Tragedy and Reality: When The American Dream Becomes A Nightmare
By April Byrd on July 25, 2012
Even though we want to be living the dream, sometimes it takes a nightmare to wake us up. I literally just woke up from a nightmare but it wasn't really a nightmare it played out like a movie. It was actually based on a movie I had actually seen before I guess in my head it was an extended updated version. I say it wasn't really a nightmare because it was subtle, but the underlying concept was one thing I fear the most: Ignorance.
Societal ignorance was in this film I dreamed. It wasn't blatant or apparent. In the film I thought I was actually being entertained. It was grittier than Boyz in the Hood, Way grittier. It was real. Some of the scenes we're actually from a movie I've seen before but I can't remember the name of it, because I was just about seven years old when I was watching it.
There was gangbanging, hate, malicious killing. It was so real and I was there paying witness to it, apart of the live action the whole time, but I was the unnoticed witness. It was their world I just happened to be in it. In the opening scene the main character was upset. He held the majority of his opposing gang members hostage, in what looked like a garage. In transition to the next scene the setting went from a south central atmosphere to a neighborhood I know very well.
In the following scenes, A man pleading for his life was shot and there was robbery. The old rich couple next door that didn't care about the situation and mocked the ignorance of the young men are the people whose house was robbed. In the middle of the robbery when one of the thugs opened the couples closet the young black boy who had been in their hiding arose, stating he was ready to join. The thug said fine, gave the boy a machine gun almost the size of Him and in that moment the boy's heart hardened, his eyes grew dim, and he lost all his innocence.
At this point I woke up with a saddened heart and assessed that the movie I had just watched was in fact a nightmare. What happens when people, especially the youth of our country are overtaken by ignorance? How sad it is to see unused potential, and a self-derived ignorance that affects the whole country.
This dream was one of the most unique ones I've ever had, but the movies we watch everyday reflect the same image of violence and killing. The thought that I was being entertained watching this made me think of the recent tragedy in Colorado. In that movie theater didn't the audience think that the violence was actually apart of the movie. It's no coincidence that the line between fiction and the reality was so easily blurred. We see images like this all the time where violence and killing is part of the entertainment.
Even at a young age kids are exposed to this, kids as young as infants. With the rise of the Super-hero, comic book turned movie age we are seeing even more action packed violence. The things we watch affect our perception as adults how much more as a child? As kids feign a virtual life with video games like Red Dead Redemption, Grand Theft Auto and a host of others how can we not expect the crime rates in real life to increase. If violence is used for entertainment, it's easy to get lost in the balance.
Everyone is aware of the violence in movies and video games, but "hey it's reality" and "It's been around for centuries" "what can you do about it", these are the sentiments that cause us to become unnoticed witnesses, to watch and not speak up and to think simulated violence is ok. It's often we who haven't engaged who are the problem. The ones who haven't spoken up because of fear, The ones who are afraid to engage life are apart of the bigger problem. We must understand that the world is ours and we're not just apart of it. We have the power to make a significant difference, we have the ability to live and fight for the environment of excellence we aim for.
When we do "make it big" it's easy to look down or look away from the ignorance that's happening around us. We are empowered to care not look away from what we can help. The rich citizens next door who turn there noses up at the disparity in the poorer neighborhoods are also contributors to the problem. If you can do something to help and you don't then you are gonna be robbed anyway and you're robbing yourself most of all.
Violence for entertainment does make it easier for young men and women to choose violence as a life choice over authentic success. I'm not fully exclaiming the loss of a generation, but definitely the faulty transformation of a nation. The original dream of America was freedom, freedom for life without condemnation. Now the goal has been maligned and abused. There are too many alternative lifestyles. In the confusion of morals and righteousness with judgment and condemnation there are too many newly widened roads that dispel what's right.
I guess even though we want to be living the dream, sometimes it takes a nightmare to wake us up.