Wednesday, August 21, 2013
A Spoon Full of Post Racism
The Rev-elution welcomes to the stage James Blackwell, Jr. Blackwell is a Master of History candidate at North Carolina Central University where he is the Co-Chair of the African Diaspora Studies Symposium and Treasure of the E.E. Thorpe Historians Society. In his spare time, Blackwell makes mochas and other caffine pleasures at the Market Street Coffeehouse on Ninth Street. In between serving coffee and offering the shop great old school R&B music, Blackwell indulges in profound conversations related to race relations in America.
When Sen. Barack Obama was elected and became President Barack Obama, a sense of joy swept over the nation. Americans felt as if they had climbed the mountain top, and that the injustice which had defined the nation would be swept away. This feeling, this sense was labeled post racialism. It did not come to past. The following morning many realized that this was still America. For those who still were blinded the rise of the tea party sealed the deal. Still, the reality which we live in has not stop Hollywood from attempting to market the dream.
Since President Obama has been in office many films have attempted to convince Americans that things are better now. That racism is dead, that we are all equal, that capitalism is there...even for the poor. 42, attempted to do this as and was successful in the box office. The biopic of Jackie Robinsons life is complicated, why? Primarily, because it is a nice story which did happen. But the film is filled with notions that success for African Americans can only come through white acceptance. That when one of us arrives, we all arrive. This is dangerous because it allows people to ignore their own oppressive situations.
The latest film which is filled with we made it propaganda, is The Butler. The film looks visually appealing, so did 42. But just like 42, it going to make people feel that things were bad then but they are better now. This is not the case, and it has never been the case. The film is loosely based on the actual life of Eugene Allen. The movie is marketed as piece which addresses the Civil Rights movements and ends with election of President Obama. However, this was not the directors first intention.
Director Lee Daniels stated "It wasn't until we started shooting some of the atrocities that happened in the south that I realized it was on another level." Seriously, this is in the same vain as Django. Quentin Tarantino never knew what the movie was going to be about until they started shooting. He pitched his film with no script. Daniels, had no intention of basing his film on the Civil Right movement until they shot atrocities. Seriously.
I am not recommending that people do not see this film. I am recommending that people watch it with an open mind. Under no circumstance should people watch this film and feel that we have arrived in a post racial. In the past year there have been numerous cases which rival that of Trayvon Martin. States across the south have enacted voter suppression laws which put their predecessors to shame. We must ask ourselves, if we have made it, what have we made it to.