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Culture & Religion

Precious Little?

A new film about a hopeless ghetto teen is actually fresh and interesting – not just “another brick in the wall for African Americans”.

“As a black woman, I had one overwhelming reaction to the trailer for ‘Precious’: horror,” writes The Salon’s Erin Aubrey Kaplan. “Watching the unflattering images pile up in the space of a minute — hugely overweight teen, crazy welfare mother, illegitimate babies, an especially bleak-looking Harlem — my political alarms went crazy. I glanced uneasily around the almost exclusively white West L.A. theater and thought: Boy, they’ve done it this time. Noble ‘Precious’ looked to be one more brick in the wall for black folks, something that would bury ever deeper a more nuanced reality that never makes it to the big screen. And I was right about one thing: They have done it this time. But not at all in the way I imagined. Far from being some exploitative spectacle for whites, the hard-hitting tale of ‘Precious’ is a film for blacks and a challenge to drop our own emotional armor and embrace a real-life story we have been minimizing for a long time — that of a big, black, sullen-faced, illiterate girl who lives in the depths of the ghetto and in all likelihood will stay there.”


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