We Don’t Need To Get Over Slavery…Or Movies About Slavery

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In the age of “There’s no dense opinion not worth sharing,” I came across one of the most frustratingly stupid articles of all the time. The Guardian’s Orville Lloyd Douglas has officially upped the ante in his misguided and dumb essay over his exhaustion with slave narratives on the big screen along with a call for Black people – presumably Black Americans in particular — to just “get over” slavery already. Ad hominem attacks aren’t always ideal, but neither is the asinine advocation for the erasure of such an integral part of history. As irony would have it, Douglas wants Hollywood to stop making White people “feel bad about slavery,” but is peddling this nifty form of nonsense in a mainstream paper for major White consumption.

Referring to movies like the box office hit “The Butler” (pictured above) and the much-buzzed about “12 Years A Slave,” Douglas writes:

I’m convinced these Black race films are created for a White, liberal film audience to engender White guilt and make them feel bad about themselves. Regardless of your race, these films are unlikely to teach you anything you don’t already know. Frankly, why can’t Black people get over slavery? Or, at least, why doesn’t anyone want to see more contemporary portrayals of Black lives?

I, too, share the longing for more contemporary portrayals of Black lives being told on the screen. That is to say, more than the ones that require Tyler Perry donning a dress and informing some uppity, educated woman to lower her standards, get her some Jesus, and ride off in to the sunset with the blue collar supermodel-looking boyfriend the Lord just blessed her with.

But a-ha, Douglas! That’s already happening if you bothered to pay attention.

Earlier this year, the New York Times highlighted a new wave of Black films spanning a number of subject matters, including musicals, romantic comedies, social dramas, and holiday-themed comedies. Such is my issue with lamenting a point that could easily be debunked if one managed to waste precious seconds using that magic, information finding product called “Google.”

Even if that was not the case, though, that point has nothing to do with the significance of continuing on with slavery-focused films.

Would Douglas tell the Jews to get over the Holocaust and other instances of anti-Semitism? Should Americans get over their obsession with presidents like Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy? What about our past wars? Do Asians not have a right to bring greater attention to America’s own dark history of concentration camps? What about those flicks focused on the Roman Empire? Cleopatra?

You can read the remainder of this essay at NewsOne.

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