Sunday, October 20, 2013

Follow The Money & Resources Trail, Part 3: “12 Years A Slave” — Who Benefits? Primarily Outsiders Who Are NOT African-American Women

Let me emphasize that: Reasonable minds can differ about who benefits from this movie. Nevertheless, I agree with what one commenter had to say in response to a recent post over at Acts of Faith in Love and Life.

I don't really trust Black men married to white women to truly tell "our story". They always somehow, someway let white women off the hook for their role and actions during slavery/racism/Jim Crow/segregation, etc. Somehow, they always manage to make them "more sympathetic" or "not as bad" as the white man in the story. In this movie "12 Years A Slave", I hear the excuse given to the white woman (as implied through her portrayal) is that her evil is simply because she's hurt and angry at her philandering husband, who regularly slips into the slave quarters and takes advantage of Patsey. For these reasons alone, I will not be seeing the movie.

My opinion has nothing to do with being against IR - people can marry who they want - but I just notice that Black men are quick to point out the evils of white men's historic past, but give a pass to white women. I heard alot of hate and belly-aching over Rachel Jeantea for being an "embarrassing" witness during the Trayvon Martin trial, but crickets towards the majority white female jury who let a cold-blooded killer off.
. . . I hear you, i'm just wary. Yes, I have done my best to work on projects that focus on helping Black girls change their outcomes to the positive. But no, I have not yet seen the movie. I don't see how seeing a movie will affect that change in any way. I would like to wait and read a review of the movie from a trusted source before I give my money to it, or most any other movie out of a Hollywood that is known to be extremely biased and prejudicial against Black women - no matter that a Director may be Black. . . .

I feel what this commenter is saying. I also DON’T trust “Black men married to white women to truly tell ‘our story’” as African-Americans. I especially don’t trust Black men—particularly BM who are hooked up with nonblack women—to tell 3-dimensional, human stories concerning Black women. Black men’s track record of creating anti-BW trash while simultaneously lifting up the image of nonblack women speaks for itself. Based on their long-term track record, BM creatives don’t deserve any benefit of the doubt.

Let’s see . . . who benefits if this movie—which is a dramatization of an African-American man’s autobiographical experience of being kidnapped into living in slavery with other African-Americans—is financially successful?

Who makes money and reaps other benefits from this movie about historical African-Americans?
Director Steve McQueen benefits. Mr. McQueen is a foreign Black person, and not African-American (AA). Here’s a photo of Mr. McQueen with his wife and daughter.

Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor benefits. Mr. Ejiofor is a foreign Black person, and not African-American (AA). Here’s a photo of Mr. Ejiofor and his current girlfriend, Sari Mercer.

Actress Lupita Nyong'o benefits. Ms. Nyong'o is a foreign Black person, and not African-American (AA).
As I glance down the cast list for this movie, I see some AA actresses, but the top names being lifted up in connection with this movie about a historical African-American person belong to either foreign Blacks or White actors and actresses. The AA cast members get to be bit players in a movie about their own ethnic group’s history. {sarcasm on} Great, just great. {sarcasm off}

There used to be a time when I thought it was automatically a good thing for more truthful stories to be told about slavery and other forms of oppression that AAs have endured. I don’t feel that way anymore. Because, unlike the strategic use that Jewish people make of their own Holocaust history, AAs misuse—and allow outsiders to profit from misusing—AA history.

Jewish people use TV movies and films about their Holocaust as political weapons to advance their group interests: (1) To cast themselves as perpetual victims in the public mind. And (2) to subtly delegitimize any criticism of the activities of modern-day Jewish people. These Holocaust movies reinforce the image of Jewish people as victims; not the reality of how there are disproportionate numbers of Jewish people exercising ownership and control of Hollywood companies, news media companies, financial institutions, and the professions (including higher education).

This Holocaust-based victim image is reinforced by American public schools. In American public schools, children are required to learn more about the Jewish Holocaust that took place overseas in Europe than any of the home-grown holocausts that this nation was built on (such as slavery, Jim Crow, and the genocide of the Native Americans). In summary, Holocaust movies serve to advance the collective political interests of Jewish people. Which is just fine. I don't fault other people for looking out for their own group's interests. It's not outsiders' fault that AAs are too gullible to do the same.
By contrast, AAs have consistently failed to make any strategic use of these slavery films. Traditionally, these movies are pain pornography that brings no benefit to AAs. Modern-day, new school AAs have allowed these slave movies to become outright cartoons and jokes in which negro slave consumers pay outsiders big money to be disrespected. Such as the D’Jango Unchained mess—negro slave consumers paid that WM director big money to verbally assault them non-stop with the n-word.

I’m beginning to feel that since AA directors, actors, actresses, and consumers are opening the door wider and wider for the total disrespect and misuse of our history,* it’s probably safest that we don’t have any more movies about slavery. [*For example, Russell Simmon’s Harriet Tubman sex tape parody.]
Let me repeat: Reasonable minds can differ about who benefits from this movie (and about who benefits the most from this movie). I’m delighted that (thanks to the BWE social justice movement) there’s been enough consciousness-raising among AA women that we can even have the sorts of online conversations that are taking place these days. Such as the recent conversation HERE. It's wonderful that we're learning to ask common sense questions about the pros and cons of the various media images of AA women. Instead of blindly supporting anything  that features Black faces (including supporting poison that runs BW's image through the mud).

My bottom line is that this slave flick “12 Years A Slave” is not doing anything to benefit ME or other AA women like ME.
Non-AA outsiders have the top spots in this flick.

Non-AA outsiders will reap the lion’s share of the money and career boosts that come from this flick (which is an adaptation of an AA person's autobiography). Several of these non-AA outsiders, such as the foreign BM director and foreign BM star, are hooked up with WW who will ultimately benefit from these two foreign BM’s money.
For any AA woman consumer to take the position that AA women should actively support this flick because it’s presumably of better quality than the vile cartoon trash like D’Jango Unchained still doesn’t answer the questions that I feel AA women need to ask before they plunk down their money:

“What’s in it for ME as an AA woman?”
“Who benefits if I financially support this movie/TV show/album/etc.?”

“Weighing everything involved in this particular project, does financially supporting an AA actress in this particular movie/TV show serve overall to cut my throat as an AA woman?”
“Weighing everything involved in this particular project, who benefits the most from this particular movie/TV show, etc.? Is it AA women like ME or is it SOMEBODY ELSE?”

These are some nuanced questions. Nuanced questions that go beyond the Pavlov’s  dogs-type response of “Black faces = something I automatically must support.”
I’ll also note that non-AA Black folks tend to be better at keeping track of their own ethnic group’s overall interests. They don’t feel the need to pretend to be blind when it comes to taking note of tribe or ethnicity. HERE'S a small example from a Nigerian forum.

A few AA actresses appear to be getting a few supporting cast crumbs from this particular movie. But when you weigh the entire situation, this adds up to non-AA outsiders reaping THE LION'S SHARE of the material and career benefits of this flick (which is an adaptation of an AA person's autobiography). I can't support that.

As a people, we're allowing ourselves to be erased and/or replaced. Even down to allowing outsiders to tell our historical stories in place of us.

Like I said, reasonable minds can differ. But I don't support this.