Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:
"I felt so sad after that movie."
This was the response of a young woman who had seen the movie "Precious". I've seen "Precious" and so have many of my friends- the majority being college educated African/American females. But when it comes to Precious I feel anything but "sad." For one, it is my personal law never to pity another living thing. Your feeling sorry for someone else does solve the circumstances in which they are in. I can spend all my time feeling sorry for the homeless man, abused animals or that starving child in Africa but at the end fo the day their condition remains that same. In other words, to pity someone is to recognize and reinforce supremacy, inequality of power even on the most minuscule of terms. After seeing "Precious" for the first time, I not only felt a strong sense of hopelessness in reality but also a strong concern from how the movie would be interpreted, especially by those outside of the African American community. I had to point out (in class today) that Black pathology is strongly embedded in American history: the image of jezebels, aggressive black "bucks" raping white women, welfare queens, drug addicts, fatherless homes, imprisoned males, and ghettoes are all a part of a pathology that reinforce stereotypes and, ultimately, racism- all of which America still holds close to it's heart…precious. But these behavior issues continue to hurt black consciousness as well as white consciousness in America. What that young woman and the movie refused to recognize the structure that allows leeway for such atrocities to exist. Just like Ida B Wells' insisted through lynching campaign (Southern Horrors) that people- both black and white- are not looking at the institutions that allow such stereotypes to exist in truth. There is a systematic reason why blacks earn less than whites, why many of them are uneducated or why many are imprisoned. Ultimately, I believe that racism cannot (easily) be destroyed (an idea cannot be destroyed once it is planted in consciousness) but the truth can expose it's falsehoods. America has too long and continues to be a racist democracy, with racist institutions, racist systems and racist leaders (and I use the term racist to describe any person who believes and exhibits their race to be superior to that of another not only in through thought but in action as well). And the only way we can move past this- beyond the imprisonment, the inequality, the educational and housing neglect- is to aim to expose the truth- not just feel sad about it.