Friday, June 18, 2010

A Blind Eye

A lot of opinion has been expressed about Sandra Bullock’s latest film, The Blind Side. A lot of people seemed to love it based on the box office figures and the accolades that it received. It was a heartwarming tale about how someone can make a difference if they are just willing to open their eyes to the need around them and be a little selfless.

The other side of that opinion tended to side with the character in the movie who suggested that the whole thing was just “racial guilt appeasement.” They point out that the popularity of the movie and its sales figures represent the sort of people who are a lot like the family in the film (southern, white, and relatively well off); and who could (and should) be more like that family and make a difference. If we are honest the film is indeed just an appeasement, because there were probably not a whole lot of people going out after the move and taking poor kids in to their homes let alone even getting to know any.

(The film also has a bizarre aspect to it, due to the strange way it presents black characters. Michael is the only black person in the film that is not the typical negative stereotype. In fact, he is presented as an innocent who somehow earns the help he receives through his goodness.)

Another film based on the true story of a person going to extraordinary measures to help others is Schindler’s List. And as contrived as that film’s ending can seem, when Schindler laments that he did not do more, one wishes The Blind Side had something like it. Instead of making the audience feel good that one family helped one person, something could have been done to inspire the financially capable audience to actually do something themselves.

There are millions of helpless and orphaned children in the world and American audiences have all the finances, capability, and means (through the help of several organizations) to make a real difference in those lives by simply giving up some of the luxuries we indulge and do not need.

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