Rob Reiner during an interview said he was fascinated
by the idea of doing a Civil Rights story. He came upon the Myrlie Evers
Story and thought this was the one he wanted to tell. Except, he, according
to his own words, could only relate to the story through the white prosecutor
who finally won the case, Bobby Delaughter. He felt he couldn't tell
(or felt he didn't have the right to tell) the story from an "African-American"
So what's the end result? First, black people
are reduced to bit characters in their own history, because that is
the only way the filmmaker can connect to it, by placing our history
in his/her context. The story Mr. Reiner made isn't a Civil Rights story
but the "Bobby Delaughter Story" and should've been labeled as such.
I think there would be great disappointment if I announced I was going
to do a film about the Holocaust, but focused the story on the trial
and tribulations of a black G.I. who at the very end, helps to liberate
Dachau. An interesting story? Yes. One about the Holocaust? Not really.
That's what happened with "Amistad".
Secondly, by refusing to attempt to tell Myrlie
Evers' incredible story, Mr. Reiner is refusing to acknowledge the universal
elements of her life. Her love for her husband, the pain of his assassination
and the struggle for justice are just shrugged off. He reduced her to
abstract Black History and magnified his own limitations. She becomes
a side bar, a foot note in her own struggle, and the actual foot note
got elevated to the text. It is this constant abuse of power by filmmakers
from the white mainstream that maintains the idea of colored marginality.