When is enough, ENOUGH?! How much longer are we as a species going to remain stuck in our reactions to racism, indeed racism itself? How much violence, how many killings, how much injustice has to occur before we stop hating or judging each other based on things that merely cover up the fact that we are all human and should be united under that label?
I am currently in pre-production with my first feature, BEING FREE. It’s a story about a woman and her family and how the revelation of a secret frees them from their own BS so that they can go forward and live. Of course, while working on a project I tend to eat, breathe and sleep with it. It seeps in and out of every pore. It’s the nature of the “beast”. And as the world spins out of control around me, I make connections from the whirlwind to my project.
So, when I saw the preview for the movie, THE HELP, it struck me how deeply mired and invested the writer must be in the status quo. Sharing outdated and negative ideals that will keep people stuck in racist and ignorant thinking. Keeping this racist and increasingly misogynistic society from breaking out of it’s insane behavior. Humanity may never learn from it’s mistakes; may never learn that judging others and using labels to break spirits and deconstruct identities and keep us as a species separate from each other and nature… this will continue to add mass to the quicksand we call society and keep sucking us in; keeping us stuck and stopping us from freeing ourselves.
And it’s not specific to race. THE HELP (having never read the book) seems to also keep our gender (women) stuck in this “gotta-look-down-on-you-to-keep-my-chin-up” mentality that makes it so much easier for us to tear each other down and makes it “OK” for men to do it as well. Again, I have not read the book and am basing this on my knee-jerk reaction to the preview, so I could be way off. However, this kind of thinking is how women who support the pro-life movement are able to buy into this patriarchy’s need to keep us down. It’s this kind of thinking that gives “birth” to women like Sarah Palin (it still galls me to have to classify her as female); Michele Bachmann and the many women who support the Tea Party movement. Do they hate being female? Are they like the little African-American girl in SEPARATE BUT EQUAL who points to the Caucasian doll when she is asked who she would rather be? Which doll is better? Women who think it’s better to be like men (and in control), therefore they jump on the patriarchy bandwagon, so they will be more accepted and get a chance to sit at the grown-ups’ table; get a chance to not only be a part of the game, but perhaps be able to actually change the rules. An illusion, at best.
Is that where all this comes from? African-Americans who think it’s better to be Caucasian, so they tear down other African-Americans because they’re not as educated, or “too Black” and therefore less acceptable. The only problem with that is by emulating others we not only learn their good behaviors, but we also pick up the bad ones, as well AND perpetuate it so that the next generation hasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of breaking the cycle…becoming unstuck.
As a writer I occasionally write what I know. Creative Writing 101, right? However, I also have an imagination, which allows me to write not only what I don’t know, but make up things NO ONE knows. Creating ideas, people, places who reside outside of the box; indeed, demolishing the box, altogether.
So, where does it start? Who or what should be the catalyst to creating art that doesn’t imitate life, but shows us a glimpse of how life COULD be IF… Will it be the next generation who shouts to the heavens and anyone else who will listen, “We’ve seen this before and it’s not helping. I want to be part of the solution, not the problem!” CAN the next generation start the “revolution” without turning it into a riot? Are we as a species to be mired in these outdated and negative ideals for eternity?
When will we stop judging each other based on labels designed to separate us rather than unite us? When will we stop putting each other down in order to lift ourselves up? These are not difficult things to do. It takes thoughtfulness not used by our species since before the inception of electricity. I often believe that the Industrial Revolution was the worse thing that could have happened to our species. There is so much technology, so much of everything happening that we have forgotten the art of thinking before we speak; thinking before we act. We have forgotten how to be nice; how to treat each other the way in which we wish to be treated.
I don’t know about you, but I’m weary of it all. It’s one of the reasons I do write. Just so I can create a world where my fellow human being would be more likely to hold out a helping hand, rather than put their boot heel to my neck to hold me down…even if it’s all in my head.