Category Archives: Musings

Can’t We All…

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Damn it.  Almost reached 100 followers on twitter then I have to go and write something like this.  The mass exodus will begin at the end of this post.

Sometimes I wonder why we all can’t get along.  I know it’s been 20 years since the LA riots when Rodney King called for peace with those words but I think it’s as true now as ever.  Being part of the Internet screenwriting community has been a blessing for me.  I’ve learned so much and laughed pretty darn hard. It’s amazing how funny professional writer’s can be in 140 characters.  But people can use that same small space to be cruel and vicious.  I’m not saying not to disagree with people but even on Deadwood they never said cunt this much.

Now, I understand anger.  As a non-religious, poor, black, bisexual, disabled, woman, I am hated on and/or misunderstood by someone or a groups of someones at all times.  I’ve gotten so angry at things said I’ve screamed and cried and yelled until I’ve locked myself in my room hoping for the world to go away. I’ve learned over the years, and with a lot of therapy, that most of that anger stems from hurt.  We lash out at people because they hurt us.

Increasingly, Americans don’t listen to or converse with people who have differing opinions, perspectives, or socioeconomic backgrounds than themselves.  News stations and websites have been created so we can continue to consume the world through the skewed lens through which we already look.  There are studies that say that when we debate with people who have differing views from our own we become smarter, more productive and more articulate people.  Yet we only fill our social circles with people who share our views and not only shun, but mock those who do not.

During my first year of college, I took a rhetoric class.  I didn’t have a clue what the class was going to be like when I signed up for it the summer before.  It turned out to be one of the things that defined my freshman year.  Almost every discussion commenced with a woman, we’ll call Kathy, (not because I’m trying to protect her identity I just don’t remember) and I on opposite political sides.  I enjoyed debating her.  We never would change the other’s mind, but the conversations were stimulating and respectful.  Then near the end of the year we were talking about something, (don’t remember that either ’cause after Kathy’s next sentence my head exploded) and she said that the reason black people don’t make anything of themselves is because they don’t work to do anything with their lives.  Like I said, my head exploded.  I told her that I was sitting across from her at the same school, in the same class, participating just as much as her, how dare she say I wasn’t trying to do anything.  Well, I yelled it, then stormed out of the room.  I was so hurt and angry that this woman who I had spent all this time respecting as an intellectual opponent had been dismissing me because of my race.  Despite days of broken heartedness I went back to the next scheduled class.  I kept my mouth shut for most of it, but I went back.  Out of the four black students that started at my college I was the only one that survived after that first year.  I graduated from that same college, the darkest one to walk across the stage.

I’ve chosen and had no choice but to go back into uncomfortable situations my entire life.  Too many of us do not and hurt ourselves by not being willing to be uncomfortable.  Risk an argument, risk being hurt, risk learning from someone you have nothing in common with.  Risk being a better you.

Imagination Infestation

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I have a problem that I believe is one of the reasons I have no choice but to write.  I have an extremely active imagination. The other night, I was laying in bed reading when I heard a baby crying.  I put down the book to listen to the anguished wails.  Was it coming from outside my open window? It stopped for a few seconds then started again. I became worried. Jumping from the bed I ran to our front door.  Opening it, my eyes were glued to the doorstep. Nothing was there.  I stuck my head out and  concentrated on the sounds of the night.  No baby.  I closed the door. Did the mother change her mind and retrieve the baby before I untangled myself from the sheets?  Had I heard the baby on the neighbor’s door step?  I headed down the hallway back to my room.  Suddenly, it hits me.  The TV is on in the other room.  “Was there a baby crying on your TV?” I ask.  Now I ask you, what kind of person would literally check their doorstep for an abandoned baby before considering the noise came from a TV in an adjacent room?  A person with an imagination problem that’s who.

