Publicity still of 'Roger & Me.' (Photo courtesy of TIFF)

By MARY ALDIERI, Student Life Editor

A viewing of the documentary film “Roger and Me” was held in the College of Arts Sciences and Letters on Nov. 10. The documentary viewing was hosted by History Associate Professor Hani Bawardi to give students a deeper understanding of General Motors’ downfall. Michael Moore directed the 1989 documentary film in which General Motors CEO Roger Smith is depicted as being the main reason people were losing their jobs from the company; resulting in many being evicted from their homes. The documentary was based in Flint, Mich. where Smith grew up.

Bawardi says, “At the time this documentary was made in 1989, Flint drew national attention only as the crime capital of the U.S. and ground zero for massive layoffs by GM. A onetime socialist with few career options, Michael Moore’s treatment of the ugly side of putting profit ahead of communities refocused national attention. Within few months Flint was a place where human tragedies unfolded everyday wrought by GM’s decision to divest from the city to save money on labor.”

Bawardi went on to talk about the other significances this documentary reflected. He says, “Our discussions across my classes at this time of the semester tackle regulatory legislation and social aid programs. The conversations in the classroom often impel me to remind my students that we grew desensitized to the plight of a large segment of the population. Showing this film in a way was meant to offer a contrast to the ugly rhetoric by the president-elect amid unstoppable though uncritical media attention. Examining indifference to income disparity, as the film shows, I hope will be our tool to understand racism, sexism, ethnic discrimination, and the impending sharp rise in jingoism (a mixture of nationalism and racism).”