Thursday, December 21, 2006

I want a different story

I am a movie addict, I really need help. I love the inspirational movies, I love lil kid movies, I love psychological thrillers. Movies I love to watch range from Robots to the Sixth Sense, but what I'm really getting aggregated with is all the movies where the loving white person comes in to the ghetto and inspires the children that the community has ignored. Now hear me out before you get mad at me. I do indeed love these movies, but I'm tired of only hearing one side of the story. There are wonderful white people that do work in inner cities, but there are also wonderful people of color but where are there stories? We need more movies like Stand and Deliver. I loved how the teacher was able to do something that you don't see in the movies with the white teachers. He was able to give them a sense of pride in their heritage. I remember the part where he was telling them that it was the Mayans that created the zero, that sense of heritage and pride in the encouragement is what is so important.
When I was growing up I was in a program that really gave me a strong sense of pride in my heritage and that has greatly influenced my life and the directors of this program were all POC, and what was also so important is that they were from inner city neighborhoods also, they understood what it was like growing up there. They recognized that you can live under extreme circumstances and still be happy. I remember a review of Save the Last Dance, by Ebert& Roper, and they said that the people were too happy for what was going on in their lives. They just didn’t get it. I've had many wonderful white teachers who have strongly influenced my life, but what I appreciated about my Black teachers is that they didn't constantly treat me like I was this poor soul from a rough neighborhood. Even though these teachers did care about me and other students and what was going on in our neighborhood, but their attitude always bothered me. I hated telling someone about my life and they feel sorry for me. I hate that I'm sure my life has been used to describe how rough "the ghetto" is. This is the recurring theme in these movies, these teachers go home and talk about how horrible this neighborhood is, and they are shown as the sole heroes of these poor children's lives.
I want to see how wonderful the people in the neighborhood are those who aren't the drug dealers, crack addicted mothers, and imprisoned fathers. Even those who are drug dealers, crack addicted mothers and imprisoned fathers, they are still people and still good people. This is from the daughter of a crack addicted mother. The ghetto isn't this horrible place, yes I do have to be careful about where I walk and when I walk, and yes I am tired of the violence, but that is not all there is in my community. I would not be who I am without my white and Black teachers and adults who have helped me, but I just don't want to see the same old white person to the rescue movies.

1 comment:

Darkmind said...

I am with you! I am a big movie buff myself and I loved 'stand and deliver' (and not just because I like movies with math in them). But it is hard to make a race movie and it not seem contrived or stereotypical or just plain rediculous, even the ones that are based on true stories. The reason may be that the writers of these movies are writing from thier own perspective and people have only one racial perspective. Even biracial and multiracial people have a certain perspective not shared by people who are not like them. It makes writing from another racial viewpoint difficult and apparently they fill in what they don't know with guesses, often times making the 'guessed' characters either one dimensional and predictable, or totally off. And sometimes the writers are so busy showing "Hey, look how different we are." that they leave out the point of the story. In the case of stand and deliver, they do an excellent job because the hero is more beleivable and the racial aspect takes a back seat to the overcoming adversity aspect, which is the point of the story to begin with. Sorry for the long comment, but this post was pretty thought provoking...

“I remember how being young and black and gay and lonely felt. A lot of it was fine, feeling I had the truth and the light and the key, but a lot of it was purely hell.” ~Audre Lorde