People wonder how I can write the borderline horror thrillers I write and not be able to watch a horror movie without loosing a nights sleep to increasingly disturbing nightmares.  Right now, as I sit here at my Panera office I want to scream, “Help! The man next to me is clipping his nails.”  All I can think of is a nail popping up to stab me in the eye.  I can just see it.  Half of it lodged in my eye and the other half sticking out like an arrow in a target.  Curved and hard like an eyelash white coral reef in a sea of black reeds.  I’d be driven to the hospital, trying not to squeeze or rub my eye as I yell for my mommy.  Stop it!  This is not darts, man!  You will NOT get a bullseye score if you hit my pupil. I swear if you even scrape me I’m suing like a gold digging mama looking for child support from a famous athlete.

All this I thought of before he even finished his first finger.  I’m telling you I got problems.

That real time look at my wacky stream of conscienceness was such a better example of my issues then the one I was going to tell you about my cat yelping.  ‘Cause even though I know it’s much more probable that she got her tail caught on something or saw a bug she didn’t like, I refused to acknowledge the cry in any way because she could have been fighting to the death with a rodent of heretofore unknown size and species.  Also an option, a serial killer who silenced her by crushing her skull beneath his boot.

I said I got issues.

Anyway,  to all of you who have a similar problem to me, I sympathize.  We never learned to fully quell the infinite possibilities with the science of probability.  Go forth my brethren and channel all that crazy into an art of your choice.  The art consumers of the world love you for it.

More Stories than the Empire State Building

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A date once asked me what my favorite thing in life was.  My standard survival tactic for all small talk is to answer and then repeat the question back to the person asking.  As I was hoping he didn’t notice my parrot like tactics, he said his favorite thing was stories.  My world lit up like tin foil in a conventional microwave.  Of course!  I don’t remember what my answer was but it was lame compared to this and I immediately wanted to take it back.  Stories are the only thing that I can remember on a regular basis.  If you asked me to write a history book from memory it would be light on all the names and dates we were supposed to memorize in school but you’d have enough stories to wallow around in ’til the pigs came home.  (Yes, I did say pigs.  As far as I know cows don’t wallow, and since I eat beef, but not pork, the cows might never come home.) I’m not sure I like stories as much as Kristen Bell likes sloths but then again, I’m not sure I like anything as much as that.

Stories have taken a prominent position in my mind this week because I’m taking Scott Myers’ (@GoIntotheStory on Twitter) Prep: From Concept to Outline class.  As I wrestle near infinite possibilities down to a single narrative, I’ve been thinking about how the telling of a story with the same basic facts can change the meaning and message.  I was listening to NPR’s Talk of the Nation interview with Rez Life author, David Treuer, and he said something extraordinary.  What if we don’t talk about Indian reservations in a negative light all the time?  What if instead we talk about reservations as having a surplus of everything?  A surplus of everything from community to poverty.  (See an excerpt from the book and listen to the interview in a tiny link next to his picture here.)  Another book, How to be Black by Baratunde Thurston poses the hypothesis that if blacks in the US had a program, like Greek and Jewish kids have Greek School and Jewish School, where we can celebrate our history we might feel new pride and possibilities in being black.  With my current crusade to give the black kids in my former junior high some hope, (see last weeks post) I realize how I frame the story of African-American history could be the difference between a life of opportunity and one of hopelessness for some of these kids.

As a writer, I am a storyteller.  A storyteller has the power of shaping history, reporting the present, and dreaming the future.  Choose the stories you tell with care fellow storytellers, the telling of them is what makes them real.

Save the Teens

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So y’all have probably noticed I didn’t post anything last week.  That’s because I’m tired.  The thing pressing on society from all sides the past couple of weeks is the murder of Treyvon Martin.  I’d already posted a couple of times about race and I didn’t want to do it anymore.  I’m tired of speaking for “all black people.” Tired of keeping up race relations.  Just plain tired.  But it seems that the world is tired of thinking about people as individuals and I’m compelled to come out of my hideyhole and speak.  Speak for Treyvon and for the children in my own neighborhood.

