Driving Miss Daisy syndrome

In Driving Miss Daisy, a black man serves a wealthy white woman for many years. Her sense of class entitlement softens over time; her sense of racial division as well. She treats him as an inferior, but in a "classy" way. You almost never see him at home, where surely nobody treats him that way. That part of his life must be silenced in order for us to see the white women with enough sympathy to endure the long wait for her to improve her attitudes. If we saw him treated decently half the time, at home, say, she would be, for viewers, insufferable. That part of his life must be silenced for the story to continue in the way they are planning on telling it. Once you notice the silence, the absence, you as a viewer are entitled to substantial doubts about the sympathies that the piece is trying to evoke in you. You should probably resist. You should maybe walk out of the theater. Asking who gets to speak and who is silent is a powerful way to resist a book, a movie, a presidential candidate, a political party.

Last built: Sun, Feb 23, 2014 at 10:53 AM

By Ken Smith, Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 3:55 PM.