“Now You’re In ‘The Sunken Place”…..

| January 13, 2018 | Reply

Raise your hand if, like me, you saw the 2017 film Get Out. Posited as a horror film and illustrating the psychological effects of cultural marginalization and genocide with a modern twist, Get Out was one of the year’s blockbuster hits and made a one-man cultural phenomenon out of its writer and director, comedian Jordan Peele.

In a memorable film, one of the lines spoken to protagonist Chris Washington (played by Daniel Kaluuya), “Now you’re in the sunken place,” was particularly noteworthy. Shortly after the movie’s release last February, Peele tweeted what ‘the sunken place’ represented, literally and figuratively: “We’re marginalized. No matter how hard we scream, the system silences us.”

Jordan didn’t specify which ‘system,’ but he didn’t have to—–many such systems exist, including racism, misogyny, colorism (biases and discriminatory behavior among non-white groups due to skin tone), sexism, and the microaggressions committed therein. Another use for ‘sunken place’ has also arisen, describing people who dwell within it as operating from, and existing in, a tragic state of ignorance.

Since 2018 is still a brand-new year, I’m hopeful that people are gaining awareness, acknowledging their own ‘isms’ and becoming better citizens in the process. And for those willing to do and be better, here are some of 2017’s most egregious examples of life within ‘the sunken place’*:

1. Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. Enough said.

2. Actor Matt Damon’s insistence on quantifying sexual misconduct allegations and attempting to appropriate the #MeToo movement on the behalf of ‘innocent’ men, as witnessed in his infamous Business Insider interview (“The one thing that’s not being talked about is….the preponderance of men who don’t do this kind of thing.”).

3. Former reality show contestant and Donald Trump supporter, Omarosa Maginault Newman, a woman who tearfully told ABC’s 20/20 that she was “trying to help the black community,” yet shouted down black journalists who questioned Trump’s presidential decisions and her accomplishments since becoming director of communications for the White House of Public Liason (see last August’s national NABJ convention). Then, after being forcibly removed, wanted to wage war with ABC news anchor Robin Roberts for summarizing Omarosa’s dubious tenure with “Bye Felicia.”

4. Radio and TV personality Steve Harvey, who trivialized Flint, MI’s ongoing water crisis by telling a Flint native and listener who disagreed with him to “enjoy your nice brown glass of water.”

5. Writer and actress Lena Dunham for multiple instances of bizarre statements and microaggressions regarding race and sex, most recently accusing biracial actress Aurora Perrineau of “misreporting” her allegations of being sexually assaulted by a 35-year-old “Girls” TV show writer as a teen. Her statement of dismissal was widely interpreted as selective ‘hipster feminism’ for failing to validate women of color.

6. Former entertainment manager Kendu Isaacs, who was alleged to have cheated on, and stolen money from, estranged wife Mary J. Blige. His most recent court papers claim hospitalization for “stress and emotional distress” and claims he’s struggling to pay bills, despite receiving $30K a month for spousal support.

7. Umar Johnson, an African-American author and self-proclaimed ‘black leader’ who alleged family ties to slave and orator Frederick Douglass as he toured and lectured the country for years to raise money to open the Frederick Douglass Marcus Garvey Leadership Academy for Black Boys. Despite raising hundreds and thousands of dollars, Johnson refuses to produce credentials, financial records or concrete evidence of progress. Douglass’ family members discredited his claims and is now under investigation by Pennsylvania’s State Board of Psychology for fraud.

*Honorable Mentions: former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and campaign strategist Kellyanne Conway, both guilty of disrespecting the free press and insulting the nation’s intelligence by legitimizing proven falsehoods and ‘alternative facts.’

We can only hope they can all find their way out. Unlike Chris Washington, there’s not a witty screenwriter plotting their next moves.

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Category: Culture & Politics, DMN Briefing Columns

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Motherofcolor.com showcases the writings of an intelligent and socially savvy wife, mother and journalist who explores a variety of topics (culture, politics, race and gender issues, etc.) with a unique African-American/womanist perspective.* *COPYWRITTEN CONTENT, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED (c) . "Melody Charles," "Chocolate Mama & "Le[e] L[e]e Symone" are writing alter egos/pen names*

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