Tuesday, October 11, 2011

And why sometimes watching movies can open one's eyes to the real problems in our society
Yesterday I watched a film I had never heard of.  One which resonates with me, especially with all the racist rhetoric going on in today’s political world.  The film The Intruder, which starred a very young William Shatner was released in 1962 and honestly blew me away.  I think all of the candidates running for President should be required to watch it, especially those candidates who have been using racism as a means to get more votes.  So possibly then, the tone of the conversation could change for the better.
The film dealt with integration in the school system in the south. In a truly realistic and frightingly way.  The Intruder was directed by Roger Corman and is strikingly different from his usual output and I mean that in the best sense.   Mr. Shatner doesn’t disappoint showcasing what a really talented actor he is, electrifying every scene he’s in.  What’s truly enjoyable about his performance is how in every scene you can watch how he navigates his feelings and how one emotion will change into another in the blink of an eye as he tries to continue his cause.  The camera and your eye simply can’t stop watching him, fantastic work.
Of course what’s truly disturbing about the film is it’s dialogue, characters, but mainly Mr. Shatner spout off the ‘N’ word and other similar words multiple times is simply chilling.  Each time I heard the words, the words which I won’t repeat because they offend me, let alone millions of others actually made me sit up and think about the racist tones of today’s politicians, as well as the commentary by some in the media.  Listening to Mr. Shatner say these racist comments made me wonder what he was thinking as he was saying these disgusting terms.  As an actor you have to forget your own views, you have to make your character come to life, to make the script believable.  And Mr. Shatner makes every word believable and quite scary.  Seeing the mobs threaten the innocent minority with violence literally made be think about how far we’ve come as a society.  How quickly it seems people can be swayed into becoming the worst sort of people.
Watching the townsfolk turn into racist mobs is truly frightening.  And truly educational to reveal what we’ve been through as a country to get to the day when a man of color can be sitting in the Oval office.  How lucky we are that in today’s world we’ve come so far.  But as the election gets closer and closer I've witnessed how far we still have to go.
In an odd way, it reminded me of several other salesmen movies I’ve watched over the years.  While The Music Man and Elmer Gantry’s subject matter is very different, the concept’s are the same.  A lone man, in a light suit comes into town and just by saying things, stirs up the town’s citizens into organizing.
I highly recommend the film as entertainment, but more importantly as a lesson in what racism is about.  Hatred and fear.  Using people's worse beliefs because they are hurting us,  for me the worst thing someone can do.
Growing up in Crown Heights, Brooklyn; in the 1960’s was for me different then I would think many others had to deal with.  Being practically the only white person in the neighborhood.  Having reverse racism and hatred thrown at me practically everyday in one way or another.  Actually being embarrassed because I ordered ‘Vanilla’ ice-cream and having kids tell me I’m a racist because I didn’t order Chocolate is rather eye-opening at the age of 10.  Having Mrs. Pointer from Lefferts Junior High give me a book on African history because I ‘survived’ my years in Lefferts made me think about why she believe I ‘survived’ why because I was white.
As a person whose grown up truly believing what a great country we live in, thanking the Powers That Be, that I was lucky enough to be born in America I find any and all bigotry offensive.
I had hoped that we as a society we had gone beyond one’s skin color.  I always believed that as it states in our Constitution that All Men are Created Equal, so for me, racism has always struck a cord.
I jokingly used to say, that if anyone had the right to be a racist I did, because of all the bigotry I had to face as a child.  That as opposed to others, I could relate to what others have had to face.  But honestly I never had to face what others had to, simply because of my skin color.
Whenever I see or read about it, it angers me.  When politicians or the media uses bigotry to rile up the masses it offends me.  My belief that anyone who does this should be punished and made to see how wrong they are, especially people running for political office.  Remember they are supposed to be governing for all not just for the few.
It’s the 21st century people wake up.  In this day and age, using one’s race or religious background, or sexual orientation as a means to insult people or a way of getting elected is unacceptable.  And anyone who does so should be confronted with their statements and made to answer for them.  Honestly in a nation where the majority of the people are actually not white anymore, don’t you think those days are over.  Don’t you think these bigots should be shown the door.  Don’t you think that we deserve that as a people.  It’s bad enough that women today are still not treated as equals, but the so-called minority being treated as illegal, who should have no rights because their skin color is different is the worst possible racism.
I was very proud to be an American when our President won.  My big fear was when President Obama won election what  the ramifications that might come from the bigoted few would be.  And how bad.  That one day, the have-nots would finally have had enough and riots and violence would begin.  The fact the south still proudly showcases the Confederate flag for me shows how far as society we still have to go.
And now finally the masses are being to protest.  Watching the political games of the bigoted right with our economy, killing any real plans to create jobs as people suffer in hunger and fear makes me want to scream.  When will they simply go away or do the right thing.  All I can say is thank The Powers That Be, we have at least one person in Washington who seems to get it. And how ironic, he’s a person of color.  Yes,  Mr. Cain, an African American is the grown-up in the room, sorry if you think that terminology is wrong.
That said, watch the film as entertainment...

Just one man’s opinion.

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