Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Scene of Courage

I'm still having fun at the Australian Screen website.

I just finished watching a clip from a movie called The Fringe Dwellers. It's directed by Bruce Beresford, so maybe I wrote about it when I wrote about him. I can't remember.

The scene is sad, but inspiring.

Young Aboriginal people walk into a cafe. The woman at the counter serves them, but requests that they sit at the counter. They're not to sit at the tables with the white folks. There we have discrimination.

The Aborigines completely ignore her. They sit down at a table. I think this is a great illustration of the fact that some rules should NOT be followed. To me, it's a great scene of courage.

The white kids at the table next to them snicker and make rude comments. The seemingly snobbiest makes remarks about the clothes of the black kids.

Recently, Tim saw a speaker about autism. The person speaking said parents should stop their autistic children from flapping their arms. Why? It's not socially acceptable.

My reaction? Who cares!

There are snobs and bullies in the world. They dictate what's socially acceptable (although they don't all agree on what qualifies), and then pick on those of us who don't follow their rules.

We might have the "wrong" skin color.
We might practice the "wrong" religion.
We might not wear cute enough clothes.
We might not be thin enough.
We might have the "wrong" accent.
We might be wearing the wrong shoes.
We might act a little different.
We might be attracted to the same sex......

Many of us can't fully understand what the characters in the movie scene felt. We haven't encountered outright discrimination. But I think most of us can relate to feeling rejected by a group, because we don't quite fit in.

At the end of the scene, a white man comes in and speaks up for the black people. He shames the white snobs. Amen to that.

There's this Jewish rabbi named Hillel. A famous quote is attributed to him. If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? If not now, when?
I think the film scene perfectly illustrates the quote. The characters didn't wait to make the right choices. The aboriginal kids could have held their heads in shame, and stayed at the counter. Instead, they stood tall....well, figuratively speaking. In actuality, they went to sit down.

The white man could have watched sadly and then walked away. To his wife at home, he might have said, I wish I had said something. I should have. Maybe next time. I'm sure there have been times in my life where I kept silent. I regret that, and I hope to not create more regrets in the future.