Minorities are the Stars in This New Picture

I was rather disappointed about how some of the movies of '09 depicted minorities, Blacks specifically. (This year was filled with "the white-man saves the black-man" films and "Black people and their neurosis/hopelessness" movies.) But as this year comes to a close, I see a glimmer of sun light shining from Hollywood's dismal clouds.

When I saw the trailer of Ninja Assassin, I was actually surprised. Not only is the cast Asian, but the lead is as well. What?! Aren't all of the most skilled martial artist supposed to be both white and raised among or trained by the Asians or some other minority? Asians aren't supposed to get the lead, and when they do, it's not as glamorous as their white counterparts.

Ninja Assassin breaks another rule. It has a sister (Naomi Harris) as the female lead, and she gets rescued by the hero in the film!

I hope this movie does well at the box office. Films with a mostly minority cast (that are not designed to be historical or social commentaries or that don't mock or stereotype us) rarely come around. Ninja Assassin appears to be a refreshing relief. I pray that Hollywood is a good grasshopper, learns from this, and makes it a trend. (Wishful thinking, I know.)

Dang, I wish this movie were PG-13. Looks so bloody.

Proud to be an American--Really?

Everyone identifies with this: When one of your friends or family members aren’t looking or acting their best, you don’t want to be seen with them because it’s embarrassing. Why? After all, he or she is the one who is not appropriate--not you. Even so, you feel that you have a personal stake in their actions. This is because your family and friends are seen as a reflection of yourself, and you want them to do well because you are affected positively when they do.

Americans are totally lost on this concept.

Americans are perfectly content with seeing inequality as long as they are getting theirs now. I understand this because it’s our culture—after all, if it were not for greed, this country would not even be here. However, to maintain a sense of apathy to fellow Americans while having national pride is contradictory. Americans can see poverty, hunger, and disease in their own land and not be moved to remedy it because they see those conditions as a natural part of life that cannot be changed or they think it has nothing to do with them even though the people affected are connected by being Americans. At the most, the average American will be moved to donate a buck or two, but he or she will not be convicted enough to devote much effort to trying to solve the problem. How much pride can Americans have if we are content enough to allow our fellow citizens to live in disgrace? How strong is our national identity?

What makes matters worse is that it can be done—we can greatly reduce these problems we have today. Take Denmark and other European countries, for example. They have practically little crime and poverty, offer health care and education to their citizens, and are considered the happiest people in the world. The United States cannot reach this point, however, because our gratification is derived from the accumulation of personal wealth, in addition to the fact that we do not want to sacrifice to help our fellows because we simply do not care about them. However, what Americans do not realize is that when they help the poor, they are helping themselves, as well. For example, the uneducated who feel desperate and hopeless will turn to crime, but when their needs are taken care of and when we work to remedy their situation, not only do they have a better quality of life but are more productive, helping society as a whole.

What contributes to this apathy is the arrogance that Americans have. We are taught that we live in the greatest country in the world because it’s free (as if America holds the monopoly on that). Anyone can do anything he or she wants to here. This sentiment teaches Americans at an early age that there is nothing wrong, so complacency is welcomed. I often see many who view poverty is a self-caused problem that can be cured simply if people weren’t lazy. After all, since this country is the greatest in the world, if someone’s in poverty, it must be because of her or his own doing. If more Americans didn’t see each other in such a distant way and were more concerned about each other, we wouldn’t have such a one-dimensional perspective of the underprivileged in this country.

(Interesting observation: Why is underprivileged in Microsoft’s dictionary but not overprivileged? Americans have no concept of it.)

Waiting for a Disaster

A great problem Black America (and America in general actually) is that we often are unaware that a problem is developing and only act when something extreme happens.

