Movies with a Dash of Racism

My best friend & I love going to the movies together. From elementary through high school, we would have a ritual to see great movies together. But who would know this trip to AMC was about to change our perspective on racism and prejudice? 

It was junior year of high school me and my best friend were so excited to see MAMA MIA! I loved ABBA so much, and I remember times my mom used to sing many of the songs at my house. 

(Fun fact: ABBA had some of their songs in French, which made it well-known in Haiti when my mom was growing up) 

Once we got into the theater, my best friend was so excited to watch the movie. We got our popcorn and candy and were so consumed with the singing and acting in the film. 

We heard a group of kids our age laughing, talking loudly, and throwing popcorn during the movie. So annoying. My best friend and I noticed the group but tried our best to ignore them and focus on the musical. 

While the group got louder, a woman in front of us turned and looked at us furiously. My best friend and I looked at her puzzled and looked at each other like I know this lady doesn’t think it’s us. We were confused because she thought it was us making noise. To us, clear that the other kids were being disruptive. 

The movie ended, and the credits started to roll. My best friend and I began to gather our things and get ready to leave the theater and head home. While picking up our belongings, we heard the woman sitting in front of us talking. At first, I did not think she was talking to us until my best friend looked up. 

The woman began to scold us, “You did not need to be that loud during the movie; you all are insulting!” 

My best friend, her rarely ever takes anyone shit, snaps back almost immediately, “Excuse me, but who do you think you’re talking to?”. As my best friend responds, I still hardly could process what was happening at that moment. 

The woman raises her voice and says, “You know you were loud and ghetto in this movie theater. Some people are trying to watch the movie”, 

My best friend starts to get even angrier, and at this point, my emotions began to match hers. We responded by saying that it wasn’t even us making noise throughout the film. 

The lady response to us and slurs, “Why don’t you go and take your bus back to where you came from.” 

Now she didn’t say the exact words. She told us a specific bus that went to a particular town.  The town that she mentioned is a predominantly black area. The woman’s intent was to imply that were of a lower socioeconomic status than her.

Of course, my best friend clapped back, “Actually, I have my car.” 

I love her for never holding her tongue. I’ve always admired her strength to stand firm and use her voice. 

“And we don’t even live there,” I added on sarcastically teasing the lady. 

The woman says, “Yea, sure.” 

As we walk away from the movie theater, we continue to talk about how this lady is so rude and prejudice. We were baffled that she assumed a group of teen black girls were loud and obnoxious during the movies. Listen, I know I can be obnoxious, but there’s a time and place. And that place is not the AMC. 

The woman yelling at us was white, and the teens that she did not accuse of being loud were white. At that point, my best friend and I realized that we had just lived through the first of many acts of racism towards us.

The fact that someone could look at us and assume were a specific type of person, crushed me. The woman sized us up and created her own narrative about our whole being.  How could you chop us down to size like that?

When we got to Target, we continued to talk about the situation in anger with my friend.

“Can you believe that lady?,” my best friend said. 

I said to my friend, “This lady thought we were some dumb ignorant girls. She doesn’t even know that we are about to go to college next year. I am going to Pace University next year and watch. I will be doing great things in the future.” 

(Sidebar: I didn’t go to Pace University, but I swore I was gonna go there when I was in high school)

Then, I saw a man coming up to us—me already being a bit wary of strangers at this point, inch away as he came towards me. The man began to introduce himself, “I’m sorry, I couldn’t help but hear your conversation. I hear that you are interested in Pace University.”

Sometimes through pain comes more remarkable triumph.


“Yes, I am, actually,” I responded, noticing that the man’s voice was friendly, and he was smiling. 

“Hi, my name is John Agnelli. I actually and professor at Pace University. Please take down my information and Keep in touch. I want to help you with your application process next year. 

You see how things turn around in an instance. This woman tried to make my friend and I feel like we were nothing. Meanwhile, someone came to us later with a bit of kindness and support. 

John Agnelli would later become the Dean of Students at my Alma Mater, LIU Brooklyn. He also helped introduce me to a career in Student Affairs. 

I share this to say, nothing happens for no reason. Though my best friend and I experienced the heartbreaking reality of racism, we still learned something from it. We learned to stand up for ourselves. We learned that we are above any stereotype someone labels us with.  We are able to hold our heads high as Black Queens. Sometimes through pain comes more remarkable triumph.

Please leave a comment let me know what you think!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: