Movie Review: The gRace Card: When Grace is Racist

by Notorious Spinks on 02.27.2011

Today was supposed to be a great day…

Yesterday evening I called my big sister and told her about this new movie coming out, The Grace Card.  I carried on about it starring Louis Gossett Jr. (phenomenal actor), the Memphis tie and all that.  The Grace Card is said to be the work of Memphian David Evans.

I was excited…

So I roll over about 11am immediately reaching for my baby (Precious-my Blackberry).  I call my sister up to find that she’s still in bed too.  We talk about the movie time and we decide on Bonefish Grill for dinner.  Bang Bang Shrimp here I come baby!  If you’ve tasted Bang Bang Shrimp then you know what’s up…

At this point I’m all giddy inside.  I’m hanging out with my sister, already tasting the Bang Bang baby and I’m seeing a movie that’s putting money in the local Memphis economy.  Priceless…

After leaving Bonefish Grill we head to the movie theater.  It’s packed as usual on a Saturday night.

We walk in and there’s a small crowd over to our left around a table.  I’m nosey so I check it out and find the cast signing movie posters.  I didn’t see Gossett so I kept it moving.  We had to get some good seats…

We find the theater and start the scavenger hunt for cozy and comfy seats.   However, as I’m walking I spot Evans at the front of the theater.  Okay…cool…

Evans begins his spill of thanking everyone for the supporting the movie, opening weekend sales, and a little history.  I’ll give you a little of that before I go on.

The Grace Card is a product of Calvary Pictures and Graceworks Pictures.  Both of these organizations are affiliated with churches and are in the Memphis area.  Here’s what the press kit includes about Calvary Pictures:

A ministry of Calvary Church, based in the Memphis suburb of Cordova, Calvary Pictures uses the arts to help reconcile people to God, each other, the Church, the community, and the world.

and about Graceworks Pictures:

Headed by Dr. David Evans and Esther Evans, Graceworks Pictures seeks to produce excellent films about God’s love in the real world. Following Sherwood Pictures’ (producers of FIREPROOF and FACING THE GIANTS) model, Graceworks’ projects rely heavily on Christian volunteers committed to faith-based films. For THE GRACE CARD, Graceworks drew believing actors from more than 50 churches in the Memphis area.

Umph…

The theme of The Grace Card is supposedly forgiveness, loss, race and reconciliation.  The tagline is “Witness the Power of Forgiveness.”

I literally left out of the movie theater laughing.  Laughing to keep from crying I think…

race card

My sister and I briefly discussed our unsatisfaction with this blatant racist foolishness in the car.  She renamed it The Grace Race Card and I named it Be Gracious that we’re Racist Card…

So here’s what happened…

The movie has two main characters, Mac McDonald (Caucasian) and Sam Wright (African-American), and they’re both cops.

When the movie begins Sam’s promoted to Sgt. and Mac’s looked over again for another promotion.  According to the Cpt. it’s because of his attitude.  Sam and Mac are forced to ride along with each other until Sam is transitioned into his new position.  Oh I forgot to tell you that Sam didn’t apply for the promotion so I’m assuming he didn’t take the test either.  FYI: There a big issue in Memphis about AA cops being promoted based solely upon race…I’m not sure if it was true or media hype.

It’s clear that Mac doesn’t want Sam riding with him and he voices it to the captain.  As Sam tries to make small talk with Mac , Mac see’s a homeless AA guy on the street with a sign (asking for money) and has a flashback.

There was an undercover sting going on in Mac’s neighborhood.  Mac’s son (about 5 years old) is riding his bike with his training wheels gone for the first time I guess.  The cops eye an AA man on a bike pull up to a car with other AA men and they transact a drug buy.  Since I’m inconvenienced when I go to buy my seasonal Advil Cold & Sinus due to meth makers, I know AA’s aren’t the only dope dealers he could write about. Maybe things would be different if I had to show my I.D. to buy baking soda like I do to buy my Advil huh?   All these damn meth labs popping up in and around Memphis.  Fool please…

All I could think was here they go with this BS already…

The guy on the bike rides off and the car speeds off hitting Mac’s son and killing him.  I assume that moment turned Mac into a racist. You see he doesn’t like AA or Latinas.

Meanwhile his other son is hanging out with Caucasian thugs, failing class and thieving.

