Friday, March 4, 2016
Some (ethnic) food for thought (on racism)
My girlfriend and I went out to the movies tonight (Deadpool. Gotta see it. Unique and hilarious even if too violent.) but the part that really got me thinking was from one of the trailers. Actually it riled me up and my "this sounds like horseshit" alarm started going off in my head.
Let's watch and see what I'm overreacting to:
Okay. Is anyone else finding themselves more sensitive to xenophobia and terrorist fear-mongering - sorry: Islamic terrorist fear-mongering? The bad guy is named Aamir Barkawi, he's got a lot of other co-conspirators from "that part of the world". One character from the movie's Wikipedia page describes him as "the youngest of three brothers whose life has been forever changed after a drone strike". The trailer shows massive, coordinated terrorist attacks within a Western City that would leave a huge chunk of the city essentially helpless. The terrorists desire to capture the U.S. President so they can kill him slowly on television for propaganda value.
Sounds a little like the creator of the film may have been inspired by ISIS and some other people from the Middle East. And really, so what? People have been making movies, shows, stories, with the 'bad guys' du jour and that's just the way it goes.
But.... to make a film that seems to push so many of our real life fear buttons at a time when nations' doors are being shut to refugees and American presidential candidates are talking about mass deportations of Muslims - well, it just seems shitty to me. We've all lambasted Donald Trump for giving a voice to the racists, for legitimizing their xenophobic fears but what about people who make movies like this? Like, isn't this like making a horror movie set in the U.S. South in the 1960's about little black women on the bus who turn out to be horrible leprous zombies or something? Probably not as captivating a movie idea.... but it probably wouldn't have helped Rosa Parks much.
I know this could begin to touch on ideas of film censorship and I'm not advocating anything remotely like that. It's not crazy to make a movie like this. Islamic terrorists probably would love to blow shit up in London and kill the President if they could. And lots of people down to spend $10 on a movie ticket want to see a movie like this. It's not crazy it's just shitty.
The question I'm left with is if Donald Trump is scumbag and a racist how do we view people who make xenophobic movies like this one? I'd guess that movies like this
Something to think about anyway.