RACISM AND AMERICA
I want to start off by saying that I wanted to call this RACISM AND THE WORLD, but I have not lived everywhere in the world and it would be wrong for me to speak for people I do not know. But I have lived many places in America and I have grown up around the prejudice and ignorance of the people in this country. I have been brainwashed with American History, which I have learned to be mostly false as I have gotten older. I have been a victim of racism my whole life and even to this very day I still get attacked. The only difference between the racism back in the early 1900's to the racism today is that everyone has been conditioned to the point that most racism isn't look at as being racist. Sort of like the joke by the great comedian Paul Mooney about gas prices. He states that gas prices are so high now and days we think they are low.
Let me start by explaining what I mean by relating this to the media. If a white American wins an award or does something spectacular, he is defined by his name and perhaps the area he is from. If a non-white person, typically black or Hispanic, does something they are labeled as a "black" or "Hispanic" as if it isn't obvious and as if the person represents the whole demographic. What you will notice if you pay close attention that this is a racist tactic that immediately triggers people's prejudice. Stereotypes are immediately ignited in the viewers mind. For some the stereotype may not seem bad. But what they get from this type of labeling is a stereotype. It is saying that it is so rare and remarkable for a non-white person to make any kind of strides that the person has to stand out for his or her race. Blacks, Hispanics and Asians in America have fought so hard for rights in this country, and in order to achieve that each group had to work together and unite as a whole. This is why these groups of people don't look at this as being racist. And if the victim doesn't think he or she is a victim, than the person committing the crime is free to keep doing it. Whenever someone speaks out on this, they are quickly scolded by his or her "group" by being blamed of being disrespectful to the ones who fought so hard for equal rights. It's pretty much similar to the house slave mentality. We have become so conditioned and brainwashed that we protect the oppressor. Now this may be difficult for some to grasp, but bear with me.
Film is an art that has always been a love of mine. I love music as well and the combination of the two is heaven to me. Film is basically a novel transformed, just as rap is poetry transformed. All of which take your mind away on a fantastic journey. Whether that may be 3 minutes and 30 seconds, 120 minutes or a week. It is nice to escape reality from time to time. But as ideas started to come short and people stopped using their imagination, reality becomes more and more visible in modern entertaining arts. Hence the explosion of reality television. And even with the scripted shows and set up scenarios, this giant monster showed itself to be a mirror reflecting a society. American society. Since the beginning we have seen every single type of person act a damn fool on national television. This showed the true stupidity of America, but it also showed that we are all in the same boat. We are all a group, consisting of mostly brainwashed idiots, but we are all one suffering in this country. So what are we suffering from? The most obvious is poverty and lack of education. In a country where there is so much opportunity and freedom, how is this possible? It is possible because we have become victims to consumerism, separatism and racism. This has been, and still remains, our biggest obstacles that get in the way of handling real problems and living better lives.
Now back to film. The reason I mentioned film is because film is looked at as an actors biggest step to fame and success, and Americans idolize actors the most. Theatre and television are usually stepping stones, but film is always seen as being larger than life. Mainly because more people go to films nowadays and film is always made into an epic event shown on a giant screen in a surround sound arena. When you look at all the films that come out today, who do you see in them? White Americans. Out of the 50 highest grossing films to date, only one has a lead performed by a non-white. That movie being Independence Day starring Will Smith. That is a problem, but not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that just about all of these films are fantasy stories that include Aliens, Dinosaurs, Wizards, Superheroes, and so on. Even with all of this, the makers manage not to include any other races beside white people. Yes you may see one black person in a few films, but it is just that...one. Even with a made up place and time, and with a cast of hundreds, 99% of the cast is white. Now to me that is a problem, especially when the films are marketed to everyone. And as you see by the numbers, just about everyone went to see the films. Giving money to the people who refuse to include someone with a dark complexion in their film. And this is where another form of conditioning comes into place. It may be true the makers did not have the intent of causing damage to the minds of it's viewers, but because of the exclusion it does. White people are given endless possibilities to what they can accomplish on the big screen and where their imagination can take them. They, along with everyone else, are conditioned to think that only white people can fill these roles. The roles maybe of imaginary characters but they are of heroes and people with good strong morals. People start to believe those are the actual characteristic of only white people. When a film is with a black character as the lead, it doesn't do as well because everyone is so used to seeing whites in the role. The film is more likely to receive more viewers and more recognition if the black lead character has negative characteristic that go along the line with today's negative stereotypes of black people.
I am a screenplay writer and all of my characters can be anyone. I do not write a role to a specific race because I do not know anyone who represents a race. I know people. I know individuals by their name and by their personality. If I told you one of my friends was white, you still wouldn't know anything abut him or her. We are more than the groups we have come to separate ourselves by. It is time for us to start seeing each other that way and it is time to stop feeding into the negativity that is fed to us by the media. Me being black shouldn't mean anything to you except that my ancestors came from the beautiful continent Africa and that due to the mistakes of people in the past, my ancestors were stolen from their land and made slaves in the country of America. That fact that I am American is evident by the way I talk and the way I dress. So it is safe to say most people would assume that from the start, which is not a bad thing. Everything else that pops up in your mind is false because you do not know me. Now it may seem like I am directing my comments towards white Americans, but I would like to assure you that that is not the case. This message is for everyone because everyone in this country is a racist and a victim of racism. My message is for everyone to understand this and try to see past this in order to focus on the real problems. That being the lack of understanding and unity of all Americans. A unity that is much needed in order to fight against poverty and the mistreatment of the people by major corporations and the government.
-Ryan K. Willis
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