i went with some friends tonight to see "The Help". it felt awkward (for ME) when the lights came on after the movie seeing all the white people. i wonder if it felt awkward for them? eh...probably not, since most white people never feel any shame or guilt when they're confronted with how their ancestors treated black people.
it's not that i wanted any of the white people to feel shame, but it just felt awkward, that's all i can really say.
anyhow, the main point i wanted to make was that i, though i have a love/hate relationship with Portland, am a total product of portland. whether i like it or not. there i said it. in a way, it's difficult living here. it's like no matter how much i want to be proud of being black, and make fun of the granola, tree hugging, liberal white people, i realize that i am part of it. well, not the tree hugging, granola, liberal part. but i like white and black music, i eat healthy and couldn't fix soul food if i tried. i have mostly white friends, and i say white words, like "dude" at the beginning of a sentence. i don't have to try to be this way, i just am. i'm a true product of my environment.
my mom, who was born and raised in the deep south sticks of georgia moved here with my father when my brothers and i were babies. she has REALLY differering opinions about white people and black people and all that political type stuff. she gets really worked up about racial issues, and is slightly more sensitive to the light skin/dark skin issue among black people and other issues about white and black people.
don't get me wrong, i do know how some white people can be.
since my mom is not from here, i don't know if she really gets it-probably the way she thinks i don't "get it" either. when we have conversations about race, i'm a little more open minded than she is, and she takes that to be naive. it's not naive, it's just that i'm not from the deep south like she is. i didn't grow up in the deep south in the 50s like she did. so on some level i cannot relate to the issues in movies like The Help. my mom saw the movie before i did, so tonight i called her on the phone to talk about it because she wanted to wait until i had seen it open the floodgates of why she didn't like the negative stereotypes and blah blah blah.
i know she gets irritated when she talks to me, because i can't truly relate. i'm not dark skinned, i didn't grow up during the sixties when blacks were openly and legally treated like animals, i didn't grow up with blue-collar uneducated parents, i didn't grow up with parents who cooked soul food, and i didn't grow up in the sticks of the south. so when she talks to me about certain racial issues that she's seen over time (such as ones brought up in the movie The Help), i can't relate. i can relate in the same way that any other generation X-er.....'oh... how terrible, how sucky....ugh....white people....." . but other than that, it's not that emotional for me, because i haven't been through it.
and, i guess i don't see white people exactly the same as someone who has been through it. you can't get apples from an orange tree. you can't raise a black kid in white portland, and then expect them to "get" the whole black experience. not entirely. and what little black history in schools that we get, what does she expect? she's the one who brought me to the black-forsaken, city in the first place.
she's right about the stereotypes in the movie, but purely from the standpoint of hollywood entertainment, i thought it was a good story. period. without getting into the politics of it all. plus i don't see everything her way, and she gets annoyed when i don't get where she's coming from and vice versa.