Black Or White

December 29, 2010

Due to getting a month off from school for Christmas break, I have been watching more movies the past couple of days. I just watched an incredible independent film about race, family, and life. The movie is called “Shades of Ray” and it stars Zachary Levi from NBC’s “CHUCK.” Now, I will admit that I only rented this movie because: 1. It was practically free (I  rented from after earning $5 credit to Amazon’s Video-On-Demand) 2. I LOVE Zachary Levi (He is a talented actor who is adorable! haha) Regardless of my motives, I am glad I watched this movie. With a “some language” disclaimer (the Pakistani father loved to curse), I would recommend this movie to everyone. I cannot believe that this film was only shown in festivals and not brought to the mainstream. Oh Well, maybe I should just tell you what I loved so much about this movie.

Not giving too much away, the film explores the dynamics of race in the identity of a mixed race individual. The races in question were Caucasian and Pakistani, which is a new combination for me. However, I loved the writer’s use of this new interracial relationship that is not as often explored as some others are. Throughout the movie, the protagonist, Zachary Levi’s character, is searching to find a mate and really himself. His character wants to please everyone, especially his overbearing yet well-intentioned Pakistani father. His father ironically disapproves of his son taking a wife that is not Pakistani. There are many family relationships explored through this film. So many times, we do things to please others, but really all we need to do is follow our hearts. I will not give away the ending, but I thought that the writer did a wonderful job of taking us through the journey of Ray Rehman (Zach Levi) to find himself and true happiness. I walked away from the movie believing that no matter who we are we cannot reject any part of our heritage or ourselves. The best thing is to embrace all of us including the things we might want to forget.

Although I am not a half-white, half-Pakistani American, I found myself relating to Ray. As an African American, I am a mix of many different backgrounds. Of the ethnicities I know of, I am part Native American, Irish, and African (of course). I have felt lost and confused at times like Ray. Wondering, “Should I be looking for a mate who is my “kind”?” On the other hand, should I completely reject that part of my heritage that is painful and even shameful to think about? I do not have any answers, but this movie has given me a lot to think about. My dad has shared with me a great deal of black history. We have talked about the triumphs, victories, and defeats that fill the past centuries of colored people. Although I still don’t like to think about it, I know a lot about the enslavement and injustices on my ancestors. Thanks to GOD that African Americans have come a very long way in this country. And I now live the dream that Dr. King said in his speech that hot August day that: “the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.” This still does not mean that everything is perfect racially. Moreover, I still struggle with the thought that maybe a white man cannot find me truly attractive or maybe an interracial relationship would not work because we are too different. “Shades of Ray” dug deep into those thoughts and feelings. In the end, I believe the message is not one way or the other, but truly seeing yourself and others for who they are completely. I heard some
one say once that we are NOT supposed to be colorblind, but accepting of a person as a whole. This includes their ethnicity.

Well, that’s my thoughts. Nevertheless, don’t take my word on it, formulate your own opinions. Have a blessed night!