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.

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