Ever see one of those made-for-TV movies about sweet and kindly black folks that portrays a grandchild seeking guidance and wisdom from wizened old grandparents? Usually, of course, because the grandchild’s parents work too hard doing honest labor for long hours to spend much time with him. You know, as dock workers or waitresses or taxi drivers or Hollywood’s favorite: maids for cold-hearted White folks. You know the movie I mean. The one with the racist teacher or grocery store owner who says mean things and does some sneaky cowardly thing that the black family overcomes with iron integrity?
“Grandmama” is often portrayed as an especially loving and kind-hearted old sage out to see that “that chile do the right thang.” She came up in the South, you see, and has lessons about pride and duty and morality to teach little Freddie. You know, like when she marches down and snatches Freddie away from that craps game because “decent folks just doesn’t do that”?
Yeah, me too. I’ve seen it. About three thousand times in one form or another.