A disappointing article from GOOD magazine
Read the whole article here: Flowchart: Which Movie Will Help You Alleviate Your White Guilt?
I know this flow chart may very well be fun and games, but it depresses me. Here’s why (and I quote James Baldwin):
“But to my ear as a black man, ‘white liberal’ is merely a suspect because it is indistinguishable to, and one’s got to face this, you might as well say ‘white missionary’ because that’s the association. It is often, alas, not always but very, very often, the role and the effect. But deeper than that and more important than that, there’s also this: from a historical point of view, no matter how miserable my situation is, at this hour of the world’s history I have an advantage over you because I’m compelled—I’m speaking of myself as a black man—to doubt my history, to examine it, I’m compelled to try to create it. I’m trying to excavate my history from all the rubble that has been buried for so many hundreds of years. And that means I have to question everything, whereas the white liberals are precisely in an opposite position of being unwilling, as well as unable, to examine the forces which have brought him to where he is, which have created him in fact, to make, which must be very difficult, known the better part his own attitudes, aspirations, moralities, whatever they may be. He is, nevertheless, whether or not he likes it, a part of the people who at this very hour are jailing some black boy in Mississippi, at this very hour are whipping some black African slave, at this very hour are perpetrating the most tremendous abnormalities against grunting little people who look just like me, and furthermore, I hate to use this word but in a sense that innocence, that innocence, can be in crucial moments a very grave danger. It can menace much, much more than the white liberal can imagine.”
From Horace Ové’s documentary, Baldwin’s Nigger (1969).
I posted this video in a blog earlier this week, but watch the whole thing here.
Unfortunately, most of the films (not all) that have been chosen in this flow chart do not probe enough the darkness that is begot from racial oppression, and to say that they “alleviate white guilt” is almost an insult to what people of color have faced. For example, a film that should have been added is the one I quoted from, Baldwin’s Nigger.
I do not mean this comment in any mean spirit. I am merely disappointed at how lightly this article takes the issues of race. This is the main thing that bothers me about GOOD Magazine. I once admired and loved the publication, but after thoroughly reading most (not all) of its articles, cool infographs, and charts, they tend to send out the message of the White Liberal with a Missionary Complex. It can be more damaging than they think.
P.S. I had to make a blog version of this “comment” because the comment section on the article only allowed for 1000 words (max). So instead of opting to submit a comment, I decided to post a blog about it. Very “indirect” and “Asian” of me. Le ‘sigh.