12 lessons I learned from “12 years a Slave”

It has been so long since I blogged, my site has flat lined… that will not do!!

So much has happened in the last few months and there is much to discuss but let’s start here shall we?

My business partner and friend was given two tickets for us to see the movie “12 years a slave” at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia and told we only had to pick them up at the box office.. Therein  began the journey of “12 lessons in one experience”

Lesson 1: We bounced up to the box office just as cute as we pleased and requested the tickets as told.  They searched for them to no avail.  As my partner began in earnest to make a few calls, I noticed a woman in the background moving forward with a “look” on her face that clearly spoke ” here we go again with THESE people looking for things they didn’t earn” ( you had no idea I was psychic huh? Stay black long enough and you too will become an expert in facial expressions)  Anyhoo,  my friend quietly explained who the tickets were from and Ms’ Lady darn near rolled her eyes when she responded with ” I know who she is but I still see no tickets” She then turned to another person and told them to call the woman in a manner befitting that of someone who did not believe us.  I was too through at that point and would have gladly flounced my Diva-self right back through those doors, but could sense my friend was determined enough and not moved by the foolishness to get to the bottom of it, which she did and we got our tickets.  She laughed at the look on my face, patted my hand and told me all is well… mmm hmmm….

Lesson 2: We went in search of a few chairs and found the spot where we would enter the theatre.  I sat down because my ankle was throbbing and the Usher told everyone, the line formed behind us since we were the first ones there.  Out of the corner of my eye, I could see and smell trouble coming in the form of this tiny woman that looked like she was on a mission.  She marched straight to the front ignoring us all and said to the usher ” excuse me but is this the line for the movie?  I should be the first in line because I got my tickets even before that woman sitting there.” Usher looked at her and said “Ma’am, if you are not a member of this Kimmel  Center, you get no special privileges and must join the line back there like everyone else.  She spun on her heels and flounced of with an attitude of ” As if!!” I sensed she was not hardly through and sure enough, she tried two additional times with the same results and raised the ire of more than a few people in line.  We were all too cultured to make asses of ourselves as she was clearly doing and I also recognized her as a leader in Philly Government which made things worse.  No matter how many  degrees one may have or how powerful one may think they are, attitude and good manners still means something…

Lesson 3: While Ms Diva was trying to convince anyone within range of just how important she was, in another line directly across from us, were the people who were members and as they stood patiently waiting, an older gentleman walked up, queried on whether he was in the right place for members and when told yes, instead of joining the line behind the people who were already there, he promptly walked over and planted himself in front of the lady who was at the head of the line as if it were his God given right to do such a thing!  The lady who happened to be black, rolled her eyes but said nothing and gave me the look that said ” happens all the time. No matter how much money I have, some folks just will see me as not worthy”  I admired her for remaining calm as she totally understood the issue was within him not her. Bless her heart…

Lesson 4: The doors opened and as is their custom, members got to enter first for choice seating so when it was our turn and we handed in our tickets, I could feel “Ms’ Important” coming behind us and she rudely pushed by people in a rush to enter for what, I was soon to find out.  As we got settled, I looked for her and there she was sitting beside an older gentleman.  I had to do a double take because this woman was behaving as if she was sweetest person on earth to the point where I began to look harder…it sure enough was her but I noticed something else too; the man was pretty much barely tolerating her and not returning the affection… a lesson in not giving too much of yourself to people who were not deserving.. I actually felt sorry for her as it was a pitiful sight…

lesson 5: We settled in to watch the movie and as the first images opened on the screen, I knew I was in trouble.  What I saw was so raw, visceral, real and heart-breaking, it was ALL I could do to sit in my seat.  If you can believe this, I was struck mute. What was even more surreal though was this; White people were crying, moaning, gasping and talking throughout the scenes while people of colour almost seemed frozen in their seats only shifting their eyes to look at each other with such pain. I do not think I have ever seen a movie that called to the very core of my being and laid me as raw as this one has..

Lessons 6 -12:

That movie ended and as we filed out, I noticed black folks walking out like zombies and I understood because I felt the same way.  I questioned every notion I have about us as a people, this country and why were still in such a predicament even with all the freedoms we now enjoy.  I could not sleep and twisted in anguish about solutions…. I do know this for sure:  We Must stop looking for people to lead us to the promise land and collaborate in our own communities to be the leaders we are always so desperately seeking.  We must understand and continue to be mindful of those before us that bled and died for these liberties we sometimes flit away in sheer ignorance.  We must continue to collaborate with anyone who wishes to be allies in civil liberties and justice.  We must be thankful for what we have and be an example of excellence in all we say and do.  We must lift up those who are working hard to keep their heads above water.  We must remember our history so it will NOT be repeated.

All of these lessons came from one experience….. cheese and crackers…..enough said.


About lawfultrainer

Passionate Educator on all things but especially family partnerships. Determined. Driven.

Posted on October 30, 2013, in Civil liberties, Culture, Education, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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