Skip to main content

Night Owls
Noah Berlatsky at The Atlantic writes 12 Years a Slave: Yet Another Oscar-Nominated 'White Savior' Story:

A few weeks back, I noted that there are not many movies about slavery. Given that, though, the list of slavery films that have been real contenders come Academy Award season has been surprisingly large. Besides 12 Years a Slave, which won a Golden Globe for Best Picture of the Year (Drama) on Sunday night and yesterday received nine Oscar nominations including one for Best Picture, films recognized in major categories on Oscar night over the past 30 years include Glory, (1989, Best Supporting Actor award), Amistad (1998, Best Supporting Actor nomination), Lincoln (2012, Best Actor award), and Django Unchained (2012, Best Supporting Actor award, Best Original Screenplay award).

Despite the number of films, though, there's a relative paucity of thematic range. All of these critically acclaimed films use variations on a single narrative: Black people are oppressed by bad white people. They achieve freedom through the offices of good white people. Happy ending.

The stridency of the “white savior” narrative varies a good deal from film to film. Lincoln treats black people mostly as props who provide significant glances and strategic reminders of What This Is All For while strings swell and Daniel Day-Lewis (Best Actor!) flexes his cheeks in an excess of folksy, canny, oleaginous self-regard as LincolnDjango and Glory, meanwhile, both figure their white saviors as military enablers, teaching black men to self-actualize through violence, and thereby free themselves (Django) or their people (Glory). 12 Years A Slave drops its Brad Pitt-ex-machina in only at the end, focusing instead—refreshingly—on Solomon Northup's own struggles and resilience.

The white savior in 12 Years probably wouldn't be off-putting at all except for the fact that, in Daniel José Older's words, "Did we really need yet another white savior narrative?" As it is, in the context of Hollywood, Northup's stunned/numb gratitude at the end of the film tends to blur into a montage of other teary-eyed black actors gazing with awe and wonder at the surprising, over-determined nobility of some white actor or other.

I've seen Brad Pitt's role in 12 Years defended on the grounds that Northup was in fact aided, and saved, by a white man. That's certainly true. It's also true that Lincoln did a great deal to end slavery. And it's true that white men worked to free Africans in the Amistad case, and that Colonel Robert Shaw bravely fought side by side with black troops during the Civil War. I'd even argue (as I did here) that white people need to see stories about anti-racist whites, both as inspiration and as an exercise in humility. (If Shaw is the standard for principled resistance to racism, I know I, at least, don't measure up.) But when every major film representation of slavery hinges on venerating the noble sacrifices of honorable whites—well, let's just say that as a challenge to white supremacy, it leaves something to be desired. […]


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2012Kirsten Gillibrand trying to have her cake, and eat it too, on PIPA:

On Wednesday, as Republican lawmakers abandoned SOPA and PIPA in droves, Democrats clung desperately to the legislation demanded by their entertainment industry donors. Among the most vocal defenders of the dangerous internet-censorship bill was New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who posted on her Facebook page:

Thank you for all your messages regarding Protect IP. I agree there are real concerns with the current legislation & I’m working to make important changes to the bill. We must work to strike a balance between ending online piracy to protect New York jobs & ensuring Internet freedom so our tech community can continue to flourish.
In other words, she was saying, "we'll keep tinkering, but I'm not abandoning this bill."

But with Republicans abandoning the bill, effectively killing it, Democrats were left holding this stinker of a bill, and inevitably, they had no choice but to start abandoning it. And today, we just heard that next week's Senate vote has been indefinitely postponed.


Tweet of the Day:

Via @RawStory: North Carolina school rewards Black student with a confederate hat http://t.co/... | #p2 #p2b
@thejoshuablog



On today's "classic" Kagro in Morning show, it's the January 18, 2013 show, and it's a good one! Greg Dworkin with more polling on guns, and evidence of a shift in intensity shifting the ground, post-Newtown. Armando joined for our interview with former Hostess bakery worker Mike Hummel, aka bluebarnstormer. Hear the details the traditional media skipped in telling the story. See today's podcast post (at the link above) for a link to Mike's short film on the whole debacle. You won't believe what the hedge funders get away with!"



High Impact Posts. Top Comments. Overnight News Digest.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Found (20+ / 0-)

    A Hoboken city councilman has revealed what appears to be a third hand report of what transpired between Mayor Zimmer (Hoboken) and Lt. Governor Guadango (New Jersey) during there conversation in May of 2013.

