Do We Really Live in a Multicultural Society?

The United States of America, the land of the free and home of the brave, now has an African American President; does that mean that all is well and we are all clicking our heels three times shouting “It’s great to be an American, It’s great to be an American”?

Not just yet. Although I believe that on the whole we are glad, grateful and proud to be Americans, it is very clear to those of us with a little more melanin that President Obama, even with all of his assets, is not the Wizard and we still have a lot of work to do in this country we all so love.

All we have to do is take a look at the events of this past week and the New York Post cartoon to see that change is coming, but has not reached everyone. While I haven’t actually viewed the cartoon I have listened to the commentaries on both sides and they clearly indicate that issues of race continue to polarize this nation.

Just this morning I read a commentary in the Denver Post by author Carleen Brice on the struggle black writers have when it comes to broadening their reader base. The problems she explains lie not only with the publishing industry, but also with the mindset of readers.

As black woman I have been reading the works of non-blacks my entire life. As I think back over the years, it was not until I reached Junior High I believe, but more probably High School that I became acutely aware of Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Toni Morrison, Toni Cade Bambara, Nikki Giovanni and others. As an avid reader I don’t limit myself to race or culture when I read, because one of the joys I have always found with reading is that I can transport myself to faraway lands without ever leaving home.

If we are truly ever going to be a multicultural society we must embrace the works of all cultures. Reading is a perfect mechanism for this because once you have read about another culture you have a central base from which to begin dialogue with someone from that culture. You may find that what you have read is not totally accurate, but at least the conversation will have begun and I’m sure you will learn something.

So if you’re game and you’re not a minority, hop on over to White Readers Meet Black Authors and find a new book to read. For minority readers you can visit the site too! If you find that you limit yourself to books only by African Americans, Hispanics, Asians etc. then take this opportunity to widen your horizon as well.

One of the best books I’ve read lately is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, and another good read was Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult.

Take the plunge, I’m sure you will like it!

Trouble supporting Tyler

I am usually very bad about getting to the movies opening weekend, despite my knowledge of the importance of opening weekend sales, especially for black films. I decided to try something new this weekend – Wrong!

This afternoon I decided I would venture out to the theater and support Tyler Perry’s new movie Madea Goes To JailWrong. It was a total bust! We (the hubby and I) were attempting to see the 6:20 p.m. show after running some household errands. We got to the theater at about 6:10 only to find the 6:20 had been sold out, so we purchased tickets to the 7:40 and went over to Hoggy’s to grab a bite and wait for the show to start. Wrong – 1 hour wait to be seated. Next we head to the Quaker Steak and Lube, 30 – 35 minute wait. We head to the bar and have a drink as we wait for the table. It’s 7:05 p.m. and we’re seated, but haven’t ordered. We order and our wings and burger arrive at about 7:27 p.m.

Now we know we’re cutting it close, but that’s not a problem because we have tickets in hand, and the theater is just across the driveway. We wolf down a few bites of food, and our server, Chris, I believe was his name comes back with the check and let’s us know the show will be starting in about five minutes. Again, we’re not overly anxious because we have tickets in hand, but we ask for boxes to take our leftovers and head across the packed parking lot in the icy rain.

Once inside we are directed to a long line where we stand for about half a minute before I inquire of the security guard – what’s the problem. Good call. We were standing in the line for the 8:40 show. We get out of line and head over to theater 10 – only to find that there are no seats together. The courteous usher suggests we go back to the box office and exchange for the later show or a refund. We opt for a refund, we’ll try again tomorrow.

As we were leaving the theater the Hubby graciously says “This is why we don’t come to the opening show.” While taking in his comment I’m thinking back to A Family that Preys and Why Did I Get Married. I really believe that we came out opening weekend for these as well, and this leads me to believe that a great deal of the hype is “Madea”. She did not star in either of the last two movies, and I believe this is the reason the sales are off the chain. We went to the Valley View Cinemark and Madea is showing in four theaters, and although I did not check with management I would guess that each of these holds about 350-400 people. The Hubby disputes my memory saying we wen to see the other movies a week after opening.

Needless to say, the moral to this story is – get to the theater early if you want to see “Madea Goes to Jail” this weekend!