Oh Man I want to see this movie. Check out the trailer below. The movie, called “Skin,” is based on a true story about a white woman, in that she was born to two white parents in South Africa, though she had brown skin and African features. Here is what was written about the film on The Loop website:
It’s an odd story really, a black girl born to white parents in apartheid South Africa in the 1950s. It may be odd, but it’s the real life of Sandra Laing.
She was at the premiere of the film based on her life, Skin, at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles Wednesday night to prove it.
The film synopsis calls Sandra’s brown skin and coarse hair texture “a genetic abnormality.”
Well, that “genetic abnormality” is otherwise known as a throwback gene. Someone in the Laing clan was passing (for white) and those genes popped back up in Sandra.
The film drew parallels to America’s own segregation history and how absolute the racial lines were. Just one little drop of black blood could dramatically alter the course of your life.
The apartheid was indeed more severe, and lasted a good 30 years beyond segregation laws in America. Still, Sandra Laing’s experience was the same as countless other mulattos in America — eventually you have to choose a race. And choose she did.
Sandra Laing was beaten, ridiculed and then disowned by her parents after she became pregnant by a black man. After that, she didn’t see her mother for 20 years and never saw her father again.
Interestingly enough, the film has sparked conversation and an opportunity to learn from South Africa’s grim history. The film’s director, Anthony Fabian, showed the film to the South African parliament, and they immediately requested another viewing and are making showing the film mandatory in all schools. (Read about how black history is taught in America.)
How wonderful that a country with such an extreme racial history is so willing to remember and learn from the mistakes of the past. Talk about a push toward post-racism.
Seems like the United States is behind. We’re still debating whether we should continue Black History Month now that we have a black president and refusing to talk about our own racist past.
If ever there was an example of the stupidity of our racial classifications this story is it.