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More to Black Life Than Servitude

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In Howard Rosenberg’s article on “Driving Miss Daisy,” he wrote: “The protesters called the pilot ‘dangerous.’ On the contrary, rewriting history to fit today’s political correctness is dangerous.”

Wait just one minute! Hollywood has rarely been true to African-American history--or, anyone else’s. So our history has effectively been rewritten anyway in the minds of people all over this world, beginning with that treasured icon “Birth of a Nation.” According to Hollywood, our history is SERVITUDE and STUPIDITY. Period.

Perhaps, African-Americans (and even others!) have seen enough smiling, benign servants coming out of Hollywood--I mean from the 1930s right through TV--we really have been well represented in that department. Perhaps, the solution would be TV shows about other African-Americans who have lived, struggled, fought on the front lines of hatred and oppression and made it. This isn’t a new idea, of course, but neither are characters representing the servant “class” who are black.

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There’s lots of history, lots of wonderful material to draw from. Even hilariously funny material--rich characters, old and new. Why Hollywood persists in framing the image of African-Americans as so excruciatingly limited and often so pathetically dumb says much more about Hollywood than it does about us. Even in the 1950s, we weren’t ALL servants! And guess what? We really can speak the language!

PC is the bite in the rear that comes from years of stereotyping people out of their humanity. I don’t like it, but I sure know from firsthand experience where it’s coming from.

Thank everybody’s gods for “The Cosby Show,” the short-lived “Frank’s Place,” my old standby “Room 222" and a precious few others.

At least I don’t have “slavery flashbacks,” start ducking my head, shuffling and acting like a Hollywood version of a “coon” when I think of those shows. For those who may not know: A real “coon” was in REAL pain, with REAL anger brimming just behind those smiling eyes. A Hollywood “coon” is ALL smiles. And in Hollywood, “coons” come in ALL colors.


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