OK

This is only a Preview!

You must Publish this diary to make this visible to the public,
or click 'Edit Diary' to make further changes first.

Posting a Diary Entry

Daily Kos welcomes blog articles from readers, known as diaries. The Intro section to a diary should be about three paragraphs long, and is required. The body section is optional, as is the poll, which can have 1 to 15 choices. Descriptive tags are also required to help others find your diary by subject; please don't use "cute" tags.

When you're ready, scroll down below the tags and click Save & Preview. You can edit your diary after it's published by clicking Edit Diary. Polls cannot be edited once they are published.

If this is your first time creating a Diary since the Ajax upgrade, before you enter any text below, please press Ctrl-F5 and then hold down the Shift Key and press your browser's Reload button to refresh its cache with the new script files.

ATTENTION: READ THE RULES.

  1. One diary daily maximum.
  2. Substantive diaries only. If you don't have at least three solid, original paragraphs, you should probably post a comment in an Open Thread.
  3. No repetitive diaries. Take a moment to ensure your topic hasn't been blogged (you can search for Stories and Diaries that already cover this topic), though fresh original analysis is always welcome.
  4. Use the "Body" textbox if your diary entry is longer than three paragraphs.
  5. Any images in your posts must be hosted by an approved image hosting service (one of: imageshack.us, photobucket.com, flickr.com, smugmug.com, allyoucanupload.com, picturetrail.com, mac.com, webshots.com, editgrid.com).
  6. Copying and pasting entire copyrighted works is prohibited. If you do quote something, keep it brief, always provide a link to the original source, and use the <blockquote> tags to clearly identify the quoted material. Violating this rule is grounds for immediate banning.
  7. Be civil. Do not "call out" other users by name in diary titles. Do not use profanity in diary titles. Don't write diaries whose main purpose is to deliberately inflame.
For the complete list of DailyKos diary guidelines, please click here.

Please begin with an informative title:

"Fruitvale Station" made me re-examine my own prejudices and stereotypes. You?
More after the tear-stained squiggle.

Intro

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

The Jan. 1, 2009 headlines said: “22-year-old, unarmed black man fatally shot by BART police.” For too many Americans, it was just another example of—choose your cliché from the list—[police brutality] [urban crime] [gun violence] [New Year’s Eve drunkenness] [racial profiling] [rowdy teenagers getting in trouble..again].

The headline gave the surface view. The stereotypes in the list kicked in immediately. In reality, we found out in the days that followed, the incident was some of the above, all of the above, and none of the above.

That’s what the newly released movie, “Fruitvale Station” makes you think about. In telling the story of the last day in the life of Oscar Grant, “Fruitvale Station” avoids clichés and hype, hewing closely to the events leading up to Grant’s death, handcuffed, lying on his stomach on the BART station floor, and shot in the back at point-blank range by an overzealous, or confused, or panicked, or racist [choose your descriptor] transit cop.

It’s not a “true-crime story,” in the usual sense—the ones that are ostensibly “ripped from the headlines” and then embellished with outrageous special effects and plot twists.  Nor is it a superhero story. There are no car crashes, heroic rescues, exploding bombs, severed body parts, or slo-mo shots of bullets. Rather, it’s the straightforward story of one troubled young man, trying to put his life back together for the sake of his girlfriend, his mother, and the four-year-old daughter he adores.

What we see in this movie—as opposed to the typical American blockbuster—is Oscar’s humanity, the complexities of his circumstances, and the pressures closing in around him. He’s multi-dimensional—not just a “punk,” as he might be stereotyped by his prison record—and not a punk transformed into a saint. He makes some bad choices. He has trouble controlling his anger. But he’s warm, tender and involved in the details of his daughter’s life [in one scene, he fixes her hair]. He wants to do better, but turning things around is complicated.

In other words, Oscar Grant is portrayed as a person, not a type.

Watching this powerful, emotionally wrenching story unfold, with its simply told, up-close feel and dialogue that sounded spontaneous and authentic, I couldn’t help thinking about my own prejudices and stereotyped views of “criminals,” “victims,” and people who are culturally different from my own white-bread expectations.

And, of course, it made me think about Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman and my own—possibly prejudiced and stereotypical—reactions to each of them and to the equally tragic story that played out in Sanford, Florida.

I highly recommend that you see “Fruitvale Station.” It will open your mind, and your tear ducts.

Extended (Optional)

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.