Thursday, July 16, 2015

Gradualism

I think when it comes to race relations, more or less what happened would be analogous to someone going on a binge diet, losing a ton of weight, and then insisting that all public pictures of them be from that period only, despite the fact that they subsequently gained everything back, and then some.

Why does Hollywood fetishize the slave era, and the Civil Rights eras?  7 years a slave, Selma, Django, Roots?

Why is there no catharsis or resolution in modern movies made in the ghetto?  My movie knowledge is not exhaustive, but lets throw a few out there: Clockers, Do the Right Thing, Boyz n the Hood.

With regard to that last--which I have not seen, but read the summary of here--I infer the climactic line is when he "plaintively questions 'why America "don't know, don't show, or don't care about what's going on in the hood'". 

Can no one connect Selma with Boyz?  Is no one willing to ask where, from so much promise, so much disaster flowed?  Can we not point out that he is American too, and that what he seemingly means is WHITE America.  Can we not infer part of the problem there?  Why do black problems need to be solved outside of black communities?  Where did this really quite racist assumption come from?  Even if this is simple self pity, and the question asked purely rhetorically (it wasn't: it was presumably a question asked in the movie to the white viewers watching, who presumably felt their share of guilt and then went out for cocktails to discuss it, then go home to safe neighborhoods build (largely) by and (entirely) for white people) the question is the same.

Where is the spirit of Frederick Douglass, who really should be a well understood cultural icon and model, having been an actual slave himself: 
What shall we do with the Negro?" I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature's plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!
In the movie "We were soldiers once and young" a group of soldiers wives is getting together to coordinate with and help one another.  One black woman finds out that she can't use a public laundromat, and she says "well, my babies clothes are going to get cleaned anyway", and everyone tacitly applauds her spirit, and the meeting moves on.

What if that group of white women had decided it was their task to picket the laundromat so she could do here laundry there?  What if they had succeeded?  What would have been the path of her "success"?  White people.  What can she control on her own?  Whether or not her husbands clothes were clean or not.  

Her response, multiplied across tens of millions of people and the past 40 years, would have by now eliminated ghettos and any reason or opportunity for cynics like Obama and those around him to use race as a lever for power. 

In that regard, I saw the usual suspects accusing Trump of racism.  I posted on the Huffington Post a comment which appears to have been promptly deleted something like:

Can we not assume that Obama himself is not a racist?  Black poverty has doubled under his tenure.  If we elect an actual racist can we expect the doubling to double again?

They didn't like that.  They don't like anything I say, which is why I can't post there.  They are liberal in conceit only.

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