Entertainment

Quietly Racist Things You Probably Missed In 'The Blind Side'

The Blind Side, based on the true story of Michael Oher, is a competent movie. Its camera movements are steady, and its actors say their lines in human-like ways. It runs out of narrative steam halfway through - and it's definitely not as funny as it thinks it is - but it is not terrible. It is an acceptable movie to watch in the YMCA movie room if you have forgotten your headphones and also if most of your soul has died. Its one great achievement was forcing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, through sheer mediocrity, to change its voting rules so that similarly mediocre movies would never again be nominated for Best Picture. It's also pretty racist. 

The Blind Side stars Sandra Bullock as Oher's real-life adoptive mother Leigh Anne Tuohy, who is married to a guy named Sean who owns Taco Bell (played by country singer Tim McGraw). When she sees Michael, a large Black man, walking on the side of the road one night, she stops and talks to him instead of rolling up her windows. She and everyone else around her congratulates her for this act for the rest of the movie.

White saviors in film are nothing new, and they've even been parodied by MAD TV. There are also plenty of famous racist movies that have won Oscars. Despite this, The Blind Side sticks out as particularly egregious due to its heavy-handed undertone that Black people are destined for lives of crime unless they meet white people. 

Racism in The Blind Side manifests itself in ways both subtle (Michael is a Magical Negro) and overt (white characters, and the movie itself, are interminably condescending towards Michael.) Through it all, the film's muted politeness prevents it from ever having to address any of these issues. Its racism, like the film itself, is quiet. 

If you'd like to learn more about subtly racist movies or movies with subliminal racism, click here. If you'd like to read about other critically-lauded movies that aren't all they're cracked up to be, here and here you go. If you'd like to learn more about the quiet ways in which The Blind Side is racist, by all means keep reading. There are so many ways.