As Santa makes his way to town, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins makes it’s way to theaters as part of the Hunger Games movie franchise. (SPOILER ALERT) Holiday spirit is leaping out the chimney as people are leaving the theater inspired by the music, romance and intensity of it all. Whispers about Tom Blythe and Hunter Schefer’s impeccable acting (and faces…What? Who said that?) spread through the teenage population as they go to see the ever-so-popular movie.
However; I left the movie theater with a weird connection in mind. Does the word “peacekeeper” sound familiar to you? For those of you who haven’t seen the new movie, or even consumed any Hunger Games media (you probably live under a rock)…, in The Hunger Games, peacekeepers comprise a gendarmerie, a military system that is ruled by the dystopian, evil government who quite angrily control and repress the people of “Panem”.
I came to school the day after seeing the movie, and was immediately reprimanded for being five minutes late to class by our very own “culture keepers”. I got flashbacks to Tom Blythe and his millitary buzzcut.
This led me to some confusion as I compared Oakland Technical Highschool to the depressing world of The Hunger Games. But Oakland Tech is not a military dystopian government. While the people of Panem were unjustly controlled by peacekeepers, this school definitely needs culture keepers to help lead students in safety. That one connector, is both the peacekeepers and the culture keepers can sometimes act like callous dictators.
From locking the bathrooms (denying me my right to pee?!!) to glaring at me everytime I pass, to raspy yelling whenever applicable, the culture keepers would not be who I go to for safety. Rather, I avoid them at all costs. I understand that in order to keep order, they must hold a sense of superiority over students — but when did they become so mean?
How can our culture keepers avoid their deterioration into peacekeepers? How can we stop our community from feeling like a dystopian dictatorship? When Tom Blythe’s character, Coryolanus Snow, becomes a peacekeeper, he gets to see the lively pockets of the people that are hidden from the government. Music, laughter, nature. He sees that while he is sanctioned to maintain order among these people, they are still people with thoughts and feelings all the same. Maybe if the culture keepers took a second to remember what it felt like to be a student, we could all come to some sort of agreement.
I smile at the culture keepers every time I pass, only to be met with a cold gaze. Maybe if the culture keepers could find a way to balance their position of authority over tardiness, fighting, and safety with being adults that become a safe and comforting person in students lives with a friendly AND authoritive attitude, we can avoid this school needing a mockingjay type revolution. May the odds be ever in your favor, and happy holidays!