Do You Have a Problem with “The Blind Side?”

March 19th, 2010, by

Sandra Bullock accepts the Best Actress award during the 82nd Annual Academy Awards in March.
Sandra Bullock accepts the Best Actress award during the 82nd Annual Academy Awards in March.

The Blind Side is based on a true story about a homeless teen who finds a home with a “well-to-do” family in Memphis. The film was directed by John Lee Hancock, based on a book by Michael Lewis and brought Sandra Bullock the Best Actress Academy Award.

Does it matter that the homeless teen was Black and the family who adopted him was white?

Actress Vanessa Williams — who is not affiliated with the film — thinks the ethnicity of the characters does matter. While guest-hosting on ABC’s The View, Williams took umbrage at the idea that a white family swooped down and rescued a poor Black teen:

“It brings up a theme for Black folks that ‘OK, here’s another white family that has saved the day.’ In terms of another Black story that has to have a white person come in and lift them up. And I’m not saying it’s not true and it didn’t happen, but it’s one of those ‘do I really want to see the same theme again?'”

Barbara Walters did not agree and shot down Vanessa Williams’ argument saying that it was “a story of closeness between two races.”

But in a recent conversation on Tavis’s show, Tom Burrell — marketing communications pioneer and author of Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority — said that Americans have been brainwashed to believe that Blacks are inferior and whites are superior.

Burrell added that The Blind Side served audiences “visual and verbal cues” that feed into the idea of Black inferiority and white supremacy.

Here we have a situation where the Black family throws the kid away, the Black coach and his wife let him sleep on the couch for a couple of days, and then in comes this wonderful white family who embraces this big, oafish kind of kid who doesn’t know anything, big gentle giant, takes him in.

He is barely literate; he is barely able to function. Then we see him going into his neighborhood with this woman who is his new mother and it’s a menacing place, and she’s going to get out of the car and he grabs her — “Don’t get out.” These are some dangerous people out there. Then you see the most menacing group of Black guys that you can imagine, and you see in their eyes a thuggishness and you see these potential rapists.

There is no positive Black family image portrayed whatsoever, but you have this sharp contrast between good and bad and white and Black. I’m not saying that white families haven’t adopted Black kids, but you know something? Black families have adopted Black kids, and you have to ask yourself the question, would that be a movie?

What do you think? Was Vanessa Williams onto something? Is The Blind Side evidence of a brainwashed nation? Does the film reinforce the concept of Black inferiority? Share your thoughts below.

  • lynda

    Though I haven’t seen the film, and don’t plan to, I am in complete agreement with Vanessa Williams and Tom Burrell. This sterotypical idea might have been nixed as a 1970’s Hallmark Hall of Fame movie for because of it’s corny and antiquitated perspective. I also believe if a film like this came out during a more socially aware time, it would have been boycotted for it’s stereotyping. And fyi I am white.

  • Sistah Dah-O-Me

    I would love to say, I am upset with this whole idea of White People Adopting Black Children/Kids period. I believe we should be helping our own. For whatever reason Black people are not stepping up to the Plate to help each other, I feel somebody ought to do it, regardless of Race. A kid in Foster Care just wants somebody to love them and someplace to call “HOME” First, Race to them is Second. Help has NO Color. I believe in “ACTION” if you are NOT solving the problem, you have No right to comment on those who do.

  • Bill

    My question is , why didn’t a Black Wealthy Family step in and do what the White Wealthy Family did? Not for the movie but for the person. Their are lots of poor Black and White, Men and Women with talent who is just waiting for Someone to see them for what they are.So I think it’s not a Black/White issue.

  • Justine Dohl

    It was a stupid movie with a nice message…the family hired a tutor and helped by getting his life together. He worked hard too..they just provided the means…it just so happened that this “Christian” mom saw a need and put her Christianity to work…. what a terrible premise for a movie

  • Mike Wilder

    I believe here we have another example of left-wing types projecting their own racism onto other people.

  • Give It A Rest

    No I don’t have a problem with the movie. It was a good movie. It damn near moved me to tears. I thank God those people looked out for my brotha like that whateva their reason were!

  • nancy

    wow. thank you for this. I am a white, middle-aged, middle-class, female democrat, and my first reaction on hearing the plot of this movie (in spite of its “true story” aspect) was exactly that of these commentators.

  • Wilhelm A. Fructose

    Good topic, interviews! I got annoyed by the sensation brought about by the marketing of the “heroine”, also the non-sensitivity and mechanical nature of pic’s structure, self-centeredness like in films and trailers reminiscent of the 1990’s! Foreign policy, though, has remained relevant despite the non-deserved attention Ms. Bullock’s romance w/ Mr. James has garnered in the “Hollywood” and corporate media.

  • Jo

    Abuse has no boundaries. The Blind Side could have been made portraying a white family that took in a poor white male or female teen and had the same emotional impact. The script followed the book which was based on a real life experience. It’s a sad fact that situations like this still exist in the U.S.A., but, they do. Perhaps such a movie can make a difference to someone caught up in the sick cycle of abuse?

  • R.O. Quashie

    It’s a movie. Another way to look at it is as a message to white people to take action rather than just complain about the conditions some black people find themselves in. In America today it is an unfortunate truth that black children and white children get abandoned by their families and short-changed by the school system every day. Anyway, I don’t think this was billed as a documentary or did I miss something?

  • Connie

    Let me ask black folks this: In the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button a black family takes in a white kid.What’s the difference?How did that make you feel.
    It was a great movie that happen to be a true story.Get over it and let’s move on!!!

  • Ambry Johnson

    I finally saw the movie for the first time last night. I felt the movie as great. Many people disagree with the storyline or whatever the class maybe are the same people who are scared to go to the hood to visit their family members. The story is simple a family took in a young man who had no where to go adn no food to eat. They clothed him, feed him and provided him with the confidence that he can make something of himself no matter what his background or short-comings maybe. Please my people stop with the white man this and the white man thought process, thats why we can’t really move on now.

  • Mark

    It’s funny Vanessa Williams says that, because it’s clear from her complexion that she has white blood in her. Would Vanessa Williams have the career she has if she wasn’t light skinned?

  • Tasha

    I have read some of the comments, and I understand why people agree that people should adopt children, regardless of race. I agree to that as well.
    However, I have a problem with the lack of positive images of black adults in the media. I understand that some black people harm their kids, but some black parents love their kids so much.
    I wish there were just as many positive images of black parents in the media as there were of positive white parents in the media. But, I feel there are not.

  • faith

    i love her work ive seen the film and sandra bullock was marvelouse! she did deserve that award!! shes a great actor. and soon make more history. luv u sandra!

Last modified: April 26, 2011 at 11:17 am