    Zimmer’s account was backed Monday by Hoboken City Councilman Ravinder Bhalla.
    “I recall having a conversation with her where she complained about Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno strong-arming her about advancing the Rockefeller Group’s project ... and how she thought it was inappropriate,” he said. “That was in June of last year.”
    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/...

    I had not heard of this before I ran across it on the net.
    If properly vetted and found to be true, it could end up becoming one more shoe to drop from what seems to be coming a centipede.

    After 65 years, the ONLY thing I know absolutely and positively about life is that the check is SUPPOSED to be in the mail. That's it. Nothing else. PERIOD.

    by franklyn on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 08:33:04 PM PST

  •  994,336 registered users on dKos now. (20+ / 0-)

    Here are the 10 newest registered users on dKos.  Hope to see their comments and diaries here soon!  (If they're not spammers.)

    irving levine
    cheapresume3 (user #994,328: spammer)
    Jells12
    JayJay777
    CSOwens
    callmekate
    Joebo121 (user #994,333: already banned)
    schmata
    ddeleo1925
    worldofmattres (user #994,336: spammer)


    And since our society is obsessed with numbers that end in a lot of zeros as milestones, here's a special shoutout to users:
    #994,100: liberalguy
    #994,200: Transdef
    #994,300: KT22

    We've added 252 more users in the last 24 hours.  We're no longer being flooded with all those fake users, though it seems there's been a recent rash of increase in spammers.


    And for your Diary Rescue music pleasure, here's Weird Al Yankovic's "If That Isn't Love".

    •  Welcome new users (11+ / 0-)

      I look forward to your contributions in writing, commenting, recommending and activism.


      Libertarianism is something that most people grow out of, not unlike, say, hay fever or asthma. Bob Johnson

      by randallt on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 08:42:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Once more unto the breach (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pluto, kaliope, adigal, JeffW

      I've been here about 2 weeks now as an op-ed diarist (my own designation) as I wanted to get back to writing.  Since I suffer from insomnia and having overseas friends, I sometimes pick things up in the middle of the night here in middle America, which can be interesting to watch the next day when people here wake up.  I have already had a flame war ignite on a diary, been called an anti-feminist, I use big words and been told I worry about water and grammar too much. I have been guilty of pimping my diary, sorry but I hate reiterating myself. Reminds me of my days as a copy editor in paste up (ask your grandpa) and trying to tighten a column to a page.  Opa Kos!

      ~Arianna_Editrix-- I willingly accept Cassandra’s fate, To speak the truth, altho’ believ’d too late

      by Arianna Editrix on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 10:01:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Loved paste up and the people there. Spent many (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW

        frantic minutes trying to make stories fit. Moving periods and other tiny, tiny punctuation marks was especially fun. And remember when, despite the best efforts, a paragraph was slightly askew when it was finally printed? Or a sentence doesn't end? My husband would ask how that happens and I'd just laugh. If you've never been there in the final minutes before deadline you'll never understand.

        Lots more jobs in those days, too. My small paper went from about a dozen paste-up people to maybe two overseeing the whole paginated deal.

    •  almost a million (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kaliope

      before someone picked "KT22".  I'm astounded.

      I'm still mad about Nixon.

      by J Orygun on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 10:27:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  i spose 'er real name is Katie and she's 22... (0+ / 0-)

        but I'm really hoping she's a young guy who didn't get that...

        Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings. —Nelson Mandela

        by kaliope on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 02:18:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Okay. It's about time to check (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Simplify, kaliope, JeffW

      …the Diary List tonight to see who my Corliss boyfriend is, and listen to him whisper sweet nothings about Steam Engines.

  •  Today I changed my sig (13+ / 0-)

    and I explain why in "Teachers teach. Well-trained teachers teach better. Great teachers change lives." which I invite you to read

    peace

    "Teachers teach. Well-trained teachers teach better. Great teachers change lives." - David Greene, from "Doing the Right Thing: A Teacher Speaks"

    by teacherken on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 08:34:57 PM PST

  •  How about a Haiti film? (10+ / 0-)

    Has there been one? The only successful slave rebellion... ever?

    There probably isn't a market for a film about Haiti, i suspect.

