The movie The Great Debaters debates universal topics and themes which all human beings can relate to and understand. In regard to what is morally right or wrong, which is to be preeminent? The law or one’s own conscience?
This is but one of the many outstanding topics debated and argued throughout the film, which deals with racial inequality, injustice, and human rights abuses. For centuries the legislature had written unjust laws to enslave, disenfranchise, and oppress blacks in America.
Thankfully because of some noble and intellectually astute men who wisely framed and articulated their arguments peacefully, justice did come and anglo-saxon hearts were won over to freedom. This progressively and eventually brought about an emancipation for blacks across the nation. Yet those in power did not turn over their control and remove their domination easily. They had to be confronted, exposed, and battled endlessly.
Hence the beauty and burden of democracy is a wayward people can rule by majority and thereby legally enact immorality. As Gandhi stated civil disobedience at times is just when the laws of men are unjust.
Though those in power among the ruling class would say civil disobedience is nothing more than the true face of anarchy, nothing can be further from the truth when you look closer at America’s historical atrocities inflicted upon the African race.
Honestly no people is more positioned or poised to show true love and forgiveness to America and its people than the Africans who were oppressed by this nation.
A march of civil disobedience done peacefully as instructed by Gandhi maintained human dignity and respect for one’s opponent, even to the extent of humbly accepting the legal consequences for your actions. Such acceptance of the repercussions for defying the law (even if the be unjust) can by no means be anarchy.
Another topic of debate in the film is welfare, which some say discourages hard work. Survival, that is eating and drinking, having a roof over one’s head, undoubtedly is the greatest motivation for one to go to work daily. It is arguable therefore that welfare weakens the poor further making them lazy and unwilling to work and be self-sufficient.
Yet the innocent children of parents without jobs who are both willing and able to work should not be made to suffer and go without, while a nation so prosperous as ours thrives. The government should provide jobs before condemning the poor.
As blacks redeemed their dignity, got their births recognized, and obtained meaningful employment it was immediately evident that the color of one’s skin need not be the determining factor of one’s character.
Black poets such as Hughes, Bennet, and Hurst showed themselves intellectually strong and capable in their writings. Hatred is merely a game played by cool hands. Wise and timeless words!
Today we no longer demonize Indians, blacks, and communists. Instead we prefer to demonize Muslims and label them terrorists (often people who we know nothing about). Hence America’s oppression marches on – it has just be taken off our soil and moved to another “theater of war” afar where less public scrutiny will be given.
It is therefore faulty logic and presumptuous to call America godly and good when it poorly represents the heart of the Creator both historically and now.
Who are we to do nothing? Such was an unforgettable question asked in this marvelous film that calls us to account.
A law that violates my conscience is void of justice. So too are executive orders that send sons to war to kill innocent people of another color or creed just because they cannot comprehend the English language when a gun is put to their face.
Conscience precedes law and enables us to know right from wrong.
Blacks were hung, lynched, and killed without justice. Today history is again repeating itself.
Are we confused or convinced by our own media propaganda?
An unjust law is no law at all.
Your opponent is a mere dissenting voice to the truth, which we in our hearts ultimately already know. God is the judge of the living and the dead.
Intuitively Professor Tolson early on recognized in The Great Debaters the irony of Bethlehem Steel, a company that makes weapons of war and yet uses the name of the birthplace of the Prince of Peace Jesus Christ.
Whatever it takes to make us comfortable with imperialism and the military-industrial complex I suppose. The denigration of people continues, only afar.
Today blacks have freedoms they fought for and gloriously won! I encourage them and all people to continue the fight for freedom for others afar who are being brutalized by almighty America and abused under “the rule of law” which often is no law at all beyond that of our own making, while we simultaneously disdain international law and become a law unto ourselves.
Write your own dictionary! For America has skillfully mastered the manipulation of the English language and their actions speak louder than their words.