These movies aren't doing us any favors.
As soon as I saw the trailer for "The Best of Enemies," I knew it was going to be yet another white savior movie.
Before I get into why it is a white savior movie, let me explain what I mean when I say "white savior movie."
A "white savior movie" typically sees a black character teaming up with a white character to help solve racism.
Prime examples of this include "Hidden Figures" or "Green Book" - and don't even get me started on how appalling it is that "Green Book" won Best Picture.
Movies like this fail to depict the serious oppression and danger black people in America have faced.
A majority of these types of movies are based on true events and real people. I believe it is important to tell the story of black people who have accomplished so much but were never acknowledged for their work. However, this isn't the way to do it.
In white savior movies, the story is often told through the lens of the white person and how they view the situation. By doing this, the viewers will never experience the fear and real danger black people experienced and still experience whenever they try to break the mold and do something outside of what society will allow them to do.
The reason these movies keep getting made this way is because they continue to hire white directors to make movies about black people.
You want to accurately portray what it is like to live as a black person in America? Hire a black director. It's that simple. Movies made by black directors about being black come off as way more sincere than any of these white saviors movies could ever even try to be.
I'm not saying it is impossible that a white director can make a well-executed movie dealing with a race that is not their own, but they need to have people of that race involved in every step of the process to ensure accuracy.
What do "The Best of Enemies," "Green Book," and "Hidden Figures" all have in common? They are all movies made about black people by white people, for white people, to feel better about racism.
When white people watch these movies, it makes them feel better about themselves.
When they watch these movies and see a white person treating a black person decently in an era where everyone treated black people like garbage, they think, "Well, it's good to see that not all white people were terrible back then." And they weren't. There will always be good people.
But those are not the stories that need to be told.
I need to hear about the atrocities that happened to black people and still happen to black people today. I want viewers to be scared for them, I want them to be disgusted by what happened and continues to happen today. I don't want them to think "Well, I'm glad racism is in our past so I don't feel bad about what happened back then."
Racism is still here, and it will never go away if we turn a blind eye to the horrors of our past. Tell the stories of black people and the hardships they faced, and tell them right. They don't need a white person by their side to make the story more digestible.