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Road To Race Redemption


I really wanted to see the Miracle at St. Anna in the theater.  But it’s kind of hard to coordinate that kind of date with the Misses when there is a two year old to take into consideration.  We kept planning on going to see the flick.  But junior doesn’t go to sleep until eight in the evening and both mom and I are bone tired by the time he goes down.  A date on the town is out of the question and we are more than happy to just collapse in front of a television or pull out a book or fire up a laptop.  Before we knew it, Miracle at St. Anna had come and gone.

When it came out on DVD, we added it to our Netflix account.  When it arrived in the mail we popped it into the DVD player in record time.  I enjoyed it.  Black soldiers in Italy trying to represent their country and not get killed in the process.  I enjoyed it considerably.  It was good to see brothers doing more than just the same old same old from Hollywood.  We run the gamut like everyone else from the brothers who want to do right regardless of the wrong done to him, to the brothers who are selfish and looking out for only him self, or the stereotypical black behavior.

But I have to admit that the acting was pretty flat.  I thought the character Train was poorly executed by Omar Miller could’ve been done so much better.  Mr. Miller’s acting was pretty thin.  But the story was engaging and had me trying to figure out exactly who and/or what the Sleeping Man was.  I think Baba Obatala, the Orisa of the mountains, would have enjoyed it.

There was a scene in the flick that caused me some problems.  We were given a momentary flashback of these Negroid soldiers and their experience with white Americans before they were shipped out to Europe.  Five black soldiers went to a mom and pop café not too far from their army base to get some kind of iced drink or something.  The white owner told the black soldiers to come out back and he’d have them ready.  He said it in an even tone as if that was just the way it was.  Black people got served out of the back door.

The black soldiers couldn’t help but notice the white German prisoners that were eating at one of the booths.  The Germans were being escorted by white military policemen who were eating at the bar.  The soldiers made a comment about black people trying to serve their country and being treated like shit while Germans who killed American soldiers were treated like humans.  The owner pulled out his gun, told the black soldiers that he does what he wants in his place and he’d be damned if any niggers were going to tell him what to do.

The MPs stepped in to calm the situation.  They told the black soldiers to hightail it back to base.  They picked up the German soldiers and everyone left the place.  The store owner turned to his son who looked maybe ten years old and told him that’s how you handle niggers.

The soldiers left.  They got in their jeep and started back to the base.  But somewhere along the way they decided to turn around and get their floats.  The store owner was telling a couple of locals about his experience with the nigger soldiers when all of a sudden four very angry black soldiers burst through his front door with automatic weapons drawn and ready.  The two locals had their shotguns with them.  But the soldiers got the drop on them.  In a not too polite way, the soldiers told the store owner to get the drink order ready.  The store owner was much more compliant.  Suddenly he found the inspiration to address the black soldiers as sir.  The store owner’s wife was there and she was holding their son close to her.  Everyone had fear in their eyes.  The scene ended.  I guess that the men got their drinks.

Now, while it probably felt wonderful to have that store owner submit to the will of those black soldiers, I couldn’t help but wonder about the implications to other black people who might visit that place unaware of what may have transpired.  I’m sure the white store owner felt humiliated in front of his family.  He had to get even.  And instead of separating one black person from another, all black people are subject to his wrath.  The next black person who steps into his store will probably be tortured in a futile attempt for him to get his manhood back.

The two locals with the shotguns, they’ll probably find some black person walking down a road and decide to give a little dominant community retribution.  They’ll probably be more than happy to shoot a black person in the back and run back to the store owner to brag about their own act of trying to redeem their sense of superiority.

Should those black soldiers had left and bothered never to have come back?  Well, all I can say is that I know there are times I wished I could have straightened out someone who treated me like dirt.  And a person who treats me like dirt simply because of the color of my skin is somebody that really does need a good throttling from the Sleeping Man.

But ultimately, I have to admit that using force against that store owner would have only lead to more problems.  Those soldiers knew they were in the wrong when they took their weapons into that café and forced the owner to service them at the front door.  People who have such hatred in their heart just need to be left alone to deal with their own demons.  That store owner and those country locals don’t need any additional excuses to hate black people.  Don’t want my business?  Fine!  You don’t need my business.  He who lives by the sword shall eventually die by the sword.  Besides, now that I know what he’s like, I wouldn’t want to eat anything out of his nasty assed store anyway.

