Parker Molloy, a "well known essayist" (of whom I personally have never heard) created a stir this past week when she criticized the very popular classic TV movie "A Christmas Story" - the story of Ralphie, who wants only one thing for Christmas - "an official Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot range model air rifle."
The movie, set in the early 1940s, is the story of 9 year old Ralphie and his family at Christmas time in small town Indiana. Ralphie wants his BB gun for Christmas and nothing else. He talks about it to anyone who will listen and even writes a short essay for school about his desired present.
Ralphie's mother, his teacher, and even the local department store Santa all tell him the same thing - "You'll shoot your eye out."
Eventually Christmas comes and Ralphie gets the surprise of his life when his dad, at the very end of their present-opening session on Christmas morning, tells Ralphie to check for one last present behind the bookcase. It's his much desired "official Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot range model air rifle."
It just so happens that Ralphie and his family are white.
Fast forward to 2014. Ms. Molloy posted on Twitter earlier this week to say that "A Christmas Story" is an example of "institutional racism" and "white privilege." She comes to this conclusion because in this fictional story that was created in 1983 about the 1940s, no one warns Ralphie that he could be shot by police for playing with a toy gun. She claims that the movie paints a picture of the reality for white children versus the reality of black children. Except that's not the case at all.
Molloy contrasts fictional Ralphie not getting shot for playing with his BB gun (which he did in his fenced back yard and not in a public park) to the shooting of Tamir Rice, the black 12 year old shot by police in a park in Cleveland while playing with a very real looking toy handgun.
The sheer ridiculousness of Ms. Molloy's comparison would have me laughing if it wasn't so pathetic. First of all, the 1940s was a different time. Racism was alive and well, particularly in the deep South, but there were far less people in the country, lower crime rates, more people of faith, fewer gangs and criminal organizations, and less street violence. A kid (black or white) on the street or in his front yard with a BB gun in those days didn't automatically instill a wariness and/or fear in a police officer. Cops and citizens had a good relationship for the most part. And yes, I know there were race related difficulties between cops and blacks in the 1940s as well. Those problems have been there since the beginning of policing in the USA. People are people. Some are better than others. That's just a simple fact.
Another difference between then and now is the media, television and the internet. These days if a cop does something that the main stream media, social media, or an elected official can use for sensationalism that incident, whatever it was, will be made public worldwide to push an agenda - even if what's being said is not true. They tell negative partial truths and even lies (hands up - don't shoot) to further push their own ideas on the public.
When's the last time you saw a news outlet carrying a story for three days or five days about a cop who did a good deed and helped someone out? Stories like that don't make big headline and bring in advertising dollars. They are, therefore, largely ignored.
Recently in Saint Louis an armed suspect in a gas station pointed a gun at a police officer who, responding to the threat, shot and killed the suspect. Regardless of the truth, some bystanders in that racially charged city began saying that the cop executed the man and began more protesting. Truth doesn't matter to those with an agenda.
Anyway, back to Ms. Molloy and "A Christmas Story." It seems the legacy of 2014 will be that in the latter part of the year people on the left began turning everything into a racial issue. Al Sharpton keeps getting richer. Eric Holder continues his racial activism (admitted) as Attorney General. Barack Obama continues to weigh in on local incidents (involving black suspects) even after saying it's not his place to do so. Sports stars and Hollywood celebrities are wearing t-shirts in support of the bad guys. And now police are being targeted for execution because of all of these people.
And people like Parker Molloy try to turn an innocent and wholesome Christmas movie into something that it's not - a representation of today. It's a story. It's a 31 year old story about a fictional character and situation 70 years ago. It's not a reflection of the realities of whites and blacks - then or now. And Ms. Molloy should be ashamed of herself for even suggesting that it is.