“Sometimes, the greatest safety can be found in taking the right risk. Whether it be an individual, a community or a country, when faced with tragedy or fearful uncertainty, we either become bigger and enter life more fully, or else we accept a diminished life and resign ourselves to a smaller way of being.”Michael Meade
By: Gabriela Yareliz
We watched The Banker on Apple TV, today. I don’t do dramas well. I was sitting there, holding my breath, wondering what would go wrong at every turn. It was based on true events, after all. Don’t expect a fairytale there.
This whole post is a spoiler– you have been warned.
SPOILER ALERT: It was a film about two brilliant men (black entrepreneurs) who hire a white factory worker to partner with them and be the face of their real estate deals, as this takes place in the 60s in the US. They were determined to get paid for their talent; they did things legally in a time of rampant discrimination and at the same time opened doors for others and invested back into their own community. They become the nation’s two first African American bankers. Joe was experienced and distrustful; Bernard was an idealist and as Joe calls him– a “revolutionary.”
I think the most impactful part of the film is at the end, where they are about to be imprisoned for something they did not do. They could have lied and gone along with a political agenda that would have saved their butts (the white men around them urged them to go this route), but instead, they chose to speak truth to power, even though they had everything to lose (and did). They lost a lot personally, but their courage impacted an entire nation.
When Bernard Garrett testifies, we don’t know what will happen in the film. But he does the right thing. The truthful thing.
“Mr. Chairman, our nation’s founding documents declare that all men are created equal, and endeavor to create a society where citizens receive the equal protection of our laws. It’s a noble goal. But we all know, for many citizens it’s a lie.”Bernard Garrett
As I watched this final scene– it sent chills up my spine. I believe it was three years later that the Fair Housing Act was passed– which changed so much for so many Americans. What is my point in giving you this final scene of this film? It blows my mind how we continue to celebrate these true heroes who sacrificed so much for equality, and yet we continue to design laws and regulations that discriminate against so many, even today, in real time. We are arrogant and petty little bastards who have lost all sense of decency, honor and brotherhood.
We live in a time when so many are losing their livelihoods and rights. Right now– under the governments of our time. This is especially ironic and sad when this country’s foundational documents remain the same. A beacon of light that enshrine a freedom and equal opportunity that make remarkable stories like these possible. This film was a reminder that while some may seem idealistic and out of touch with reality because of the risks they take and how they pursue their ideals– what this idealism does is it fuels a revolutionary spirit that effects real change. Change that makes things possible.
A revolutionary: sees the world as it should be and fights for that; is selfless enough to guarantee freedom and opportunity for all; has unbeatable work ethic; speaks truth to power; stands up when he/she is told to sit down; refuses to be used as a puppet in empty agendas; refuses coercion for personal gain; is generous and gives back to the community; lives with integrity, even when it comes with personal loss; and is often on a solitary road. Is a Christian called to anything less?
“Even a rigged game’s fun to play.”Joe Morris
Real change never comes without sacrifice, without integrity, and without going against the grain. As we see in the day-to-day of our reality, perhaps it is the human fate to never understand this, but as shown in The Banker, only the few greats do.