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Problematic Positives


April 3, 2022 by mcclainwa

This brief scene in which a man defines the term, positive racism, in the film, “The Education of Auma Obama”, is a perfect example of how the director Branwen Okpako inserts pertinent information into her film through cuts. Immediately following this scene is another in which Auma Obama is speaking during a news interview about these topics without saying the term outright. Throughout the film Okpako uses this kind of editing to tell a very concise and fast story without losing any of its meaning or confusing the audience. This interview, unlike the following scene, is much more relaxed. It is a medium shot of a single individual off-set from the center of the screen. The speaker is relaxed, leaning on a table, and his expression is contemplative but as well relaxed. It feels less like the speaker is trying to show superiority in a debate and much more like he is trying to help the audience understand a systemic problem. The following interview of Auma immediately has a debate-like feel when Auma is only trying to get her point across while the other panelists are attacking her very well thought out and eloquently explained observation. In this scene the speaker doesn’t need to give examples of ‘positive racism’ as many are in the background in clear view. It is obvious this is a staged showing of positive racism in all types of media, not only film but in music and text. The whole scene itself is a quick and effective way to define a term the audience is probably unfamiliar with but with the scene it is easily explained and exemplified in the set dressing. This scene and many like it are throughout the movie, edited masterfully together to help teach the audience a few well needed lessons.



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