Bamboozled Redux

I just watched the Spike Lee movie again, and I gotta say, it really got me… again.

I don’t get what people had against this film. The only thing I can think is that it cuts close to too many uncomfortable, sad, embarrassing truths on (all?) sides, maybe?

I see those cartoons, those skits, the long set of clips at the end of the movie, and then I think of how blacks, whites, and other people are portrayed in the media in the country where I live, and I wonder: will my students get what the hell I am talking about?

It’s not unusual to see a bone in the nose of a black person in cartoons in Korea. I’ve had students ape verbally “Ooga-booga” and scratch their armpits when roleplaying an African, and respond with shock when I inform them that this is racist and offensive. (That used to happen in Jeonju more often; haven’t seen it yet in Bucheon, but I have seen the racist newspaper cartoons here. They’re in papers with national circulation.)

In a country where a band like Bubble Sisters is conceivable in this day and age, can I hope that these students will get it, the connection between blackface and minstrelsy and slavery and the pop songs and apery that Eminem and Britney Spears and the media companies are making millions of dollars — and won — from?

I have to hope so. Perhaps if I connect the dots right, I’ll make it clearer for them. The way I never got how Buddhism could be resented by anyone as an old, corrupted religious sham run by monk, not till I read a poem by a Korean about it, full of rage against historical Buddhist corruption.

Perhaps that is all a good lecturer does, connect the dots?

I am learning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *