The Hate, That Hate Taught

thegreatdebaters1.jpg I begin this by greeting you with an expression of holiday cheer, and I would like to follow that salutation with a challenge. The task should you choose to accept it, is to become, and continue to be the best you can be each and every day. 2007 is winding down and as the world looks forward, I had an opportunity to reflect today, in watching one of the best films I have ever seen…The Great Debaters.

The highlight of my day was supposed to be the Lakers versus Suns game, but at halftime instead of watching the recaps and interviews, I took a trip to the movie theater to see a film that has the power to change the way we think.

The Great Debaters takes place in 1935 Texas and to watch this account based on true events was humbling. Not too worry I’m not going to give away the movie, as I would be doing you and the production a disservice.

What I will tell you is that back in the days of Willie Lynchism, Jim Crow, and separate but equal, the so-called Negro more often than not, relied on themselves and one another. Nowadays the trend has changed and while it doesn’t apply to everyone, black people in the United States can agree that the change isn’t all that great, or good for that matter.

What happened to the black eateries, schools, hotels, dry cleaning services, newspapers, etc. that once made an oppressed people pull together for the preservation of the race?

Has the black person in the U.S.A. gotten comfortable to how things are, as to how they were only a mere 35 years ago?

If you think Barry Bonds has been getting a hard time as of late, have you ever thought what it was like to play a baseball game as Henry Aaron?

In 2007 the sting of HIS-tory still lingers and with that in mind, how is it cool and important to do the opposite of what was fought so long and hard for?

When I was growing up during the Reagan era my friends and I thought it was the right thing to be as ignorant to school and learning as possible.

Getting bad grades was cool. Where did that come from, certainly we didn’t come up with that idea on our own. It was learned and taught somehow.

In this movie, I saw how the so-called Negro was both looked down upon, hated, feared, killed, and humiliated, and when I compare that depiction to what is going on in my Philadelphia streets, the only difference is that the perpetrator is more times than not black people.

Why is that?

I understand that from slavery the Africans were taught to hate themselves and when learned and passed on, it started a vicious cycle that as far as I can see has yet to officially break. But that is not the be all to end all answer…haven’t strides been made in all facets of the black American human endeavor?

I have more questions than answers and when I read the Autobiography of Malcolm X, I see the same social ills that the brother minister once fought and spoke against are still haunting the black communities all over this country.

The more things have changed, the more those same things have stayed the same, and in that you will find a very twisted intricate problem.

When I got home from my trek to the movie, I wanted to do two things. Write this entry, and call my father and tell him that he did the best job with my siblings and I, with what he and my mother had, and for that I want to equally do just as great a job with what I have one day when I have children.

I want to see The Great Debaters again, because it is just THAT good and I had THAT many tears in my eyes in watching it the first time. The time is now for us all to be responsible to our past, present, and near future. Peace.

Anthony Gilbert AXG Sports Marketing and Consulting


35 Responses to “The Hate, That Hate Taught”

  1. AnthonyG,

    Good post. I’m going to take my daughter to see the movie today. I’ll post later on my feelings.

  2. I’ll wait for the movie to come on cable. Seems like it follows the same formula as remember the titans.

  3. you do that davidmac – keep your money where your priorities are…

    “ApeBoy rides friedman’s coat tails all the way to the coon show of economic dependence – story at 11.”

  4. That’s a nice post – but I just wanted to know if “Why is that?” is a rhetorical question.

    Seriously, if we can’t answer the question – we’re back to square one. I’d like to hear your perspective – and as you correctly state – “slavery” is only a small part of the answer.

  5. Well this film isn’t a Remember the Titans, far from it, nevertheless to answer Temple3’s question, “Why is that?” is a question I would LOVE to answer, but honestly I cannot right now.

    I have been both part of the problem and the solution. The mind set has to change. I really wish I could provide the answer.

  6. AnthonyG,

    I wanted to check out the movie yesterday, but it’s not playing near me. I’ll have to wait until Sun.

  7. Okay Michelle, when you do see it, I’d like to hear your take on the film.

  8. anthonycarter Says:

    Wow, DavidMac. On cable? Remember the Titans was a solid film that was worthy of the theater, but this… This film is a MASTERPIECE! Hats off to AG for the post, to Denzel for the directing, Oprah for the production, and the entire cast for an outstanding job! I had goose bumps throughout most of the film and was also near tears at certain points.

    The Great Debaters does make you think. And once it comes to cable in 3 or 4 years, I hope it’s not too late for DavidMac. Thanks AG!

  9. Thank you Anthony Carter! I appreciate that.

  10. Saw the movie yesterday……………..LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!! Forest Whitaker and Denzel Witaker (plays Forest’s son) deserve nominations this upcoming award season. This was Denzel’s second directorial try and I must say, I’m not sure if Denzel is better at acting or directing! Remember, Antoine Fisher was his directorial debut and that was a great film. This film is awesome.

  11. Happy Holidays Miranda! Missed you around here.

  12. I’m sleeping on this film. Soon as I feel a little better, I’m on it.

  13. Happy Holidays to you too! I was out of town all week – at my folks for the holidays, now i’m back….10 pounds heavier no doubt.

    The Great Debaters is a must see… will love it.

  14. I just saw this movie this evening and it truly is a masterpiece. Simply flawless. “Remember the Titans” was a great movie, but this is on another level. So much stuff going on including an American history lession; several interpersonal sub-plots that tell the social story; and incredible acting. It was just so well done as every scene was beautifully interwoven with each another.