I propose to you the murder of Treyvon Martian was more than just a racial thing.  He was wearing a hoodie. The hoodie along with baggy pants, an oversized T-shirt and sneakers signals more to the observer than the color of the person wearing the clothes.  It says urban culture.  Now urban culture is often used as a code word for black people.  For black people who wear those things, listen to rap music, are loud, violent, uneducated, and disrespectful.  You might say, “Hey there Billie Jean.  Hold on now, wait a minute.  That’s not right.”  It isn’t right.  But it’s the truth.

This is how George Zimmerman, a latino, can have close loyal black friends and still call a stranger a “fucking coon.”  I have had friends look at me in the face and say that they don’t think of me as black.  Don’t think of me as black?  Now I’m not a dark chocolate but I’m definitely no creamed coffee beige either.  I am black.  That’s my racial identity.  For grown people to look at me and say I’m not black means that to them, being black does not mean the color of my skin but how I act, talk, and dress.  It’s true I’m not the least bit “urban.”  I was raised in the suburbs and ever since then have lived over 90% of my non-family life as the only black person in the room.  Sadly, I had to borrow the hoodie I wore for my twitter photo from my mother.  But I am black.  I’ve been called an Oreo, black on the outside white on the inside.  But I’m just black and for people not to see me this way because of the way I present myself is a problem.

Yesterday, I went to talk to sixth graders at my former junior high about screenwriting.  Stepping through those doors was like walking into an alien world from the one I remembered.  The kids looked older and taller than I expected but what really got me was all the color everywhere.  Black kids, brown kids,  Asian kids, white kids.  A mural sprawled across the wall stating the word Diversity in large letters.  Odder than that, the faces passing by it reflected the message.  It kinda freaked me out.  When I went there we had no more than four black kids in the school for the entire three years I went there.  There were also a few Hmong and about ten to twenty adopted Korean kids back then.  The halls were loud and as a 34 year old woman I felt incredibly out of place.  I gave myself a pep talk.  I was prepared, I could do this.

The classroom was smaller and the children were wilder than I remembered.  As the kids entered they immediately started climbing the walls, literally.  The tiny ledge used for dry erase markers became a balance beam. Tables and chairs became launch pads or elevated runways.  The teacher said nothing but the class had not begun yet.  I was shocked, but if they wanted to excise their inner Olympic acrobat before the bell rang who was I to judge.  Then the bell rang.

Most of the kids sat down, some on top of the table which I didn’t approve of but it wasn’t my class.  The others continued to roam around the room and in and out of the door.  I waited for the teacher to say something to these kids but she didn’t.  She just told me to start.  I did, thinking that once they knew something was going on they’d pay attention.  In less than a minute, the roamers recruited half the sitters into their pursuits of mayhem.  Still nothing was said.  And that’s when I noticed.  The only ones sitting down were white and Asian kids.  I kept talking even though my heart started to sink.  What I can only assume to be the disciplinarian of the school came in and took some kids for a talk about things that happened earlier that day.  I know this because he was not quiet about it.  The way he opened the door without knocking, did not excuse himself for the interruption, or adjust his volume to accommodate my presentation was startling.  After the kids he borrowed returned to resume their antics, I broke when one of  the girls stood in the open door and proceeded to shout down the hallway.  “HEY! YO!”  She turns around, “Did you just say ‘Hey yo?'” “Yes, I did.” She sat down taking a handout.  Before my next sentence was completed her friends start talking to her and she’s up and running again.  It killed me.  The discipline guy comes back and takes five of the girls out.  Then one kid opens the window and climbs out of it to run around the parking lot.  Still the only response from the teacher was to close the window.

