I watched The Blind Side this weekend. I was not happy.
To give the writers a slight benefit of the doubt, this was based on a true story. Thus, they were limited in their presentation of the story. However, the racial stereotypes in this movie were uncomfortable to watch and disturbing.
Michael Oher was the star of this story, or at least he should have been. His story, his football talent, and his rise to success is the entire reason this movie was made. However, much in the same way that Secretariat should have been called The Penny Chenery Story, The Blind Side could have been called The Noble Leigh Anne Tuohy Isn’t Racist In The South. Except we’re not talking about a horse who can’t tell his own story- we’re talking about a human being.
In this film, Michael Oher is less of a character and more of a symbol. Each time someone white isn’t racist in the film, it’s supposed to inspire a sense of awe. As the attached article says, all the white people in the movie are wealthy, stereotypical, endearing southerners, and protagonists. Inversely, all the black people in the movie are drug dealers, drug users, gangsters, and antagonists. Michael’s positive traits are framed as traits of whiteness. The movie portrays Michael as good because he’s different from all the other black people.
The Blind Side is a typical genre film about sports where the main protagonist rises to athletic glory with a heart of gold. However, the racism and stereotypes pollute the movie so much it was hard for me to watch.