Monday, December 29, 2014

Back Talk

I want to remind kids at my school of that old chestnut about how they can grow up and be anything they want to be. In order to do this with a straight face, I have to remember to qualify that statement with a reminder that it requires hard work and perseverance. I don't often add in the part about how luck also plays a part in things. I try and convince myself that the neighborhood where these kids live shouldn't play a part in the trajectory of the rest of their lives. I know that the trajectory may not be affected, but the location of the launching pad is going to make a big difference. 
I'm a big fan of physics. I like the way that math and science can help explain how things move. The laws of physics tell me that an object set in motion in Oakland may require more energy to move up an inclined plane than one located in one of our nicer suburban areas. Elevation has always played a role in how things roll in Oakland. An object set in motions tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force: like poverty or racism or any number of disadvantages found nearby. The most amazing thing that has happened in the past twenty years for my neighborhood was the election of Barack Obama. Suddenly, all that discussion of potential and how anyone could grow up and be President of the United States turns out to be true. Two years into his second term, kids still light up when they see him in pictures or videos. They know who the President is. All those dreams of being an NBA player or rap mogul seem completely realistic as a result. Movie star? Why not?
Unless you happen to listen to Rush Limbaugh. You might get to be President of the United States if you study hard enough, but Rush will tell you that not just anyone can be James Bond. "James Bond is a total concept put together by Ian Fleming. He was white and Scottish. Period. That is who James Bond is." This blather came in the midst of a stream of blather that has gone on for decades now, but came with what might be a refreshing bit of candor: "I know it's racist to probably point this out." Mister Limbaugh was letting us know that he did not believe that Idris Elba can't play James Bond n a movie because James Bond is white. Mister Elba is not. It would take more energy than I have to try and connect the dots for Rush. Like the ones that say James Bond is a fictional character that has been portrayed by more than a half dozen different actors on TV and in films, including Woody Allen. Woody qualifies on one of the counts Rush has set, but fails miserably on the rest. And why isn't Rush more upset about the blond-haired blue-eyed Daniel Craig calling himself 007? 
It's like the man said: It's racist. Ironically, the Civil Rights Act and James Bond on film have just celebrated their fiftieth anniversary. And so here's Rush Limbaugh, defying the laws of physics by living in the past. I will continue to tell the kids at my school that they can grow up to be anything they want to be, but I will encourage them not to be conservative radio hosts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"James Bond is a total concept put together by Ian Fleming. He was white and Scottish. Period. That is who James Bond is.”

Barry Nelson - American
Bob Holness - English
Bob Simmons - English
Sean Connery - Scottish
Roger Moore - English
David Niven - English
George Lazenby - Australian
Christopher Cazenove - English
Timothy Dalton - Welsh
Michael Jayston - English
Pierce Brosnan - Irish
Daniel Craig - English
Toby Stephens - English

Well, 1 for 13.