The Rashomon Effect was a fixture of 70’s sitcoms, recently revived as life imitating art in the current distraction de jour, the Henry Louis Gates, Jr. v. Cambridge Police Dept. debacle. Inspired by the Kurosawa film of varying, often opposing memories of the same seminal event, it admonishes of the innate fallibility of human memory and perspective. This key insight into the human condition underlies the reality, and should mitigate the hype surrounding this latest iteration of the tired-but-true cultural trope: We really haven’t come that far in race relations since the Civil Rights era.
No one knows what really happened on that New England July afternoon, including the parties to the conflict. Intentions count