“A man with the Bible in one hand and a whip in the other will use the Bible to justify the whip.”
American slavery Hollywood style
By Alan Bean
Dexter Gabriel thinks Americans have a hard time conducting a public discussion on the subject of slavery, so we ask Hollywood to address the subject on our behalf. Because most movie-goers are white, however, we get films that never take the subject further or deeper than white America is willing to go.
Consider the fact that, prior to the 1960s, depictions of slavery in American cinema were unabashedly positive. Now that tells you something about the white American psyche!
This year, two high-profile Hollywood films, ‘Lincoln’ and ‘Django Unchained’, address the slavery issue in ways which, predictably, leave America looking pretty damn good. At least we have advanced from the days when slavery was rendered positively, but Gabriel thinks we’ve got a long way to go.
This analysis is pretty much on target. There are plenty of objective scholarly treatments of slavery, of course, but they are generally read by scholars and a handful of justice activists. If you want the non-Hollywood take on slavery check out this piece in Colorlines. (more…)