Counter-Racist Film Review: THE BLIND SIDE

In this blog, “black people” = all shades of brown, red, and yellow people.

THE BLIND SIDE, PART I.

AKA, Beauty and the Beast 2010, King Kong 2010. (Looks like both actors in this poster have some padding on their backsides.)

I recently had a sci-fi-like, sickening hour that began when one of my closest associates, a black female, said of the film, The Blind Side, “Ohh, I absolutely love that movie!! It’s one of my all-time favorites!” At that moment, I saw myself in another movie asking, “Who is this person taking over the mind and voice of my dear associate, ‘Sheila’?” Why can’t Sheila see the damage being done to the real estate of her mind in The Blind Side? Why can’t she see that this same damage has been inflicted on her 20 yr-old male offspring, “Eli?” Couldn’t Sheila understand that the same young guy she’d borne with pain, that she’d fed, clothed, held when he’d cried, and cared for when he’d been ill did not have a “protective response” for her? Yet, she’d told me, this young black male did have a protective response for his white girlfriend enough to take a boxing stance against my timid friend. Eli had displayed that protective response mechanism right after the white girlfriend had, without being provoked, screamed at Sheila — in Sheila’s place of residence.

What black female is more worthy of a black male’s protection than a white female? Well, not even the mother of a black male. Sheila and Eli recently got a refill of that message when they viewed The Blind Side— together.

In the film, rather than “protective response,” the term, “protective instinct,” is used. And, we are told that the young, black male character who is at the center of the plot, Michael Oher, tested at the 98th percentile for it when his learning aptitudes were assessed in his early years. “Instincts” are abilities born to all members of an animal species. Instincts are not aptitudes that vary from person to person. So, Oher must be an animal!

Yes, Michael Oher is a stray who is given a makeshift bed at first and then his own “special” bed when it is decided that he will stay with the Thuoys, the white family that finds him wandering along a road one cold night. There is, of course, the honorable search for his owner and his name. But, once settled in, Oher is included in the family Christmas card photo with such different clothing and facial expression than the Thouys that he resembles a mascot or a pet. Yes, physically strong, young, black, male persons are mentally weak beasts. These beasts can be made “lovable” by white people if the beasts are trainable so that their “protective instinct” is directed toward the benefit of white people and in opposition to black “quasi-persons.” The Thouys reward Oher’s training successes with the reliable tools of dog trainers—food and statements of praise: “Good boy, ”“Thatta boy.”

We see that Black female quasi-persons lack the softness required to fully capture the heart of a black male quasi-person and are a waste of the male beast’s protective efforts. All white female persons, even sneering, old teachers, have an excess of those soft qualities and they are all beautiful on the outside, the inside, or both.

But, like dogs, properly trained black males can be a white boy’s best friend and are loads of constructive fun to train. Loyal black males help white boys learn how to be large and in-charge. Good black males never do anything that will cause white men to take notice.

Black (quasi-)people should trust white people. Some of them are wonderful, through and through.

We really get clowned at the end of the film when photos are shown of the real people upon which the film was based. While Bullock would be said by most to be much more attractive than Mrs. Thouy, this is the first instance of which I’m aware that the actor portraying a character based upon a true story is far less attractive than the real person. Just taking note of the condition of the black male actor’s teeth will tell you a lot about the intent behind this production. When I mentioned this to my associate, Sheila, she responded that the show Oprah did on the film explained the casting choice as being dictated by the size of Oher. But the real Oher was significantly smaller than the actor. The real Michael Oher had been a lean, thick basketball player as well as a football player with a gleaming smile.

Looking at the departures the script takes from from the real story as told on Wikipedia is instructive. Little S.J. never trained Oher. And, the Thouy clan took Oher in after he had already successfully played two years of high school football—one in public school and one at the private school attended by the Thuoy children.

Of course, if the intended plot was recognized by the conscious mind, it would be formally and/or informally boycotted. So, it is introduced through the blind side (see part II below on the subconscious mind) of the viewer by presenting distracting cover lines and images for the conscious mind—such as the school record of his “protective instincts” contrasted with the swank residence of millionaire southerners.

