colored boy is in the background?” and “Does this mean he gets the
family discount at Taco Bell?” It is here that she realizes how racially
ignorant and blind her friends are, and she disassociates herself from her
own previously held perceptions of white superiority. Leigh Anne
realizes that she used to be just like her friends, oblivious to her privilege
and uncritical of how her wealthy, white social group viewed black
people as less deserving, dangerous, and stupid. It is not until one friend
“names her kindness as some sort of white guilt thing” that Leigh Anne
and viewers understand that she is not changing Michael’s life by
providing him with a huge house, a good education, and a loving family
but that it is Michael who is changing her life. Michael is redeeming
Leigh Anne of her white privilege, and it is in this moment that her
blind side is lifted.
While accepting Michael might save Leigh Anne from her
prejudices within her family, it is not until she becomes his coach,
however, that her character is truly spared. In one of the most
memorable scenes in the film, Leigh Anne disruptively stops football
practice because Coach Cotton is failing to teach Michael how to block
properly and, instead, is just yelling at him. Cotton’s message is not
getting through, and Michael is only getting even more confused; the
coach’s only strategy to deal with Michael’s confusion is to say the exact
same thing repeatedly but louder each time. Michael’s inability to
quickly pick up football, a game that he has no previous experience
with, is surprising to Coach Cotton, who believes that because he
should be good at sports simply because Michael is a large, black man.
What the coach does not understand is that by believing in the
stereotype that all black men are good at sports, he is blocking his ability
to communicate with Michael what he needs from him on the field.
Michael does not lack athletic ability, but he needs to understand his
role on the team. Coach Cotton has a blind side, however, and it is his
inability to see Michael as more than his physicality.
Leigh Anne is able to recognize the problem because she has
already been saved, and she steps in to show Coach Cotton that he must
acknowledge then forget his racial preconceptions so that he can
109
Previous Page Next Page