The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, July 14, 2005

My Goodness--isn't it great being black!

Had great fun yesterday at Tananarive's management agency. There, for the first time we pitched a television series idea we've been fooling around with.  They wre both xcited, not only by the idea, but by the fact that they think we will KILL in a room.  YOu have to understand--Hollywood is a game of both image and performance.  And another thing...
Jonathan B., one of the managers, cleared his throat, looked a little embarassed, and said that being "African American" would work to our favor.  There are many reasons for this, and I think that he may be right  For the very first time in American history, it just might be right. Whether one has racist tendencies or not, almost EVERYONE   likes to think that they are tolerant.  bigots like to think that they simply understand something about race that it's not "Plitically correct" to admit.  Therefore, when they meet "smart" darkies (a tribe I am certainly proud to count myself among) they slobber all over us, and get the "if only the rest of them were like you" look in their eyes.  Die-hard racial radicals black and white want to find anyone black who won't embarass them, and help 'em up. And most of the folks  in the middle consider us exotic--we are a bit mysterious.  They're not sure why the crime and poverty statistics are skewed, and love meeting black people they can talk with as "equals."  Hmmm.
then, of course, somewhere in the discussions their real attitudes will come out, positive or negative.  I can often tell if they make the comment that "X" or "Y" is easier for black people than for whites--usually because of Affirmative Action or some such.  Hmmm.
All right, here's my attitude.  A black person who has survived the gauntlet of bullshit thrown at us from the cradle, who has survived the lack of role models, the constant ego-pounding and denigration of our sexuality and distortion of our history, who has managed to be strong enough to pass through that with her head high and sense of self intact--that person will see that there really ARE opportunities now that never existed before.  For THAT person, life can be sweet.  I really believe that.  But that's a little like saying: "if you can just lift 500 pounds, you'll find that most household chores are simple..."
At any rate, a new adventure is at hand.  Yeah, I'll have sour grapes from time to time, but Faithful Readers, you know that I love you all, and love this country, and this world, and the people God put in it, and just want a chance to play with Hollywood's erector set.  And I'll do my best to keep my personal wounds hidden, and just let the work speak for itself.

But from time to time you, my cherubs, will hear my danker thoughts.

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