It’s no wonder Straight Outta Compton didn’t win a Golden Globe or an Oscar. Why in the world would anyone want to recognize a movie about proud, fearless young Black men who are talented and successful? Especially, Black young men who came out of Compton and made it big against all odds. Young Black men who were persecuted by cops their whole lives, yet were courageous enough to look cops straight in the eye, and knowing they will be beaten and arrested, sang at the top of their voices “Fuck the Police!” No, there is no reason for the Academy to recognize, much less present an award to a movie like that. A movie like this is no more likely to receive recognition than a movie about young Palestinians throwing rocks and facing off Israeli soldiers – they are all practically terrorists.
By contrast America, and I mean White America, loves MLK Jr. For white America he represents the false notion of the good black leader who, unlike the Panthers or Malcolm X, understands that anger and violence are not the way to solve problems. White America has an MLK, Jr. Day, and lots of MLK Jr, streets and highways, but likes to forget the fact that MLK, Jr. was an uncompromising freedom fighter who was murdered, and quite likely by the US government.
Because of its selective memory, White America feels that it has come a long way since the days of Jim Crowe and so they no longer need to feel bad about racism. It is like the myth that the American Revolution was about liberty the American civil war was fought to free the slaves from their evil Southern masters. Where in fact the American Revolution was about white, Christian Europeans who came to colonize America and wanted to keep the spoils of their new found colony rather then pay taxes to other white Christians across the Atlantic Ocean. And in the case of the Civil War, Lincoln may have cared about Black slaves, though not so much for those in the non-Southern states, but he cared more about keeping the Union together.
A Black American friend of mine who is a lawyer and went to Yale Law School told me once that he is a product of affirmative action. “How so?” I asked him and he said that in his class at Yale Blacks made up exactly thirteen percent of the students. Something didn’t seem right to me. I’m a little slow, so it took me about twenty-four hours to figure it out. “If Blacks made up thirteen percent of your class at Yale,” I said, “and we know Blacks make up about thirteen percent of the population, then that’s not affirmative action, that’s quotas. Had it been affirmative action, there would have been at least fourteen or fifteen percent Blacks in the class, not to say thirty or forty percent.” Today people like to argue that Blacks have been pampered enough and it is time to end Affirmative Action and “level the playing field” so that Whites do not suffer discrimination, God forbid. Conveniently they ignore the fact that White exploitation of Black labor and Black talent in America is nowhere near being over and it will take centuries of affirmative action and billions in reparations before the playing field is leveled and Blacks are fully compensated for the holocaust they had experienced. All this to say, it is time to get started with reparations.