but some are trying super hard
last night i watched the 1947 Academy Award winning movie “Gentlemen’s Agreement”.
the title comes from an unspoken rule in some communities in the Eastern part of the USA
back in the day
where one homeowner promised his other homeowners that if he ever sold his house
he wouldn’t sell it to a Jew.
this film was made not long after Americans went to war to defeat the Nazis
and yet returned home to a nation that wasn’t killing our Hebrew friends,
but they were still discriminating against them in various ways including
having places like country clubs and fine hotels being Restricted
meaning Jews were not welcome.
what’s interesting is if Jews weren’t allowed, then for sure Blacks weren’t accepted either
other than to clean up, shine shoes, and dance, of course
even though nearly 100 years before WWII, Abe Lincoln freed the slaves
because every man was “equal” to every other man.
which is to say nothing of women.
who to this day, are still not equal to men, in several ways.
too many to list here.
what fascinates me about all of this is when i drive new Americans around LA
they tell me that they love the USA so much.
Saudis, Kuwaitis, Germans, Jamaicans, Swedes, Chinese…
they all tell me that this place is really the country it’s advertised as being
you can do what you want.
you can be who you want.
you can smoke, drink, have sex, have dreams, be alive
you can spread your wings without fear of having them cut off.
and of course, everything is a matter of perspective.
and i wonder when that honeymoon period will wear off
and they realize that this beautiful country is
just as backwards as where they fled from.
and in some ways, worse, because we should know better.
and we have seen firsthand that when you treat people different than you
the results are usually wonderful.
most fascinating thing about Gentlemen’s Agreement?
it was greenlit by 20th Century Pictures head honcho Darryl Zanuck who was not allowed to join a prominent Los Angeles country club
because he was Jewish.
Hollywood, at that time, was run by Jews, it was believed by some.
and indeed, many of the studio heads at that time were Jewish.
but the irony was Zanuck was Protestant.
when he saw this discrimination first hand, he was inspired to make this movie.
The film was nominated for 8 Oscars, it won three: Best Picture, Director, and Supporting Actress
Zanuck himself accepted the Oscar for Best Picture.