Jarvis DeBerry, an editorial writer and columnist at The Times-Picayune in News Orleans, dissects a criticism he has heard about the portrayal of race in Beats of the Southern Wild, and shares his reaction to it
Of course, when your characters are black and celebrate their attachment to nature, when the title of your movie contains the words “beasts” and “wild,” you leave yourself open to accusations of racism, to claims that you see black people as primitive, if not altogether savage. And when your characters ignore the evacuation order that precedes an approaching storm, you might stand accused of romanticizing people who don’t have the sense to come in out of the rain.
As a rural Southerner who has never felt completely at peace in the city and as a New Orleanian who stayed during Hurricane Katrina and interviewed others who did the same, I find both criticisms problematic. Urbanization has been black Americans’ most recent trend, but it is not our historical norm. Thinking of ourselves exclusively as city dwellers helps us forget one of the greatest crimes committed against us: the systematic separation of black folks from their land.
Read the full article at Colorlines.com.