Sunday, July 18, 2010
Listening to people comment about race recently whether it is Whoopie explaining that she has good radar for deciphering racial slurs and racists or CNN taking a “Race poll” on television asking the audience if race is still a hot button issue. Yes, race as an issue is more alive and divisive now then say in the 1960’s. I find it fascinating that people who are intelligent and educated still seem to forget that we just got the right, we as in (African Americans) to vote with a modicum of safety. I mean we did get the vote in the 1860’s legally but the actual ability to vote didn’t truly kick in till the civil rights movement. Thank you MLK, I still get the shivers when I think about what he gave us in devoting his life to the cause. I am not sure I have it in me to be that big hearted to lead a movement that dangerous and all that demonstrating and THE march? Amazing sacrifices in fact I know he knew almost with certainty that he will be hurt even killed. Would I devote my time at the sacrifice of all to help millions? I am not sure I have that kind of character. I would have to really think about it. Mind you all of my life I have in small and large ways helped people. So it may be a silly question…if given an opportunity to be of huge assistance to mankind would I? Probably, yet I will have to wait and see if it comes up. So back to the ridiculousness of color and social inequities, my BFF Michelle never likes it when I talk about how horrid Hollywood is in developing good juicy roles that are front and center for women of color and age(me). She thinks I am being a baby and whiny when I kvetch about the lack of opportunity in the media. I still stand firm on my assessment. Hollywood is white and it only takes one sweeping glance at the audience during the Oscars to prove my point. When the audience is diversified like a bouquet of exotic flowers let’s talk. Till then “shut up” its white all the way just look at the shows on television current and coming up. I see more blond haired blue eyed damsels in distress in new upcoming programming…I know on the cable networks there are a few color exceptions or the new JJ Abrams show which looks stretched and lame since when does a women who must be an adult only she looks to be 12 years old posturing (is it believable?) as a spy who is married and having difficulties? Okay I may be bitter woman (of a certain vintage) who is becoming boring, okay I am boring myself complaining about the lack of anything even if it be true. Still RACE is an issue and Obama’s presidency has enlightened us to its very big persistent presence in our world and culture. Rap music and sports have leveled the playing field a lot in the minds of the young and hip but not in the elite corridors of wealth and power. That is still the domain of very white people, but maybe it is changing and maybe they will begin to see diversification for what it can do in the positive? Maybe? I know I am eager to see race be a non issue I have spent my entire career trying to be a human being and less a racial character some moments I have succeeded yet I think my biggest stumbling block was and is thinking like a Spike Lee. He came up and blocked me (attacked me in the press) because let’s face it some of the most racists people are ethnic and losing that currency is a challenge to ones very identity. We believe we are a race that that is the sum total of which we are. It’s a part a big part but to me not the totality of whom I am, please. Isn’t that the deal isn’t racism a sickness? A big fear induced malaise that promotes hate? I think so…and defendedness a stance that never brings peace? I think so…so can we get over it? I think so.
Posted by Rae Dawn Chong at 11:46 AM