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Punting Black History Month – It’s just not the same.

Things weren’t always this way…

When I was young, a long long time ago, I was just given the facts of what was going on at the time. I recently went to see a good….well GREAT movie, Hidden Figures. My 10 year old daughter came along. This movie was right up her alley. See she joined an after school STEM program for the girls at her school. And everyone came to the school to watch the girls launch rockets they built after school. Great movie, at a great time!

Now lets get on to why I’m ‘punting black history month’. 

Kind of a SPOILER ALERT

In the movie Hidden Figures, there were a lot of historically accurate, but quick scenes to show the viewer, “the way things were”. There was a scene in the movie, where one of the characters got transferred from one office to another. She used to work in a building where all of the “colored women” were coincidentally employed. In her new building there were no restrooms for the “colored women”. So when she felt the urge to go, she had to run from her new desk, across the campus to use the restroom literally labeled:

“Colored Women”

#thewaythingswere
not
#nothowyouwantmetofeel

SPOILER ALERT

There was the opening scene. On the way to work the 3 women had a bit of car trouble, and were on the side of the road attempting to fix their problem. A police officer arrived, and pulled up behind their car with his lights swirling. The police officer was somewhere in his 50’s, white, and well he had the attitude of anyone pre invention of the iPhone, perturbed! This rural Virginia Deputy stopped to “check on the ladies”.

It begins:

  • The cop is rude, normal.
  • The cop is jerk’ish, expected.
  • The cop is definitely prejudiced, conventional.
  • The cop is probably racist, unproven.

The cop asks a few interrogating questions of the ladies, challenging them with every answer he barely lets them get out. When this rude, jerk’ish, possibly prejudiced cop learns that the women work for NASA, and are helping send our astronauts to outer space, this intrigues him. There is a race to outer space, and one day to the moon, and we need the best and brightest on the job to beat communist Russia to the finish line. The deputy admired the women, and their work. After getting over the initial shock that NASA hired black people, and women at that. He gave them a high speed escort to work, complete with sirens. Great scene, great writing. I appreciate the writers and directors showing me:

#thewaythingswere
not
#nothowyouwantmetofeel

Here is what was not in the scene:

ANTI-SPOILER ALERT and My Thoughts

The officer did not pull off to the side of the road to confront them with horrible racist insults. He didn’t disrespect them as women or black people. He didn’t go out of his way to exploit his position of dominance as a police officer to the vulnerable women, on the side of a secluded road in any sexual way. He was basically, A DICK. Just a dick!

He was a “stuck in his ways”, 50 something year old white man, in the south, that also happened to be a police officer. That’s all. 

I thank the directors for the tone that they created, and maintained throughout the movie. The tone that said, “this, is just the way things were”.

#greatwriting

PSA to the writers, directors, studios, and producers:

You do not need to make your viewers angry, or try and manufacture the emotions you want us to feel when we watch one of your works. Things were bad, that’s for sure. But the need to constantly make movies or have discussions about the worst of the worst is why I’m now deciding to PUNT BLACK HISTORY MONTH.

Context:

I’m PUNTING what, in my opinion, Black History Month has become. Black History Month used to be like the movie Hidden Figures. Just an accurate showing of “How things were”. Some things I learned or saw did upset me, make me feel sorry for the plight of everyone that had to go through hardships like that, or just make me feel plain sad. But that’s how things were.

Unlike the films, 30 Years a Slave, Crash, Django Unchained, and others…here’s the difference:

How things were.

Vs.

How bad things could get.

These movies, written for different purposes, to envoke different emotions. So now, today, in 2017, I’m hearing phrases thrown around like:

  • Institutional Racism
  • Oppression of Minorities
  • Black Lives Mattering

This is what has now taken over what I knew, Black History Month to mean and be.

I did reports in grade school on George Washington Carver, who invented peanut butter. I was even Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a play, twice. I don’t mind hearing about the bad, or getting some of the darker history that America might be more ashamed of, want to forget and not mention, or would flat out love to erase from it’s memory.

But it’s just that. The dark times should be discussed, but to some end. Every a film is produced that shows the horrible mistreatment of any discern-able group of people, it will inevitably make those that were wronged, in this case black people VERY ANGRY, SAD, DISGUSTED, and probably any other negative feelings you can think of.

While this history, called black history, this American History, but…

WE NEED TO HEAL.

So now…I’m punting everything that does not HELP US HEAL. That includes PUNTING Black History Month. It’s changed, it’s not what I grew up with. It’s too negative, and entitled. It’s been hijacked by the politically motivated, mis-informed, guilty, and entitled. I miss the proud Black History Month that showed off accomplishments, the Hidden Figures, inventions, technological contributions, dominated sports fields and courts, managed to stay so stylish, and be such great dancers!

Less: 30 Years A Slave

More: Hidden Figures

Thanks for reading my rant. I hope you found it Reasonable!

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