Sunday, July 18, 2010

Identified...

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.

10 comments:

glt said...

Aha! I finally see your only problem! Har! And if it had been a snake it would have bit me!

It's in the word "CAREER"...

Huh? What an awful concept! If one sees themself as a money earner they turn into a machine, cranking out store bought trinkets and chemicals to keep our dependents in line...What a vicious cycle!

If we all grew, killed or caught food, I can imagine we'd love entertaining one another at the end of day...for FREE...HEEE!

Diane Hemphill said...

Rae Dawn, I completely agree with you. I was going to school for mass communication and working in the film industry. There is a line divided between black and white and based on your color would depending on if you will get a job or what type of job you will have. After a few years I changed my major, I could not take it anymore.

Spike Lee needs to sit down…. Oh he is…lol… his not cranking out movie back-to-back. We as people of color should help each other, because we are constantly fighting a loosing battle with racism.

glt said...

Diane? "Mass Communication" just sounds evil! Who goes to to school for that and why???

Dwane T. said...

I just had a similar conversation with my teenage boys last night, as I had to give the two younger ones "the talk" (ie. what rights do you "not have" as a young Black male)over the weekend. I have the fifteen year old reading Frederick Douglas' autobiography now, and the 14 year old will read it when he's finished. Afterward, I'll draw parallels between the way "Overseers" were able to use the law as a way to operate outside the law the same way that "Officers" do now.

Race will be an issue until it is no longer the best way to mask the control of wealth by those who see dividing and conquering poor folks as a way to hold onto their money. MLK addressed this directly right before he was killed. He began convincing poor White people that they had more in common with poor Black people than with rich White people. An understanding like that would definitely lead to an overthrow of our politico-economic system. Leading 15 or 20 million Black folks is one thing, but had he gained as much influence over 100 million or so white folks, he would definitely have been the most powerful man in American. That's more than enough reason to kill him when they did.

That's really what Obama did in the last election. He tapped into what unites most of us... particularly young people, and made it American to be together rather than to be separate (what a novel idea in these times). He minimized the influence of race and culture by the fact that he was multi-racial and multi-cultural. By attacking part of him, you had to attack a part of yourself... or minimize a part of yourself. Right man, right time. And like King, he knows he is in a perpetual state of being "in the crosshairs".

I believe that if circumstances lead us to the point where we were "chosen" like King was, most of use would follow through. I believe you would too.

Oh, and as for your motivation for your perspectives, if I may be so presumptuous to say, I don't believe that your "problem" comes down to your career. From reading your thoughts over time, it seems that your career, and the the non-traditional experiences it has provided for you, have given you a unique perspective. Also, I believe that you are not so much outraged by the financial inequities inherent in your career field, but the inequities in social and professional opportunities that are helped or hindered by ones race or age rather than their proficiency in their field. You have never given any sign that its about money with you, or simply just whining, and its a major stretch to assume that.

And despite your knowledge of these things, you always remain optimistic. That is a beautiful thing.

Diane Hemphill said...

Mass Communication is a variety of studies in the film and television industry. It covers, directing, producing, editing, director of photography...ext. I never thought the name sound evil.

Charles said...

I remember George Clooney hosting the Academy Awards back around 2006. His beef w conservatives was really kicking up back then and he was saying how libs and especially Hollywood was paving the way for minorities in film/TV. And in the audience was Denzel, Halle, Samuel Jackson...and about 1497 others, all white. Maybe the lights and reflections were glaring and he couldn't see clearly.

glt said...

Good points C and Dt...status in society and appreciation of color go hand in hand...human history sucks and should be forgotten! How many monarch butterflys do we see persecuting the tiger swallowtails???
We're dumber than bugs!

Rae Dawn Chong said...

Love these comments thank you!

glt said...

We need you back on FB...it's really dullsville without your 90 comment threads. Hahaha! Love and hugs and kisses. I've resorted to posting my own youtubes just to pass the time. There's just something special about having a single source, with little tributaries flowing in on the side. FB now has 500 million people who can see you...you don't seem like like you have any privacy issues to hide. WE have to live like we only live once,eh?

glt said...

Are you thinking? Feeling the truth?

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