Are we going to sit at home with those dodgy glasses on come the Autumn and Sky’s launch of this new-fangled domestic excitement? I, thanks to Southend ODEON, have at least 5 pairs of the ugly things if you want to come round and watch. Not that we have SKY anyway. Or will it remain a novelty thing for occasional trips to the cinema, theatre or the IMAX in London?

I wondered this as I watched the 3D trailer for 3D tv yesterday. To whet our eyeballs (and make us run out and order it) we saw 3D football, ballet and rugby. I am slightly intrigued as to how much ballet they have on Sky, but the only one it made a real difference for was the rugby. In fact, some of it makes you just feel a bit boss-eyed. I’m not sure I like it.

Anyway, me and the kids sat in a little line like 70s newsreaders and watched StreetDance which, despite a flimsy premise and lack of real acting, was pretty good fun if you like dance-offs and banging beats. Which we do. I had a little nagging voice in my head at one point: it became evident that the double-crossing baddie was a black kid and that the “enemy” were his new crew, comprised of black kids – the talented Flawless in real-life.

This wouldn’t have mattered except that I also noted that the multi-racial goodie crew, Breaking Point, were lead by a very pretty white girl and that the new hero to save her broken heart was going to be a white guy. They then conducted the ultimate dance-off dressed in white.

I told myself that this was a minor detail, of course it didn’t detract from the film, after all I didn’t have an equality and diversity box to tick on the way out as I do on every lesson plan. At the end the audience seemed happy with the outcome, except one. My 5 yo. She had big tears rolling down her cheeks.

She didn’t like to say at first, but on gentle discussion it turned out that she had empathised and or identified, or even been a little bit in love with the double-crosser Jay who had left with his bad ass tail between his legs at the end. The double-crossing bit seemed to have either gone over her head, or have been of no consequence. Poor thing. The only one of us to come out of a feelgood movie, feeling bad.

I asked her about this in private later. It turns out, far from having a soft spot for double-crossing bad boys, she only likes “black or brown boys”. She ended the conversation about it by saying of the white ballet dancing male “hero” that she “hated him”. She’s 5, she speaks in absolutes. I am afraid this only confirms what I already know to be true. People who say that colour does not matter are usually white. I used to say it myself. It doesn’t matter when it has never directly affected your life.

On the other hand, if you are of a different race, it matters. Very much so at times indeed. So whilst the majority of the audience will have felt no way about the final outcome in Streetdance, my 5 year old, who clearly identifies herself with the black community (yesterday at least) had a very different view of the thing. And she’s right. When I returned to my original unease about the black kids being the bad crew, the magical winning couple being white and all the power players in the piece (the ballet school directors) being white, I wonder what other invisible slights the world has stored up for my kids along the way.

Posted on May 31, 2010, in Children, Film and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Stephen Foster

    The premise of that film sounds very weird to me in the world of today.

    I must say, I notice people looking at me in a different way when I walk about town with my mixed race niece or nephew and sometimes I want to punch them. Mind you, this is in Norwich – the first time we walked into the main shopping street Jamilah (the niece, regular adress – Kentish Town) said: Uncle Steve, are there ANY mixed race or black people here in dis stupid city?!

    • In my more paranoid, the BBC is run by aliens, moments I wonder if it is all a grand plot to keep the prepotent black street culture in it’s “proper place”.

      Other times I think it is just that white, arrogant assumption that none of it matters.

      Any road up, we like Jamilah round these sides 🙂

  2. CJ sounding nothing less than right-minded in a dislike of the poncy ballerina boy.

    I’m finding myself more and more luddite: I asked someone what the point of high def really is the other day (only answer was perhaps better for sport viewing), what’s wrong with a bit of fuzziness in the world; I fiddled with an ipad last week and just don’t get it; and I honestly don’t want a greasy screen touch screen phone. I think this is symptom of age.

  3. Stephen Foster

    I am right with you on ipod screens – they are rank.

    But all sports are ace in HD – horse racing is sensational, the silks are hypereal & in the slow-mo close-up replays you can even see the little beads of sweat on the jockey’s heads!

  4. I like to leave plenty to my imagination so no HD thanks. Anyway since Rudi dispensed with my glasses I can’t see it anyway.

    HD must be a man thing.

    On sweaty touch screens I am more easily persuaded.

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