Race is a topic I am not at ease talking about, but sometimes as a writer, you observe and experience things that push you to write.
I was in a group discussion recently with some acquaintances. The discussion was about storytelling and how we can make the world a better place through storytelling. Meaning any form of storytelling from movies, books, articles, poems, photography, etc.
We were all on the same page until someone brought up the movie “12 Years a Slave”, and why it is important for all persons of color to watch it together with their children and loved ones.
Her reasons were; it is important for our children to know how cruel the world can be so that they are better equipped to deal with anything that life might throw at them.
I told them; I hadn’t watched the movie, and I wasn’t intending to. This was not received well. They felt that I am not supporting people who look like me.
I have nothing against the movie itself, or any other movies about racism. I just do not watch any movies that show how mankind has been cruel to other mankind because of differences in skin color, religion, sexual orientation, etc.
I do not believe that sadness and anger are prerequisites for making the world a better place.
Despite how much I really want to support creatives, especially the minorities, I don’t need another reminder of why I need to be angry right now. You only have to be on social media or watch the news to know how humans can be cruel to other humans.
I wouldn’t make myself sit down and watch such movies in the name of education or entertainment, and neither will I do it to my children or any child for that matter.
If one day my children are old enough and are curious, they are free to watch whatever they want.
I do not believe that sadness and anger are prerequisites for making the world a better place. Of course, anger quite often leads to action. And for sure there are changes in the world which I am enjoying right now as a woman and a black woman for that matter, that came about as a result of one person getting angry and saying enough is enough.
But the point is, anyone who is paying attention to what is going on in the world knows of how humans can be cruel. Adding any more anger, sadness and worry does not help. People who brought about the changes that we are enjoying right now did not have to watch movies to know how cruel the world was, they were living it. And they took action from there.
There are many ways of making the world a better place. We get to choose what works best for us. We can just start from where we are and do better.
If we do not know how to do better, we can start by treating others how we would like to be treated. It is as simple as that.
Carrying the energy that the world is just about to attack you is not healthy
I have a lot of respect for writers and movie directors who come up with stories that touch our hearts to the core, be it fictional or movies based on true stories.
These stories are certainly important and can help us come up with better solutions for the current problems of the world. However, for one to be involved in this kind of work, a lot of emotional and mental strength is needed, otherwise, you end up living your life as a prisoner of race.
There are many other ways to do better without making ourselves angrier and more fearful than we already are.
Carrying the energy that the world is just about to attack you is not healthy. And passing this on to your children is even worse.
If you find such movies helpful and enjoy watching them, then do so without attacking those who choose not to.
We do not all have the emotional strength to handle this stuff. For some of us digging up the past might make it even harder to create a happy future for ourselves and our children. There are many other ways to do better without making ourselves angrier and more fearful than we already are.
Life is difficult even without the extra baggage from our history, so why would I go digging up information to add onto my things-to-worry-about plate? Why would I burden my child or any other child with the extra baggage?
A peaceful life for me means letting history rest.