Microaggression

In the center of university politics marred in deep microagression, a mixed race progressive female student falls in love with the president of the college’s conservative student organization.

Screenplay by Alan Nafzger (98 pages)

The screenplay, set on a university campus, begins with a street brawl between minority and white students.

We cannot always choose who we love and even those against whom we fight or those who have done us a “micro-wrong” can become unbelievably attractive for us. Sarah (pronounced SayrUh) falls for a genuinely nice guy; however he is seen by her friends as the leader of the enemy. And in turn, Wyatt is attracted to Sarah.

One cause of Sarah’s attraction is that we often find powerful people attractive. Wyatt has a excellent command of language and persuasion and probably will have a political career. Perhaps Sarah is reminded of her father, but clearly Sarah would like to be powerful too. Sarah welcomes Wyatt’s attention while witnessing increasing microagression on campus.

Sarah’s attraction also harks to childhood, where she sought to gain the love of classmate as a succour against her mother’s poverty. This deep association with childhood emotions makes this situation touch unknown chords in the characters that lets such the university story move us in unexpected ways.

Sarah’s friend is an African American student. Marquis is a hater and wants to punish Sarah for her betrayal. Marquis in this situation has a difficult dilemma. He is supposed to be on the same side as Sarah, yet Sarah is not acting as if she is on the same side. Is the Sarah an enemy or a friend?

The setting of this film is the “micro-racial” relations on campus.

“You shouldn’t have gone alone!” — In response to Sarah telling a close male friend of mine a bad experience I had with sexual harassment during a doctors appointment.

“Are you sure you have the right room number? This is the *honors* section.”

One chemistry teacher is in shock when Sarah gets a 103% on an exam; however, she wasn’t shocked when two white kids did well.

Marquis is standing in the cafeteria of a major academic building wearing shirt, tie, and the same white lab coat that all the school classmates wear. An older white lady taps him on the shoulder and asked “Excuse me do you work here? I’m trying to find the soups…”

Sitting in a library at school, we hear an African American student laughing a little loudly… followed by a white student saying, “Yo Shaq, shut up!”

“We won’t achieve equality unless we learn how to take a joke.” – a white student says hinting that black people are socialists, are hypersensitive and can’t take a joke.

“You all sound educated”

After purchasing some items in a story, Sarah walks to the elevator to leave where a middle aged white woman is waiting as well. As she stands for the elevators, Sarah watchs her look at her and she takes her purse from her shoulder and places it cross-bodied across her chest.

“I’m probably such a racist, but a black man dressed as Santa is just wrong”

“Racism is only a problem now because minorities continue to think they’re oppressed.”

Sarah is at a bar with several friends when she is approached by a white guy who tells her she is beautiful and asks what her nationality is. Sarah tells him him she is African-American and he asked, “But what are you mixed with? Who is white? Your mom or your dad?” This makes Sarah feel angry and sad. She tries to explain to Wyatt how, to some people, black people must be mixed or biracial to be attractive.

Some micro-aggressions are manufactured by the campus liberal leaders to foster an atmosphere of victimization. One morning, on a television show, there is a segment on foods from around the world. They highlighted one specific food item from each place. Some of the places named: India, Scotland, and Africa. One minority student remarks, “I hope I’m not the only one who finds this problematic.”

“You have access to birth control pills now. That doesn’t give you an excuse to sleep around.” Sarah’s roommate goes to a male gynecologist. She is nineteen and is taking the pill to regulate her period. She is not sexually active, and she has given no indication as to her sexual orientation. She is enraged.

Sarah convinces Wyatt to go to a basketball game with her (he detests sports, but a mutual friend was playing). Sarah buys the tickets at the door, handing the lady a twenty and asking, “two students, please!” The lady said, “I hope you aren’t buying his ticket.” Sarah tries to laugh, “I did make him come with me!” The lady replied, “Well I guess that’s okay, honey. I was gonna tell you to dump him if he made you pay.” They go to the seats, Wyatt is uncomfortably silent and Sarah is cussing the lady profusely.

“Sorry , that must be my Black coming out.”

In the library, after seeing I had check out a copy Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, Sarah’s professor gives her a strange look. But he smiles and he says “Great, really, feminism? Just don’t start getting pissed every time a guy tries to open the door for you. Guys aren’t going to want to date a girl like that.” Wyatt quips, “I will.”

While on Sarah’s bicycle waiting for the light to turn green, a couple of guys on the corner are hissing at her asking for my number. She ignores them. Then one of them said “she’s acting like she’s white.” Sarah later phones a friend (an African American) to tell her the story. Her friend says, “you act like a white person, the way you dress, the way you talk, If I didn’t know you and heard you over the phone I’d think you were white.” Sarah follows up with “I’m sorry, what does a white person sound like vs. other people?” She says, “you speak all proper, you don’t talk or do things black girls do. I can’t say it no other way than that so you can’t be mad about it if someone calls you white.”

FILM SUMMARY — Sarah and Wyatt could be a very nice couple. Their emotions are genuine. However, on this particular campus with Sarah hearing (sensitive) all the slights and with Wyatt oblivious (deaf) to it all, any true romance is difficult. Sarah must reach Wyatt. And Sarah must understand some of what are called “microagressions” are manufactured for political purposes.

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