In my pursuit of financial independence (and after acknowledging that I’m much too impatient to wade through channels to determine what to watch) I made the decision to give my traditional cable package the boot. It’s been approximately two years since I made that decision, and I haven’t looked back. Thanks to streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, I have not regretted my decision in the least. These services, and Netflix specifically, have exposed me to shows and movies that I probably would not otherwise have watched. The documentaries section on Netflix especially has provided me with an array of interesting items to view – the most recent of which has been the film ‘Blackfish‘. Considering that the film came out in 2013 I’m slightly late to the party, but still glad that I managed to make it. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the film, ‘Blackfish‘ details the story of Tilikum, a killer whale taken into captivity within the sea-park industry and the dire consequences that resulted. Without giving too much away, a consistent theme that emerged throughout the movie was this feeling of regret. Regret about the decision to subject killer whales to captivity, of not fully understanding the ramifications of the sea-park industry on these creatures, and the choice to support psychological and emotional trauma under the guise of entertainment. There was one quote in particular from the film that really stood out to me.
“I think that in 50 years, we’ll look back and go ‘My God, what a barbaric time.’”
It was interesting to observe the transformation that some who were involved in the sea-park industry underwent as they realized the true consequences of their actions and the harm that had been done. As I watched their remorseful and tear-strewn faces, I couldn’t help but wonder when the same degree of revelation about the adverse treatment of killer whales and the respect/humanity they deserve would become applied to Blacks in the United States whose lives have been cut short by law enforcement.
The response of protestors to the Ferguson verdict highlights a growing state of unrest. The legacy of slavery in the United States is something that many try to ignore or treat as if it were antiquated. In reality, it is our lack of reconciling the nearly 250 years of slavery followed by an additional almost 100 years of Jim Crow laws designed to enforce segregation and that supported racist practices and terrorism towards Blacks that has contributed to the current state of race relations in this country. To put things into perspective, there are still people alive today who experienced segregation and Jim Crow. Martin Luther King Jr. would have only been in his 80’s were he still alive. Unfortunately, it is not until America acknowledges the atrocities that were imposed on Blacks and work towards true reconciliation, which includes addressing privilege and dismantling institutionalized racism, that we can work towards true healing and justice. And unlike the above quote from Blackfish, I truly hope that it doesn’t take 50 years before this country has a Laurence Fishburne ‘School Daze‘ moment and truly wakes up.