Fruitvale Station: Context and a Movie

Friday, July 26, 2013

Michael B. Jordan as Oscar Grant III in "Fruitvale Station."

Bob Butler, reporter at KCBS Radio in the Bay Area, gives context to the new movie "Fruitvale Station" as he's covered the real life Oscar Grant story the movie is based on. He's joined by Wesley Morris, writer for Grantland and 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner, who examines the movie with a critical eye and in the context not only of Oscar Grant, but also of Trayvon Martin and President Obama's speech.

Comments [13]


I completely agree with the guests who spoke of Americans feeling like they don't know what else to do, and that we've seen every version of racism in this country.

In my heart of hearts I don't think that there is a solution to the "race problem" as it relates to relations between blacks and whites in America. Our shared history is so vile, and our present is shaped by the legacy of structural inequality in ways that allow whites to continually marginalize black people and in some cases fosters self destructive behavior among blacks. I don't know how we move forward any further than we already have. Frankly, I am surprised that we don't experience more of these interpersonal racial flare ups. This country does not want black people here, and I don't know that black people will every feel completely safe/welcome.

I don't think we need to soul search or talk. I think, unfortunately, we're stuck. I really don't know what to do.
And as a Black person, I don't think leaving is the right solution.

To the commenter who mentioned Europe-African immigrants face violence and a whole host of problems in Italy, Spain, France, and Russia ( just to name a few).

Jul. 31 2013 07:36 PM

@WNYC is Racist...

The last stats I saw were 94% of crimes against Blacks were committed by Blacks. 84% of crimes against Whites were committed by Whites. How do you get TEN TIMES more likely out of that?

Who gets arrested and successfully prosecuted is ALSO a function of race here in America. Would you be in favor of criminal 'obscurity' - masks and gloves for the accused in a violent crime case - so that the jury cannot see what the accused background is? Reducing or anglicizing of names so that ethnic heritage is likewise obscured? Seems a bit silly after a bit, doesn't it?

Jul. 27 2013 03:14 PM
Eric from Albany CA

The real scandal is how Oscar Grant's tragic death has been used to deflect attention away from Oakland's chronically high black-on-black homicide rate, which is responsible for many more deaths of young African-American men than the BART police or the Oakland PD.

Jul. 26 2013 04:25 PM
WNYC is racist

The discussion on the radio program ignores Trayvon Martin's attack. WNYC has NOT included a diversity of views on this subject.

It is TEN TIMES more likely for a black man to kill a white man in America, and yet news outlets like WNYC focus on cases like this to stoke racist anger against whites.

Why doesn't WNYC report on the victims of the violence called for by liars like Al Sharpton??

Jul. 26 2013 02:12 PM
The Truth from Becky spend your money to support what you want AND I will do the same ...gotta love sarcasm!

Jul. 26 2013 12:20 PM
Tony from Canarsie

The Truth from Becky -- Among other films, I refuse to see Renoir's "La règle du jeu" because it makes entertainment out of late 1930's France, Fellini's "Giulietta degli spiriti" because it makes entertainment out of examining a woman's place in the Italian bourgeoisie, and Disney's "Dumbo" because it makes entertainment out of the abuse of circus animals.

Jul. 26 2013 11:40 AM
Sequoia from Princeton

I wonder why there isn't an African-American movement to the leave the United States. Americans in general don't travel much and seem to be so ignorant about the world that exists on either side of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

As an African-American who lived in Europe for 10 years and saw people of color moving around relatively freely and not being shot dead in the street without reason by the police or neighborhood watchmen, I just don't understand why black mothers and fathers are not fleeing with theirs sons and daughters.

America doesn't want you, trust you and won't protect you, so start a movement to leave. Run to the passport office and go anywhere, but don't stay here in the U.S. Europeans don't carry guns around with them, by the way.

Jul. 26 2013 11:35 AM
The Truth from Becky

I will get the "information" via one of many various news outlets.

Jul. 26 2013 11:34 AM
MamaDestroy from Brooklyn

One of the guests during this segment said something along the lines of all of us finding ourselves in a place where we just don't know what to do. This resonated with me. I feel tremendous pain and guilt after the Trayvon Martin verdict and every time that the ugly racism that pervades our society is personified in another one of these horrible incidents. And I don't know what I can do. It is so easy to live in my little Brooklyn bubble and enjoy the diversity of my community. But this reality is there, just beneath the surface, and I feel powerless to do anything to help usher along change.
I actually wrote about this just recently.

I feel like these opportunities for honest dialogue are the only vague movement toward solution that I can see.

Jul. 26 2013 11:33 AM
blacksocialist from BKbay

Becky - what if it informs? this "entertainment" is based on true events, as you know.

Jul. 26 2013 11:26 AM
The Truth from Becky

I do not plan to see this or any other movie using racial injustice as entertainment. No matter who the director or writer.

Jul. 26 2013 11:23 AM
Tony from Canarsie

Socio-political context aside, the film is a terrific work of cinema by director and sceenwriter Ryan Coogler. Also, props to Forest Whitaker for producing this must see film.

Jul. 26 2013 11:19 AM
Beatrice from Ft. Greene

One thing I've noticed is how both speakers describe men as "males". I'd love to see the language move to "men" instead, as it feels like "males" dehumanizes black men in some ways. I think of it as the language of police, not the average citizen.

Jul. 26 2013 11:19 AM

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