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Sunday, November 22, 2009


I saw the Lee Daniels movie, Precious, last night. I understand, via the NY Times, that the movie has engendered criticism in the African-American community. I can totally understand how difficult it is to see negative representations of "your" people. The whole Madoff thing made me cringe. Definitely NOT good for the Jews.

And it wasn't all paranoia either. One of my best friends, well-educated and the antithesis of conservative, made a joke about the religious background of the key players in the financial meltdown, and believe me she wasn't accusing them of being WASPs.

So I get it.

At the same time, Madoff IS a scum bag. And there are plenty more where he came from.

Just like there are plenty of bad people whose skin is dark. It's a fact. But it's also a fact that there are good people, too. And despite the horror that is Precious's life, she has an innate goodness that only needs a few good people to help bring it to the surface. And those people are also black.

In fact, I don't think the story is only about black people. Yes, it's set within the African-American community and all the characters are black (except, I suppose, the social worker, Miss Weiss, whose ethnic background is deliberately left unspoken but who is played by the multi-racial Mariah Carey), but it's also more universal than its particular setting. The damage parents can do, the brutality that family can become, the way one person's interest can change a life--these cross over all ethnicities.

So, no, I didn't think the movie was racist. I thought it was what great art is: powerful, thought-provoking, and above all, profoundly human.

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Blogger  said...

I think you were very nice and I don't see what the big deal is. Of course, I haven't seen the movue yet either.

November 24, 2009 at 12:41 PM  

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