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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmakwanzanukkahfestivus and The Pursuit of Happyness

Hope everyone had a good holiDay. Mine has gone swimmingly.

My wife and mother-in-law and I had a good period of reflection on all the spiritual meanings trotted out at this time of year, exchanged some gifts, and just got to relax and enjoy each other's company.

This time of year though is great for more than gifts and spiritual stuff though. There's no better time to watch movies.

We just got home from seeing The Pursuit of Happyness. I thought Will Smith did a great job. I thought Chris Gardner's story was beyond inspirational. But - and I admit I'm a mind-wandering weirdo - one of the things that impressed me most was how people in positions of power seemed to be willing and almost eager to give Gardner a chance to make it.

I have an occasional paranoia that I will come across someone who doesn't want to take me seriously because I'm young and black. Some of you may think it's a silly thing to worry about. But what can I tell you? I'm human. And past experience tells me there are folks who would not think to consider my character, work ethic, etc., before writing me off for my appearance.

So I can't tell you how moved I was when Gardner on top of being a black man struggling in the 1970s and early '80s, with a wild fro' and a Yosemite Sam mustache, and sometimes wearing unkempt, dirty clothes, was given shot after shot.

I won't get all weepy and emotional. But it said something about good people.

There are people out there who in spite of politics and prejudice can look beyond your...look.

I hope that there are more of those people than there were a few years ago. And I hope in the new year that they multiply exponentially.

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19 Comments:

  • do you need a hug? because it sounds like you need a hug.

    ;P

    so what did you get for xmas/???

    did you cry during the movie?

    By Blogger Yasamin, at 10:27 PM  

  • I haven't seen the new Will Smith movie, but thanks for the review. I appreciate the story's premise and the trailer demonstrates a lot of heart. This time of year, there's usually a rush of more-than-decent movies released (right before Oscars) and it's sometimes difficult to find the time they all deserve. Anyway, I'll move this one higher up on the priority list.

    - From an old friend

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:05 PM  

  • I'm anxious to see the movie once My tooth heals and I can eat popcorn


    in the meantime we did christmas eve with It's a Wonderful Life.

    Always.

    By Blogger Pamela, at 12:30 AM  

  • Ha! Very funny, Yas. I don't need any hugs. No tears from me. Close, but no tears.

    Can't name all the gifts, Yas, but I got a very cool inlaid wood humidor.

    Anonymous, now you have me curious about which old friend you are. Regardless, thanks for the note and enjoy the rest of your holiday season.

    Pamela, we watched It's a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve too. Can never get enough of that film. Later that evening I caught a little of Miracle on 34th Street.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 12:42 AM  

  • I saw the movie. Besides believing it could have been just a little bit MORE depressing, plus having difficulty getting over a very rich actor playing someone down in the dumps, I thought it was well done. Charming, engaging, and a sensitive portrayal of a family struggling with basic needs. And that ubiquitous scanner really stole the show at times. It was hard to leave that theater without feeling a little more blessed than when walking in.

    By Anonymous The Sarcasticynic, at 8:35 AM  

  • I haven't seen the movie yet, but you're the second person that's seen it (that I know of) and has said it's good. I'm definitely putting that on my "must-see" list.

    Happy Holidays!

    By Blogger Balou, at 9:19 AM  

  • I second that. Amen. My aunt for Christmas Eve knocked on neighbor's doors so they would eat with us. Many did. It was amazing.

    By Blogger Fairmaiden327, at 11:35 AM  

  • smoooooth!! a humidor huh thats sweet dude. really. and don't lie. will smith made you cry like a baby. ;p

    and Balou - swwweeeet pic. it to me a second to realize it wasnt chi from chobits. still.. very sweet. love anime. groovy.

    By Blogger Yasamin, at 4:35 PM  

  • Wait, are you being serious? It's so hard to take you seriously because you're...um, well, you know.

    By Blogger mist1, at 5:19 PM  

  • What? Say WHAT? You're young and black? Shit. I'm never reading this blog again. I only read stuff I can take SeRIOuSlY!

    By Anonymous Steve, at 7:22 PM  

  • Great story JB and a ringing endorsement for the Fresh Prince. But I saw another movie recently--The Departed. the quotable there is "No one gives it to you -- you have to take it." Sometimes relying on the goodwill of others is simply not enough.

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 7:29 PM  

  • I think people would be forced to take you seriously if you had a mustache. It's the ultimate sign of self confidence.

    And also usually what you had for lunch. If you decide to man up and grow one, stay away from flaky pastry. It will look like your face has dandruff.

    By Blogger 123Valerie, at 10:22 PM  

  • Sarc, that's always a struggle with me - looking past the celeb and seeing the character they're trying to portray.

    Balou, definitely see it. It's inspiring. And Happy Holidays to you.

    Yas, I ain't admitting anything. The day I admit the Fresh Prince made me cry is the day I become indepently wealthy and no longer care what anyone thinks of me.

    FairMaiden, that's a cool thing your mom did. She'll get a special blessing for that kind of neighborly behavior.

    Mist, I'm a buffoon.

    Steve, I'm usually in disguise. Bruce Wayne had Batman. I'm Blackman.

    BD, you've known me through this blog long enough to know I'd never advocate relying only on the kindness of strangers - unless you're auditioning for Gone With the Wind, or something. All I said about this film was that it impressed me how many people looked beyond this dude's appearance and seemed to genuinely want to "help" him make it. Still, that's a cool quote from The Departed.

    123Valerie, I've done the stache from time to time. But I usually end up looking like a little boy with a mustache. So it doesn't work for me. I'll do a 'stache as part of a goatee. That works better for me. But definitely none of that Yosemite Sam stuff. Those 'staches are reserved for characters in '70s/-'80s era movies and porn stars.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 10:00 AM  

  • That movie is on my list. Someone gave us movie tickets for Christmas and I told the g/f that that movie was my top pick.

    By Blogger The Dummy, at 3:09 PM  

  • I just wanted to say as a young hispanic woman working in a male-dominated industry, I get the same treatment - not being ''serious'' because I am young, hispanic, female, and not-ugly. Few and far-between are those who give us the chance to shine. Lately, I have had to give up some of my niceness for bitchiness...only then am I taken seriously, which sucks. Hang in there...at least you're male! LOL

    By Blogger cucuclaire, at 6:36 PM  

  • I'm looking forward to seeing this myself. Must admit, I suspect it's a better holiday movie than, say, Apolalypto.

    By Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy, at 8:48 PM  

  • I don't associate black with "less professional."

    I do, however, associate black (and Canadian) with "tipping poorly" so that was an awesome post. It might have actually been your SECOND post on tipping, though this is Urban Etiquette.

    I haven't seen the flick. The trailer just reminded me of getting a little bit older.... (The Not So Fresh Prince of Bel Air.)

    By Blogger Matt, at 12:36 PM  

  • Ooooh I want to see it!!! I like those heart-string tuggers.

    Christmas was good at my house. I got a guitar!

    By Blogger Melissa, at 9:48 PM  

  • That's a nice warm fuzzy just in time for the holidays!

    By Blogger Dayngr, at 10:49 PM  

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