    •  actually, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bartcopfan

      I'd probably go to that.  I'm only vaguely familiar with the event at all.  I'd really like to understand how Haiti became Haiti.  Something sure went wrong.

      I'm still mad about Nixon.

      by J Orygun on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 10:28:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Google is your friend rather than rely on a (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bartcopfan

        dramatic presentation with all license they tend to bring to historical stories.

        I'm certain there are many more accurate telling of this event online.

        It’s the Supreme Court, stupid! Followed by: It's always the Supreme Court! Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

        by auapplemac on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 01:41:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  My understanding is that, to no small extent (0+ / 0-)
        I'd really like to understand how Haiti became Haiti.  Something sure went wrong.
        pro-slavery US presidents executed vengeful foreign policies against them, to undercut their becoming a self-sufficient nation and thus a positive example of black self-governance (esp. in the Western Hemisphere).

        While I agree w/ auapplemac that dramatic presentations are usually a poor substitute for history, I'd also assert that they may be the only exposure some historic events get before a wider (granted, self-selected) audience.

        "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

        by bartcopfan on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 08:11:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  new to the left-hand sidebar ? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, randallt, Jeff Y, Eric Nelson

    or am i "that" old ... ?

    how long has it been there !??!

    Addington's perpwalk? TRAILHEAD of accountability for Bush-2 Crimes. @Hugh: There is no Article II power which says the Executive can violate the Constitution.

    by greenbird on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 08:35:38 PM PST

  •  Hopefully someone who's good at diary writing (14+ / 0-)

    will pick this up and run with it

    I'm terrible at writing diaries, but this definitely needs more eyeballs.

    Alabama's Corrupt Politics Strand (Liberal) Blogger In Jail -- Indefinitely:

    Alabama has been transformed into Karl Roveistan, a country where it is not safe to be liberal or a Democrat. Political prosecutions have become a normal way of life here while massive political spending and resentment politics have allowed the GOP to take over every statewide office. The “Heart of Dixie” is now entirely under the control of people who often do not seem to regard liberals and progressives as humans, let alone Americans deserving the protection of laws and a Constitution. The unlawful and illegitimate arrest of Roger Shuler is a feature of the new Alabama, not a bug, and if allowed to proceed unchecked we can expect this outrage will also become “the new normal.”

    http://crooksandliars.com/...

    “I would like to get rid of the homophobes, sexists, and racists in our audience. I know they're out there and it really bothers me.” ― Kurt Cobain

    by Jeff Y on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 08:38:04 PM PST

    •  There have ben numerous diaries on this topic and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW

      one of the standard comments is too bad but there have already been numerous diaries on this. Then some  bash Holder and Obama for leaving Bush/Rove leftovers in place  and only looking forward.  And nothing changes. Like in the movie "It's Chinatown" except now it's Alabama or Florida or Mississippi or Texas what did you expect. And everyone in the Senate is so polite so they won't call another Senator a bought and paid for representative of a racist undemocratic corporate controlled state that hasn't changed in the most basic ways since before the 14th amendment.  Does bipartisanship always result in the worst of the worst getting a pass?

      Life is just a bowl of Cherries, that stain your hands and clothes and have pits that break your teeth.

      by OHdog on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 04:46:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Chris Christie's growing scandal (11+ / 0-)

    Chris Hayes talked about it with Steve Kornacki, Howard Dean, and former state sen. Jeff Smith (D-MO).

    Rachel talked with New Jersey state assemblyman John Wisniewski (D) and Alfred Doblin.

    Lawrence talked with Steve Kornacki, Karen Finney, and E.J. Dionne.

    Ed talked with New Jersey assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D), state sen. Linda Greenstein (D), Annette Taddeo, and Mitch Ceasar.

  •  The West Virginia chemical spill (8+ / 0-)

    Chris had on Elena Schor, and Rachel also provided an update.

  •  So about that postgame interview... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jeff Y, Ender, CJB2012, a2nite

    You've probably heard about the reaction to Richard Sherman's postgame interview attacking Michael Crabtree after the Seahawks beat the 49ers yesterday.  Chris discussed this with Tara Dowdell, Dave Zirin, and Roman Oben.

    Ed talked about this with Angela Rye.

  •  MLK (6+ / 0-)

    Chris, Ed, and Lawrence all paid tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr., today.  Lawrence's, for some reason, isn't online yet, even though the other clips from his show tonight have been posted.  Might be a copyright thing because he used some video clips from King's actual speeches.

