Earlier today, I finally answered the questions a young college student abroad sent me related to some assignment about racism in America. She asked me questions about police brutality, Black families, and fear. The fear I may or may not have whenever I come across law enforcement. The fear I may or not have as a Black man in general. The concerns I have for Black people overall.
There was one or two questions, though, that made me a bit frustrated. She meant no harm, but even though she is another person of color, those questions suggested a disconnect. The one question that stood out most was related to parenting. This idea – largely forged through stereotypes, one presumes – that Black parenting is related to…I don’t know, what’s happening to us collectively here.
Whatever the case, it showed disconnect as to how racism works in this country. How ingrained it is in our society. How multifaceted it is. How there’s only so much any “good thing” we do in terms of parenting and education can counter that. Southern Rites does a good job of highlighting this. As I’ve written before, it may focus on a school’s first desegregated prom, but when you watch what all else it covers – a Black man trying to be the town’s first elected sheriff, a young Black man being gunned down and his killer being given extreme leniency due to local politics – you see so much more. About that town’s story and the story of other ones in this country.
I ended up writing her again, saying, “If you have access to HBO, check out the new documentary Southern Rites. It does a really good job of expounding on some of the issues you’re addressing in your paper. Good luck.”
And again, so should you. It airs tonight at 9:00 P.M. EST. That’s after Love & Hip Hop Atlanta so no excuses.