This So-Called Post-Post-Racial Life

February 18, 2009

Mixed Bags

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — pprscribe @ 12:31 am

Via Anti-Racist Parent comes a recommendation for the Academy Award nominated short film, New Boy. It is, indeed, a wonderful piece of storytelling and I, too, will be rooting for it if I manage to watch the presenting of the Oscars. Yet watching the film, I was thinking that progress in the telling of stories around race always seems to have a good news/bad news element to it. Yes–excellent to show racial issues outside of the United States context. Yes–wonderful, the depictions of the memories of this boy’s past in his homeland, giving this Black character much-needed (but often absent from even feature length films) emotional context.

But we still must get racial understanding mainly along gender lines, as if the consideration of both race and gender together were just too much to bear. And we are also treated to a more or less after school special ending (that I will not reveal here so as not to spoil the film).

Happy endings are, of course, fine. Optimism is, certainly, golden. The promise of reconciliation and interracial friendship is a hopeful way to end a 10-minute film. I seek always not to be too greedy in my consumption of art, recognizing that the universe does not owe me–as one who has already so much–perfect stories. I am happy for this film and about it.

Yet I do not think this story was meant for an audience of me. Not by how it ended. Nor by the childhood experiences that were left unexplored. Well, one in particular: that of the only other brown child in the classroom, the girl who adamantly did not want new boy Joseph to sit by her…


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