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« Cultureblogs | Main | Stereotypes redux »

September 27, 2002

Non Negotiable Demands

Michael

Have you heard of the latest target of the P.C. Patrol? It is the movie "Barbershop", the number one movie at the American box office and written, produced, directed by, and featuring blacks. As the L.A. Times reported on September 25:

Although the film is shaping up as one of the most successful movies with a strong African American theme, leaders such as [Jesse] Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton and members of Parks' and King's families are incensed over one scene that pokes fun at Parks, King and Jackson. They have called for a public apology from the filmmakers and demanded that MGM remove the scene from its eventual home video release. Sharpton has gone so far as to threaten a boycott of the film if MGM does not reply to their requests by Friday.

Apparently Jackson, who has not even seen the movie, maintains that certain historical figures should never be “disrespected”—apparently starting with him. In a telephone interview quoted in the Times, he maintains: “While we support these [black] actors, we still must have some line of dignity. That is nonnegotiable."

The “offensive” characterizations are included in one character’s speech which also criticizes numerous other black public figures, including Rodney King and O.J. Simpson. MGM, to its credit said the studio would not issue an apology and would not censor the movie. As the Times story notes, the film is playing chiefly to black audiences:

[Barbershop] has begun to cross over to a broader audience, although as of last weekend 60% of the audience was still African American.

What is it, exactly, that Sharpton doesn’t want the black community to see? Free expression of opinions among his chosen constituency? I’m beginning to feel a patriotic duty to go see this movie.

Cheers,

Friedrich

posted by Friedrich at September 27, 2002




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