Lifetime’s all-black remake of Steel Magnolias with a friend when I mentioned that 6.5 million people had watched it.
“On BET?” she asked. “No, Lifetime,” I replied. She said, “Oh that’s great, because most black people probably didn’t see the original because it was all-white.”
Steel Magnolias came out, most of the black population in America didn’t go see it because it had white people in it?”
“Without a doubt,” she replied. “Black people hate white people. They wouldn’t have wanted to see a story about white women in the South.”
I was shocked. Her statement sounded absolutely absurd to me. When I said as much, she went on to say she’d had extensive conversations with black people in recent years and every one expressed a deep-seated hatred toward all things white. “Even today, they hate white people with venom.”
the original Steel Magnolias because it was about white women in the South. But this isn’t about what I believe or how open-minded and progressive my friends are – this is about my friend’s view of race relations in this country.
Because she wasn’t stating an off-the-cuff opinion. She was stating an honest conclusion drawn from her conversations and interactions with black people around her. And they all led to one assessment – black people still hate white people.
Steel Magnoliasis a story about mothers and daughters, about having dreams and facing reality, about the community between women who scream and fight but love each other fiercely. It has nothing to do with race. The idea that black people could make it about race sounds crazy to me.
But maybe my surprise at her statement comes from the fact that I live in post-racial America, meaning I don’t define myself or others by their race. I believe people are people. Intolerant idiots come in every color, shape, and size, and the truth is we are all more alike than we are different.
United Colors of Benetton student body and I was much more likely to judge people by what dorm they lived in than the color of their skin.
But not everyone had my upbringing. My friend mused at the likelihood of black communities in the South that still teach their kids to hate whites and white communities that still teach their kids to hate blacks, and she’s probably right.
In considering how I felt about this morning’s conversation, I started to think to myself, “Thank goodness I’m not defined by hatred.” But then I realized that’s not totally true either. I can admit that I have an inherent disdain and distrust toward China because of my Taiwanese heritage. I learned it from my parents. I believe their reasons are valid. I’m guilty of holding an old opinion over a current group of people. I’m no better than the next person.
It’s an interesting question. All I know is that I prefer the ideal of making connections over creating divisions. I encourage each and every one of us to get current and move beyond our history of hatred. I’ll be working on mine – won’t you commit to doing the same? We are a new generation of humans on this planet and we can make this world community what we want it to be. It starts with us.