Consider this for instance. It concerns gun sales skyrocketing despite the fact that we are stuck in a recession:

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Now, here they attribute rising gun sales to the fear that a Democratic president will take their rights away. I'm not denying that this could be a factor; however, when coupled with other trends, this report is disturbing. Besides, nothing has to do with race anymore according to most of white culture today. I'm not buying their explanation. The number of skin-heads has increased in the US from 5,000 in 2001 to 10,000 in 2007 (National Geographic video). The number of hate groups has increased more than 50% since 2000. The Secret Service has been overwhelmed with threats against the president as they have increased by 400%. Neo-Nazis are joining the military so they can gain the skills to create a Racial War in the U.S. And many conservatives (especially in Texas) are advocating secession (TYT has more videos on this). Just today, a Black man was thrown in a bonfire by white supremest.

Now, it's very easy to dismiss all of this information because this is America. We're "post-racial!" History could not possibly repeat itself, and we could not experience a race war or any similar conflict.
It is because of this kind of thinking that we will not take these reports seriously until a large scale tragedy happens. (Many people are victims of hate crimes now, but they usually do not get much media attention unless the person who is targeted is well-known or if the attack is large scale.) It's no secrete that there is much tension between whites and POC right now. The poor economy and incidents like the attack in Texas just make it worse. Immigration is no longer the hugely popular topic that it once was, but if it gets the attention that it once did again, we can only expect these groups to augment at a faster rate than they are even now. I'm wondering when (or if) our relations are going to get so tense that they break and some sort of attack occurs.

However, I wonder if the United States were subject to a racial conflict, would Black people be able to react to it effectively. Our unity, pride, and self-respect are relics from the past. We're too busy tearing each other down , which makes me question the impact of us banning together to fight any confrontation. The fact of the matter is, Black people cannot afford to not support each other. We're only about 13 percent of the population, so whatever action we take needs to be forceful, meaningful, and effective.

The probability of such an event happening is uncertain, but one thing is sure: we need to be aware that it could happen and be prepared for if it occurs. When we are disrespected, degraded, or attacked, be it physically, in the media, or in some other area, we need to have the power, unity, and influence to let the country know that we will not tolerate it. That is impossible as long as we stay assimilated, keep fighting each other, and promote black ignorance (such as BET).

Please watch at least the first two parts of this video from the National Geographic. You cannot prepare for what you are not aware.

American Christianity

This morning I logged on to YouTube as I normally do to see if my favorite subscription, The Young Turks, had updated their channel. They had uploaded a new video about Carrie Prejean and her newly found sex tape. After hearing this, my initial reaction was, "HA!" Because this woman is the epitome of what I've been saying about American Christianity all along.

One of the most irritating phrases that I hear is that "America Is a Christian Nation." There never has been anything Christ-like about America. Christianity has just been used in America to create solidarity among whites, to suppress other races, and to keep other races/people out. American Christianity is not about following the precepts of God. It's not about living a holy life. Furthermore, American Christianity was never concerned with walking the Christian walk. This is why it annoys me when pastors and other Christian leaders get in a panic because America is now just turning away from God. "Americans are aborting millions of babies and are going to bring the judgment of God!" they proclaim, as America has just started on a crime spree. Well before that, America was slaying indigenous people and Africans. That's not really a change in its behavior; however, no one likes to bring up things like that. America is not turning away from God, because it was never turned to God in the first place.

But now, I'm being drawn away from my original point. American Christianity is a construct to keep certain groups down or out in order to maintain the supremacy of white values. This is why I must roll my eyes when I hear someone bashing Muslims and using the ever favorite "America is a Christian Nation" line to justify not treating them with the same respect they would give to a European American. I would think that Americans would welcome Muslim immigrants as most of the time they act more holy than they ever could. They could learn something from them. In fact, I remember hearing NPR report a few years ago on a story where Muslim immigrants were absolutely shocked at the wickedness and indecency of the "Christians." Muslims aren't going to destroy these alleged Christian values as the Conservatives fear. But they aren't battling over Christian values. They're afraid of the Muslims coming because they don't want those brown people from the Middle East invading their land. Prejean illustrated this point further. If she was so afraid of her precious Christian values being degraded in America, she wouldn't have posed nude or made sex tapes. American Christianity is all about keeping groups out, suppressed, and maintaining "white culture."

(What's even more ironic about this is that even the most white Americans are "Christians," a recent study by the found that Blacks are the most religious group in America and are more likely to believe biblical principles than we did 15 years ago.)