October 25, 2013, - 2:05 pm
“12 Years a Slave,” in movie theaters today, is yet another movie about which I had mixed emotions. It’s an interesting story, the main character is a fine, admirable, and incredibly courageous man, and it’s based on a true story. But it appears to have been made for pure propaganda purposes, especially when we see what’s going on today in a culture that Solomon Northup–this movie’s protagonist–would probably abhor. But race-baiting is hip in our Obama/Kanye world.
Those who’ve looked into its historical accuracy say that this movie hews quite closely to the book of the same name, written by Solomon Northup, a free man from New York, who was kidnapped and sold into slavery for 12 years. However, the New York Times reports that many believe Northup embellished his story to tailor it to the former slave narrative from the time. It also reports that Northup’s book appears to have actually been written (and story embellished) by a White abolitionist with an agenda. We might have a hint of the movie’s own agenda when we note that one of the movie’s consultants is Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, Jr. (the man who accused the Cambridge police officer of being “raaaaacist!” for arresting him–and then they both had a beer with Obama, after he said the police “acted stupidly”).
My beef with this movie is that it was heavy-handed, and I feel like I’m being hit over the head with repeated two-by-fours of racism movies, when we have a Black President, Black reparations (affirmative action, minority set-asides, ObamaPhones, ObamaCare, welfare, etc.). This is like the fifth or sixth racism movie we’ve been subjected to this year, and that’s too bad, because this was probably the best by far of all of them . . . and the most honest in terms of historical accuracy and truth (maybe–read the New York Times link above).
There was the Jackie Robinson movie, which left out that he was a lifelong Republican (read my review), the lying, fraudulent “The Butler” movie (read my review), which made the Republican butler into some sort of anti-Reagan crusader he never was, a Nelson Mandela movie (or two), a Winnie Mandela movie (or two), and this. Those are the ones I can remember off the top of my head, and I’ve heard enough N-words uttered in these movies to last me several lifetimes. Ditto for the White on Black violence depicted over and over and over again. Yes, slavery happened, and racism is a part of American history. It is actually still practiced today in the Muslim world, and where are the movies about that?
But when will we see the movies about the current state of racism: Black racism against White people which I feel quite often, living as a White minority in a Black suburb where I grew up? (Just last night, two Black women at a movie theater threatened to beat and kill me, with the Black and White managers laughing at the racially-motivated incident and threatening to lock me up in the theater.) Where is the movie about murder for “Jogging While White” and assorted other racist crimes that occur every day in 2013 and don’t fit Hollywood’s preferred narrative on racism? When are we going to see the movies about how Black America itself has introduced a culture whose music (hip-hop/rap) and lifestyle encourages many fatherless children born to many women–with many of those children growing up hopeless, involved in drugs, and likely to commit crimes, especially if they are male?
These racism movies only serve to make Black Americans feel like they are still being oppressed, despite what they have achieved and who is Prez and so on. The movies only motivate more Black racism against the rest of us in America. There is nothing to resolve now, as far as issues present in this movie. That is the past. Slavery is long over. Sadly, I’ve spoken with many Blacks who still think they are slaves in America 2013, who still blame racism for everything that happens or doesn’t happen to them. Victimhood sells. Or Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would be outta business. And Barack Obama would not be President.
I’m sure I’ll get the usual retorts from some readers that there are plenty of Holocaust movies, too, and I don’t get sick of those. Um, wrong. I reviewed just one Holocaust-related movie this year. And it was a documentary about Israelis who remained friends with Nazis after the War, despite the Holocaust. That’s something new. And the thing is–despite my maternal grandparents having survived the Holocaust, most of both sides of my family being wiped out in it, and my mother being born and subjected to a displaced persons camp in Bergen Belsen–I don’t ask for ObamaPhones, special treatment in university admissions and public hiring, welfare, and minority set-asides. And that’s despite the fact that the Holocaust was recent. Slavery happened long ago. While anti-Semitism is at its highest levels since the Holocaust, racism is at its lowest levels in White America. In fact, both anti-Semitism and racism–in poll after poll–are embraced most by one group: Black Americans. And the anti-Semitism is higher among wealthier, more educated Blacks.
But I digress. Now to the movie.
I cannot disregard the excellent acting by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays Solomon Northup, the free man who was sold into 12 years of slavery. Ejiofor, it should be noted, was born to Nigerian parents. So, none of his ancestors were victims of slavery in America. Northup was educated and a classical musician who played violin. He was upper class among free Black men and White ones, as well. I’m glad the movie shows that he did have White friends and allies (from New York) who were involved, after all, in freeing him from slavery. Unfortunately, that is a tiny, almost afterthought in the film. The one really good, anti-slavery man (Brad Pitt) is a Canadian.
We see Northup tricked by two men who say they perform in a circus and have a business opportunity for Northup to play in it. Instead, he was drugged, and wakes up in chains, and no one believes that he’s a free man. We see the indignities he must suffer as a slave, and the horrible things that happen. I could have done without the masturbation/sex scene at the beginning with another slave. Was this really necessary? We see the repeated violence against and torture of slaves. We see the disgusting things they are forced to do, sexually, as minstrels, as laborers, and otherwise. None of this is new. (Nor is the fact that there were free Black men in America at the time of slavery.) And it is depicted very forcefully.
The things I liked most about this movie are the smart things Solomon Northup did, such as making ink from blackberries, so he could secretly try to contact his family and friends in the North to seek his freedom. It reminds us that once Black Americans did value education and brilliance, and they taught themselves without affirmative action, set asides, favorable treatment, and the drug that is entitlements. There wasn’t much emphasis on this in the movie. And it reminded me, also, that there aren’t enough movies about the positive things educated Blacks have done, such as George Washington Carver’s many inventions, or the many Western towns developed and established by Blacks. Those movies would be inspirational. This just inspires more hate.
I hope this is the last of this kind of movie I’ll see. But I know it won’t be. As I said, America–particularly the minority “civil rights” community–loves victimhood. That’s what sells tickets. That’s America’s mentality today.
Gimme, gimme, gimme, you crackaz. I deserve it because, 150 years ago, a free man of my complexion was enslaved.
To me, that was the point of this movie. There can be no other.
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