Friday, March 27, 2009 Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Men, Black People, Life, Racism, Spike Lee, Thoughts | 1 Comment

Paying To See The Miracle At St. Anna

Miracle at St. Anna is Spike Lee’s latest effort.  The story is about four soldiers of the all black 92nd Infantry Division who find themselves separated from their unit and trapped in German controlled territory near the small Tuscan village of St. Anna di Stazzema along the Gothic Line during the Italian Campaign of World War II after one of the men save an Italian boy.  These black men are risking their lives for a country in which they are treated with less respect than the enemy they are fighting.  Nevertheless, these soldiers manage to discover some semblance of humanity in the small Tuscan village.  The story is inspired by the August 1944 Sant’Anna di Stazzema massacre perpetrated by the Waffen SS in retaliation to Italian partisan activity.

It’s been a long time since I’ve bothered to take the family to see a movie.  The last movie we saw as a unit was X-Men 3:  X-Men United.  It was a pretty good flick.  I am a long time comic book fan and was deeply familiar with all the characters decades ago.  That was two years ago.  It was at a matinee and I ended up paying something like fifteen dollars.  The only movie I planned to see in the near future would be the new Star Trek flick now in production.  I am probably the biggest classic Star Trek fan that never donned a Federation uniform or purchased any of the other Star Trek paraphernalia.  Other than that, I don’t particularly care to see movies at the theater and would much rather prefer to see flicks in the comfort of my home on a DVD from Netflix.  But I will make an exception and will take the family to see Miracle at St. Anna.

I must confess that I’m not the biggest Spike Lee fan.  But the man has done more than his share of damn good movies.  Bamboozled is a movie that every black person in America should see.  Bamboozled is a well developed analogy of some black people’s willingness to sellout their sense of black community pride for a few crumbs of wealth from some corporate entity controlled by someone from the racially generic dominant community controlled overwhelmingly by white people.

I was impressed with Mr. Lee’s interpretation of a bank robbery in Inside Man.  And the biographical drama regarding the life of Malcolm X was the absolute bomb.  And I loved the story of the selfish player Bleek Gilliam in Mo’ Better Blues.  Mr. Lee seems to strike gold anytime he’s able to hook up with Denzel Washington.  But the only Spike Lee movie I ever paid to see in a theater was the life and times of Nola Darling in She’s Gotta Have It.  And that was over twenty years ago.  But I’m about to actually pay for my second Spike Lee film and pull out my wallet to see Miracle at St. Anna.

I was personally offended when earlier this year Clint Eastwood made a statement that he would be rewriting history to add black people to any portrayal of the happenings on Iwo Jima where military propaganda showed nothing but white American soldiers fighting for the pacific island.  When Mr. Lee made a question public as to why black people were not in Mr. Eastwood’s World War II films, Mr. Eastwood responded by suggesting that Mr. Lee should “shut his face”.  Bottom line is that if black people want to be portrayed in war films then black people need to make war films.  And if black people want to see black people making our own films, black people need to support black people who make films.

Unfortunately, I doubt if the financial success of black films can overcome the movie making corporate establishment’s inertia against making more black community oriented and sourced films.  I mean it should be pretty obvious that there have been some hugely financial successful black films.  The previously mentioned Denzel Washington has the King Midas touch when it comes to films even with his reluctance to do a love scene with a white woman.  Then again, he’s never done a love scene with any woman.  He doesn’t have to rely on such a basic movie staple component as sex to make his films attractive.

Before he turned into Mike Myer’s sidekick ass and before she turned into from a black woman into a black looking woman person with a multi ethnic genealogy where the blackness is downplayed, Eddie Murphy and Halle Berry did the all black movie Boomerang.  Soul Food is another movie that had an all black ensemble.  But instead of these actors or other black actors coming together to do more black films sensitive to black culture, black actors would rather do minstrel quality shows like Grandma Goes To Jail and Fat Mama’s House.  And who told Snoop Dogg that he could act or that he was funny?  Movies like Soul Plane should have never seen the light of day.

I really don’t see me spending much time or money going to flicks at the theater that do little to promote or benefit black actors or the black community.  That includes woefully inaccurate portrayals of blackness in the minstrels.  If these corporate movie making and distributing conglomerates refuse to do more for and with the black community then the black community should do less with, if not completely without, the corporate conglomerates.  So many people have this impression that black people aren’t part of America’s history such as the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima.  Maybe black people shouldn’t be helping to finance this type of stereotypical anti-black propaganda.

Friday, September 26, 2008 Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black Men, Black People, Life, Racism, Spike Lee, Thoughts | 5 Comments