THINGS I WISH I HAD TO EXPLAIN
While watching Remember The Titans
- •THE RACISMSummer for me and my kids means watching a lot of movies. It was my son's turn to pick last night and he picked Remember The Titans. When it started I was hit hard by how my kids know exactly what racism is. How I didn't get to say "see, this movie is based on a time when people acted based on hate"
- •POLICE SHOOTING OF AN INNOCENTBlack kid. They didn't say his name. They just said he was killed and people were outraged. In the opening scene, a group of white kids get ready to go fight the angry "colored" people rioting. I didn't get to say "a long time ago, cops used to kill innocent black people out of fear" I didn't get to say "when black people got angry, some white people didn't understand and wanted them just to keep quiet. They defended the officers who murdered innocent black people"
- •GENDER STEREOTYPESThe coach has a daughter who knows more about football than most of the players. In some cases, she knows more than the coaches themselves. I didn't have to explain to my kids why this was viewed as odd. Why she was asked to go play with dolls. I so badly wish they lived I a world where women were viewed as people, not categorized by their gender.
- •HOMOPHOBIAThere is a character everyone calls "sunshine". Is he gay? Is he not? Everyone seems to think so. And even his "friends" harp on his sexuality, make jokes about it to each other, hint to the girls at school about his sexuality. I wish I could say to my kids that this has ended. But their high school is currently involved in a heated debate over the rights of transsexual kids. The hatred for gay people runs deep in this state. Sadly they are all too familiar with this hatred.
- •WHY JULIUS WAS SCAREDOne of the leading characters, Julius, a young black man, is scared. Scared to walk in the white neighborhood. Scared when a police officer pulls up to talk to him. I wish I had to explain why he was scared. I wish this need for fear was a thing of the past. This film was based on a story from the 1960s. And yet, here we are. Not enough has changed. I didn't need to explain the pain or tragedy in this film to my kids. It is all too real. It is all still happening.