The black Mama in me was ready to fight.  To get in all their faces and physically sit their black asses down.  But I’m not their Mama, or their teacher.  So instead I told my story.  The one that I was not able to share until recently, especially with white people in the room.  How isolated I felt and how much pressure I shouldered to be the perfect example of a black person for the white race when I was in school.  I told them I didn’t want them to feel like they didn’t have to be anyone else for anybody else but that respect of all people was crucial.  The room was quiet as I spoke.  The quietest it had been the whole time.  Then one of the white girls raised her hand.  “I don’t like that you said that because I am a person of color too.  Just a different color.”  I wanted to tell her that my story was not for her and her neediness to be included in everything, but I didn’t want to hurt her feelings so instead I told her that yes, she did have color.  A kind of pink.  She smiled as did the rest of the white kids and with that I lost the black kids again and the noise and the climbing started again.  The last few minutes of class was free time.  One of the white girls started walking on the table and she was told to get down (which she did after being told a third time.)  By the end of class I was angry and wounded.  I asked the teacher what had happened in there.  She basically told me that the trouble makers were going to be moved to a single classroom environment at a different facility next year.  I wanted to scream.  All these black kids were going to be segregated because people had given up on them.  Had decided they were not worth the trouble of teaching or even telling to sit down and shut up.  Is that what we do now, give up on people who seem to be troublemakers?  Are they just bugs to be shooed out of the house or exterminated because they might infect the people who wear jeans and T-shirts that fit?

I haven’t decided what I’m going to do yet.  But I’m going back to that school.  Children should be fought for at all times in all circumstances.   They deserve us to have hope for them even when they don’t have hope for themselves.  Pray for me.  I’m gonna need it.

It’s Either an Island or a Dairy Queen Special

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STOP KONY!

KONY 2012

Those phrases started popping up all over my computer earlier this week.  My twitter and Facebook feeds were inundated with pleas that I didn’t understand.  Who the hell is Kony and what the [toe jam] did I care?  At first, I thought it was a joke. Some republican made up by Jon Stewart or Steven Colbert to challenge Mitt Romney for the nomination.  Then suddenly, it got real.

I clicked on a tweet that led to this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc

Pretty powerful stuff.  All that video needed was a puppy in a pound and it would have officially pulled on every available heart string I had.  I was in.  I retweeted the video and thought about giving my time to the cause (no donation because I didn’t want to wear one of those lame bracelets.)  Then, the opposition started pouring in.  Articles questioning the validity of the cause, here, and the organization running it, here.  The article bashing Invisible Children, the organization behind the video, was promptly responded to in this statement.  But the question of will arresting Kony change anything still hangs in the air.

When I was in junior high, in 1989, experiencing a mild version of integration backlash, I wondered why the civil rights movement stopped after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.  Why couldn’t this structure of people built over a decade carry on without one person?  My question was answered in 2002 when Paul Wellstone was killed in a plane crash in Minnesota.  Every weekend, I had campaigned with Paul.  Going to rallies, making phone calls, and door knocking.  I even appeared with him in one of his commercials.  The Wellstone movement was going to change things.  Then the plane crashed.  During the ensuing fallout, I realized how important a leader is.  The bubble of hope and possibility we were in burst.  It was like everyone was suffocating on what could have been and what we refused to be without him.  So yes, taking out the head of a movement can destroy an infrastructure from the inside out.

Is it the same with armies where everyone has power in the shape of a gun?  Is Joseph Kony still the figurehead he used to be? How many other Kony like figures will we have to take down before all the people in the world feel safe?  I don’t know the answers to any of those questions but I do know we have to try.

I haven’t been a part of any campaign or worked for any political party since a month after that plane crashed.  Maybe, just maybe, if those who support warlords saw them disabled one by one they would start to back other causes.  Maybe those looking to take their place will find a safer, less destructive way to build power.  And maybe, in a generation, no one will have to secretly fight institutionalized oppression because the fight will be all of ours.

Stop Pooping in my Stall!

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Warning:  The following post contains startling information such as women poop.  So for those men who would rather not know that, Too Bad.  Chicks poop.

Today, I am coming out of the proverbial handicap bathroom as a disabled person.  This is hard for me.  Harder than talking about religion or politics.  This is a mental root canal.

Shortly after I moved back home to help my mother with the care of my grandma, I got violently sick.  It was Christmas Day and I was basking in my thoughts of double time and a half at work when I suddenly threw up all over my keyboard while talking to a customer on the phone.  I went to the bathroom as quickly as I could (No, this isn’t the pooping part.) and ended up spending  the rest of my work day sitting on the bathroom floor.  Just an observation, no matter how you get on the floor of a public bathroom the day will just go down hill from there.

