It seems one of the most powerful notions in Hollywood is that black people can’t do anything for themselves. I’m sorry; I just have trouble understanding why nearly every movie about African Americans portrays us as having a weakness only white people can help us overcome. It’s starting to be a bit annoying, not to mention redundant. I’m sure we have all seen the preview that sounds something like this:
Announcer: “In a world where people of color from the inner city act like blatant stereotypes, one woman understood how to touch them better than they understood how to touch themselves. When no one else cared, there was one white woman who was willing to give them a chance. Michelle Pfeiffer in . . . “Dangerous Minds.”
Two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank is starring in a similar film. Maybe you’ve seen the preview. It sounds something like this:
Announcer: “From the producers of all those other movies where white people are the only people who can save poor ethnic kids comes the same freakin’ story that you’ve seen over and over. When a bunch of unruly ethnic kids don’t want to listen to anyone, a random white woman is able to reach them. This time, it’s for real. This time, it’s for the future. This time . . . It’s not Michelle Pfeiffer. Hillary Swank in . . . “Freedom Writers .”
I mean, COME ON! African Americans don’t need white actors to help them do stuff. So what if Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise helped me write this article; that’s the exception, not the rule. So what if John Travolta helps me dress myself every morning, it can just as easily be Samuel L. Jackson. The fact that I can’t eat breakfast in the morning without being spoon-fed by Bruce Willis means nothing; Jamie Foxx can spoon-feed me anytime.
But seriously, are we as helpless and naive as our characterizations in film portray us? No! Do white people really care about our problems as much as they do in films? No! That’s the reason things are they way they are. If people cared as much as they do in the movies, there wouldn’t be any more movies like that, because society would have changed. But what really grinds my gears is that few movies give black people credit for the things we do for ourselves. In fact, the only thing they do give us credit for being good at is drug dealin’, rappin’ or pimpin’. Now I don’t know about you all, but I stopped pimpin’ a long time ago, and I would like to think that I have moved on to better things.