Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Three Movies That Help Us Plumb the Depths of Racism

Katty Huánuco, CCVI is currently in St. Louis, MO where she is participating in an intensive English program.  One of her recent assignments was to interview people on movies they had seen.  As I responded to her questions, I suddenly realized that three very different movies in the past year have had a profound impact on me and that all of them dealt with our country's history of slavery and racism.

I grew up in New Orleans, LA during the time of segregation, and two of the movies were a sober reminder of what blacks endured in those years.  Yet in spite of the historic 1963 March on Washington and the current March on Washington, racism continues to permeate our society.  Just this evening a local news station in St. Louis reported that a hate note containing racial slurs and death threats was placed in the mailbox of a black family that had just moved into a local neighborhood. 

The movies that I think have the potential to raise our awareness of racism, not only in the past but also in the present, are:

THE BUTLER is a historical novel based on the life of Cecil Gaines who served eight presidents during his tenure as a Butler at the White House.

42 is the story of Jackie Robinson, the first black baseball player.

LINCOLN is the story of the last four months of Lincoln's life and his efforts to achieve passage of the 13th amendment to the constitution to forever ban slavery.


1 comment:

  1. On page 52 of Engage in session 3, we learned that cultural violence is “a way a community or individuals view themselves in relation to themselves, to “others,” and to the world…supports a sense of superiority…” (52). The writer of this articles talks about how even after all the work civil rights leaders did in the 1960’s, racism was still a very strong thing people felt in the community. Engage helps us to understand this as a form of cultural violence. Due to the fact that a race saw themselves superior to another for so long that it was even in their laws, the feeling itself took longer to fade. The article even talks about a black family getting death threats in the male from their new neighbors which is the “dehumanization of other cultures” (52). Racism was a kind of violence that was even encouraged within the country because everyone who believed they were superior made it acceptable. To racists, it wasn’t fit for blacks in America to have basic human rights like they did so attacking them was the most direct way to “restore justice in the face of injustice” (52).