Pariah

WRITING ALL WRONGS

Pariah

Adepero Oduye planned to be a doctor, but after her father died suddenly, she decided to change course and pursue an acting career.

In the African American household, people don’t talk about the fact of being gay. This happens especially within these religious households. The reasons behind this are because black families live by social structures that the church set and fear being scrutinized by church-goers, friends, and family, or neighbors. They may know that a family member is homosexual but may not talk about it and they avoid the conversation altogether, or they allow it within their household but expect their children to dress and act socially-acceptable outside of the house.


The 2011 film, Pariah, is a film that displays what it’s like living in an African American home AND what it’s like coming out to an African American family. Though the ‘coming-out’ process is a key point in this film, the fact of being Colored in America is one of the most significant aspects of this film. Throughout most of this film, you see a normal, middle-class family raising two girls (one who happens to be homosexual). Normally, films and shows with black people display them as aggressive, drug-dealers, and with any other negative stereotype that’s associated with being black.

In Audre Lorde’s article, The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism, she explains how black women are often portrayed as angry and aggressive when they respond to racism: “Women respond to racism. My response to racism is anger. I had lived with that anger, ignoring it, feeding upon it, learning to use it before it laid my visions to waste, for most of my life. Once I did it in silence, afraid of the weight. My fear of anger taught me nothing. Your fear of that anger will teach you nothing, also” (Lorde 1934).

I believe that this film embodies Lorde’s argument that anger is not efficient in diminishing stereotypes, because when you decide to take the high-road, you get masterpieces like this film, that displays African Americans in a light that is not aggressive or negative. They are viewed as people who face every-day struggles like any other race. You don’t have to create a loud and aggressive film to dismiss racism.

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