Thursday, October 06, 2011

Plus ça change...

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...

The other night, I tuned my television in to watch the only non-irritating option I had for the evening.  Unfortunately, that option was a flick I'd seen a couple of times before, back in the day when it was still new, back in the last century.  I'm a big, big fan of Bruce Willis shows (for no really good reason.  I guess I just like movies where wise cracks are tossed about like ping pong balls in a lottery machine and stuff blows up in unrealistically spectacular fashion).

Anyway, the movie, 1995's  Die Hard With a Vengeance, was not my favorite in the series to begin with, but stuff blew up and smart aleck comments abounded, so originally I got a kick out of it.  In fact, though, it was the flip remarks which ruined it for me, this time around.  No, not the throwaway lines from Bruno, it was the anti-white lines scripted for Samuel L. Jackson that jarred.  And it wasn't jarring in the way I expected.

What jarred me was the timing.  Not the theatrical timing.  The real world timing.   

Here I was, watching a show filmed nearly a generation ago, in which a major character judged people by the color of their skin. Yeah, yeah, so what? you ask.   It's cinema verité.

Somehow, Hollywood and a large contingent of the minority community think, today, that these sorts of racist remarks are still appropriate.  

Today, while the rest of the world looks at somebody of pallor saying that somebody of another race or ethnic group is something less than saintly by dint of political disagreement or... well, whatever... is a lowdown dirty racist, having a person of color make a blanket derogatory statement about white people is somehow viewed as not only right and righteous, but bold and new.  Hip-hop artists, actors, preachers, and even a few politicians have repeated their beliefs that white people are evil (or some political equivalent) and, in more than a few cases, have repeatedly called for violent actions against them.

I am not merely offended.  

I am tired of racism in all forms.

One would think, two and a half generations after Martin Luther King spoke of his dream that a man would be judged not by the color of his skin but by the content of his character, we might have come closer to that goal.  One would think, but, apparently, in some communities, one would be wrong.

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