20 Years of the Craft: Why We Needed More of Rochelle

The Craft (1996) is a film that came out around the time I turned 13. A freshman in high school and firmly established as a minority within a minority in my predominantly white/European immigrant working-class suburb right outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was a painful observation. I was constantly confronting micro-aggressions about what kind of Black person I was supposed to be, and wasn’t, from all of my peers. I was the weirdo. And I found myself socializing with other weirdo’s who were the pop culture nerds, especially those who liked genre films and TV (The X-Files and Buffy The Vampire Slayer consumed my life for many years) as much as I did.

But my racial difference only highlighted the rise of a reaction that one particular friend, in retrospect I realize wasn’t much of one, consistently searched for from me. As if my nerdiness, introvertedness and his incomprehension that I didn’t fit his concept of a Black person was a code to crack. It was twenty years ago and I still remember this high school hallway conversation all too vividly. He just had to tell me about the Black girl in this new movie called The Craft. And how Rochelle (the Black girl, played by Rachel True) was told by Laura Lizzie (Christine Taylor) after she bravely confronts her as the victim of Laura’s harassment that she doesn’t like “negroids.” Instead of being observantly taken aback, he dished this unwanted spoiler with delight and amusement. As if blatant racism, fictional or not, was something to laugh about.

I don’t know what I expected from a 13 year old white guy. I don’t know why I even remained casually friendly with him. But I do remember not finding it as chuckle inducing as he did. And I additionally remember my silence. Because I couldn’t quite find the words at such a young age so quickly, not to express being offended (I wasn’t), but to question why this particular scene I just had to know about, and maybe even reprimand his emotional immaturity and insensitivity.

It was one of those moments where I knew I would never fit in. Anywhere. I would always be the weirdo.

Read More – 20 Years of the Craft: Why We Needed More of Rochelle – Graveyard Shift Sisters

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