SELMABy Shlomoh February 6, 2015
By now, it's no secret that White America does not go to see films about black issues, and particularly avoids movies about black heroes. As much can be deduced from the film GLORY about black soldiers who fought in the Civil War.
Although an artistic success, it was a box office failure. I saw it on HBO. True I also went to see Dream Girls and For Colored Girls but today, I doubt that many white Americans will see SELMA before it appears on one of the proprietary channels or on Netflix. In a sense, this is the result of the passive repudiation of the message of MLK. More on this below.
Rev Martin Luther King, Jr was a complex man and that's because he was human. He loved sex and had women "on the side". But so what? As LBJ's widow remarked in an interview when asked about her own husband's dalliances, "Honey, a Southern woman knows even before she marries a powerful man, the 'affairs' are just the fly on the wedding cake."
This is a sad fact. MLK was a courageous man with human failings. He fought for and died for racial integration in the 1960s. But by the 1970s, black America and white America had chosen to self-segregate, one community from the other. Yes, blacks and whites work together and go to school together, but when the factory whistle blows and the 3pm bell rings, each community goes its separate way to socialize. True, there are now more interracial marriages, but back then interracial marriages were illegal in much of the United States. And even now the vast majority of interracial marriages is between whites and Asians and whites and brown Hispanics.
I made mention of LBJ's widow. LBJ, in my estimation, was probably one of the best presidents of the late 20th century if not THE best [maybe in competition with Truman]. Yet LBJ himself was flawed as shown by his senseless continuation of the war in Vietnam. The war weighed him down and left him at odds with what Dr. King was doing simply because he found it impossible to divide himself between Nam and the Civil Rights movement. Ironically, both the war in Nam and the Civil Rights movement failed in so many ways. The Johnson Civil Rights legislation did more for justice for minorities in America than any social movement. A bullet ended MLK's career and the war ended LBJ's.
I said earlier that America passively repudiated Dr King's message. I am probably a lot older than many people reading this so I remember the 1960s very well. What I remember was an unoffical coalition of blacks and whites to achieve a just equality of opportunity for all Americans. This coalition successfully did achieve such an equality. Unfortunately after Dr. King's untimely death, other "leaders" with a different agenda arose to bring about another separation of the races. One has to ask - if Dr King were alive today, what would he really think about the Black Panther and the Nation of Islam? Dr. King wanted intergration. These latter groups want segregation which they pretty much have gotten. I said that the black and white communities self-segregate. In my own city of Euclid, Ohio, this is also true, and it is sad because the city is probably about 50/50 black and white. People on both sides are polite and civil to each other and that is great. But, in my opinion, it would be far greater if they were neighborly as well. Perhaps by mid-century or end-of-century, they will be when they realize it's to their collective advantage.
Selma may be a good movie, but I am more likely to see a good sci-fi or horror feature, or something cerebral like THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING. Selma brings up painfull memories for many older Americans about a revulutionary and painfull time in the history of our country. Yes, black people will see it. But I also realize that not too many nonJews will go to see movies about the Holocaust. In a sense, movies with Jewish themes are just as much ignored by America as those about blacks.
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