Below this beginning is what I’d written last week. Before I got around to posting it I had my own experience that blatantly shows how screwed up the system still is . . . that’s what is stuck at the top of this post.
Bass Reeves is an example from the history of the USA that I did not hear about until I was in my 50s. The fact is that he was a heroic figure that really existed in the wild west of the US – the first Black Deputy Marshall west of the Mississippi, at a time when Blacks still faced a legal system and society heavily biased against them he roamed and lived in the most lawless places and still lived to the ripe old age of 72.
Most people my age, I’m 66, who grew up with John Wayne, Horse Opera and Cowboy movies never heard of him. That is an example of how the history has been retold in ways that eliminate Black heroes (and hide White atrocities against Blacks – see Tulsa Race Massacre)
The reason I include this is because we rented this movie that tells part of his origin story, how he got to be a deputy marshal, and after we’d watched it I noticed something. As I was putting the disc back into the sleeve I glanced at the art on the surface and was gobsmacked by what I saw.
Why is the Black guy not front and centre?
The movie is about his character not the villain. The white actor being given centre stage in the picture may be more well known than the black actor but that black actor has 50 film credits so he is not unknown.
WTF were they thinking doing this?
I do not know who was responsible for the art arranged on the disc but for this movie, in these times, this is a MASSIVE FAIL and an example of someone who is exhibiting MASSIVE CULTURAL IGNORANCE.
When I went to imdb.com to find out more about the black actor I found another example of implicit racism being explicitly displayed for my view. The actor who plays Bass Reeves is David Gyasi . . . his name doesn’t come first in the cast list. Or second. Or third . . it’s fifth. I’m not sure what goes into the algorithm that makes the pages at imdb but it’s perpetuating racial stereotypes and attitudes the way it works right now.
It would appear that some in Hollywood are still stuck in the 1950s. That’s where their cultural development got arrested.
I have, in the past, thought about the idea that cultures, national cultures, grow and evolve and go through changes and are multifaceted just like human beings are in their psychology.
Human beings have different parts of them that are involved in doing things – like there’s a part of you that has to do the work-a-day life to earn a living to pay the bills etc etc but there’s another part of you that has maybe a romantic side or another part of you that’s into recreation and then when you look at politics there’s a whole other set of value systems that come into play in your judgments of how things work and how you feel about things.
When you look at cultures, the culture of nations, you see a similar set of things. There’s lots of facets that represent different parts of what the nation, and that peoples’ national identity, are and what they do.
There’s the economy, there’s the arts, there’s health, there’s politics, social considerations, and of course there’s entertainment and recreation.
Something occurred to me, watching a news piece about the UK having to deal with, still today, having to deal with racism. People holding protests. Black Lives Matter. And they’re talking about systemic racism within the UK and the system of government and policing . . . and at that point I just had this thought.
Both the UK and the United States, the nation where a lot of these protests began, both of them had slavery at one point within their history as nations. And then they stopped having it.
Step back and look at that.
They just ended slavery. But the parts of their culture which deal with the interrelationship between people of different colors and racial backgrounds and their relationship to other people and other groups within the national identity of different colors and how those individual groups relate to the government of the nation – that should have actually been allowed to evolve and mature. But it was not.
The UK ended slavery before America did.
They already had a class system in place even for the whites of the society. When they ended slavery I’m pretty sure that most of the people in white society looked at the people of darker color who had previously been considered possibly property, slaves, as being still not equivalent in class stature or status to themselves.
Because really all they did was say NO, they’re not going to be slaves, but they really hadn’t gone into a whole re-education of the system. Back then we didn’t even talk about that, I’m sure. They didn’t really allow that to change that much.
And the in States the same sort of thing – they ended slavery and they had a big civil war and what happened?
Well they didn’t really resolve the differences between the races and in the south, where they wanted to hold on to a whole bunch of things ‘slavery’, definitely people there – even though they were legally no longer allowed to own others, black people were no longer going to be slaves – it’s very very clear from the history that the attitudes of the white people didn’t really change much. They definitely regarded the people of color as lower, far lower, than them in the power structure in the world. And over time enacted laws (Jim Crow laws) to keep it that way.
So what I’m getting at here with all this background is there’s a phenomenon we have with human psychology called Arrested Development.
When we think of that we tend to think of adults, and usually adult males (at least in our western culture), who exhibit the behaviors of teenagers. We say that part of them is still stuck at fifteen. It’s arrested development, Like something happened in their life and that part of their personality did not mature, it didn’t grow, it kind of got stuck at some age between 13 and 19.
So they still act like teenagers when it comes to whatever it is: entertainment, sex, partying, recreation, being daredevils or engaging in risky behavior or whatever.
So if Cultures are in many ways just like human psychologies and human psyches, then you could say that both the UK and the United States suffer from arrested development, And that’s why today all of these protests have to happen because they never resolved this whole issue.
Even though it’s said legally that people of color have the same rights as people who are white, it is really said with one side of our culture’s face. The people in power, whites, didn’t really let them have them. And in many places the white people in power went out of their way to enact things to make sure the people of color, who were at the bottom and trying to get a leg up, were stuck there.
That’s arrested development if I’ve ever heard of it. And that’s why people today are facing all these protests and because it never got fixed back then.
They’ll fix it sooner or later.
An aspect of cultural evolution and growth and maturity or cultural immaturity.
The questions they should have asked way back then are
Why don’t black lives matter enough to us?
What’s wrong with us as a society, and as a people, that we can look at them that way. Maybe there’s something wrong with that.
It’s not their fault, the people of color. That’s a fucked-up problem with our own, white, psychology. The non-blacks Or the people who look upon it that way.
It’s not that this is any revelation or new discovery – I’m not so full of myself to think that. But things like this need to be brought out into the light of day so they can be dealt with so 10 generations on society isn’t having to deal with unresolved issues. So 10 more generations of people of color don’t have to face the same nasty world the previous generations have had to.
And with that I think I’ll stop around here before I begin making a fool of myself.