I Am Not Sidney Porter

Mmmm Sidney Poitier.....

Mmmm Sidney Poitier…..

Perhaps more than any other actor my Mother is a fan of Sidney Poitier. Once, when we were kids, we were playing a game in which you received three clues and needed to guess what they had in common. We were playing this game in the family room after dinner and my mother was in the kitchen doing dishes. Mom is not exactly hard-of-hearing, but she often had trouble understanding us if we tried speaking to her from another room- especially if she was engaged in a noisy task like doing the dishes.

Back in the family room we read the clues off the card:

  • He was the man who came to dinner.
  • He was a defiant one.
  • He was sent love and addressed as “Sir”.

None of us had a chance to respond: from the other room came Mom’s gleeful cry:


Impressed that she had even been able to hear the clues we called back:

“I guess you’re not so deaf after all!”

To which she replied:


So when I saw a book called “I Am Not Sidney Poitier” I naturally had to read it for my mother’s sake. I had no expectations of it, which is good because it was nothing like I might have expected, but I was glad for my erstwhile introduction to the films of Sidney Poitier thanks to Mom’s enthusiasm and I expect that I will see all of them differently from now on.

So without further ado:

The Beer: Smoked Porter by Stone Brewing Company

The Book: “I Am Not Sidney Poitier” by Percival Everett

The Blog:

“These people hate me” I said.

“What people?”

“Maggie’s parents. I heard them talking through the vent, and all they could talk about was my color.”

“Your color? what about it?” I could hear Guinness leaning back and lighting his cigar.

“They think I’m too dark.”

“Too dark for what?”

“For them. For their daughter.”

“What, do you want me to fly up there so that we can present a dark wall of solidarity?”

“And then they found out that I’m rich, and now that’s all they care about.”

“You’re rich? How rich are you, Mr Porter?”

“Very rich.”

“And worldly and dark and smooth and complex. I say you sit back and have some fun at their expense. I just want you to remember one little thing though.”

“What’s that?”

“You are a bit on the dark side. Coffee and chocolate. Rich chocolate. Not that I care, but a fact is a fact.”

“What are you saying?”

“When have you ever known me to say anything? Well, anything that matters? Listen, just remember that you are a go-to food compliment. You pair effortlessly with everything from peanut butter and banana sandwiches to braised pork belly to apple pie. But if they can’t accept you for who you are and not what you look like… well, just remember that nothing puts you at an advantage like knowing what someone is thinking when they don’t know you know what they’re thinking. Do you know what I’m telling you?”

I paused and thought for a second. “You’re telling me to give them hell?”

“That’s right.”

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on August 7, 2013.

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