I think it's safe to say that our infatuation with the promise of a "post-racial America" is officially way over. Not that I ever bought into it, for sure. Much about race is bubbling up these days, and while a tiny bit of it just has me shaking my head, the rest of it just makes me wanna kick somebody's ass sometimes. Like Field Negro said, it's just exhausting trying to keep up.
What leaves me going "whatever, dude" is pot/kettle Quincy Jones' non-revelation about Micheal Jackson "wanting to be white". "Have you seen his kids?" he asks in an interview. Wow. This from a man who I've never seen date anyone darker than a Sunset Spray Tan, and whose daughters can pass so well they actually get work in Hollywood. This is who he was with in Europe instead of attending the funeral of the man who made him zillions:
Speaking of Micheal, spotted this on my blogging buddy Eric Easter's site "Big Ideas" from Ebony/Jet.Com. It is a video of Sammy Davis Jr. comparing himself to Michael Jackson on Arsenio Hall, and ends up being something close to a confessional on race. Sammy goes in a few different directions, but you can see and feel the pain this immensely talented man went through, and he used that talent to navigate his way through a tragic life, just like Mike. It was his shield, just like Mike. Oddly Sammy was the only other celebrity besides MJ that made me cry when he passed.
What makes one want to put foot to ass is the situation in Philly that most have heard about by now, where a group of children were denied entry into a swimming pool because it was feared they may change "the complexion" of the pool area. Yes, the fools that run the joint actually said that.
I am not surprised, however, as the same thing happened to me as a kid. My family and I took a road trip to Canada, and in one hotel in Washington state we went swimming. When we went in, all of the YT's promptly got out. I saw one kid crying to his mom "Why can't we swim? I want to swim!" and his mother hissed at him to "shut the hell up". When I asked my mother if everyone got out because of us (it was even obvious to me as an 8 year old), she said "don't worry about it, there's just more room for us to swim now". And being a kid, I promptly forgot about about it. But now that I know better, I'm sure she felt all of the pain, hurt, and frustration those kids in Philly felt, and what made it more ridiculous is though Black, she is the same skin tone as those who got out. I am grateful she made light of it for my sake, so I did not feel what she felt too.
And finally, a cinema related statement on race; a post that my blogging soulmate Tafari did for The Afrospear, which he relayed got him a lot of heated haterade comments:
"Yesterday, I made it a point to go see “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” in IMAX. Ever since the last Transformers theatrical release I had been giddy for more.
Hours before I headed to the movies, I started reading posts online that discussed racism in the movie but still I pressed on to Showcase Cinemas and dropped $10.50 for my ticket.
Fast forwarding 2.5 hours later. I’m walking out of the theater with my mind blown for many reasons; 1st, the movie was so action packed I thought I was going to slip into a seizure. 2nd the movie was overtly sexual, which made it seem like an R rated movie instead of PG-13 and 3rd the racism that was built into the movie was billed as comedic relief.
As I drove home, I tried to reconcile the racism but I could not, so I decided to sleep on it.
So this morning, when I woke up, I actually got mad about what I saw in “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” The racism that I’m talking about in case you don’t already know is dealing with the Autobot twins “Skids” and “Mudflap” or the “ Little Black Sambo[ts].
- Both of the twins talk like they are straight from a Lil Wayne video.
- They play the dozens (crack jokes on each other and anyone else) in every scene.
- They are seemingly proud of the fact that they cannot read. “Read?! Nuh-uh…” “No, we don’t really do much readin’!”
- Skids has a GOLD front tooth. Yes, a big bucked out gold tooth
- The names “Skids” and “Mudflap” imply darkness and or nastiness.
- Do I really need to add a 6th, you should get the picture now.
(Wait, for extra measure, if you want to see another relevant countdown list, you have to read this. “7 reasons why Transformers 2 might be racist…”)
With all this now parsed out, I’m wondering why and how this stereotypical bullshit slipped past Michael Bay and Paramount Pictures. Did they care? Did they know? Did they think it was ok?
I feel bad and torn because I actually liked the movie a lot, but how could I in good conscious? Maybe it’s the kid in me remembering watching the cartoon way back in the mid 80s.
Although the racism pisses me off about this flick, I was also disturbed about the adult content and overt hypersexuality. But like I said, I liked the movie, so what does this mean about me?
I know I won’t see the movie again, nor will I purchase the DVD. I do not want my kids seeing this mess and not only that it’s so not a kids movie. Don’t let the PG-13 rating fool you!
Transformers used to be all about the kids way back when, but not so much now thanks to Michael Bay and Paramount Pictures. I’m just saying.
Side note: This post is not nearly what I wanted it to be. Not at all! My thoughts are with and on Michael Jackson. As I wrap this up, I’m chair dancing to “Off The Wall” while I try to control my urge to cry about a man that reached my soul through song, dance and beauty."
From IW: Why am I not surprised that Mike Epps was the voice one of those coontastic robots?
Update: OK, I was misinformed. It wasn't Mike Epps, but one of the voices was YT Tom Kenny, who also voices Spongebob Squarepants :-(