I know this is a film blog, but I also know the members of IndiesUnchained are incredibly passionate about social issues. If you haven’t heard about Trayvon Martin’s murder you can google it for more information, but essentially: George Zimmerman followed a young African American male into his gated community. Zimmerman thought he was suspicious and called the cops. He told the cops he was going to keep following him and the cops told him not to. Shortly after, Zimmerman confronted Trayon and shot and killed him. It turned out all he had was a bag of skittles. Earlier today I heard a quote about the case I couldn’t ignore. Fox’s Geraldo Rivera said, “I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as Goerge Zimmerman.” This quote blew my mind. Let me make this clear, Trayvon Martin was not shot because he wore a hoodie.
I’m a white male and I wear my hoodie everywhere , but I’ve never been followed all over town and shot. Let’s stop making excuses and acknowledge this tragedy was an explicit example of racism. Furthermore, let’s look past the terrible, unprovoked murder (because that’s what is is) and think about why this man thought a young black male with nothing but skittles was a criminal… Society has spent decades telling us criminals are young black men. Don’t listen to anyone who claims the man who murder Travon Martin was some crazy bigot because this explanation completely disregards the fact that racism is a societal problem.
It ignores the idea that this man didn’t come up with this idea by himself. That the covert racism that permeates throughout our society implied this idea to him his entire life. By singling out individual people and saying, “They are racist. I’m not like them” we don’t look within to see our own racist ideas that have been ingrained in us our whole lives. This acknowledgement is the first step to practicing anti-racism. The next step is admitting you’ll never be an anti-racist. This isn’t something designed to make you feel good about yourself. This doesn’t make you a good person. It’s something you have to do every single day of your life.
How do this all relate to film? Well, as a filmmaker, it’s incredibly depressing to admit film is a medium that has been used to perpetuate discriminative ideologies and actions. I’ve called on people to look within, and now I call on the filmmaking community to look within. It’s time to stop calling movies nothing but entertainment and realize the terrible things we are teaching people. You can’t just write a scene because you think it’ll be cool. You can’t just make a rape scene insanely intense but still kind of erotic for the heck of it (I’m talking to you, Mr. Fincher). You have to know exactly what you’re trying to say and how every possible action could be perceived because films do have a huge effect on our culture. Like anti-racism, this is something Hollywood needs to do every single day. This is something we need to do every single day.