As a member of a black greek lettered organization I felt compelled to watch the Burning Sands movie on Netflix. Overall I think the movie did a decent job at telling an exaggerated story of a Fraternity's hazing week. I do believe that hazing happened and it has surely led to the untimely deaths or injury of many. The topic of Greek organization isnt something that can be answered with a Buzzfeed like approached, you know, give something a catchy title and spend time not explaining it fully. I digress.
In an interview with Ebony magazine Gerard McMurray said this about his film.
“We’ve seen so many stories about Black men as drug dealers, pimps, junkies–I come from a place where I want to change the narrative of Black men in films,” he says. “We can be in college, we can be lawyers, we can be doctors. It doesn’t have to be anything stereotypical. There have so many different kinds of Black people it’s important for me to share it with the world.”
(Read more at EBONY http://www.ebony.com/entertainment-culture/burning-sands-gerard-mcmurray#ixzz4bJBI1qpG )
From his statement I assumed that the purpose of the movie was to bring to the audience a different perspective of the black man. and it failed. If black men are already portrayed as pimps and drug dealers this movie only reinforces those stereotypes and the notion of black rage. remember when the pledges had to sleep with that girl... looked like pimping to me. Even at a university where you have fraternity members who are doctors, lawyers and well educated people those titles don't mean much when it comes to upholding the rituals of hazing. If you needed a reason why not to join a fraternity this was surely it. What kind of a health professional would allow you to continue an already physically taxing activity if your ribs are already fractured. But who am I? I barely passed biology.
Every negative stereotype was forced into this hour and fifty minutes fight fest. It seemed as if the fraternity members where so concerned with abusing the pledges that they didn't care if they actually knew each other. In a line of 5 pledge some don't know each others names? that's a huge stretch! That more likely in a line of 50 or more.
So if this is the reality of the HBCU pledging experience then where does that leave us? Should students still be encourage to join sororities and fraternities? Can something be done about hazing? Can the removal of hazing in a pledge process negatively impact an organization.
As you can see the movie does leave you with many unanswered questions. even the ending leaves you more puzzled than before. What happens after there is a hazing incident? who is to blame? What happens to the pledges that weren't severely hurt during the process? Do they get to wear the letters they "earned"?
If you have seen the movie let me know what your thoughts are below. Google doesn't have the answers to my many questions but I will love your take on them.