Friday, January 12, 2007

Kerasotes Theaters Stomps Stomp The Yard

Anthony Kerasotes

Is Kerasotes Movie Chain Being Run By Racist?

UPDATE: This morning's State Journal-Register ran an article reporting that Kerasote's Theaters will run Stomp the Yard in Springfield, Illinois after all.

The "R word" is such an easy weapon to use against another person, or an organization. It's far harder to defend yourself against it than it is to toss it at someone. Remove the pin, count to three, toss, and watch the reputations fly into tatters.
No One Is Perfect - Believe It or Not

It is my belief that no one living in a multi racial society, such as the United States, is immune to racism at some level or another. Even the most committed advocates of racial equality are infected with the disease of racism.

One all too common spectacle, which I find particularly disturbing, occurs when a public figure gets drunk, high, angry, or just plain dumb, and employs a racist word, or phrase. Not only is it sad to see these celebrities make fools of themselves, but it's sadder still to watch the packs of hypocrites descend like jackals to get their pound of flesh. People act so shocked, and inevitably ask, how could that good person say something like that? In the words of Jesus, no Man is good - believe it, or not!
Racism Endemic to Multi Racial Societies

I haven't met one person black, white, brown, or whatever who isn't a racist at some level. I have found that the biggest racist are those who claim that they are not racist. We are all infected with this horrible disease. Human beings are irrational, and lazy, creatures who seek to simplify their lives through the use "isms" - including racism.

One day in the not too distant future after all the races have intermarried, and that day will come, the concept of race will only exist as a word in a history book. People living in that time will surely look back at the people living in this time with wonder.

There are so many excuses to oppress, kill, exploit, steal from, demoralize, and generally harm each other. We don't need race as an excuse to treat each other horribly!

As You Judge So Shall You Be Judged

Was Anthony Kerasotes decision not to show "Stomp the Yard" based upon racism? We'll never know for sure, but to accuse him of being a racist doesn't solve anything. It is unfair, and hypocritical to judge him without the facts to do so. Want to see a racist then go look in the mirror before judging someone without knowing the facts first.

One thing that we could do is to study the Kerasotes track record with respect to other movies that predominantly feature African Americans actors. Has this theater chain ever skipped over other movies which employed African American actors, or focused on story lines which dealt with African American culture? I can't really recall any prior accusations of this happening.

Perhaps this show is just the first in which Anthony Kerasotes alleged racist nature is being exposed, but that doesn't seem to make much sense does it? We have to ask ourselves why now? Tony Kerasotes has had plenty of opportunity to discriminate earlier, so why would he only begin now? I just don't see it.

Rocky Horror Picture Show - The Criminologist.


Great Scott!

Years ago. when The Rocky Horror Picture Show was played regularly in a Kerasotes theater in town, the good natured transexual transvestite audiences (from Transylvania) would toss rolls of toilet tissue at the movie screen when a character in the movie would say, "Great Scott!"

It used to drive the theater owners crazy. They would send matrons down the isles with flashlights, and identify those who would throw the rolls of toilet paper at the screen. They would then toss those people out of the theater, and with good reason considering how expensive those movie screens were - we're talking about when movie screens were very big compared to the dinky ones they use today.

As a teenager I thought the theater was overreacting, but as an adult I can see how a simple act of tossing a roll of toilet paper could cost the theater tens of thousand's of dollars. In one simple act of stupidity all of the profits which could ever be made showing that one movie would be overcome by the cost of repairing the screen.

Network's Howard Beal Is As Mad As Hell

I'm Mad As Hell and I'm Not Going Take It Anymore!

Similarly back in the late 1970's an excellent movie called Network included a scene in which a main character implores his television program audience to run to their doors, and windows, and shout out "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!", this inspired people in the movie theater to stand up and scream that they were mad as hell, and that they weren't going to take it anymore.

Kerasotes theater matrons would run out at precisely that moment in the film, and try to get people to sit down, and shut up. It was a most pathetic display of squareness on their part, but their understanding of audience mentality was right. People don't generally go to a movie to listen to other members of the audience shout - actually it was kind of fun!

The point of all of this is that over the decades Kerasotes Theaters has always trended toward preserving the sanctity of a quiet, and safe movie theater.

While I sincerely doubt that there are any such scenes in "Stomp the Yard", we have to keep an open mind, and consider just what the movie chain owners fear could take place before, during, and after the showing of "Stomp the Yard". Is Anthony Kerasote's concern for his employee's, and customers racist? I just don't see it.
What Would We Do?

In light of recent gang related violence outside one of their movie theaters in Springfield, Illinois isn't it possible that Kerasotes simply took the most conservative path toward keeping their audiences safe? Must this decision be portrayed as yet another unkind act?
In the end Kerasotes Theaters has both the right, and responsibility, to keep their theaters, employees, and audiences safe. We can rush to judge them for being racist for this one decision not to run this one movie, but judging them doesn't serve the community well when we fail to focus on the underlying causes.

We as a society need to address the issues of gangs, violence, poverty, drugs, education, and unemployment. Only in so doing will we create a society in which no one, of any race, will ever need to fear becoming the victim of senseless violence.

If we believe that Anthony Kerasotes is uninformed, then let's approach him respectfully, and provide him with our point of view. If we believe he has in some way harmed society by acting in a unintentionally racist way then let's encourage him to act boldly to make amends in some constructive way - instead of just labeling him a racist.
Finding Common Ground

Perhaps Ken Page, president of Springfield's NAACP, could meet with Tony Kerasotes, and they could discuss their concerns, and come to some mutual understanding? That's what I'd like to see, and there's no reason it couldn't be done.

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