March 14, 2021
Hollywood makes lots of films about past steps we've taken for racial and gender equality. Off the top of my head, there's The Help, Hidden Figures, Selma, Iron Jawed Angels, Straight Outta Compton, The Butler, and 12 Years a Slave. They're focused more on the past, and have a "pat on the back" appeal for many. We're reminded of our great progress and feel grateful for today's society.
The few movies I remember focusing more on the present are Dear White People and Get Out. A common theme was reminding white people they're still part of racist systems today. Those systems only adapted to society's last attempt to remove them, and we still need to change them. I'll admit that's a bitter message for many white people, even the liberal ones.
But what happens when you reinforce ideas that past generations did all the hard work? That all we need to do today is remember, be thankful, and get teary-eyed over it all? Who's going to think there's still lots of work for everyone to do today?
Convincing people there's nothing left to change is, after all, one of the best ways those mostly white men in power stay there.