Queen and Slim
Last evening (Christmas Eve) the four of us in my immediately family went to see Queen and Slim. I knew nothing about the movie. As soon as I entered the theater, it was immediately obvious that it was a “Black movie”. The theater was far from full and the audience was 75% Black.
Here was a movie that provocatively dealt with police killings of Blacks, and of course relatively few white people will get the message.
Madea is a Black icon, but how many white people even know who she is? Black humor is appreciated by white people, but within narrow boundaries. We need to not be made too uncomfortable.
The Hate U Give is an incredible movie! It focuses upon the senseless police killing of a young Black man, clearly showing how the reactions to the killing differ between Black and white people. The movie is both very serious/difficult, as well as being uplifting at the end. Again, how many white people saw it? Black people didn’t “need” to see it, but they did. White people needed to see it and they didn’t.
If you should want to go to see a circus, do you find out when the Universoul Circus is coming to your city? We went a year ago in Chicago. The audience was 99% Black. You missed a wonderful show!
Particularly when you are Jewish, as I am, when you go to Washington, D.C., do you go to The Holocaust Museum, The African-American History Museum or both? I’ve spent a fair time in both and if I had to choose one, the latter museum seems far more significant to me. While there are certainly a fair number of white people appreciating the African-American Museum, especially in the off-season, it is a “Black place”, not a “human place”.
When you are with your partner, your family of origin, or men in your men’s group (or the men’s group you will help form shortly), how much effort do you make to appreciate the culture, art and history of Native Americans, Blacks and LatinX people? Do you watch tv programs that are “Black” shows, as well as “normal” programs?
Certainly many of us appreciate Will Smith and Beyonce, as well as (of course) Michael Jackson. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X are recognized significantly by most of us. How well do you know Bayard Rustin? His fame is much less because he was gay! Are you more than superficially familiar with Paul Robeson? For a long time he was the most famous Black American. His unabashed support of communism and Russia silenced him for most of us.
How different are we all really from the most embarrassing older white woman my wife met at a social event? She was speaking of something related to Christianity, and said: “Everyone would know of x” to which B replied: “No, some people wouldn’t know this”. The woman responded: “Who wouldn’t know of this?”. B replied: “Jewish people”. … “But, you’re not Jewish” (note B is clearly Black). … “Yes, I am.” … “Oh, you and Sammy Davis, Jr.”
I believe that it takes a lot less for us to educate ourselves and those around us about diversity in relation to the arts, culture and history than to directly confront the racism within our daily lives. I hope that increasingly many of us will do this.