Saturday, 18 September 2010
One of the most excellent black films I have ever seen is entitled “AMERICAN VIOLET”. It is based upon the true story of a warrior shero named Regina Kelly. She and the ACLU fought racist drug laws and won. It is the story of the routine practice of drug raids in poor black enclaves nationwide. It is an impeccable glimpse into the nightmarish realities of the prison industrial complex.
The stellar cast gives masterful performances. The gifted and beautiful Nicole Beharie and Alfre Woodard glow. Anthony Mackie and Will Patton shine as always. Even rapper Xzibit is convincing as they all collectively perform rebel truths to power.
No one who is conscious would deny that drug laws empower a new slave trade in America . The war on drugs is actually a war on poverty. America ’s prisons for profits house new chattel as corporate slave laborers and literal human stock. Poverty has indeed become criminal. Yet, drug laws are even more criminal than poverty itself.
Most Americans are proudly illiterate and apolitical. They would always rather be entertained than educated. They prefer escape to revolution unconditionally and suicidally. They deny institutional racism exists as they blame black victims for the seas of incarceration that drown them. We are all drowning in denial by extension.
“Precious” is also an excellent film. Yet, it is one story of one toxic family. Viewers may easily dismiss its generic applications to daily headlines about the fatally toxic lives of girls like Shaniya Davis. It is far less easy to dismiss how vulnerable any black person who is arrested may become anywhere at anytime. It is far more difficult to dismiss the random realities of being in the wrong place or upon the right lips of any police informant while being black in America .
“Precious” leaves most people feeling superior to the tragedies depicted. Unlike the rabidly colorist “Precious”,“AMERICAN VIOLET” is filled with dark skinned heroines. It leaves most persons feeling unsafe, by exposing that the tragedies we may all personally experience, irrespective of our hues, are most brutally inhumane. Therein lay the cinematic differences and political distinctions between these two classic films.
In a world where entertainment is cherished far more than education, individual pathologies are more amusing than institutional poisons. When escape is coveted more than revolution, gazing upon one sad reality trumps battling collective doom. As nothing is more precious than freedom, nothing is more vulgar than the incestuous profiteers and complex spiritual rapes that fuel the American prison industrial complex.