  •  Are you in the .000001214%? (6+ / 0-)

    Then you and eighty-four people like you are now wealthier than half of the rest of the planet.

  •  Other assorted MSNBC clips (6+ / 0-)

    Rachel noted that ex-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has been asking state legislators to call up the U.S. Attorney and lobby him on McDonnell's character.  The U.S. Attorney, of course, wasn't taking their calls.

    Lawrence talked with Sam Stein and Ari Melber about a Tea Party group trying to primary John Boehner out of Congress, and if this kind of pressure will mean Boehner will go ultra-right in 2014 and really stop this country from even basic functioning.

    He talked with Ronan Farrow about Obama's recent comments about marijuana.

    Ed talked with Diane Ravitch about the war on teachers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

    •  Primary Boehner out of Congress (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nellgwen, a2nite

      Seriously, does anyone actually think there's even a 1% of this happening in reality? There's a reason why party leaders rarely lose in a primary (has any actually lost?!), and it's a five letter word that begins with M and ends in Y.

      So why should Boehner care?

      "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." -Jack Layton (1950-2011)

      by Coco Usagi on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 09:44:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Listening to NPR tonight on L.A. roads, (19+ / 0-)

    I was reminded of a non-white, rarely mentioned mover and shaker. He stood up for Civil Rights, including gay rights, at a time when one could easily be shot for such courage. (A time I remember all too well - kids have no idea...)
    Even though Obama posthumously awarded him the Medal of Freedom in the recent past, few people know who Bayard Rustin is. And that kinda blows my mind.

    •  I Love You! (6+ / 0-)

      Thanks for this.  I spent most of last year explaining to people of ALL colors who "that man, the one just to the right, behind MLK on the podium....the one with the glasses......yes, him" Mr. Rustin was and how he was in the world.  The only reason he was the organizer behind the pulpit was that he was not only black but gay and out and proud of it all!

      ~Arianna_Editrix-- I willingly accept Cassandra’s fate, To speak the truth, altho’ believ’d too late

      by Arianna Editrix on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 09:49:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He was also communist and pacifist (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, 714day

        including having served time in federal prison for draft refusal. (He was raised by his Quaker grandmother near Philadelphia.) That and the gay is why many of the civil rights leaders didn't want him out front. But A. Philip Randolph, who had worked with him and knew how talented and experienced he was, basically insisted that Rustin be kept on as the March organizer.

        I wrote a profile of him for the Cobblestone issue on the March on Washington (Feb. 2013). I agree he deserves more publicity than he gets.

  •  i can't bring myself to watch The Help (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Eric Nelson, a2nite

    or Blindside or The Butler or 12 Years A Slave

    i watch the trailers and they make me throw up in my mouth

    i hate movies that show black people as zen like sufferers

    i haven't seen Amistad again because of 'give us free' and as much as i absolutely adored Lincoln, i can't watch it again, because of the fucking black zen bullshit

    i know that these filmmakers mean well, but i still can't stomach it

    now Django Unchained.  that is how you deal with our history of slavery.  you show what SHOULD have happened to those evil mother fuckers.

    fuck all of that quiet strength horseshit.  people who owned slaves should be killed, period!

    that's my 2 cents

    •  I still want to see The Butler. (5+ / 0-)

      He saved his own ass.

    •  That, of course, would mean we'd be short... (11+ / 0-)

      ...our first president and three of his four immediate successors. Plus seven later ones.

      Would you also say that anybody who drove Indians off their land at gunpoint or killed them (and their kids and grandparents) and then took their land should be killed? That includes even more presidents.

      Personally, I thought Django was crappy, but a lot of people I respect thought it was great.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 09:17:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I dunno (8+ / 0-)

      Django Unchained seemed, to me, like what white people think they would do if they had been slaves. It also comes across as what some white people are constantly afraid black people will do if they get more power. All anger and revenge. It's probably why the real stars of the movie with the best dialog are the white actors.

