Thursday, January 26, 2012

Move away from the Bull's-eye Part 2: What we can learn from the "Red Tails Debacle".

I actually thought about just letting the other "Red Tails" post be part two, but I decided to let the dust start to clear a bit before using the situation as an example.

Now, I made a post mentioning the controversy regarding the purposeful omission of black women from "Red Tails". And make no mistake, it was not accidental. This movie was largely the work of black men (Lucas paid the money, but much of the writing, acting, directing, etc. involves the decisions of black men). If black men had said, "George, we really need to include black women in this movie in some way shape or form", I'm extremely doubtful he would have refused. There was actually an actress meant to be in the movie. Her scenes were DELETED.

So the cold black and white truth is that yet again you have black men who want to be glorified before the whole world while brushing black women under the rug. I absolutely challenge you to find another ethnic group where there is any type of war epic in which the men who write and direct the movies go out of their way to tell their version of history while completely omitting any trace of their women.

This is unprecedented to the point of insanity. This movie does more than tell the world about black men in a "positive light". It tells the world that the black man does not give a good damn about the black woman: We are worthless, and better off not existing. This is the message being trumpeted loud and clear whether you cover your ears or not. This is what non-blacks around the world will be seeing and understanding whether you like it or not.

There is really just no other way to say this. You can slice it, dice it, split hairs. Try to find some tiny solace somewhere in the gray. I tried to weigh facts myself, sitting on the fence, not sure what to do. But once I knew that the omission was absolutely on purpose I just could not be bothered to give a cent of my money to this project. I stated in my other post that odds are I'd watch it on a movie streaming site if I saw it. I commented that I might even just wait for my parents to buy it. But the more I've thought about it, the more I think I probably won't be seeing it at all. I'll just wait for Skyfall.

What we learned through this debacle was that there was a huge bull's-eye aimed at African American women. The "you are nothing and you don't matter, but give your support anyway like the mules you are" bull's-eye. Like with any bull's-eye, you are not obligated to stand there and wait for someone to hit you. You are also not obligated to move into the path of someone or something's aim so that you can be hit. You can stay right where you are if you are in no danger of being hit or move out of the path of persons trying to hit you all together.

Different people made different choices. Some felt it was worth it to move into the path of that bull's-eye and get hit. Some saw no point in moving to get hit. Other's got the heck out of the way. Some are satisfied, and some or not.

There is definitely a rift within the BWE continuum. Whether or not it's always been there or whether it's widen as the movement tries to formulate an identity is something I don't know. As black women decide whether or not they are willing to compromise their principles when it comes to the image and well being of black women, I imagine there will be more scrimmages. As with ANY movement, people need to realize that the idea of unity for a single idea is virtually impossible. Different people have different motives and will only go as far as what meets their needs. Some people are also about things that are actually less than stellar.

This is why I'm always looking at things at the individual level, the level that you can best predict and control: yourself. Because if you don't have your own back, no one else will. Take the time to consider what is in your best interests. What things best contribute to your needs, wants and desires in a truly edifying way? Only you know that. No one else can make it so.

And it's ultimately on you to decide whether or not you need to move into the path of the various bull's-eyes aimed at black women, or blacks, or certain segments of the ethic group. If you are going to get hit with a bullet, you are the only one at the end of the day that knows whether or not it was worth it. Whatever you do it's also important to remember, to always remember that you don't have to jump in front of that bull's-eye if you don't want to.

1 comment:

Andrea Thorsen said...

Great post! I totally agree with you. I know BW who want to see the movie just because George Lucas financed it and has a Black long-time girlfriend.
That's just not enough for me. At this point, and even before, I decided not to support anything that does not benefit me specifically or BW in general.

I don't have any ill will towards BW who want to see the movie, whatever their reasons. It is their choice, but I will not be following their lead.