Last night, I watched 21 Years as a Slave. It follows the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man who is kidnapped and then subjected to 12 year of slavery.
There was nothing enjoyable about the movie. It was violent. It was brutal. Through the whippings, the beatings, and rape scenes, it was flat-out painful to watch. Up until last night, I had never winced through an entire movie.
Several times during the movie, I found myself in tears. I left the theatre with an incredible sadness, and fell asleep with this heaviness in my heart.
How could these things have happened? How could one human subject another human to such pain and misery?
The movie is full of unspeakable acts. Yet, it is all true. That was the worst part about the movie. Nothing was hypothetical. Everything in the movie has happened in real life. In fact, it was probably much worse in real life.
But that isn’t all.
What is even worse is that this ugliness isn’t limited to the past. It exists today. Racism is alive and well. I have visited small towns in the U.S. and have heard the N-word used regularly. I have a friend from north Michigan who explained that they still held KKK rallies in the town courthouse. Even in California, which is relatively progressive, I can still look out in everyday life and still see vestiges of our history with racism.
And it the hate isn’t limited to race. People look down on the homeless. Or they hate on the rich. Or, they hate on those who are drastically different. These days, it seems to be the gay, lesbians, and transgendered. Past hate, there is pure evil (IMHO). The clearest example I know of is human trafficking.
Left to our own devices, there is an ugliness within mankind. It is fucking crazy, and it is not acceptable. The only hope is that as time goes by, we seem to figure some of these things out as a society. At the very least, racism is now illegal. Woman have equal rights. Of course, these changes are only by law. What really matters is within the hearts and minds of humans. Still, we make progress. We make progress, but much much too slowly. The fact that gay rights is even an issue these days is ridiculous.
I wish there was something I could do to work towards eradicating the ugliness. Maybe one day I’ll come up with something. For now, I only know how to try living to the best of my abilities. And, of course, write about it.
P.S. This is post number #51 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!
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