I didn’t know it then, but that was the end of my remission.  When I was sixteen I was diagnosed with a form of rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.  Both are auto immune forms of arthritis.  Which means my immune system attacks my body and could kill me if not treated and controlled.  You probably noted that it was serious business when I said remission, a word that is usually used for other such fun things like cancer.

So, I am now one of THOSE people.  One that the politicians fight over, a drain on the system. In the three years it took before the government approved my Social Security Disability payments and Medicare, I was a woman in my thirties living off my mother.  We were stretched to the limit since she had been laid off and only had her retirement.  I swallowed the elephant pill of my pride and applied for food stamps.  Getting that EBT card was incredibly freeing even though every time I used it I tried to hide what it was from the cashier.  I’d feel guilty if I paid money for entertainment.  I was afraid that if anyone saw me out having a good time they would think I was OK when I knew I was not.

I upgraded the walker, which I relied on sometimes, from a metal and tennis ball number to one with wheels and a seat.  My therapist directed me to get out of my house for something than doctors appointments.  So I went out to restaurants and ate.  Without the ability to exercise and limited funds for healthy foods, I gained eighty pounds.  I didn’t recognize my life.

About a year ago, I decided I needed to stop trying to regain the life I led and make a new one for myself from the salvaged bits of my previous life.  I started writing screenplays again.  I went back to LA to pitch my scripts while sitting in my walker and kept writing.  I explained I can’t sit in a writers room all day due to my condition and I kept writing.

I write in my Panera office a lot but I have one major problem with it.  When I go into the bathroom, there is always a woman in the handicap stall.  I sit in my walker outside of it looking at the two empty regular stalls wishing I could use those.  Eventually, the toilet will flush and she will come out, sometimes with a mumbled apology.  I shuffle in leaning on my walker and get hit in the nose with the fragrance of post poo.  It makes me grumpy.  Why they gotta poop in the only stall I can use!?  I can poop in it ’cause I don’t have a choice, but not you.  One time I came out of the stall to see a woman in a wheelchair waiting.  She was shocked the woman blocking her from her stall actually needed it.  I knew exactly where she was coming from.

For those of you asking did she just write this painful and entirely too personal blog to tell people not to poop in the handicap stall.  Yes, I dd.

If you need more to take away then that, I give you the following advise.  If you see a sixteen year old suddenly collapse one day saying he’s in so much pain he can’t get up.  Give him the benefit of the doubt by helping him instead of watching as he claws his way along the floor.

That’s it.

Ignorance. Wrote a blog about it. Like to hear it? Here it go.

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I didn’t think it would happen to me but I’ve been dragged into the Lin-sanity about Jeremy Lin.  His amazing athleticism didn’t do it to me.  I got sucked into the controversy over ESPN reporting on him.  It amazed me that two people were terminated from their job and there is no “official” news site that will show the original headline or video of what was said.  It’s astounding to me that in such a big news story that affects lives there is no way to choose for myself if I think the comments were racist.  When I blinked and missed Janet’s wardrobe malfunction, the next day, I could see stills of it in multiple newspapers.  Why do I get to decide for myself if a jeweled nipple offended me but not a word in a sentence. From what I understand the headline was stupid, if not malicious, but the sportscaster was using a commonly used saying that did not have it’s origin in racism.  Unlike getting jewed, gyped, or being called an Indian giver which all stem from bigotry, having a chink in your armor refers to an actual defect or gap in your gear.

We are so PC and litigious in this society we can’t talk about issues or repeat comments without someone being in danger of crucifixion.  A few years ago, I remember Dan Savage and some black spokesperson (that’s right I can’t tell them apart either sometimes) having a discussion with an NPR reporter about how we as a society have used curses and slurs to both help and hurt Peoples.  It frustrated me to no end because they specified these words by calling them the N, C, F, S, and F word.  That’s right, in a scholarly discussion about language these grown men were talking in code.  A code that began to confuse even them.  You see, fag and fuck both start with the same letter and a considerable amount of time was wasted when every five to ten minutes they had to keep saying, “the F word”, “the F word?” “No, the Other F word” until they were pretty sure they were all talking about the same F word.   I don’t understand how a country that is built on a theme of self-determination and autonomy can let supped up Powerpoints called news programs tell them what to think with no ability to review and make an informed decision for themselves.

I am an NPR nerd.  Sustaining member with the tote bag and everything.  Today, I turned on the radio to hear news of the killing of two journalists Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik.  As with most events that happen outside of the United States, immediate in-depth coverage was provided by streaming the BBC.  Why doesn’t the US have real world news like BBC International or CNN International?  Why do we only watch news that is wrapped up in a three-minute, biased, special effects bow?

In Baratunde Thurston’s book How to be Black, he suggests handing all responsiblity for fixing racism to white people.  At first, I thought that was a ridiculous idea.  In my experience, too many white people don’t even know what racism really is.  Racism is the thinking that makes another person less than you in your mind.   Not different, less.   Now, I don’t know.  Maybe white people should handle it.  Maybe they won’t get so caught up in the words and not the meaning.  ‘Cause I gotta tell you, most of the time I don’t even know which slur goes with which ethnic group.  That’s right, mick, spick, cracker, you’re all just white people to me.  Being the only black person in any room outside of my house 90% of the time since I was five years old makes me think about race more and less than others.  White people are just people unless they say or do something racist and non-whites are just people unless they do or say something that I think will fit into a negative stereotype of their race.

Ignorance is rampant and even sought out on a regular basis.  When we choose only to listen to people who think exactly like us, we are embracing a type of ignorance.  I framed most of this blog in terms of racism because it’s always been easier to see than economic, ethnic, or political differences.  I wish the US would teach history, real history, full of meaning and story.  We would all learn better.  We might even remember that each of us is different, but not less, past the test at the end of the semester.

Happy Valentine’s Day…I Paid for Sex!

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That’s right people this Valentine’s Day I arranged with my pimps Barnes & Noble to buy Lora Leigh’s Forbidden Pleasure.  It was hard for me to open up to these new guys since I had had a good relationship with my previous pimp Boarders.  Sadly, he was busted last year and had to let all his rags go.

Anyway, I thought with all the recent talk about the morality of birth control, I would put this out there as an alternative.  ‘Cause if you don’t have birth control you might have an unwanted pregnancy.  Then you’ll be forced to have an abortion, or you could have the baby and not be able or willing to provide the financial or emotional support that child needs.  I think those things are so much more immoral than swallowing a pill or slipping a raincoat on a weenie.

Paying for sex is even common in the Bible.  That’s right, men paid good money for those concubines and slaves.  And they where always ready, if not willing.  Yes, just pay for sex like me and everyone will be so much happier. Hmm?  Masturbation is against the rules too?  You sure?  Even with your left hand?  OK then.  I see.  Nevermind.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Cover of "Forbidden Pleasure (Bound Heart...

Black people in movies. What happens when we ain’t the hooker or the hood?

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I can’t help it.  I’m black and I love the movies.  So we all knew this post was coming sooner or later.  Why not now?  What is Black History Month for if not for posting polarizing commentary on the industry you love?

In the last few months, the issue of race in the business of movies has been in the forefront.  I first noticed it shortly before Red Tails opened.  Suddenly, many people in the industry were talking about George Lucas being forced to use his own money for his passion project.  The story of how no studio would touch the movie because it featured a cast of African-Americans was repeated more times than the trailer.  During this time, the sustained success of The Help at various award shows ran as a constant backdrop.  I was so excited to have this issue out in the open for discussion.  Unfortunately, we didn’t discuss a damn thing.

