When we walked out of Black Klanmsman last Sunday, it wasn’t because it was poorly done.
Nothing close. The film was so well done that I had to think as the mother of 13-year-old, “what am I imprinting in the mind of my son?” And even then, I gave both kids the choice to leave.
My daughter stayed and as a junior taking AP US History that makes sense. My son opted to walk away with me.
We knew the movie was about race. It wasn’t a comedy though. We had heard some of it was funny. Just because you laugh sometimes, doesn’t make something funny. In the film, there is diffusion of tension with humor - accurately placed to relieve the pressure of the discomfort and disbelief as the story builds.
What I didn’t know was how much the movie was about the powerlessness of women.
I queried my kids right after the moment when the Klan, supported by a Klan wife, were focusing on an outspoken woman – the Black Student Alliance leader. Damning her to sexual violence, as people do, when rape represents a self-indulgent tantrum for a world where they feel wronged.
Does my son benefit from this imprint? What about my daughter? Then, I still let them choose. It was a hard thing to do as a parent.
As women, we live in a systemically defined powerlessness that involves our sexuality. It’s not just physical or emotional violence that people could beat us down or shoot us in their expressed violence to quell their rage. No, that’s the same sex respect upheld in unleashing anger and everyone deals with that fear.
There is a dynamic male-female violence where the violation must also sexually arouse the perpetrator(s). Violence, rage, demeaning, assault, even the shit-talk that prefaces the behavior are a twisted indulgent pleasure for those unable to process their human sexual emotions.
It’s wrong and misguided. It’s externalized. It screams lack of personal development. But, it results primarily in powerlessness. The perpetrator(s) seeks power that they do not have and never attain. They wreak havoc on another’s life, all the while, never satisfying their craven search for power. And, the the victim remains in a society, nowhere in which she has her full power.
I didn’t want my son to witness that moment. Not at 13