Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Assumption, I Hate You
"Looks can be deceiving." "You can't judge a book by its cover." We've all heard these phrases throughout our lifetime, but for some reason, people continue to stereotype and often get the wrong idea. In "New York, I Love You", we see this all too common real-life problem. The film is a collection of stories about various people living, working and playing in New York. Each story has its own writer and director. In the story written and directed by Natalie Portman (though she only appears onscreen in another vignette), we see a Cuban man named "Dante" walking through Central Park with a little Caucasian girl named "Teya". We can tell that they are close and get along very well. They share some very sweet moments. At one point, they go to a section of the park, where two Caucasian women tell him that he's really good with her and that it's rare to see that kind of bond between a "manny" (male nanny) and their charge. The women mean it as a compliment, but the man (played by Carlos Acosta) doesn't really respond. He seems to be reflecting on what they've said. Fast forward to a later scene when we realize that Dante is the little girl's father. Her mother is Caucasian and we never find out whether the child was adopted or just didn't inherit any of her father's coloring, but that doesn't matter. This happens all the time. We see a Hispanic woman in the middle of a weekday pushing a stroller with a Caucasian child sitting in it and people automatically think the woman is the maid or nanny. Could she be the child's mother? Of course! We see a man in his 60s with a child and people assume he's the grandfather. Could he be the father? Of course! We see a man in his 80s with a gorgeous woman in her 30s and assume they're father/daughter. Could they be married? Of course! We see a man and woman about the same age holding hands with two young children and people assume that the woman is their mother. Could the woman be his girlfriend and not his wife? Of course! We see a man and a woman together at a wedding and people think they're going out or married. Could they be brother and sister? Of course! No matter how many times we see Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with their ethnic children or hear of a gay couple having a child together, people continue to jump to conclusions. When will people truly become open-minded and see life as it really is? When will people stop making seemingly positive comments that end up insulting or hurting someone else? Please forgive me for my assumption, but I think we have a long way to go and a short time to get there.