Standing on our side of the divide it’s often difficult if not impossible to see across the corner at the other side. Like when my husband decides to have his rice prepared in a certain way and I think it can be done in another way, a simple situation right? No, especially not after his said something that ticked me off and I consequently reacted in a way that got his back up. Previous words like resurrected ghosts hold court over the new situation. Sadly they never sway in the cause of mercy, they scream for a bloodletting.
A few weeks ago I listened to a discuss on the absence or low representation of minor ethnic groups within the British movie industry. A valid discussion, one that needed to be had, we live in a world that has changed a lot over the years, it’s only reasonable that we seek to see this changes represented on our everyday media, but in so many ways the world still stays the same. That is not altogether a bad thing as a sense of familiarity has a way of maintaining our sanity, gives us a feeling of ownership and control, however, I digress. The first step to making a movie starts with picking a script or a story line, thus a writer(s) produces a script and the movie producer adapts it to the screen, picking a cast that matches the characters in the story.
How absurd would it be to find Harrison Ford playing the role of *‘dibia anya nzu’* or Orlando Bloom the role of a poor farmer in a village deep within ‘Ijebu Ode’. Don’t get me wrong both actors are of the best stock, however, cast in a role portraying an African man and his deeply held sentiments they would fail woefully as their pale skin alone betrays the absence of a blood linked intimately with the harsh rays of the Africa sun.
One might argue that we change the script that in itself is a quick fix. A script is more than a reflection of the writer's mind; it’s a reflection of the society the writer finds themselves in. There is also the fact that movies need to be sensational in order to evoke an enlightening response from the viewer, except in the case of trashy or pornographic films which on some level still evoke a primal response from the viewer. This might sound offensive but in order to produce movies which showcase the minority groups in a balanced percentage of the cast we might be digging up stereotypes and cultural differences which might be subject to miss interpretation and might offend people. Is it possible to dictate the tune without paying the piper?
Today I heard about the ban of the burkini in France, I can’t help wondering when we advocate for acceptance are we also accepting of others. Like the story in the first paragraph, we often fail to hear the other side of the story, deafened by our demand to have it our way. Europe is very accommodating in its view of people’s freedoms and rights, in other societies people are merely tolerated for the length of their visits, their views are not discussed much less accepted. Their presence is evaluated based on cash returns. This is not to say that everyone who is affected by this ban is un-accepting or rigid in their stance. Saying I am not racist isn’t enough, standing up against any injustice due to racism affirms your stance. Saying I am accepting of others isn’t enough, dissuading others from taking a heated stance is required in today’s society. Is it possible to embrace another while standing at akimbo?