Director Steve McQueen Floored That 20% of Black Kids View Race as an Obstacle

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Americans have such a long and muddled history with racism that we sometimes forget that steve_mcqueenracism isn’t intrinsic to the U.S. Even though racists in America have willfully marginalized blacks, America is certainly not the only area of the world where blacks face discrimination.

A recent study on how British children feel about their plight was so troubling that film director Steve McQueen sounded the alarm.

The Guardian reports that McQueen was upset over a statistic which found that  21 percent of black kids felt their skin color would make it harder for them to reach their goals, compared with just 2% of white children and 13% of Asians.

The black children included in the 1,600 kids polled also felt that their race would impact how they were viewed by others as well, with less than 40 percent of black children believing that their teachers would describe them as clever, compared to 46 percent of white children.

McQueen, director of the blockbuster “12 Years a Slave”, shared with BBC his thoughts on the study.

“When I was at school myself there was this situation where black children were not deemed as intelligent or deemed to be able to go on to do anything of any real purpose. The circle has to be broken, it’s upsetting to think that it hasn’t,” observed McQueen.

“It’s about belief, filling peoples lungs with ambition and possibilities, when you narrow people’s possibilities then they become narrow, when you widen their possibilities they become open and giving them the idea that things are possible, because it’s the truth.”

The real question may be whether you can rid society of the discrimination that blacks face, not whether kids should have a sunny attitude about it. What do you think?


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21 Comment

  1. I really do believe we can end bigottry, but it will NOT be easy. The human heart is a complicated place. It will take ALL races working together and openly discussing the isssues to even start to do this. There are things that White folks take for granted about African Americans which are NOT true, and I’m sure the reverse is also true. Being open and willing to deal with these things will begin to dismantle the long history this country has had with bigottry. And there are deeper issues as well such as mass incarceration which must also be addressed. Most Whites are not even aware of the problem.

  2. I have never met a prejudice white person in all life and working with them. The reason: They always attribute it to the other white person as prejudice and not them. Maybe one of these days, I will run into one who will admit he/she harbor prejudice.

  3. Only fairness and equity will heal racism. No race should want to dominate the world and its people.

    Allow all cultures the right to exist donot impose the will of Supremacy and dominance on a culture.

  4. Steve McQueen’s next film should be about this topic. Let him do a film that completely blows this paradigm out of the water. A struggling black man who overcomes all obstacles, oppression and situations to fully conquer all his foes. Let him see the opposition as white males, and everyone else who could marginalize a black persons self worth. Let him do all of that and see how far he gets making that film a reality. Then he will know what those students really feel. His last movie was not that film because his last film is about a system of slavery that existed and a man thrown into that system unfairly. Let him make a film about that system being torn apart from the inside. Lets see if he can get funding for that film.

    • Steve McQueen himself is a great example of just what you speak of. A Black man who has been successful. As for the subject itself, yes … he SHOULD make a film about that, and I for one would consider giving funding to any film which tries to rip away the culture of racism around us. The more films of that nature, the better. The job of a filmmaker, after all, is story teller.

  5. He states:

    “When I was at school myself there was this situation where black children were not deemed as intelligent or deemed to be able to go on to do anything of any real purpose”

    What’s changed since then? So he can acknowledge this issue when he was a child but children today can’t? I’m fed up with this pandering to whites by frighten blacks like him that talking about the reality of racism is the real problem not racism itself. One of the prices blacks pay for working around whites in his case a racist Hollywood film industry is to shut your mouth about racism. His silence on racism allows him to work as a director in a white dominated industry. Moral of the story is so long as you’ve made it by being rewarded for ignoring racism of whites then it doesn’t exist for anyone else.

  6. How can any person, who is in touch with his own people really be shocked by this? There was no mention as to why these children felt that way. If you are really concerned about something, wouldn’t you investigate further to see what is behind it? Why are so many of our youth feeling this way? What messages, treatments are they receiving? Racial slurs have been hurled at the first black American president. You don’t think they are aware of that? Stop and frisk was just recently stopped in New York. You don’t think they are aware of that? Police are still more violent towards certain groups in society. You don’t think they are aware of that? These are the obvious signs. It doesn’t began to address the subtle signs. Blacks need to get their “heads out of the sand” , and look at the world the way it is and not how you want it to be.

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