It’s funny how with the passing years events, stories and experiences that were puzzling and somewhat nebulous and were accepted without examination, become clearer and brighter when looked back upon with a more critical and thoughtful eye. This is what I was thinking while looking at the movie Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner once again, having seen it a good many years ago. While the movie did try to address the question of race/ colour with all its prejudices and attendant follies that make us so ridiculous, this time around the mind took the eyes below the surface, and I saw it a bit like a guilty thing; the soothing of conscience for those who instituted and propagated racism, a kind of atonement for their repugnant behaviour. Yet for all my thoughts this movie could have been made in good faith. But racism, which became a scourge and a burden for Africans, was fashioned into an institution with a system designed to advance white supremacy, while blacks were brainwashed into accepting being inferior. Whites were the ones who defined and drew the line on colour. Spencer Tracy a lead character who represented the Caucasian race, in philosophizing, berated society for its warped thinking and being blinded by the colour of skin.
His delivery was good and in total contrast to his counterpart, Sidney Poitier’s father, who was well schooled in conforming to the established order that black-white intermarriage was taboo and most sinful.
He felt terrible, guilty and even embarrassed that his son wanted to overstep his limits, thus causing further trouble; his foggy mind just couldn’t figure out that his son had allowed his emotion of love to get the better of him. How could his son not comprehend what all black minds were conditioned to accept?
What was happening to him that brought about this discordance between his eyes and his mind? All that mattered to his son was that he was in love with a woman whom he wanted to marry and the colour of skin was irrelevant and “of no more significance than the colour of the eye.“ But that was beyond the father whose world was defined by people like the father of the very woman his son was in love with. And so it made him look like a frightened man with a feeble mind.
Also, at times how strange that events play out and mirror each other. In the movie Sidney Poitier met his white lover while on the island of Hawaii, and when questioned about the future of their children their union was likely to bring about, they said their children could end up becoming President and Secre-tary of State.
Barack Obama’s father met his white mother on that very same island and their relationship produced the first black American President. As for Secretary of State, the USA has seen two African Americans so far in Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice.