Two prophetic scenes from ‘The Great Debaters’ that remind us of how this country hasn’t really changed

How this film didn’t win an Academy Award, I have no idea.

Now, as you watch the two videos, think about the new exponential rise over the past few years in the killing, and sometimes outright murder of American citizens in our neo-authoritarian jackbooted institutionalized bureaucratic and lethal police state. I don’t think that’s hyperbole because people are being shot and killed for not being able to provide correct paperwork, or not correctly prostrating themselves quickly enough to the authority demanded by law enforcement officers. Remember, people are being killed without due process, or conviction in an adversarial court proceeding, or even the slightest presumption of innocence … reflect on that for a few seconds before watching the videos

The first scene is fairly self explanatory where the members of the team are in ‘the getting to know you’ stage. Tolson (Denzell Washington) reveals how his father was killed

In this scene Nathaniel Farmer (Trenton McClain Boyd) exposes the institutional apathy and how a conscientious, and virtuous criminal justice system didn’t exist.

That last line is very uncomfortable to listen to, but he, and everyone with a sense of right and wrong is pleading for an end to all of the undue violence.

I feel I should end with a question: have things, in their essence, really changed since way back when?


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