Sam is trying to convert Mac to Christianity because he’s a preacher on the side too with his own church.

Gossett makes about three or four appearances as Sam grandfather.  The feature was misleading and should have said with a guest appearance from Gossett. During one of the scene’s with Gossett, he gives Sam an old bible that belonged to his great-grandfather, a gift from his owner, that included a note.  The note was written by the great-grandfather and said something about forgiving the slave owner and praying for him everyday.  Ya’ see the slave owner was so good to his slaves that apparently he allowed them read and write since great granddad left a note in the bible and he signed it.  Massa even gave his slaves some land for all their hard work.  I guess it was his way of telling them to be gracious he loved them so.  They were gracious indeed because they decided to not to leave the plantation after Uncle Abe gave them their freedom papers.  Dey stay’d b’hin ‘cuz Massa so kin’…

black face

Umph…

Mac, his wife, and son have a big argument.  The son storms out with his thuggish friends.  Mac and Sam are on-duty and are called to check on an alarm that went off.

They pull up and the place is being robbed.

You guessed it… Mac’s son is the robber… Mac shoots his son(with ski mask on)…bullet hits kidney… son needs kidney transplant due to disease they weren’t aware of…the other kidney is failing…Sam donates kidney…they have church at Sam’s church…mixed with AA and Caucasians this time…Sam, his wife and son…who was stealing…son is in wheelchair…not in jail…he was stealing right…he’s in church…great-granddad’s note is now THE GRACE CARD.

Now the good part…

The AA man from the beginning of the movie who hit Sam’s son comes to the festivities as well.  He asks for forgiveness in his Kunta clothe and Jesus sandals…Sam gives him THE GRACE CARD.

Sorry I took so long but I had to get that out the way first.

Now to what I have to say…

I drove home in silence.  I was upset that someone would use the Church and Christianity to push such stereotypical racist bullshit.  It reeked of racism, all up and through it.

For those who don’t know, Memphis is a racially divided city in spite of nearly 60% of the population consisting of AA’s.  Memphis is also a poor city.  It’s filled with poor and uneducated AA’s but we have some educated and wealthy AA’s as well.  From this movie or any other story about Memphis you would never know.

I won’t go into the history because I’m sure you don’t want to be here until next year reading this.  I will say that this is the city were Dr. King was assassinated…’Nuff said!

I’m not racist and I don’t play The Race Card…but I will call a racist out in a minute.

This is the city that has a statue of Nathan Bedford Forest in the middle of the city…Yep!  One of the founders of the Ku Klux Klan…

This movie was full of Caucasian actors…but the first time you get to meet an AA character he’s promoted just because he’s AA and the other un-named AA’s are dope-boys.

Then you have a homeless AA man on the street that causes Mac to think about the Nigger that hit his son.

Oh there was a scene that Mac started to call Sam a Nig…but he didn’t let the entire word come out… the audience full of Caucasians gasped and made sounds as if many of their so-called Christians selves don’t use the word in leisure.

Honey please…this is Memphis…and I don’t live under a rock.

I can tell how they walk into the movie theater to watch a movie about forgiveness but don’t speak (when I do), don’t smile in acknowledgment of my presence (when I do) and look away with intimidation and asking-eyes, Why are you here Nigger?   In my eyes it’s simple, ” It’s nice to be nice.”  My sister taught me that.  I have more things to worry about than the color of someone’s skin.

I know they only came to support their own who’s making money from this racist…shznit…and using God and the Church as a backdrop to promote the racist ideologies and stereotypes that he’s presenting.

He should be shame but I know he ain’t!

I tried not to curse but I can’t contain it.  Please don’t misplace my anger.  My anger is solely based on the notion that he’s pimping the foundation of the Church to sell this foolishness.  This movie is not of God and doesn’t represent God.  It reminds me of stories from back in the day and in movies made by filmmakers like Oscar Micheaux, depicting scenes where Caucasians used preachers and Christianity to promote and push their racist motives.  In most cases they aren’t beneficial to the AA community.  As my mama likes to say, “Don’t listen to what they say, it’s about what they don’t say!”  It’s not about what they showed, but about what they didn’t show.

