The Very Sight Of Them Disturbs

4849720efe3902bfaf8dd11af9d0e476Sammy Bell
San Francisco, CA

Blazing Saddles is a satirical comedy by Mel Brooks that mocks racism, elitism, class-ism, cronyism, and sexism in a western spoof.

One part of the movie that was most telling to me about the experience of racism for Blacks included the line “I want the very sight of him to upset them”.

This line is spoken by a corrupt senator who wants to destroy a small town to clear way for the new railroad. One part of his plan is to force a new sheriff on them that they would hate so much that they would want to leave. So he stops the hanging of a black man and decides to send him to the town as the new sheriff.

The following scenes of the various reactions to seeing a sheriff who is a black man are hilarious in the movie. But sadly they ring true in many ways for real life experiences of Blacks. The real life experiences are from the misguided perception that you are somewhere you don’t belong… so you are probably about to do something that you shouldn’t be doing. Or you have something that you shouldn’t have… so you probably came into possession of it illegally.

I don’t know how the trial of George Zimmerman will be decided, but his whole encounter with Trayvon Martin that resulted in Trayvon’s tragic death is a good example of the point I’m trying to make. The very sight of Trayvon Martin in the neighborhood was disturbing to George Zimmerman. It was so disturbing to him that he followed Trayvon in spite of being given sensible advice to stop following him.

George Zimmerman was convinced in his mind that Trayvon was somewhere that he didn’t belong and that he was probably about to do something that he shouldn’t be doing. I believe George Zimmerman thought he was going to be a hero that night. Instead Trayvon Martin was killed and George Zimmerman became a national example of how quickly you can morph from being a ‘wannabe hero’ to a goat.

All cases of disturbed reactions don’t turn out tragically in the death of an innocent person like this situation. But all cases are tragic in how they perpetuate race relation issues.


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