       In reality, like with the aftermath of what happened in 12 Years a Slave, a lot of black people took their issue to the courts. They usually failed, but they never gave up. That, to me, is far more impressive, if less satisfying, than gunning people down.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 09:49:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Melissa Harris Perry didn't care for "The Help".. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      churchylafemme, 714day

      ..either:

      ..she called it "deeply troubling," and even live-tweeted her reactions while she watched it, saying it "reduces violent racism, sexism and labor exploitation to a cat fight that can be won with cunning spunk."
      [snip]
      While Harris-Perry said she was "appalled at the gross historical inaccuracies" that she saw, she also admitted to being "deeply moved" by Davis and Spencer's performances.
      With video of Melissa Harris Perry @ link

      recced; but not the..

      people who owned slaves should be killed, period!
      ..part.

      Mostly because neither the innocent people who were born slaves nor innocent children who were born of slave owner parents made either decision

    •  The Help was great...the characters had their (0+ / 0-)

      Own ways of getting revenge. :)

      My dog is a member of Dogs Against Romney: He rides inside.

      by adigal on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 02:25:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you so much. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AntonBursch
      i hate movies that show black people as zen like sufferers
      Thank you so much for the comment.

      I thought I was alone in this. I can't thinking that 12 years is another S&M show to give people of my lack-of-color the jollies, without really changing the American culture at its present time.

      I'm jaded, I know, but I can see though a lot of bullshit.

      This is why I'm starting to hate movies more and more.

    •  Me too, can't stand the white folks saves us & the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AntonBursch

      Noble negro narratives.

      This shit makes me wanna hate white people, all white people. Every white person in America has benefited from the evils of slavery & afterwards.

      nosotros no somos estúpidos

      by a2nite on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 04:36:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  white saviors (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    auapplemac, a2nite, MPociask

    It is kind of a fact that absolute rulers need to slip up--to have a few anti establishment people--in order for power to be wrested from them.  The hero should always be the one who put the most on the line--but without turncoats, or incredible violence, power rules.  American history has never shown sustained rebellious revolt--even the Revolutionary war was fought on battlefields and not in the streets.  Without white "saviors," slavery would still be around--notice recent voting laws in NC.  Remember the Hungarian Rebellion in 1956, without Soviet puppet defectors, Russia overcame the people.

    Want a good movie--show what really must have happened, small, local rebellions, crushed, with African Americans killed--or more chillingly--sold off--a better business plan for the slave owner.  No happy ending--no victory--just heroes getting what usually happens--defeated.

    Actions speak louder than petitions.

    by melvynny on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 09:08:29 PM PST

  •  Last Snowpocalypse (February 2010) (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, JeffW, nellgwen, Pluto

     photo February82010.jpg

    How I wish we still had snow days!

    Be sure you put your feet in the right place; then stand firm. ~ Abraham Lincoln

    by noweasels on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 09:16:45 PM PST

  •  Also, Lincoln Helped End Slavery (5+ / 0-)

    I agree with this statement, the main point of the excerpt:

    But when every major film representation of slavery hinges on venerating the noble sacrifices of honorable whites—well, let's just say that as a challenge to white supremacy, it leaves something to be desired.

    But this statement:

    It's also true that Lincoln did a great deal to end slavery.

    Is one of the lamest I've read today, on Martin Luther King Day. Lincoln ended slavery. The Emancipation Proclaimation. The Civil War he finally accepted, fought and won. That ended slavery. Of course he wasn't alone - he was a president, not a supernatural messiah. But anyone who thinks Lincoln's role in ending slavery was anything less than its most important one shouldn't speak in public before learning a lot more.

    The fact is that slavery was so cruelly installed in America that only a White person, indeed many White people, could save Black people from it. Of course many others, Black and otherwise, did quite a lot, and many even gave their lives (as did Lincoln). There were also Black people who heroically cast off slavery, whether from enslavement themselves or as free people. But let's not let our reasonable interest in their stories diminish Lincoln to "also helped".

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 09:34:57 PM PST

    •  I completely disagree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite

      Lincoln had to be pushed to end slavery. The people who pushed him were primarily organized black Americans. There was a massive resistance movement in the South of former slaves both before and during the Civil War. They had way more to do with ending slavery than Lincoln did. They were the ones who convinced Lincoln that black people would enlist in the military, which is why Lincoln ultimately ended slavery in the first place. He needed soldiers and white enlistment numbers had plummeted.

      Saying that Lincoln is primarily responsible for ending slavery is like saying that Obama is primarily responsible for ending DADT or DOMA. While I think Obama played a key role in it, no way he gets most of the credit.

      Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

      by moviemeister76 on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 09:54:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  nice try, but wrong (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, MPociask

        First of all, the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery.  It only freed slaves in states who were in open rebellion.  In other words, the slaves in states Lincoln could have freed, such as Maryland, Washington DC (yes slave territory), Delaware, West Virginia, etc, were NOT freed by the emancipation proclamation.  The slaves Lincoln could not have freed, other than war contraband, who simply followed the US Army around,  were of course not freed.

        The Emancipation Proclamation was offered for two reasons.  1) Lincoln wanted to keep France and England out of the war, as they could have easily swung momentum to the South.  He wanted to make this a war about slavery, two years after the war began, to keep them out of it.  France and England did want to screw with the USA, but did not want to be on the wrong side of history.

        2) Lincoln was sick and tired of peace Democrats, Mcclellanites, and Copperheads.  He had had enough of the idea that an armistice could be had with out any major changes.  After the horrors of Antietam, Lincoln laid it on the  line.  The aims of the war were now (1863) total transformation of the South.

        The Emancipation Proclamation freed few slaves, but did  lead to eventual freedom after the war was won, and the 13th Amendment of 1865.

        Also, all respect to those colored troops who joined and fought, the best fought very well.  But Look at Grant's and Sherman's armies in 1865.  Just check them out, the rolls, and see if your argument holds water.  

        •  adendum (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MPociask, DocGonzo

          to be extra clear.  in no way am I downplaying the sacrifices of black troops who fought for the Union, far from it.   What I am doing is clearly refuting the argument that Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation because whites were no longer joining the war effort, and he needed black men to keep the war going.

          In fact, the North never lacked for men, and immigrants landed daily.  they did have draft riots and major dissension as often happens in all out war.  Many black troops were raised, up to maybe 100,000.  But at their highest point, at the end of the war, they made up no more than 10 percent of Yankees under arms, and the majority of these troops were assigned to garrison duty or other non combat roles.  

          This was still a remarkable and valued effort, but it belies the argument Lincoln "freed the slaves" because he needed troops to win the war.  Many black regiments fought in heated battle, and 18 men earned the Medal of Honor.  Talk about men who deserve a movie!

          •  If you've ever been in the military (0+ / 0-)

            Then you would know that 10% is a pretty damn big number. It also doesn't include the many blacks who never officially served out of disgust at Lincoln's refusal to do anything about the massacres, but still fought in the all-black resistance in the South. More importantly, many, many slaves (and Native Americans) had way more knowledge of the Southern areas than many of the officers in the Union Army. It was they who often acted as scouts and spies, gathering important information to take back.

            Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

            by moviemeister76 on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 08:55:19 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Yes and no (0+ / 0-)

          If you noticed, I never even addressed the Emancipation Proclamation. I know why he wrote it, and I know it freed very few slaves. What you wrote is mostly true, however, he never would have even thought he could have issued it without the push of black Americans, both former slaves and others, who had been meeting with him since the start of the Civil War, including his own servants who were part of the resistance in D.C.

          Keep in mind that this part of history rarely ever gets taught. It was certainly not something I learned in high school. In fact, history about the resistance movement in the South among runaway slaves has barely been written about until relatively recently. There was a fantastic book written about Abraham Galloway who led one pocket of the resistance and even served in the military for a while before quitting in disgust, as quite a few black soldiers ended up doing once the massacres began.

          As for white enlistment, it very much is true that towards the end of 1862 and into 1863 new, voluntary enlistments of white soldiers in the North was way down. Congress had to start the country's first draft in the Spring of 1863 because of it. That ended up in draft riots occurring in a lot of cities. In other places, white men were just fleeing to avoid it. Black men became the only reliable source of new soldiers for a while.

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 08:48:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  If He Hadn't (0+ / 0-)

        If Lincoln hadn't issued the Emancipation Proclaimation, and fought the Civil War, but rather went along (to keep the Union together, or whatever) with the status quo, he would deserve primary blame for ending slavery. Because he could have, as we saw. Therefore he deserves primary credit.

        Ending DADT or DOMA is different from ending slavery. For one, Obama didn't fight and win a Civil War to enforce it.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 04:29:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I saw 12 Years a Slave today (0+ / 0-)

      and my first reaction was anger that Lincoln fought the civil war.  He should have declared slavery ended in the United States and let the south go rot in its own cesspool.  Then we'd just have one more theocratic oil-rich plutocracy to deal with, just like the ones in the middle east.  

