Tue, 15 October 2002
I had a really fascinating conversation yesterday with a co-worker sparked by her surprise that I went and saw Barbershop (which has a pretty cool movie site). She is black, and I am white. She was surprised that I went to see a “black” movie and really enjoyed the “black humor”. I had the frustrating realization that my attitude toward black people is as much a matter of not growing up in a very mixed neighborhood, to not making a lot of friends with black people, to listening to rap music, but not really “understanding it”. It’s not that I am consciously different. It’s that I am subconciously different. Likewise, I’m fascinated by my co-workers point of view having lived in Europe for some of her life. She’s used to people being judged by different points of view, not different skin colors.
So her struggle in fitting in with the American “Black Community” is to pass judgement the way they do. Her opinion differs with that community oftentimes. This is a theme hammered upon in the movie. It is only within the context of the Barbershop that the black people voiced an opinion that differed from the Black Community at large. My co-worker’s story of black people she knows being offended by these opinions-like Rosa Parks not being any more influential than any other black person that got kicked off a bus in the 60’s, illustrates the homogenous opinion sometimes offered by the Black Community.
My struggle is to understand others in a much more meaningful way. Specifically, understanding the roots of modern attitudes about each other that goes beyond the civil rights movement. If anyone has some good reading on any issues surrounding this topic, let me know. By the end of the conversation I was convinced that she is a human, and so am I. Our struggles are humaan ones, not black and white ones.