Saw a great movie last week that I think everyone should see. It is called My Name is Khan and it stars Shahrukh Khan as a man with Asperger’s whose step son is killed in a hate crime post 9-11. He and his wife take separate grief journeys. His is to tell the president that his name is Khan and that he is not a terrorist. His wife told him to do it and he took her literally.
Why I wanted to write about it is because it is a film about our common humanity and about love being more effective at creating positive social change then hate. It is a REALLY powerful movie. In his grief journey Khan is detained as a terrorist and tortured, becomes a poster boy for the discrimination against not only Islamic individuals in America, but for everyone who is treated as suspect because of how they look. He then goes on to save a rural black community in GA after a hurricane and mobilizes the entire country to act with compassion. And yes, he eventually does get to meet the president.
Admittedly, the story line isn’t all that realistic, but that doesn’t’ matter. Morality tales aren’t about how things actually are. They are about how things ought to be. This movie delivers that message with quite a bit of power and emotion by effectively contrasting how things are with how we wish things would be.
I left the movie with two thoughts. 1) Everyone should see this movie. And 2) I wish that it had actually happened. It would be wonderful if we as a nation had just such a wake up call that no - our neighbors aren’t terrorists just because the look different and worship differently then us. They are, for the most part, humans filled with compassion willing to risk their lives to save people different from themselves just because they care. I stand with Khan - I am not a terrorist. I’m a good human being and I care.