‘The Grace Card’ shows way to defeat racism
SAN DIEGO — Actor Louis Gossett Jr. is doing his part to cure the “cancer” of racism.
“Racism is a cancer, and we have to get it out of our systems,” the 74-year-old told The Southern Cross, newspaper of the San Diego Diocese, in a phone interview. “We have it in our systems even when we don’t know we have it, and (we have to) do some self-examination and get better, especially (because) our children are watching.”
Gossett hopes his new film, “The Grace Card,” will provide viewers with an opportunity to look inside themselves and perhaps reevaluate some of their perceptions.
The unabashedly Christian film, released in theaters Feb. 25, is the story of two police officers – one white, one black – who overcome a strong mutual dislike and ultimately become friends.
“They really don’t like one another, and they have to ... work together, and the miracle happens,” Gossett said, summarizing the plot without giving away specific details. “The miracle comes with a changing of attitudes, and slowly but surely, they are almost conditioned to rely on one another because of certain things that happen. ... That’s a gift of grace.”
In “The Grace Card,” Gossett plays Wright’s grandfather George, also a minister, who listens to the young pastor/policeman’s concerns and imparts some wisdom. The film’s title comes from a story that Gossett’s character tells about the friendship between his own grandfather, Wendle P. Wright, and a wealthy cotton farmer.
Gossett has had a distinguished career as an actor, winning an Emmy for his performance as Fiddler in the epic miniseries “Roots” (1977), as well as an Academy Award for his portrayal of drill instructor Sgt. Emil Foley in 1982’s “An Officer and a Gentleman.” These days, he said, his primary motivation in life is his desire to impart important messages to the next generation.
For Gossett, the message of “The Grace Card” dovetails nicely with the mission of the Eracism Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization he founded in January 2006.
Over the years, Gossett said, he has learned that “you don’t directly combat racism. You just change the thinking and the lifestyle, so it doesn’t live so long.”
“We’ve come a long way, and we have a long way to go,” he said, reflecting on the current state of race relations in America. But an end to racism “could happen overnight” if people – after the manner of the film’s characters – choose to “play the grace card.”
CNS: A-II (adults and adolescents), MPAA: PG-13
-- Denis Grasska, Catholic News Service
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FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy