Reflections on Race and Cinema

Although I know they mean no harm by it, I always find it slightly racist when white people come up to me and say, “I bet you loved that movie ‘The Legend of Bagger Vance!’”

First of all, I’ve never seen “The Legend of Bagger Vance” for the simple reason that I don’t particularly like the name “Bagger.” My Auntie had a friend named Martha or Mary who had severe diverticulitis and eventually needed to wear a colostomy bag. The other ladies in church would call her “Bagger” behind her back, further proof that being religious doesn’t automatically make you a good person (something today’s radical Islamic terrorists would do well to remember!)

And just because a black person is in a movie that doesn’t necessarily mean that other African-Americans will automatically like it. Just because you loved “Soul Plane,” that doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily enjoy “Pootie Tang” and vice versa (although I’m definitely flying with Team Soul Plane.)

So here’s some advice for my Caucasian and Latino friends, I know you mean well, by don’t walk up to me at a party and say, “I watched ‘Capricorn One’ last night and it’s so great to see O.J. starring in a film that has nothing to do with how he allegedly murdered those people. So much potential. Such a shame.”

Let’s face a few facts. “Capricorn One” is no “Towering Inferno.” Also, I don’t even know you.  (Don’t get me wrong. I love making new friends.)

The funny thing is, my favorite movie genres, science fiction and 1940s hillbilly films, have almost no black people in them. (I don’t really count Lando Calrissian.) But I don’t think that makes me a racist.

Also, if your name is Bagger or something with “Bag” in it like “Bagley” or “Bagworth,” please don’t think that I hold it against you just because of the mean women in church. My point is just that the writers of “The Legend of Bagger Vance” made a decision when they named their character and they have to accept the consequences.