    It also avoided the common played-out hollywood formulas of movies of depicting the segregated south such as whites as saviors to helpless black victims (see Mississippie Burning) and the usual overly simplistic storylines of good vs. evil. This went much deeper than that. It brilliantly depicted the physical and emotional toll of daily indignities faced, and how those barriers were practically and psychologically navigated on multiple levels. Yet, the movie does not come off as dated or and its themes no less relevant to today. In the end, it simultaneously takes the viewer through a well-balanced intellectual and emotional journey through Jim Crow.

    …I normally don’t gush this much about a movie and but it was just THAT good. I haven’t seen too many movies this year to make a full assessment on Best Picture winner, but this should be right in the middle of that discussion. But to discuss it simply in the role of “cinema” grossly minimizes the film’s importance. EVERY American should see this in the theater as it deserves box office dollars, and every high school teacher in America should take their class to see this.

    Anthony G, thanks for posting this…

  15. […] have to find a way to work "The Great Debaters" into this sports media blog (hat tip to The Starting Five). Having seen it this weekend, I’m telling anyone who will listen to plunk their money […]

  16. Modi, I saw the movie, and yes the performances were off the charts. The young actors were incredible, and the veterans turned in their usual stellar performance. Just from the performances it’s a must see movie.

    I don’t place much stock in the willie lynch letter, and I think the communist sentiments were more dominant in the north, but aside from those items, I think the time period was accurately depicted.

    It would be wonderful if all american would see the movie, but americans don’t roll that way.

  17. The letter’s a fake. Perhaps the most annoying thing about the letter is that a fabrication of this sort is unnecessary. The energy expended on developing that letter should have been directed to something more positive. Besides, the scholarly work around that very idea has been done and done well.

    Check out James O. Breeden’s “Advice Among Masters: The Ideal in Slave Management in the Old South.” link below

    We need to respect ourselves enough to discard bullshit in whatever guise it appears – and then move forward to do the inquiry correctly. Without proper inquiry, we forfeit the right to criticize, convince and convert.

  18. TheLastPoet Says:

    Like Imhotep said above, this movie should be seen on its acting chops (and production values) alone. The fact that it also tells a great story is like yams with extra syrup…

    Oh, and Dmac is gonna wait for it on cable. No surprise there. God shines only upon those who can see the light. Poor Dmac would be blinded by the high beam. (If this dude is truly Black, which of course I doubt, I vote we call Chappelle and trade him in the next “race draft” for Modi or DZirin!)

  19. @Temple3, I agree the letter has no real basis in reality, however it has taken on a life of it’s own. The Great Debaters is the 2nd movie of note that I have seen that have breathe life into the willie lynch letter. There is another movie, Animal, with Vin Rhames and Jim Brown that also give the letter credence. I think it’s fairly well established in certain circles that the letter does not stand up to scrutiny.

    @Poet, I don’t think Dmac have much trade value, I say we waive his ass.

  20. @T3 and @Imhotep

    Don’t be jealous of me because I have the franchise tag along with Cosby and the rest.

  21. AnthonyG,

    I checked out the movie and WOW, you guys were all correct. The movie was great. From the true story line to the acting, it was all a treat. The movie left me with one question. What has happened to us as a people? We have fallen so far. This movie should be shown in every school. The respect James Jr. showed to his father is now just a thing of the past. While I was very proud watching the movie, I left with sorrow in my heart.


    Yes, Henry is fine!

  22. @Michelle

    I don’t anything has changed that much, except the break down of the family unit. Its larger now than it was back then. I think if you go into any household with a strong male presence, sons will still talk to their fathers with respect, that isn’t a thing of the past. I think the problem is there just aren’t that many households with both a mom and dad anymore, and that goes for all races, not just black.

  23. DavidMac,

    I understand. Things have just changed so much. I wish some things would just go back to the way it use to be. The pride is gone. Standards have dropped. It’s all about the money. Damn working hard. I even appreciated the times when men wore suits and ladies wore dresses. I know I’m going to catch it for making that comment.

  24. I dont know about that work hard talk. Back then people worked hard because they didn’t have education. They told there kids to work smart, atleast thats what all my uncles and aunts told me, on both sides coming from the country and the city.

    I think for the most part their generation made great monetary advances and societal advances, its just, what do you expect to happen when you have feminism going around. Its happening to all of America, you have women putting men down and wanting to be the head, so you have more guys saying screw it and leaving. Then women feeling their boys and girls up to hate men, and then you have a self-perpetuating cycle, my theory.

    I think this is why you have a lot of gays coming up in the hood. There mothers got some of these boys thinking like women, letting boys do hair and makeup and crap.

  25. DavidMac,

    Why did I get You started?

  26. Classic David Mac. He does make me laugh. I remember when I used to think like him.

  27. You should get used to it, I’ll be running for President in 2032. America for Americans and Lets Make America, America Again.

    I want my black citizens to vote for me.

  28. I’d rather cut off my left nut.


  29. Cevidence Says:

    I’ll vote for you as long as you promise to make me President after someone assasinates you in 6 months…lol’

  30. Damn…could you imagine DMac the martyr? He’d be like Pac

  31. DavidMac, I read that January 3, 2008 at 8:58 pm post 3 times to make sure that it was real or that I misread it! Wow!

    Imh and T3, please excuse my ignorance but I never knew that the Willie Lynch Letter was most likelya a hoax. But this piece was interesting on that front:

    Michelle, i’m not saying that you are wrong but the following quote may or may not add perspective to the “sorrow in your heart”:

    “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.

    – Socrates (470 – 399 BC)

  32. Aw hell no…Mizzo, you did not say “he’d be like Pac”…………LOLOL!!! That is hysterical.

    I told you!!! Was he not tasty looking?? Gee whiz, the up close shots were the best ones!

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