The contrast is simply remarkable, when one thinks of what America was like over the period covered by the film, The Butler. American society was a place where one could die to defend the United States of America, but could not vote for or against the people who declare war. The social realities of neighborhoods, classrooms and military units across America and beyond could not be imagined if one read the Constitution of the United States, sang the National Anthem, or recited the Pledge of Allegiance. And yet, at the same time this film shows that at the very top of American political power, and by virtue of our superpower status, there were some remarkable people in the White House. We know a lot about some of them, others not.
Bonds grow between those who associate with one another, but all too often the nature of between the races contacts in America were and remain in a word ungodly, to say the least. The distribution of occupations in America may someday reflect a system of merit, but that is long way off. However, since we derive much of our sense of self-worth from the work that we do, it ought to be remembered that personal dignity is not determined by the fairness of the deal, but by the way we carry ourselves and the way we approach our daily tasks.
The conversations between the butler and the presidents in this film should help America to mature and soften a few hardened hearts.
And perhaps a few more Americans will let the past be history.
Forest Whitaker and Cuba Gooding Jr in 'The Butler'
Forest Witaker protrays a butler, Eugene Allen, an American of African origin employed in the White House during the terms of eight US presidents. The film also marks Oprah Winfrey's return to the big screen after 15 years.
The name Eugene (Eugenia) has deep historical roots in the community of Americans of African origin and was a reaction to the eugenics phenomenon that supported the notion of racial superiority that led to the dogs and hoses on southern streets and bridges as well as gas chambers in Europe.
Those Americans of African origin who have traced their family-tree to the pre-bellum south, understand clearly that those children born as property more often than not as the result of brutal rapes had half brothers and sisters. And, as the generations pass parallel families genetically connected existed then, exist today and will continue to exist.
Those, this author included, who have traced both the maternal and paternal lines reveal some interesting kinships. Such that, some of the most outspoken and virulent race haters in America have genetically verifiable relatives of African origin. This includes founding fathers, past and present presidents, senators and congressmen, supreme court justices, governors, and not surprisingly members of those cheering mobs who revelled and watched dogs attack American citizens, slammed faces into lunch counters as well as those who headed and were members of the KKK and some whose notoriety stems from killing civil rights leaders. Some with parallel families of African origin pressed fresh ethnic recruits into the front lines within days of their arrival in Vietnam, ethnic soldiers who had to fight on two fronts. They had to fight the Viet Cong on one side and those American soldiers who were proud of and bragged about their freedom rider slayer status on the other.
It is a strong reminder that - the fruit never falleth far from the genetic tree.
Omar Gooding (center) joins Butch Peelle (right) and other guests at a gala celebration of the first anniversary of Jo Magazine. Jo Magazine, is a nationally distributed Ohio-based publication showcasing the arts and entertainment industry.
Jo Magazine is the brainchild of Joleen K Norman of Xenia, Ohio, and stands as one of the real success stories of Great Recession era America.
Joleen K Norman and Butch Peelle
The similarities between the story of, Eugene Allen, The Butler and Joleen, athough occurring in different times, are very important to note:
Joleen was forced out of work with nearly 10,000 others who were gainfully employed by a world-wide air freight carrier in the little town of Wilmington, Ohio. A small city of less than 15,000 people.
Through the burning desire of wanting a richer life and through the God- driven destiny of both , each of these two individuals, through gumption and faith have and are enjoying the JOURNEY of LIFE to it's FULLEST. And so can each of us, REGARDLESS OF OUR BIRTH, enjoy a STORYBOOK LIFE.