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JANUARY 2020

American Son

ARTICLE BY: LAWRENCE JONES

My Eyes Aren’t Green


“American Son,” a Netflix film based on the Broadway play of the same name by Christopher Demos-Brown, adapted to film, starring Kerry Washington, Steven Pasquale, Jeremy Jordan, and Eugene Lee, is a one-hour- and-30-minute walk through racial and cultural bias in 2019.


It is still common to assume certain things to be true about Black men. When the story begins with “an African American male,” default assumptions guide many to brown or dark skin, gold teeth, dreads or locks, add a hoodie for good measure and guilty to seal the deal.

American culture, what a phrase. How much of this culture includes us? Who exactly is included in the “we” in “we the people…”?


Our voices are being heard! Our stories are being told! Do you like what you see?


Do you care to repeat what you hear? Is the truth hard to bear because the bearer of the message doesn’t share our bloodline?


Our Blackness isn’t in our name. James or Jamal, Kim or Keyona. Our Blackness isn’t more powerful or threatening because of the shade of our skin. You know “the darker the berry…”


Ten years ago, a traffic stop resulted in a ticket or warning and with certainty you were going home. For some of you reading this, this is still true, and for others this is no longer the case. Our news is saturated with stories of Black men and women who lost their lives in what would otherwise be a simple encounter with the police.


Malik Humphrey, 23, a father of a bi-racial child, posted this review after watching the film: “I can honestly say my only fears revolve around my son being targeted as he gets older or even worse, being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”


“American Son,” an interesting choice for a title. Without knowing the storyline, I found myself predicting the outcome. With an African American woman as the lead, I knew some young Black boy was about to lose his life.


No matter how you tell the story of a young Black male, the pages of the narrative are stained with his blood, his body prostrate in the streets, with only an apology to comfort his parents. American sons die daily in my country ‘tis of thee, the dark-skinned ones more often.


“American Son” explores the ugly truth about the perceived perspective of the American majority.


Nothing screams MAGA like a white male police officer engaging an African American male. When they see us, what do they see? Is it the shade of American – Is that a color?


Race fuels the racism, and color lights the match. Our recent social climate indicates Black is a problem. Shoot now and ask questions later. No hugs or gifted bibles, such as Amber Guyger got, for those transgressions. We’re observing the penalty for being Black. Assert your rights, or simply ask questions while interacting with the police, and the result is death.

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