The Oscars as an event represents the failed obsession in the U.S. with celebrities, but it also has become a powerful and disturbing window into how too often those with the most power are unable to address race except in terms of centering whiteness.
Once I challenged Green Book on social media, several white people rushed to support the film, often, they argued, because it includes excellent acting.
My essential claim, however, was expressed as the following:
Green Book centers whiteness to appear to care about blackness, as a condition of caring about blackness.
Black Panther centers blackness.
This isn’t about being perfect on race but about a fundamental difference.
I also must note that the same white people who rush to support Green Book also embraced equally racially flawed films such as The Help and The Blind Side (see also Radio and Driving Miss Daisy).
Embracing uncritically Green Book and rejecting criticism of the film are the result of “white fragility,” as Robin DiAngelo explains:
White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium. Racial stress results from an interruption to what is racially familiar. These interruptions can take a variety of forms and come from a range of sources, including:…
- Being presented with information about other racial groups through, for example, movies in which people of color drive the action but are not in stereotypical roles, or multicultural education (challenge to white centrality).
White savior narratives and framing the value in blackness only in relationship to whiteness are, disturbingly, the essence of Hollywood “diversity and inclusion.” 
How many white people claiming quality acting in Green Book also rushed to support the Netflix series Luke Cage, also well-acted, notably by Mahershala Ali?
Or Black Panther?
Luke Cage and Black Panther center blackness, mostly resisting to suggest these narratives mattered only in relationship to whiteness.
Blackness must not be rendered invisible or unspeakable, but allowing blackness to be seen and spoken only if and when whiteness acknowledges it is not the providence of celebration, not any real sort of advancement.
Green Book is essentially a film version of Columbus claiming he discovered a land already inhabited by native peoples, erasing them and their narratives, their history and destiny.
I offer here a reader, primarily for white readers of this blog, and ask that those of us who are white learn to listen and see (actually re-see) the world without centering our whiteness.
- How ‘Green Book’ And The Hollywood Machine Swallowed Donald Shirley Whole
- “Carry your Green Book with you. You may need it.”
- Green Book’s Oscar shows Hollywood still doesn’t get race | Joseph Harker
- Oscars 2019: ‘Green Book’ is the worst best picture winner since ‘Crash’
- Ruth and the Green Book
- [Review] Ruth and the Green Book (Zinn Education Project)
- Check out The Green Book: Guide to Freedom via @SmithsonianChan
- History of the Green Book: Ways to Explore the Schomburg Center’s Collection of Victor Hugo Green’s Green Books
- ‘Green Book’ – Not our story; his-story, their fiction
- What Hollywood Keeps Getting Wrong About Race
- “Green Book” Was Made to Make White People Feel Good About Themselves
 Or as well the garbled cultural appropriation fetish, such as Whiplash.
To Kill a Mockingbird, White Saviors, and the Paradox of Obama and Race