Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Academy Awards and Superficial Achievements

No one should be impressed by claims that Rock’s hosting, the victories of Foxx and Freeman and the omnipresence of Beyonce Knowles represent a great step forward for African-Americans. They represent rather a further step forward for a privileged layer of the black upper middle class, who quite rightly see no connection between their fate and that of the black working population.

In 1964 when Sidney Poitier, accepting an award for Lilies of the Field, declared, “It has been a long journey to this moment,” it came out of something, the civil rights struggle, and it meant something in a limited way. Today, frankly, Foxx, Freeman, Oprah Winfrey and their ilk lead an existence fit for royalty, an existence utterly remote from the lives of ordinary Americans, black or white. Read more and more here.

Alternet (an establishment left website) put together an interview with Donald Bogle, Film and Television historian, in which he unwittingly reveals the basic divide in the Black community, a divide that's been brushed under the rug in other ethnic circles.

"Today, people like Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, just about live and go wherever they want. L.A. did not have the signs "For colored, for whites," the way you'd find in the South. Everyone I interviewed from that earlier period said it was very clear that you were supposed to be able go wherever you wanted, but they knew there were places where there could be problems. So there was this separate community."

Now, if you were to take the easy distraction of color out of the equation, and replace it with class, then ask yourself, how has anything changed? If a poor Black, White, or Red were to try and ride thru any of these celebrity neighborhoods, they'd be pulled over and tasered! That's the real divide, that's the issue no one in the mainstream media brings to light, and that's the reason Black faces in high places matters little for the advancement of all people.

Fellini once said that in the mythology of the cinema, the Oscar is the ultimate. The Oscar puts someone just in a whole other class...