A great number of people went out to see Red Tails to support George Lucas’ project.  I did too.  I encouraged others to go in my Trailer Park review.  Even after I saw it I still told people to go see it.  Now let me clarify, I did not tell people to go see Red Tails because I thought it would be or even was a good movie.  In fact, the movie bored me.  It lacked structure, emotional involvement, and the weight of being real.  I was so desperate to show that my community and I would support a black movie despite what those studio people said, I went.  We were right to do this, but we were also oh so wrong.  The word to go see this movie was so pervasive that my theatre was packed at ten o’clock in the morning on a Friday because black high school students were bussed in as part of their class.  Of course, white people were there too.  There is nothing that will get a white liberal to do what you want quicker than implying it might be racist if they don’t.  It was not exactly quiet in the theatre due to the kids being restless, but I was restless too.  What if we had brought all these people out for a good movie?  The kids would have settled down to watch and the rest of us wouldn’t have had the stereotype of black people not knowing how to act in a movie theatre reinforced. Wouldn’t everyone have been more likely to take a chance on the next movie with a primarily black cast?

The weekend after Red Tails overperformed in its opening, a fellow black screenwriter posted this on her Facebook page, “In regards to The Help…didn’t Hattie McDaniel already play that part and win an Oscar. In the 1930s. Wow. Progress.”  That post was followed closely by a link of “movie posters that told the truth.”  (The one for The Help is pictured.  All the posters can be found here.)  I was astounded.  Hattie McDaniel’s caricature of a happy, subservient, Mammy that only lived to please Scarlett, was no where close to the human beings portrayed in The Help.  I just don’t see it.  Skeeter didn’t swoop down and save anybody.  The decisions that Aibileen and Minny made were all their own.  They only expected danger from what this white lady brought into their mist, not deliverance.  All that talk confused me even more because I never heard it about Avatar, the biggest white dude saves the ignorant colored people storyline of the last twenty years.  We all should have known something was going on when there was a motion capture movie in production and Andy Serkis was nowhere to be seen.  If worst comes to worst at least actors of color can look forward to motion capture jobs in the future.

As I’m writing this, I finally see what the problem is.  Not all black people are alike.  Despite what we have been trained to think, no one black person can speak for all black people.  The backlash against Tyler Perry movies should be proof enough of that. This problem crosses many racial groups.  Asians, who are even more culturally split than black Americans, are all but absent from representation in movies.  They can’t be neatly put in a box to symbolize anything.  Well, except maybe mathlete or fetish fotter.  Historically, non-whites on the U.S. screen have only existed in relation to whites. We went to Red Tails because George Lucas, a white man, was saying he didn’t believe what the studios said and we wanted to prove him right.  We wanted to show what we could do if they gave us a chance.  We went to a movie devoid of substance because we need the white people in power to help us change things.

I wish a white person had told us to go to Pariah instead.  In spite of the off-putting name, I believe we should have mobilized for this movie too.  A sweet coming of age tale populated with people, who are unquestionably black, telling a universal story.  It was beautiful.  A story written for black actors that wasn’t about being black.

The white people I’ve met who have said they wanted to be black, all stated how badly wanted to belong to a community.  There is a community there, but it’s not specific, nor is the experience universal.  Just because we talk about being black, being black doesn’t define us.  So, if you are yearning to be black to belong, “Stop it and join the ornithology club!”  Or, you can be the only white person in a room full of black cast and crew.  Come on, we dare you.

No, you can’t touch my hair…but you can snack on it.

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English: Cropped by : Fourohfour, to remove ir...

I just had a barely controllable urge to ask my mom if my hair felt like Cheetos.

This thought was spawned by watching a YouTube video on what white women say to black women.  Despite the hundreds of inappropriate questions about my hair I have received over the years, this is not one of them.   But it made me wonder. What if I carried around a small baggy of Cheetos and the next time someone asked to touch my hair I would say, “Oh, touch these Cheetos instead. Same thing.”

Mmm, evil thoughts.  “Yes, rub ’em real good.  Yeah, ’til all that orange stuff comes right off.  Now, touch your hair to compare.  Neat, huh?”

Yes, so evil.