note: this post will be very long winded.

So I just got back from seeing Bamboozled, the latest Spike Lee Joint. I don't think I have been as deeply moved by a film in my life. To give you some background before I launch into my sermon, the movie is about a black writer who works for a major tv network who is in a place where he hates his job and wants to get fired. To do this he creates a show based off of minstrels that will be horribly offensive and likely get him fired, which is what he wants. The show is created, and is very offensive, and becomes a hit. The story continues on dealing with the emotions of the major players in the story. This is what you need to know.

Now what this film did for me is open my eyes for real. They showed me, reminded me, told me that race problems in the US are so far from over it is disturbing. Now I have known for a long time that there are problems and it has bothered me. But this film, in detail, shows that television shows, movies, songs, commercials, everything that exploits race is a 'millenium minstrel show,' as the film calls it. The movie's website gives good background on minstrels if you are not that familiar with them. A minstrel show uses a person's color as the reason for their inabilities. Granted, in minstrel shows it is incredibly blatant, but just because something is subtle or masked doesn't mean it isn't there. Since just about all entertainment preys on stereotypes for a common denominator and thus a wider demographic, it could be argued that it is impossible to move away from today's minstrels. Why should the networks/studios give up something that is profitable for something that is right? They're not going to, I know this much. It is the entertainment business. It will always be a business, so long as we live in the free market system that we do. This is troubling because I honestly feel that it will be a long time before we see a stop in the exploitation of culture and race. And I don't think it's any better if you are making fun of your own.

Although the use of stereotypes can lead to horrible things, I don't think that their use in general is bad. They are a common denominator. What needs to be changed is how we react to them. If all we do is watch Chris Tucker act like an imbicile and laugh our asses off, we are getting nowhere. Again, you can laugh, but just don't bust a gut. The problem with stereotype is that they help further an association with a certain type of person and a certain activity. So if Chris Tucker and other black actors act like idiots forever and ever, then we will start to make an association between idiots and black people. So the key is to know this going into the event. You must be knowledgable of the creator's intentions and careful of your responses to the event. You also must be conscious of how your response will affect the community, on any level. I can laugh at Chris Tucker because he acts stupid, but I have to know that he is doing it because he is studid, not because he is black and stupid.

Now you may think that I'm just blowing smoke up your ass, but I don't think that everyone understands this completely, and I don't think this little sermon is going to change it. But please remember this--when you are experiencing anything, you must be aware of the social stigmas attached to the event and respond accordingly. This may sound hyper-PC, but I think it is just the way an empathetic citizen has to act. You cannot not allow yourself to swallow what the media is feeding at all times. Know when to take a step back and think, know when to laugh with them and know when to laugh at them.

As to why this movie brought this out, it just has to do with Spike Lee's amazing abilities and how he brought the problem with modern entertainment to the forefront.
I'm sorry if this came off harsh at points, but I really wanted to spit this out and that is what a journal is for.