When we lived in Port of Spain, my mother was living in New York. On one visit, she brought a very interesting movie with her, it was called Rosewood. It sounded beautiful, like a vibrant village with lots of beautiful roses. I also thought it was about some sappy romance story. I only saw Rosewood about twice in my lifetime, but I am sure it was more, because I always remembered how I felt after watching it. The first time I watched it, I burst into tears and confusion, uncontrollable fits of sobs. I could not understand how humans could do this to one another and go to bed at nights. At this time I was in my early teens. Racism, was shown at its worst. The movie portrayed what humans are capable of with no gumption, no morals, unchained hate and poisoned anger. My dreams were punctuated with clips from the movie, and yet, was it real?
So, I researched it. And yes it was indeed true. In all its gory reality, though with a little "Hollywood imagination". Soon, I became angry. I became angry at people who could have stopped the Rosewood massacre from happening, I became angry at people who were part of the mob and gave birth to children, I became angry at...white people. For the first time in my life, I understood the term 'different', and 'us' and them. I asked my mother why were we not created the same, so that people would not hate each other, and she explained to me, "If all the flowers in the world were one colour, would you enjoy looking at them?" I imagined the world covered in red Hibiscus plants, ew. "No," I replied, "It would be boring."
Growing up, I began to understand, "preference", like, look at how long my friend's hair was or how pretty she is, while I stood next to this "person", hoping for the same recognition and acceptance, only that they are fair, and I... am "normal", like the admirers. In addition, I began to hate the fact that, I too, began to think with "fair-skinned glasses", hoping to get vitiligo, so that I could pass, and be admired by others. Caribbean writer Merle Hodge, wrote a short story called 'Millicent'. It is about a light-skinned girl in a primary (elementary) school in the Caribbean, who became very popular, so much so, she used the "divide and conquer" tactic in the classroom, destroying old friendships. The class teacher looked at her one class and said, "Pride goeth before a fall." Eventually, Millicent learned her lesson. I loved that story to no end, and I read it like a prayer, now I can't even remember the book I read it from. If you know, send me a note!
Now, I accept people as they are. It took me a while to get here, to look beyond the skin, and hair, but to know and understand the secret person of the heart. To know the person whose red blood is pumping, whose bile is green, and who goes to the toilet and passes gas just like me. The person who just wants to communicate ideas, history, art, etc. Just loving people for 'who' they are and not 'what' they are. In essence, I have matured in my thinking.
If I could rate Rosewood as a movie, I'll give it 4 out of 5 stars. This was actor, Ving Rhames' best movie yet. and really it should be rated PG-14 for graphic scenes, seriously.