Race Matters: Let’s Go To the Movies Part II

There has been a lot of chatter about race, racism, and racial reconciliation over the past few weeks. In our media driven and social connections, it is so easy to follow the latest trends and then forget why we were initially outraged in the first place. We forget that God is outraged too, and we forget that people lives are being impacted by racial injustices. We forget that when humans die, they often have loved ones who remain. These loved ones are not following the latest trends. They are not forgetting; they are still mourning, crying, losing sleep, and possibility waking up in cold sweats. We should not forget them. As Christians, we should not forget to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep.

Today’s post is Part II of last’s Friday original feature of movies which draw us closer to racial reconciliation. Racial Reconciliation expert, Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil believes that to truly become reconciled people, “We need to feel what we don’t experience.” Movies have a way of making us feel by intimating connecting us to the life experiences of another.

Part I featured highlights, some commentary, and video trailers from the movies: Crash, 12 Years a Slave, The Help, Schindler’s List, Hotel Rwanda and 42.

Today, I feature six more movies that you will actually need to rent or purchase through your favorite movie viewing mechanism. In no particular order, here are movies that I recommend to better understand racial and ethnic issues. These movies can be a great starting point for having important dialogs with friends:

  1. THE BUTLER

Why watch it: This is a movie that is inspired by (not based on) the service of butler, Eugene Allen, who served under eight presidents, including Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan. While it is a fictional story, it is honest in the presentation of the experiences of Black people over a period of time as America was drastically changing. More than being yet another movie about “The Help,” I feel this movie does a great job of presenting the challenges and two faces of minorities who oftentimes live in a white culture that is automatically assumed “American.” The movie also does an excellent job of confronting generational conflicts, specifically how two generations of Black people saw the issue of racism but decided that the solution and strategic course for confronting that evil was distinctly different. This all begs the question, “How will we address the issue of racism today?”

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Race Matters: Let’s Go to the Movies

There has been a lot of chatter about race, racism, and racial reconciliation over the past few weeks. In our media driven and social connections, it is so easy to follow the latest trends and then forget why we were initially outraged in the first place. We forget that God is outraged too, and we forget that people lives are being impacted by racial injustices. We forget that when humans die, they often have loved ones who remain. These loved ones are not following the latest trends. They are not forgetting; they are still mourning, crying, losing sleep, and possibility waking up in cold sweats. We should not forget them. As Christians, we should not forget to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep.

We should also not forget that our god is a God of justice. He cares about corrupt and broken people and about corrupt and broken systems. He desires change. He welcomes repentance, and he will judge when there is none. He will one day make all of this right.

God has created all human beings in his own image, and therefore we all have value. Our lives matter. We cannot fix what we do not see or confront what we do not care about. In today’s post, I’m asking you to care about people.

In a recent article published by Christianity Today, I shared one tip for educating ourselves concerning race issues and how to move closer towards racial reconciliation:

Watch movies and documentaries. Having a racial focus in the books, magazines, movies, documentaries or other learning tools is not necessary. It is more important to hear the voices, share the experiences, convictions, life rhythms, and practices of people that are different than us. Seek material that is authored and produced by racial and ethnic minorities.

Therefore, I invite you to go to the movies. Well, you will actually need to rent or purchase these through your favorite movie viewing mechanism. In no particular order, here are 6 movies that I recommend (and 6 more are coming next week) to get started for understanding racial and ethnic issues and having important dialogs with your friends:

  1. CRASH

Why watch it: This is an explosive cast in an explosive movie. Centered in Los Angeles, it addresses everything from urban living, interracial marriage, immigration/human trafficking, social programs (the lives of recipients and the perceptions of those who receive“handouts”), corrupt cops (there are some), and the reality that there is often no cushion for men of color who make poor choices. We are human and this movie reveals what happens when we step outside of our own worlds and crash into the lives of others. This is a must watch!

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Leadership: The Diaspora of Minorities in White Evangelicalism

At home w/ this great group of friends and local human trafficking advocates (Photo Courtesy of Sherri Bray Photography)

At home w/ this great group of friends and local human trafficking advocates (Photo Courtesy of Sherri Bray Photography)

Lonely and displaced. That’s how I sometimes feel as an African American leader who is called to serve within the white evangelical culture. I know the feeling all too well when dialoging with seminarians, participating in Christian conferences, writing for Christian publications, or even attending predominately white and multicultural churches. Too often, this experience reveals the laments of my sisters and brothers of color who see the physical banners which read, “Come as you are…” and yet understand that the invisible subheading demands, “and be like us.” I want to come as I am, period. As minority leaders of faith, we don’t want to assimilate into the white culture. We simply want to be as God created us in His image with value, dignity, purpose, and not have our racial or ethnic differences viewed as a threat to the “normal way” of doing things.

Continue reading at Missio Alliance.