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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"The Prep School Negro"


I recently heard an interview with director Robert Lee, talking about his new film "The Prep School Negro." The film is touring college campuses now, and he mentioned making some kind of distribution deal, so it may be released in theaters sometime next year. The film itself is about Lee's experience as an black youth in the 80s receiving an academic scholarship to Germantown Friends School, and how being one of the only black kids in an all-white school effected his life.

I did not go to a prep school, but I did grow up in a predominately white suburb. And watching the trailer, I could relate 100% to the experiences of the kids in this film. The weird question about your skin, wanting to touch your hair, the shunning and alienation from some of the black community...it really does make an impact on you. It's being caught in the middle of a constant cold civil war. Black kids thought I talked and acted "White". White kids just thought of me as "that black boy". Black-black-black, thrown in your face ALL the time, as if it were a strange or unnatural thing. It's enough to make you want to hate; if you let it get to you.

It's an experience that, for me, offered an interesting perspective of the people we have to get to know how to live with. I've seen things change a bit in 20 years. Part of that has to do with the quality of the people I choose to be around. There are always going to be assholes that get in the way of your good time. But that can't bother you. Nowadays, most people hide behind posts on Fox News' website, or obscured YouTube videos, or Teabagger rallies, to express their racial animus.

I am looking forward to seeing this film. In the mean time, we'll have to look at this trailer:

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