Up until very recently it was not uncommon to hear the phrase “racism is dead in America.” It was never true – even with a black man in the Oval Office – but that fallacy is looking more and more ridiculous in light of the numerous murders of unarmed young black men across the country in the last several months. Segregation and lynchings may be relics of a tragic and infuriating part of our still-recent history, but racial tensions clearly remain an issue in the United States. Ava DuVernay’s Selma, about the 1965 protest march from Selma to Montgomery, could not be coming out at a more appropriate time. Perhaps a look into the past can yield a more considerate future.
Remember October 1994? The leaves we’re falling from the trees; children prepared their costumes for trick-or-treating fun; and a 4-year-old Steven Cohen was brought along to Pulp Fiction by his incredibly progressive parents. Nope. Just kidding. My parents are pretty liberal, but that would be a huge stretch. In fact they were pretty strict when it came to the media my sister and I ingested. I wasn’t even allowed to watch The Simpsons (though I snuck one in every once in a while). I missed some touchstones, but I don’t blame them for sheltering me in that way – parenting is an evolving process for everyone (he said as if he knew first-hand). But now, almost exactly twenty years later I can correct one injustice by finally seeing Pulp Fiction on the big screen.