This weekend saw the national rollout of two crowd-pleaser movies about impoverished 350-pound black teens: Precious and The Blind Side. (What an amazing country we have, where a pair of poor waifs can tip the scales at 700 pounds!)
Together, the two films reflect an emerging, if seldom fully articulated, consensus among all right-thinking people in this Bush-Obama era about what to do with underclass black children.
Precious is the story of an illiterate 16-year-old girl who was made pregnant and HIV-positive by her rapist father, but her even bigger problem is her abusive welfare mother with whom she shares a Section 8 apartment. Still, with the help of tireless teachers and social workers, she moves into a halfway house and begins to turn her life around.
The Blind Side is an adaptation of Michael Lewis’s 2006 nonfiction bestseller about Michael Oher. A homeless 16-year-old with a drug addict mother and a father who was thrown off a bridge, Oher was adopted by a rich white family. He’s now a rookie starting offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens of the NFL, with a five-year $13,795,000 contract.
The Blind Side’s writer-director John Lee Hancock told Michael Granberry of the Dallas News:“He loves what he calls its nature vs. nurture story line. 'It's like a test case for nurture, and nurture wins in a big way. You've got a kid who's cast on the junk heap of life, socially and from an educational standpoint. And it's amazing what a roof, a bed, meals and an emphasis on schools can do, when everybody had written him off.'
The Blind Side is the rare movie in which white Southern Republican born-again Christians are portrayed favorably. One liberal commenter on IMDB.com raged, “I feel insulted (in the same way I felt insulted when McCain chose Palin for his running-mate) …”
But, whether Republican or Democrat, white or black, everybody who is au courant is coming to agree upon one solution for poor black children: keep them away from their own families as much as possible.
Read the rest of my review The Blind Side here and comment upon it below.