I know I’m not the only Black girl who does not like watching movies about slavery, but I know that people have their different reasons for not wanting to watch such movies. In my case, every time I watch a movie about slavery, I become very angry and emotional. Again, I’m sure most of my people probably feel the same way, but I’m just telling my own story. These movies make me go through so many mental battles.
On one hand, I believe that the only race is the human race and that racism is really just the devil who is here to divide and conquer. But as a Black woman, I will always get the shorter end of the stick here because while I may want to forget racism, hold hands, and sing Kumbaya, the racists themselves are not doing that. So I become angry and frustrated and I do a mental fist thing for Black Power. Sometimes, I feel like I’m sitting on the fence.
I remember years ago I watched a movie that had something to do with a beauty pageant, and when the contestants were interviewed and asked what they wanted most in life, most of them said they wanted world peace. The judges whispered among themselves about how dumb and unrealistic the contestants were for desiring world peace because it was never going to happen. Back then, I did not get it. Now I do.
World peace would be great, but highly unlikely because the world is made up of people, and people always have a reason to disagree. That’s why there are so many wars. The struggle I face is that I continue to wonder where I’m supposed to stand and what I’m supposed to do and how I’m supposed to feel. Ultimately, my struggle is how do I remember the things of the past while forging forward and trying to not let the things of the past affect my right now and my future negatively?
I do not hate or even dislike white people. I never have, and I don’t now, and I don’t forsee a future where I will. But in trying to always be the voice of reason, even in my own life, I am struggling with how to be aware of the inhumane things that happened to my people, while not transferring my aggression to the innocent white people of today. But who is innocent? And am I free to express my anger against those that I deem not innocent today – the living racists?
So, I try not to watch movies about slavery because I don’t want to pour fuel on the already burning anger that I have. It’s not like I see a random white person and become angry, but when I hear people like Trump speak or when I see an interview of a white person on TV saying that whites are indeed superior, or when I see yet another unarmed black person get killed by the police, my anger burns again.At the same time, I want to educate myself on the things of the past, so that I don’t make the same mistakes in the future. The Igbo people say that azu bu ike – the past is [your] strength.
If we don’t know where we’re coming from, can we know where we’re going?