Below is a summary of the the story board’s blind side. Ah, no, I do not think the title of the film is a coincidence. Ah, yes, I do think that racists (white supremacists) are that smart and vicious. The pics below are narrated by excerpts from an actual synopsis and review of The Blind Side that can be found at a site that reveals plots and endings: www.themoviespoiler.com.

__________________________________________________________________________________

“The family is in the car on their way to dinner, and they explain to Michael that their dad owns 85 Taco Bells, KFC’s and Long John Silver restaurants. But they are going somewhere special to celebrate that Michael’s grades have risen enough that he qualifies for athletics and can try spring football. Before going in, they run into the bookstore while LeAnn has to pick up a book. She finds them sitting in the children’s book section, reading Where the Wild Things Are aloud. It was Collin’s favorite book, and Ferdinand the Bull was S.J’s favorite. Leigh Anne asks Michael if his mama ever read these books to him, and he just silently shakes his head. Later at home, she sits on the bed and reads Ferdinand to the boys.”

“At the Tuohy home, it is decorated for Christmas with a tree and decorations on the fireplace, and the family is dresses up for a portrait with a photographer. They take one, and then she calls Michael to be in the next one. Sean looks at her quizzically, and she says, “It’s not like it going on the Christmas card”. The family is watching Tennessee football on TV later, and Leigh Anne tells Michael she always roots for whoever Tennessee is playing; he cheers against them ‘with gusto'”

“At a meeting at school, Leigh Anne learns that his GPA is low and there are very few records for Michael, but that he has an IQ of 80, and low scores on all areas of an aptitude test except one: protective instincts, where he scored in the 98th percentile. “

“At Michael’s first football practice, he does not do well, having never played before. Coach Cotton yells instructions, but Michael just doesn’t get it. Leigh Anne and Sean watched the practice, and afterwards the coach is amazed that having such an upbringing would make Michael more aggressive, even violent on the field, but he doesn’t act that way. Leigh Anne muses to herself that he is just like Ferdinand the Bull.”

“she [Sandra Bullock’s character, Leigh Anne Tuohy] grabs the quarterback and tells Michael that on the field, the team is his family, and when he sees the quarterback he should picture her, and protect him. Then she grabs the tailback, and tells Michael that when he sees him he should think of S.J. [her young grade- schooler son] and protect him. Then she says to go have some fun, and leaves. His next play, he drills the defenseman and everyone cheers. He does it again and again, and finally understands what his position is.”

“S.J. becomes Michael’s trainer, and leads him in drill, exercises and work outs. We see Michael get better and quicker with S.J.”

THE BLIND SIDE, PART II.

The following information is offered as a supplement to my discussion of the box office smash, The Blind Side. It is a validation of the existence of the blind side existing in the minds of all people—- the subconscious mind, which can be programmed by others to shape your behavior without your conscious knowledge of it.

Impaired sight is a function of either/both the eyes and/or the brain. Hearing is a function of either/both the ears and/or the brain. So, there are both physical and mental blind sides. Blind sides hold content of which you will not be aware unless you shift from your usual focus. It’s important for every driver to be aware of his/her physical blind side when changing lanes or when backing up. It’s important for every black person who is viewing any film to be aware of his/her mental blind side because it is the preferred angle of attack of the most powerful of the racist (white supremacists). What, you may be asking, is a mental blind side? The mental blind side is the subconscious mind. While the subconscious mind has been intuitively and theoretically accepted for many decades, its existence was experimentally proved in 2005 by California Institute of Technology behavioral scientist Naotsugu Tsuchiya. The experiment and its results appeared in the October, 2008 issue of Scientific American:

In 2005 Tsuchiya invented a technique, continuous flash suppression, which renders a picture invisible, hiding it from your conscious sight. Yet some part of your brain has access to the image and influences your behavior in untold ways. The way it works is simple. Say Tsuchiya wants to camouflage a picture of an angry male face. With the help of a split computer screen, Tsuchiya projects a faint image of this snarling guy into your left eye. Your right eye sees a rapidly changing set of colored rectangles, one on top of another. If you keep both eyes open, all you see are the ever changing series of colored patches but no angry face. The constantly flickering colors attract your attention in a way that the static portrait does not. As soon as you close your right eye, the face becomes visible. But otherwise you have no inkling that the face is there, even though your left eye has been staring at it for many minutes. You simply do not see it…

Functional brain imaging shows that this angry face still activates a part of your brain that is concerned with fear, the amygdala. That is, at least some sector of your brain knows about the face—as it ought to because an angry male face in front of you might spell big trouble. This brain activity remains unconscious but may influence your behavior or generate a subtle feeling of unease.

…What this experiment teaches us is that the mind has many nooks and crannies; some—probably the minority—are consciously accessible, whereas most are hidden from introspection, lost in the vast catacombs of the brain. Yet they can powerfully influence your behavior, making you do things without knowing why. Continuous flash suppression—and other techniques that magicians and psychologists have invented to distract you so you do not see things while looking at them—in combination with functional brain imaging is a delicate tool to map the landscape of the visual unconscious.

Movies are seen and heard with the brain. The brain is our computer and eyes and ears are two of the ports to that computer.

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16 Responses to “Counter-Racist Film Review: THE BLIND SIDE”

  1. This film says alot.
    I did not how ever go to even see the film because it was just another…white people playing saviors to non-white people role.
    I’m sure the message of the film was something along the line of

    ”And the black boy lived happily ever after in society because white people helped him get there”

  2. CREE-EIGHT Says:

    @proudchocolategirl —That’s s weird. I just watched Secretariat myself on netflix. And, I now see what you mean! That virtuous white woman sacrificing for the worthy beast at the dismay of all the white people around her. Thanks for making me aware….—I need some fresh air.

    Hey I’m checking out your blog now! Yay!!!!. Adding you to my blog roll.

  3. and also I notice for some reason these white savior films usually focus on saving “BLACK MEN,” not black women…that should tell you something…of the intent

  4. good post, for some reason when I was watching the movie “secretariat,” I thought to myself…why does this remind me of the Blind Side…I realized it’s because pretty much what you said…they took him in, “tamed him,” and pretty much made him play football and then reaped the benefits, won the blue ribbon just like in secretariat. Now, even in the film at one point Michael O’s character is compared to King Kong, so I have a feeling the animalistic and oaf-like portrayal of michael oher was intentional.

    * note, I’m only speaking about the portrayal of the characters in the film, not the real family because I really am not familiar with the real family. I am speaking strictly about the way the film was made.

  5. ruapraia Says:

    you are awesome, and thanks for the message on youtube.

  6. OMG, Cree, where have you BEEN all my life?? Tell ’em!

  7. Jill Ritchey Says:

    Cree — Interesting info about the medical testing. I never knew the results were subject to interpretation. But merely being born white can’t make a person bad. I think most white people are not faced with rascist situations regularly and often feel powerless to change even one other person’s oppressive ideas, much less try to overhaul the whole system. I am white, but my son is not (he’s Mexican). We didn’t really encounter any racial issues until he turned 15 and began looking for a job. He came home and asked me what a “resident” meant because an employer wouldn’t give him an application and said “We only hire residents.” Another employer automatically gave him an application in Spanish (which he can’t speak). Being the mama, of course I was furious that anyone would treat my baby differently than they would treat me if I had applied for the job. But I do need to remember that it isn’t just about my baby. It gets much worse than that, I know. Racial hatred and oppression is a pandemic problem and just because my life allows me to ignore it (most of the time) doesn’t mean I SHOULD ignore it. Thanks for your posts and insights.

