So yesterday while I was working at the bookstore some girl came up with a barcode tattooed on her wrist. Of course, my first question to her was “Can I scan it?” I guess she had never had it scanned before and was pretty excited about it. She talked about how it was sentimental to her and stuff. I scanned it and she rang up as a bag of Jalapeño Cheetos. She then became livid and, of course, I was dying of laughter.
Look, I’m glad ‘12 Years [A Slave]’ got made and it’s wonderful that people are seeing it and there is another view of what happened in America. But I’m not real sure why Steve McQueen wanted to tackle that particular sort of thing.
[‘Fruitvale Station’] explains things like the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the problems with stop and search, and is just more poignant. America is much more willing to acknowledge what happened in the past: ‘We freed the slaves! It’s all good!’ But to say: ‘We are still unnecessarily killing black men’ – let’s have a conversation about that.
I think in light of 12 Years a Slave winning the Oscar for Best Picture, this needs to be remembered. Because it is a very important point in terms of the palatability of 12 Years a Slave and why Fruitvale Station didn’t even get nominated when it has such acclaim outside of the Oscar world.