Otis Sanford: Orpheum’s ‘Gone With the Wind’ decision is proof attitudes are changing

MEMPHIS, Tenn. —  Hats off to elected officials in Germantown and the people who operate the Orpheum Theater in Downtown Memphis. Both groups made largely symbolic, but meaningful decisions in recent days that showed a level of sensitivity on the issue of race.

On Monday evening, the Germantown Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a resolution  that basically puts the city on record as being opposed to hate, extremism and bigotry. Three of the five aldermen voted in favor of the resolution while two of them abstained, arguing that the measure is too broad and could inhibit freedom of speech.

The resolution is non-binding and allows Germantown Mayor Mike Palazzolo to join with some 300 other mayors across the country in a worthy initiative to combat racism, bigotry and extremism. The recent violence in Virginia is proof that local elected leaders need to speak out against hate.

In addition, officials at the Orpheum made an equally bold statement by deciding to no longer show the movie "Gone With the Wind" as part of its summer film series. The classic movie presents offensive depictions of African-American while glorifying plantation life in the south. Dropping the film was criticized on social media, but the decision is another encouraging sign that attitudes are changing, and racism, hate and oppression are becoming unwelcome sights in America.