Race and racial tensions are probably one of the more hot button topics of recent decades. Arguably we’ve been seeing race issues since the early 2000s, however, within the last 5-10 years, attention to civil rights and racial tensions has been seen in America that rivals that of the 1960s. From Trayvon Martin to Michael Brown, the fact that racial tensions in America are still present is testament to the fact that something still needs to change. This country has gone through two major events that should have ended the inequality in America, however they have both (Emancipation/Civil Rights) failed to relieve the tension within America.
I believe one of the main problems in regards to racial tension is simply the lack of education on the issue. Sure in our history classes we’re told of the horrors of slavery and the mistreatment of minority groups in America, but as is evident by the news recently, this doesn’t seem to be working. What else can be done to further this education to hopefully stop the unjust and plainly unlawful treatment of innocent black Americans? (Before anyone jumps to crazy conclusions, know that I realize that there are criminals out there who happen to be black, I’m not referring here to them, but instead to the blatant cases of injustice in American society)
I’m a strong supporter of placing just messages into the medium of entertainment. It ensures that information is widely spread, due to the massive popularity of entertainment and also that these messages are not only delivered, but also acted out. Recently, Paramount has decided to send every high school in America a free copy of the DVD version of Selma. (Just one copy?) Don’t get me wrong, I realize that was Paramount is doing here isn’t solely an attempt to promote the quelling of racial tensions, but instead to popularize their movie and also give themselves some pretty good publicity, but the fact remains that it is a good way to get this information in the hands of educators so they can plan a unit or something similar around this issue. And besides, who doesn’t want a movie day?
This isn’t the first time Paramount has tried something similar with this movie though. When the movie first released, Paramount gave out free tickets to any 7th, 8th, and 9th grader who showed their student I.D. at the box office. While this did increase the number of people who felt the stories message, notice how it was also a business decision. Kids that age more than likely won’t be going to the theaters on their own, by giving them free tickets Paramount hoped to get their parents to pay for their own tickets. While this isn’t that big a deal, I do find it sort of hypocritical, as if Paramount were really trying to promote racial equality, they would have provided free tickets to a larger variety of students, especially those in the High school level. I know for sure I would have seen Selma had I been given free tickets. Maybe this is just nitpicking on my part, as I’m still excited to see this step, as even though it may not be a leap, it’s still a step in the right direction.