It is Possible to See Beyond Race, If Only for 96 Minutes

suture1In the 1993 film Suture, actors Michael Harris (left) and Dennis Hasbert (right), play brothers Vincent and Clay. Throughout the film, everyone remarks how much Clay and Vincent look like each other. In fact, it is the similarity of their appearance that drives much of this neo-noir thrill. Obviously, Harris and Hasbert look nothing alike. They don’t even sound alike. But as the film progress, you actually come to believe they do look alike. How is this possible? Because when a film is well made, and the story is compelling, willing suspension of disbelief can actually influence racial perceptions. The problem with many people is that they want to hold on to their racial perceptions, because the world stops making sense if they let go. Holding on makes them comfortable. This comfort does not make them racist, but it does mean that they can be engaging in an aspect of racism, even if they don’t realize it. It is similar thinking that makes people assume that a Black adult with a White child can’t possibly be their parent, or that they must be adopted.

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