Activities
Post-9/11 America

Laura Poitras’s work documents and addresses the expansion of the security state and the issues that certain government policies and procedures raise in post-9/11 America. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also addresses these issues in their paper, A Call To Courage, Reclaiming Our Liberties Ten Years After 9/11, (2011).

The ACLU notes that since 9/11, the United States has engaged in “policies of torture and targeted killing, extraordinary rendition and wiretaps, military commissions and indefinite detention, political surveillance and religious discrimination.” Some of these policies have been stopped, but most of them—including warrantless surveillance and racial profiling—remain part of the U.S. national security strategy today, as well as a pervasive politics of fear.

“. . .our nation still faces the challenge of remaining both safe and free. Our choice is not, as some would have it, between safety and freedom, just the opposite is true.”

https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/acalltocourage.pdf

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) A Call To Courage, Reclaiming Our Liberties Ten Years After 9/11, 2011, 4.

With your students, use the quotation above and the ACLU’s paper https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/acalltocourage.pdf to research and discuss the challenges of safety and freedom in the United States today. 

What effect do safety and security policies and procedures have on students in their daily lives? For example: mandatory security checks, metal detectors, backpack checks on the subway, and stop and frisk tactics by the police.

How do they affect your school?

What impact do they have on students’ neighborhoods or communities?

On a national level? 

Blurry and dark image of a person sitting.

Laura Poitras (b. 1964), still from O’Say Can You See 2001/2016. Two-channel digital video, color, sound. Courtesy the artist