  8. CREE-EIGHT Says:

    Thank you for your comments Teach01,

    It revealed false statements promoted by racists (white supremacists) about IQ tests; specifically that IQ scores are an accurate measure of a person’s general intelligence and that, as such, the scores cannot significantly improve. Similar false ideas about HIV and AIDS need to be dispelled. —(Look up PID, Pediatric Immunodeficiency Syndrome, and ask yourself what the difference is between AIDS and PID after you research and learn that a “positive” HIV test is interpreted and not just “read.” How the antibody score is interpreted by the clinician will depend greatly upon who you are. A suburban white woman will be informed of a “negative result” while a black female can be told she is “positive” —-with the exact same score. And, like IQs, HIV results can change. Rebecca Culshaw, a white female and Keidi Awadu, a black male, have each have done excellent work on this.) But as I frequently do, I have digressed.—Oh yeah, black people do NOT use or sell drugs at any higher rate than white people. I tire of combating the deceitful words of white people but I do it for my co-victims, not for white people,

    You say “I do hope that you all know this is a true story” No, I do not “know” that. The producers and promoters of the film say it is “based on a true story.” Most false accounts contain one or more true statements. When that happens, one has to determine for himself/herself if the “story” is true. I say this story is not true.

    You asked, “Does liking this movie make me a bad person? Does hoping that I would do the same thing in the Tuohy’s situation make me a bad person? Does being white make me a bad person?” To all but the last question, I answer, “no.” However, I also say that until the global system of racism (white supremacy) has been replaced with a system of justice, no “good people” exist anywhere. Good people do not perpetrate, permit, or submit to a system of injustice. I am breathing right now which means I am submitting to the system of racism (white supremacy). I am not a good person. As a white person, you are in a much better position to replace this system with justice than am I, a black person.

    History/observation/logic has convinced me, however, that it is not the function of a “white” person in a system of racism (white supremacy) to eliminate the system. So, it’ll be left to the currently less capable but much more motivated black persons such as myself to do the job.

    BTW, Pale skin does not = “white person”.

    Cree-8

  9. This is very interesting to me. I recently watched the movie for the first time and I enjoyed it. I, admittedly, am a middle class, bleeding-heart, white female. I am also a high school teacher. I do hope that you all know this is a true story, Micheal Oher lived with and was taken care of by the Tuohy’s. Aside from that, I have seen a white teacher from my school take in a black male, give him a home, a family free from drugs and gangs, and help him get a music scholarship at a university. This all being said, I do see that the film makers do take certain liberties with the truth because of what we are all “used to” as far as stereotyping goes. The film omits the fact that Micheal was an athlete before coming to the private school, the fact that there was a special education program helping him at the private school, the fact that Micheal himself was not dumb, he had just never had the chance at a quality education due to the fact that he was never in one place for very long. I have taught in a flawed system long enough to know that I have very intelligent students with very low IQs on paper…testing is not always accurate. That is something to keep in mind as well. Actually, after Micheal was tested at the private school, his IQ went up 20-30 points. Some IQ tests are different also. I am sorry this is long, but I feel like some of these things needed to be said. Does liking this movie make me a bad person? Does hoping that I would do the same thing in the Tuohy’s situation make me a bad person? Does being white make me a bad person?

  10. CREE-EIGHT Says:

    Reality Check,

    1) Will you confirm for the readers that you are a white person, sir?

    2) Do you agree that the system of white supremacy (racism) dominates all people activity in the known universe, sir?

    3) Will you please name a film or TV program similar to The Blind Side in which the counter-part to the Thuouys are white AND the counter-part to Mr. Oher is also white?

    4) Who determines what/who a “race” is, Sir?

    Cree

  11. Reality Check Says:

    You do realize that this really makes you sound racist. Think about it people worked hard to put together a movie that shows people helping people, unfortunately all you see is black and white. Would you say the same thing if it was a black family helping him out or what if it was a white kid in the movie. Also you are insulting the intelligence of the real Michael Oher (ill let you figure out how). It is sad that people that can twist good things into something racist. Belive me I can do the same thing out of 90% of films out there, its one of the benefits of being inteligent you can see out of the box and what things could be seen as what. Only because something can be interpreted one way does not mean it was meant in that way. Case in point would be my opposing view on your review.

  12. Beauty in Knowledge Says:

    Thanks for the review Cree-Eight. I agree very much with Shanti. I try also to not judge art via a political lense, and have always held that art is expressive and interpretive and should therefore exist above such pedestrian ideals, but this movie just “feels” weird, like Shanti said.

