Why We Need To Tell Our Own Stories
Watching movies and reading stories about the lives and experiences of Black people and their journey and struggle being told by white people through various mediums like film and television are cringeworthy and disheartening theatrical events that are at the heart and root of the race problem in America. As white filmmakers and storytellers and their inability to tell our struggles, our pain, our fear, and our successes and achievements, while Black people are being forced to navigating a racist society that is built on the continual oppression of Black people, these so-called white storytellers and white filmmakers continue to profit off of their whitewashed cinematic visions. It is problematic and continues to feed the narrative that glorifies and emboldens the continuing hold and dominance of white supremacy in America. Black people’s dread and fear and terror cannot be told by someone who has not and never will experience the disrespect, denigration, harsh treatment, and criminalization that Black people in America experience every day from the day of their birth. If people truthfully and objectively look at the stories that have been told in Hollywood for centuries. They will notice a predictable pattern of a white person, most likely a white male, swooping in to save the day and be the hero in the end who saves humanity. Even if the story or film is based on actual events and the actual hero is Black. Hollywood and the white filmmakers go out of their way to portray the person as a heroic white male as if the world could not be saved by a Black person or by someone of a different race or color. The lame, tiresome, pathetic, and disgusting excuses that some of you may have heard is that a white audience cannot and refuse to as if white audiences are mentally fragile and weak, accept or stomach anything other than a white male savior or hero. This is why Hollywood does not generally green light films focused on Black people being anything other than slaves or pimps or prostitutes or junkies or criminals. If and when they seldom do portray a Black person or person of color as the hero of the story. They usually are always mentored and instructed on how to save the world by some white man who predictably in the story is highly intelligent and more than likely invented and created the Black superhero’s super suit and highly advanced weapons. Although, some if not many of these white filmmakers try their best to create a story or visual narrative of Black people’s struggle in a white-dominated society, their inability to see that their white privilege helps them have the ability, to create, and financially support these films and stories that many Black filmmakers and storytellers cannot afford to tell ourselves. As it takes a great deal of money to produce and create these stories and films for the world to see. Add in the fact, that these large film and production companies and distribution companies are owned and controlled by old white men and there is a reason why the storytelling in Hollywood is so racially predictable. White people and white filmmakers and storytellers do not know and cannot know truly what it is like to be the victim and target of institutional racism. Black people have always had to be ten times smarter and work ten times harder along with being told and expected to humble and temper our expectations on equality and freedom by moderate whites and liberals who in some cases are the exact filmmakers and investors who believe and have the audacity to believe that they can somehow tell our stories, incredible stories of Black people’s will, determination, and courage in the face of evil, oppression, discrimination, and racism, somehow better than we can. These will be the same people who actually never took the energy, time or effort to ensure that their writing rooms, producer rooms, or their staff is diverse nor would they have taken the effort to consult a Black person or a person of color about the story, about a Black person or Black culture, that they are trying to express to the world through a white lens. The same story about a Black person or person of color they so eagerly and opportunistically wanted to tell in their whitewashed way with their whitewashed viewpoint and their whitewashed vision. You cannot tell my story or any other Black person’s story if you do not fully understand my pain and my struggle and my fear. You cannot tell my story if you never once in your life had to deal with institutional racism and carefully had to navigate a society where having Black skin is a death sentence in the eyes of the law. The one thing that we all should heed and understand is that not only that the Black storytellers and Black filmmakers need to tell our stories but that there need to be more Black gatekeepers, investors, and executives in Hollywood at the top who can also green-light our stories and financially support our ability to tell our stories and produce our stories and distribute our stories. People talk and preach about inclusion and diversity but until we have true equality and true justice then we will never have what many Black storytellers and people of color tell their stories really and truly need from Hollywood and society as a whole. An equal and true opportunity to compete with white writers and storytellers and filmmakers on an even and level playing field. To tell our stories by us with our viewpoints from our perspective and to tell these different stories and beautiful stories for us all to appreciate and for us all to truly enjoy.