Nat Turner's Rebellion

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The Birth of a Nation, Nate Parker’s Sundance darling period piece about the deadliest slave insurrection in American history, was purchased by Fox Searchlight on early Tuesday morning for $17.5 million. It was the largest deal in Sundance history, and coverage immediately suggested that The Birth of a Nation will function as some way through which the Academy can make up for this year’s diversity debacle. Nat Turner’s Rebellion is a fascinating story, an important one, and an under-examined one. Nate Parker struggled for years to get the project made, and I have no doubt that—as with almost any film rooted in a black experience or with a mostly black cast—it was a frequently frustrating fight. I will certainly be buying a ticket to see The …show more content…

However, it really smacks of an opportunity to assuage what apparently is a deep emotional burden of being white and having benefited from white supremacy. How nice, that a white viewer can feel good about themselves for shedding a tear during Amistad. As much as I’d like them to, I think it’s clear by 2016 that films about slavery do not help us become a more tolerant or understanding society. I have no doubt that there exists a white person who loved 12 Years A Slave and who also thinks Donald Trump makes some good …show more content…

The disproportionate attention paid to movies about slavery or the Civil Right’s Movement also helps to strengthen the misguided notion that those were the only “bad times” for black people in America. Aren’t we proud of black people for getting through that? It’s a condescending and severely limited lesson. Despite attempts to sanitize the history of slavery, most Americans do know slavery was A Bad Thing; we understand the resilience of black Americans, if only because we’re still here. When will we get anything more complex, or more

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