    I’m a big Sandra Bullock fan, and I think she and some others had good intentions in being that they intended to illustrate how the members of the Tuohy family felt that they, themselves, had been made better by their inviting Oher into their home, and that it was not merely a charitable act towards him. I believe this to be true (in the real life Tuohy hearts). As one who has taken in foster children, I know first hand how their little souls can change a person for the better, and while you think you’re helping them, they are in-turn, helping you. I trust that the underlying message in the movie is this.

    But, and this is a big “but”, there are more forces working in cinema than the intentions of a film’s creator, and my cousin, who is a Hollywood writer, has opened my eyes to the long, involved process that is the “writing” of a film. Many hands touch a script from it’s inception to it’s realization, and some intentions along the way, seem, in this case, to want to paint a particularly pet-like picture of a young black man. I think Oher is emasculated and dehumanized at times in this film. And the message that overrides the self-actualization of the Tuohy family is a message that the the tamest and lamest of white people (a small kid, a frail woman) automatically and inherently have dominion over any black person, even the most fit and strong. The concept that this could happen is anti-evolutionary with regards to the scientific theory of “survival of the fittest” unless you take into account a huge mental disadvantage, which then would explain a “less fit” Oher. The real Michael Oher has not claimed or exhibited such a mental disadvantage. So of course, this was inserted by film makers.

    The conclusion is that this film seeks to convey a message that a black man can only be acceptable to whites if he is less “fit for survival” in some way, that he is only non-threatening if he takes a subservient position to the weakest white child, and like you put it so well in this article, that he only has value if he can protect his white benefactors. If that’s not a slavery mentality, I don’t know what is!

    Thanks, again, for the insight and the article.

  13. Shanti, so glad you found the review constructive. I do have a few other film reviews on this blog. There are links to them in the right panel of the home page.

  14. Thanks so much for this highly informed and intelligent film review & discussion! I only caught about 15 minutes of this film, in French & during a plane flight overseas. I fell asleep on it. (It just wasn’t very interesting to me once I got that the whole story was probably gonna be of the: “See liberal white American family save lost adolescent black boy, AND no we’re not even gonna really touch any confrontation with their racism”, (which would have made a movie of the type I thought this was persoanlly interesting.) However, before falling asleep & even through I half-comprehending via my rusty French, I remember thinking: this is a very strange movie. Something is just weird about it; it’s pretending to be about oen thing, but really is about something else. And I def. (naturally) wondered if it was “weirdly” racist, meaning in that “neuveau-racisme” (new racism = sideways/very insidious way – we just love “good darkies” that’s unfortunately (I think) seeing a resurgence). But my plane landed, life moved on & I was (frankly) never really interested enough in the film to check it out further. — Also on “G.P. I try not to be too politicall & socially “judgemental” about films & other “art forms” (broadly defined). But there definitely seems to be quite a bit of truly offensive material in this fim. — The playing field scenes that you quote & show stills from with Sandra Bullock remind me of Scarlet O’Hara “handling” the plantation “darkies” in Gone with the Wind! It’s so beyond sad to me that so much of White America is still so addicted to its racialised fantasies of itself!) Very nice to find your review, and to see my Undoing-Racism-“instincts” were on the money. — Stumbled on your site by accident, but hope you have some more film reviews. Love too your naming of the “pseudo-persons” black characters; that’s one aspect of covertly-racist films that has irked for years!) Thanks again.

  15. Jill Ritchey Says:

    I just watched The Blindside last night. Although the characters were likable, it was obvious that the director added unrealistic information. The scenes with Michael being trained by SJ were obviously false, as well as SJ negotiating with the coaches. These scenes were obviously added for an attempt at cuteness, which is characteristic of films made for children. I don’t know of any test for “protective instincts” in school or anywhere else, except maybe for dogs. It is sad they thought they had to make up some false reason for Michael’s success. Obviously, his IQ could not have really been 80, or he wouldn’t have been able to pass his regular classes and achieve a 2.5 GPA. He would have been in special education classes. I am interested in the real Michael Oher story. I’ll have to give the book a try. But since it wasn’t written by Oher himself, I wonder how much information will be altered for an intended audience.

  16. Thanks Cree very informative commentary. When I voiced my dislike of the film to my non white co worker her response was: “You do, of course, realize Blind Side is a true story right?”

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