insult minority students without being reprimanded, and hopefully Kentucky is not as racist as the old days when Brashear was a sharecropper teenager. At least this is what I believed when I enrolled at University of Kentucky Medical School in 2004; however, my naïve dreams about post-racial America quickly dissipated.
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