The only AA’s who’re represented in this movie are two preachers, preachers wife and daughters, congregations, about three drug dealers/users and a few extras.  Oh and the homeless man.  Why couldn’t those drug dealers be meth users and look like the rest of the Caucasian cast.  AA don’t typically go to Caucasians communities to sell dope to other AA’s.  If we did you’d call the sheriff so fast… However, Caucasians do come to our neighborhoods to buy it.  Sadly, we don’t call the sheriff because he doesn’t give a damn anyway.  And if the dope seller comes up on enough money to get a house next door to his Caucasian neighbor, most times he doesn’t sell drugs where he sleeps.

I get so sick of the images of AA being distorted and abused for the sake of making them rich while making all of us look like criminals and uneducated barbarians.

“Just in” David, I’m AA, I’m college educated and I’m drug free like so many of my peers.  The next time you want to depict someone from my community who shares the same hues of brown as myself, do yourself a favor and consult someone to ensure that you’re not making matters worse with your own pompous, exploited and negative images.  But that would be too much like right huh?  You wouldn’t dare do that because then your slick racist agenda wouldn’t go forth.  You wouldn’t have anything to talk about would you?  We all know that AA’s committ crimes in your world and Anglo-Saxon’s make mistakes…Ain’t that right?

race card

If you really want to know about race, just ask about it!

David Evans, you and those ‘aint’s you hang with can go to Hell with your Daddy the Devil.  What you have here is not of God, by God, or for God!

We can’t have a real conversation about racism until we’re willing to stop the stereotyping, release the crutch of excuse and have real dialogue.  Unfortunately this movie isn’t it.

If you haven’t watched this movie then don’t waste your money!

 

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  • http://www.knittingandsundries.com Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

    I’m of mixed ancestry, but look white .. so I’ve heard my share of what some people say about us behind our backs … and have called them out on it (well, except for that one unfortunate incident in the hills of WV when someone said, “the niggahs stay in their place and we stay in ours”, when my mouth opened to retaliate, I looked around and realized I was surrounded … in the hills … with no place to get away … I hadn’t realized that the friend whose family I was visiting didn’t know I was black – I’d never thought to mention it).

    More surprising to me is how many so-called Christians are only Christian if you’re the same ethnicity as they are. Lou Gossett would have been a draw for me as well, but I’m happy to have read this review; I won’t be going.

    I hope the Bang Bang made up for it. :)

    • http://www.notoriousspinks.com Notorious Spinks

      It’s amazing how ignorant people can be. The Bang Bang did make up for some of it. Lol.

  • http://armsofasister.com monique

    I’m not really sure what to say about this one. I’m not a movie person so I probably wouldn’t have seen this. BUT, I am disappointed in this movie based on your review. The only thing I have to say is that I don’t think your blackface photo contributes to the conversation. I get where you’re coming from. I do. And it’s taken me a few days to write this – but I just don’t think it added anything.

    I hope that makes sense.

    • http://www.notoriousspinks.com Notorious Spinks

      You know your opinion is valued here. No biggie. I put it because it adds to the point of how we always dress up, sing and dance for “the” man. I don’t see how Gossett as a pioneered actor would play in a role such as this. However, he may have taken the approach of Hattie McDaniel when she said she’d rather play a maid then be a maid.
      In the 21st century we should be doing more as a community to protect the images of AA that go out in the media. When we have people that act in movies such as this that continue to release stereotypical images of AA & Latinos in this particular movie then we might as well go back to the days of Blackface and shuck and give for the people.

      • http://www.notoriousspinks.com Notorious Spinks

        I meant jive instead of give…

      • http://naturalmomnaturalkids.com monique

        Like I said, I understand. I just didn’t hink it “added”.
        But you never know – he may have simply needed the money. :(

  • http://mrstdj.wordpress.com MrsTDJ

    Thanks for the thorough review and the contextual info regarding Memphis. I thought the previews looked a little heavy handed, but I was considering giving it a chance. NOT!

    • http://www.notoriousspinks.com Notorious Spinks

      Thanks for stopping by MrsTDJ! Glad to be of assistance.

  • Lee

    Wow, and I actually had a bit of hope for this film ME of all people, but once again I shall let this film go by the way side avoiding it like I avoid Titanic.
    Great review.

    • http://www.notoriousspinks.com Notorious Spinks

      LOL Lee! I love the Titanic or is it just the music?
      This movie is so sadddd… I’ve just come to the conclusion that the best thing for me to do is leave Memphis. I can deal with racism but when it’s at home…well that makes it worse. I think I can deal better when I’m away from here.

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