Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I sing you to me

That line is from Australia (the movie). The narrator said it constantly to Nicole Kidman's character. I absolutely adored the movie. It was a great movie, and I was crying pretty much constantly for the last half of the movie.

It was a really blunt look into the race struggles that Australia has had in the past. It was odd, to be honest, because it was set during WWII. When I think of the war and that whole era, I just assume that Australia was still an island full of convicts. There were several profound moments in the movie for me.

The first was when someone said something to the effect of to breed the black out of them! It was in reference to the island where they were sending kids who were 1/2 Aboriginee and 1/2 white ("Creamies"). That struck a chord with me because I realized that, had I been born just a few decades before I was (and obviously in Australia, too) I could have met a similar fate. Not because I had done something wrong, not because my parents had, but because Society as a whole looked down upon the mixing of the races.

That's the odd thing about society. We live in a free country. We are free to do pretty much anything that we want. The hold up comes when we do something that infringes on the freedom of someone else or something that society has deemed bad. Usually, all it takes is a few people to agree about any given point for it to become taboo. 12 jurors can decide the fate of one person. 9 judges interpret the constitution. We are free to choose our actions, but not free to choose the consequence. That's done by society as a whole.

I feel like I'm on a soapbox right now, but society once saw me as the product of some sort of deviant behavior on the part of my parents-Labeled an anomaly. It makes me think pretty hard about the types of labels I apply to others. I know that for myself, I understand the part in the movie where the narrator explains that he is a Creamie- He doesn't belong to the white man, and doesn't belong to the black man. He belongs to no one.

We often get on our high horses and preach about how much further we are from our racist, hate-filled grandparents/ancestors, but the truth is that we are not. Perhaps the hate is gone from the labels, but they still exist. When I am around white people, I am labeled as Tongan. When around Tongans, I am labeled white. Neither is willing to accept me blindly as one of them. I myself apply labels to people. Skin color is the most noticable characteristic you see. Maybe that's ok, as long as it is not acompanied by hate. Who knows.

The bottom line is that I could ramble on about this forever, but there's a line from the movie that I love.
Just because that's how it is, doesn't mean it should be.

I hope to be able to one day fully raise above the "labels" of our society. Someday, right?


leinani45 said...

we can all only hope. I'm still surprised at the amount of prejudice i come across. it just doesn't make sense to me. maybe because i'm hapa... but i'm always the 'why can't we be friends' type. haven't seen the movie for that reason alone. i don't like watching racial injustice because it makes me want to punch some stupid haoles. ;)