Leonard Pitts: … hollers at “Baby Boy.” (via an e-mail from my ex-ANG co-worker Tyler Porter, who saw it on the wires last night and sent me an e-mail about it)
The first thing we see is a black man curled up in a womb. The first thing we hear is a voice-over explaining a psychologist’s theory that black men are babies. That because of racism, the African-American man remains an unformed person — infantilized, immature and incapable of exploiting his own fullest potential.
Thus begins the new movie, Baby Boy. In it, we are introduced to Jody, a jobless, aimless 20-year-old from South Central L.A. Though he has fathered two children by two women, he flees commitment, whether that means marriage or just cohabitation. Instead, Jody lives with his mother, who’s in her middle 30s. Apparently, he would be content to do that forever, except that mom has begun keeping company with a hulking ex-con whose very presence makes plain that it’s time for Jody to grow up and get out.
That he seems unable to do this, we are asked to believe, is ultimately because of the white man. Which brings me to the following conclusion:
Everybody should have a white man. Even white men should have a white man.
Because when you have a white man, nothing is ever your fault. You’re never required to account for your own failings or take the reins of your own destiny. The boss says, “Why haven’t you finished those reports, Bob?” and you say, “Because of the white man, sir.”
I’m not here to sell you some naive nonsense that racism no longer exists. One has only to look around with open eyes to see that it continues to diminish the fiscal, physical and emotional health of African-American people. All of us are obligated to raise our voices in protest of this awful reality.
But black folks are also obligated to live the fullest lives possible in the face of that reality. To live without excuses.