Wednesday, August 16, 2006
When Fiction Matters: World Trade Angel

Jason Thomas

World Trade Center, touted as one of the most "spiritualy honest films" of the year sparks a controversy of dishonest with African-Americans.
 
"... retired United States Marine Corps Staff Sergeant-turned-accountant David Karnes sees the impact of the airplanes on the towers, and goes to church to pray. God speaks to him there. Karnes tells his pastor, "I've got to go down there. God gave me a gift. I feel Him calling on me for this mission." As he walks on the rubble he is mysteriously joined by another Marine, Sergeant Thomas, and together they call out, searching for survivors. Ultimately they discover McLoughlin and Jimeno."
              -Dr. Marc T. Newman of Agape Press
 
This mysterious Sergeant Thomas was found yesterday. However, Sergeant Thomas did't look like the actor who portrayed him. Sergeant Jason Thomas is an African-American.
 
African-Americans blew up black radio stations this morning complaining about the the movie's huge oversight. On Atlanta's Frank Ski Morning show callers couldn't understand how Oliver Stone, the producer and director missed this very important fact.
 
Part of me would like to say it couldn't be helped. Sergeant Thomas did not stay around after he rescued the men. He went back home, because he became sick from all the smoke. New York had been trying to find this man for the past five years. Everyone was covered in soot. There are a few understandable reasons why Thomas's racial identity was unrecorded.
 
The other part of me, the African-American historian part of me doesn't want to gently into the dawn with this faux pas. How could anyone, especially Karnes not remember that Sergeant Thomas was black?  As much research as Stone puts in his movies, how come he couldn't figure that out?
 
I'm sure many Americans will ask why does it matter if he was black or white?
 
Yesterday, on Al Sharpton's Talk Radio Show. He discussed with a panel of African American men why Black Men have left the Church?  Using World Trade Center's Thomas as an example of Black Christian men, who are strong in their faith would have been a great rebuttal to this debate. 
 
I can't speak for all black men. I'm a black woman. I have a twin brother. I can't tell you how many times he has been stopped by the police for a routine traffic stop. He's a plant supervisor for Tyson Foods with a graduate degree in business. He's been stopped routinely since we were sixteen years old. He has left the church. He believes in Jesus, but not in the importance of fellowship and community with other Christians. He doesn't believe Christ cares for him. His soul is lost. My brother is a huge Nicholas Cage fan. He went to see this movie. I don't much, but I know my brother. If he would've seen a black christian man playing Sergeant Thomas that would have given him more hope. I'm praying for him. And I'm praying we get it right the next time.
 
Now what's your take on this?
 
Dee
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posted by Dee Stewart @ 9:41 AM   0 comments

 
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