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Writers Against Racism: Thinking About PRECIOUS

The Oscars is just minutes away and all I have on my mind right now is…PRECIOUS.
The New York Times

I first saw Precious on the cover of the NYT magazine last summer and got very excited! Finally! A large, black, woman, is making positive inroads in a movie world that is riddled with stereotypical roles for people of color, but NOT PRECIOUS. In my mind, and refusing to read the fine print, this was a big, bold, and glam femme fatale, and that cover shot, just made me smile.


(At the time, I was in the midst of coordinating the W.A.R. interviews and was learning about authors who experienced racism in a multitude of ways – and whose stories were as diverse as they were. And yet they had solutions.)

In my mind, there was HOPE that the movie, PRECIOUS, would break through the stereotypes. And as the eternal optimist, I did not want that hope shattered by the realities of Hollywood: big, black, impoverished, abused, and poor, SELLS. It also pulls at our heartstrings and makes us feel the pity that’s needed for nominations.  

Having not watched the movie, I won’t comment on the content, but I can comment on the reviews with a huge sigh. Here we go again! 

Hence my initial idealism of the rags-to-Oba-mama riches experience turned out to be a dud – I think. 

Raina Kelley from Newsweek writes: They insist that it is yet another stereotypical, demonizing representation of black people. The other camp, however, is thrilled to see a depiction of a young African-American woman that, while heartbreaking, is a portrait of the black experience that has been overlooked on the sunny horizon that stretches from The Cosby Show to House of Payne. (The Problem With ‘Precious’
Then I read more movie reviews and thought, what about the children? We are in a world where obesity, poverty, sexual abuse, and disease are major problems. We also live in a world where racism is pervasive. What can young people take away from this movie? Will they be inspired, Hollywood? Will they want to become more like Precious

I guess I’ll have to watch it for myself. And if she wins tonight, then maybe the answer will be YES.


  1. ChristineTB says:

    My daughter’s high school friends are all boycotting the movie. I don’t know of a single African American person who is happy about this movie or the fact that Monique got an Academy Award for her role.

    Is that all we get? Precious and Blind Side?

    We have to be bound to a ghetto where we are raped by our father (and – in the book – her mother), have two children from the encounter, one is born with a birth defect and she ends the movie with HIV? Huh? Where is the uplift?

    That is balanced out by another honored film in which a morbidly obese boy is saved by a rich white family and the mother goes to his neighborhood and threatens the gang members with her superior fire power?


    I’m floored that when so few children are shown a path to the “light” we continue to produce movies that say “be happy with your lot” or “find a white benefactor to raise your child.”

    It’s a world only the KKK would love and I’m sure some editor, somewhere, praised both for it’s “authentic depiction” of “real African Americans.”

    Hear me scream right now.

  2. Amy Bowllan says:

    all I can say is, I AM RIGHT THERE WITH YOU!


  3. Monica Hayes says:

    I am a Black woman and I loved the movie. I read Push when it was published n ’99 and knew that I would have to see it if made in to a move. Monique and Gabby were extraordinary. Celebrate the talent-wrter screewriter director, actors.Celebrate those who will take courage and energy from the resilience depcted. We are many people and even more stories. Jamie, Morgan, Tyler and countless others help tell many of them. Celebrate!

  4. houston librarian says:

    Blind Side is a true story. Would you prefer that they change the facts and have Oher getting taken in by a black family? Would you prefer they just not tell the story at all? I’m not sure where you are going with this.
    Why didn’t they let the white guy be the head coach in Remember the Titans? Maybe because that’s not the way it really happened?