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:
- 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?”
- THE BOOK THIEF
Why watch it: In a Germany setting during World War II, this movie presents the humanity of people and their connections. The young book thief is adopted and raised by her new parents who eventually take a Jewish refugee into their home. Depending on people’s connections, beliefs, and their environments, this movie documents how people change for the better or worse.
- FRUITVALE STATION
Why watch it: Here’s my original post concerning this movie.
Why watch it: This is a true movie about how a biracial woman, Dido Elizabeth Belle, might have helped end the British slave trade. Dido is the heroine in this movie and in life. Beyond the topic of slavery, we observe reconciliation as Dido’s family change their thoughts concerning slavery. In fact, Dido ends up marrying a fair skinned British man, John Davinier. An reflective point of this movie is the love and tension that grows between Dido and her best friend/cousin, the fair skinned, Lady Elizabeth Murray. The girls grow up together and when pressed, Elizabeth reveals how it is possible to love someone or have one black friend or a single Hispanic roommate and still harbor racial thoughts and tendencies.
- FREEDOM WRITERS
Why Watch it: This movie shares what life is like for so many who are living in urban communities in our country. It also reveals the drastic differences in education that is received by those who live in poverty and those who are well off. Poor education limits our children’s opportunities, which leads to classism and plays a role in keeping the dividing walls up between people. There is much to learn for this one. Writing is the tool of reconciliation here, and that’s a bonus.
- REMEMBER THE TITANS
Why Watch it: This is one of my all-time favorite movies! Based on a true story, this movie tackles the various layers of pride, education, zoning, racism, politics, and education. The reconciliation tool here is football, and maybe a little respect.
What did you think about these movies? What other movies do you recommend?
© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2014