I’m going to watch “The Blind Side” tonight. I’ve seen it a few times over the years, and it’s not my favorite “football-as-a-metaphor-for-humanity” movie (that goes, and must always go, to “Brian’s Song,”) but it’s a feel-good reminder of the miracles that happen when we pay attention. 

Quick summary: Michael Oher, a talented but homeless black teen is adopted by a white family in Tennessee that gives him a home, a place at their Thanksgiving table, and a chance at football glory. Yes, it’s somewhat fictionalized in the “Natalie Wood Was Not Puerto Rican” Hollywood way. It might have smoothed out the inconvenient edges and details that took away from the overall Disney glow. It went for the heart instead of the more discerning mind. But it was, overall, a great film based on a great book by Michael Lewis which was itself based in fact

The movie made millions. It made so many Americans, desperate for proof of the thing that we know is true-that love transcends race-feel justified in our optimism. It showed the jaundiced and cynical race critics up for being the cannibals who feed off of human imperfection that they really are. It was, simply, a nice film about nice people that had a nice and believable ending.

Enter Michael Oher, the former homeless teen with a drug addict mother and a trash bag filled with clothes turned Super Bowl winning Baltimore Raven. Oher has now declared that the Touheys, the family that gave him a home and hope, tricked and defrauded him. Worse than that, he says they never cared for him but rather had an eye on the money they could make from his obvious natural athletic talent. In a lawsuit filed earlier this month, Oher accuses the Touheys of never sharing the proceeds from the book and the film. Much more insidiously, he accuses them of lying to him about being “adopted” when what they had actually obtained was a conservatorship over him, similar to the one controlling Brittany Spears.

At first glance, this seems off. If Oher was deceived into believing he was adopted and wasn’t, and if this resulted in a financial windfall for the Touheys with no equal benefit to Oher, this clearly suggests that he was being taken advantage of. But that’s not the case.

For all intents and purposes, Oher was the Touhey’s son. He lived with them, not on a couch but in his own room, ate with them, went on trips with them, was financially supported by them and his success on the gridiron was in large part made possible by their mentorship. They were his biggest cheerleaders. His mother, with whom he seems to have to have reconnected as an adult, did none of these things. And he’s not suing her for abandonment or neglect.

As for the money, Michael Lewis has come out and stated that everything was equally divided up among the Touheys and Oher, and that a trust fund was set up for him. So far, that has not been credibly disputed.

This is a sad situation. It reminds me of Colin Kaepernick rejecting his adoptive white patents during the BLM moment, even going so far as to imply that they were racist. It seems quite similar to what Oher is doing, trying to make it seem as if this opportunistic white family took advantage of this black teen. Let’s examine that theory. Is it likely that one day, Leigh Ann Touhey sees black classmate of her daughter and says “he’s homeless and poor with a neglectful mother, let me take him in, give him a home, tutor him so he can graduate, take him on college tours, help him get an athletic scholarship and shower him with love just so that a few years from now Sandra Bullock can win an Oscar playing me?”

If you think that’s plausible, I have land in Florida that used to belong to Disney to sell you.

I cannot get away from the idea that this is about race, and the constant attempts to pit one group of people against another. I’m sure Michael Oher knows what he’s doing, and shame on him.

But I also think he’s being used by the race baiters out there who never saw a trumped-up bigotry conflict they didn’t love to exploit.

On second thought, I think I’ll skip the Blind Side and watch Brian’s Song for the millionth time. That’s much more reflective of the potential we humans have to love each other, from the color blind side.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and lifelong Philadelphian. @flowerlady61

13 thoughts on “Christine Flowers: Michael Oher is the one with the ‘Blind Side.’”

  1. B. L. Crump and co. are certain to be behind this or at least a mentored firm of theirs. They have made a fortune by way of their BLM enterprise.

  2. Christine Flowers is chomping at the bit making this about race so she can whip up some ugly division when this lawsuit not about race at all. Michael Oher claims the Tuohy’s received millions from Hollywood with their story about him and he received nothing. I’ll let the court decide this case. However, this is not a race issue even through Flowers is desperately trying to make it one. Colin Kaeperick is very close to his parents. He said in an interview his mother didn’t always understand race issues. He wanted to wear cornrows which is a traditional African hairstyle. His mother told him it looked “unprofessional”. She just didn’t understand at the time that this hurt his feelings because he was embracing his heritage. He wasn’t calling his mother a “racist”. More useless division from Christine. She thrives on division.

      1. Thank you for admitting you wrote your little essay to stoke racial division. This has nothing to do with race. Michael Oher is not “threatening” anyone. He has every right to sue in court if he feels everyone got money on his story but him. Maybe he’s wrong, maybe he’s right. Again, this is not about race. Please stop with this nonsense of pitting races against each other. I know you want attention, but that’s so harmful in our society.

        1. Again, deflection. I’m fine with personal attacks. It’s the natural reaction of those with shallow arguments. Saying “it’s not about race” when it is indeed about race, based on an ungrateful young man’s rejection of the affluent family that gave him a life, is an expected narrative from those who believe that crying victim is effective and must be accepted. It’s the same line of attack of those who call Atticus Finch a “white savior.” No problem, I expected this boilerplate “you’re a racist Christine” reply.

          1. Shallow arguments? Like you making this all about race when race has nothing to do with this story? Stop being so harmful to our society. You contribute nothing positive or productive.

  3. Christine as usual, has her version of absolute truth before we know the whole story and without having any personal connection to the facts. There is no nuance in Christine’s world. Only black and white (pun intended.) There is also zero chance of her revising her opinion no matter what new facts come to light. The only thing worse than a willfully hateful person is a willfully hateful person who refuses to learn. But then… Christine has the unmitigated gall to write about the “potential we humans have to love each other.” I can just imagine her smirking as she closes her laptop after writing that ridiculous line as even SHE would realize the irony in that

  4. I’m not sure if the Toughy family took advantage of Michael Oher at all but they have certainly been lying to the public for all these years. They have claimed all over the place that he is their adopted son and that is an outright lie. I don’t know if they have been doing it for financial gain or just to make themselves look like heroes but it’s definitely suspicious.

  5. Christine,

    Apparently, some of the people who commented above, including Sara, did not read Michael’s autobiography “I Beat the Odds” where, on three different occasions, he mentions the fact that the Tuohys had obtained a “conservatorship” over him in part because a formal adoption would have required the termination of his mother’s parental rights. By Michael’s own admissions, his claim that the Tuohys lied by claiming that they had “adopted” him is frivolous.

    And for those who think that race has nothing to do with Michael’s lawsuit, I cannot think of another instance where Hollywood made a movie about a white family who adopted a white child who then went on to have a moderately successful college football career and play in the NFL. In other words, if Michael were white, very few people in this world would ever have heard of him.

  6. Jerry,
    You are correct. Get yourself as fit and prepared for combat as possible. You cannot convince a religious zealot to acknowledge any certain rational thoughts. So instead prepare yourself for rigorous trials and understand that AI drones can search for you. Yes, it reads crazy and alarmist. God is in everyone’s heart. That is the only reason we treat people the way you want to be treated. Vote. Violence is not the answer. Discipline helps you and the voting process is the only thing that will keep us on square footing. If anarchy and chaos descend, then the U.S. dollar will become worthless.

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