      I'm still mad about Nixon.

      by J Orygun on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 10:39:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Intersting take on Richard Sherman's (5+ / 0-)

    Seahawks-Niners post game comments.

    Sometimes things aren't what they appear to be.

    Richard Sherman And The Plight Of The Conquering Negro:

    It was so powerful, so raw of a reaction that Andrews needed a moment before proceeding. The league's best cornerback had made the best move of his career on the biggest play of his career to win the biggest game of his career, against an opposing wide receiver and college head coach with whom he shares not a little bad blood. This was a triumphant moment, and still to a lot of people there was something viscerally ugly about Sherman standing over a pretty blonde woman, yelling into our living rooms with an emotional mixture of joy, relief, and excitement, arrogance, and anger. Dude was turnt up.

    Millions of Americans took to their cell phones, to social media, to the bar patron next to them, to cluck at Sherman. We called him classless, a bad sportsman, a troll. We called him a monkey and a nigger. We threatened his life. We said that he set black people and race relations back 30, 50, 100 years.

    Because in that moment, Sherman—a singular kid from Compton who won both the athletic and intellectual lottery so completely, so authoritatively, that he spent three years playing on Stanford's football team at wide receiver before converting to defensive back and becoming the NFL's best at the position—was in the public eye. In that moment, whether he knew, cared, or neither, Richard Sherman, a public figure, became a proxy for the black male id.

    http://deadspin.com/...

    “I would like to get rid of the homophobes, sexists, and racists in our audience. I know they're out there and it really bothers me.” ― Kurt Cobain

    by Jeff Y on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 09:37:39 PM PST

  •  * (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jeff Y, nellgwen, Pluto

    Photobucket

    Be sure you put your feet in the right place; then stand firm. ~ Abraham Lincoln

    by noweasels on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 09:45:25 PM PST

  •  White "Saviors" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    J Orygun, Pluto, JeffW

    What you see in my face is not who I am or where I come from.  I "look" white, very white but I don't look like my mom or my siblings and they don't look white.  In fact, I've seen for myself, that my family is taken for (fill in brown ethnicity) depending on where they are, what they are doing and who they are with. They also are treated differently depending on the same things and the biases of the observer interacting with them.  I learned long ago that my mom or siblings could and would use me to ease their passage through the slings and arrows of various racists and bigots.  I am not a white savior, I am a pale stalking horse!

    ~Arianna_Editrix-- I willingly accept Cassandra’s fate, To speak the truth, altho’ believ’d too late

    by Arianna Editrix on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 10:07:20 PM PST

  •  What a spot on observation "White Savior" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nellgwen, a2nite, JeffW

    I haven't seen the movie so can't comment on anything about that, but those two words describe the republican party on nearly every level I can think of.

     In the narratives they develop for justifying a platform of privilege, a tax code of privilege.

    The war against social services.

    Suppressing the voting rights of non-white citizens.

    Denying poor women of reproductive medical services especially impacting non-white neighborhoods.

    Then hiring minorities to mouth republican themes.

    ..treats black people mostly as props..
    And electing leaders who "look the part" rather than do the job.

    Trickle down economics and corporate rule/dominance

    Like a movie hero Reagan "White Savior" they seek what they pretend to despise when not a white republican - a hero leader; an outlaw tough guy who governs as a dictator un-beholden to anyone.

    The GOP want a cartoon character as their leader - imo

  •  White On White Savior (0+ / 0-)

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 11:06:40 PM PST

  •  The House has only 100 more working days this year (8+ / 0-)

    Boehner and Cantor scheduled only 112 working days in Washington this year for the House of Representatives. They had about 10 do nothing days already before they took their current 10 day vacation. My point is we pay these assholes $175,000 a year and they give themselves 8 months of vacation time. the leadership is BS. And they claim $300 dollars a week to support an unemployed head of a household is too much. I am sorry but this is an outrage and should piss off every hard working American.

    If we lie to the government, it's a felony...but if they lie to us it's politics.

    by rmb on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 11:30:51 PM PST

  •  The reason I didn't watch "12 years." (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ishmaelbychoice, a2nite

    I am a newbie Liberal. I wasn't raised a Liberal, nor do I live in a Blue state (though I live in a blue town-- sometimes).

    So tell me if I am way off the mark here.

    Movies like 12-years just cause whites (like me) to cry-me-a-river, but then we leave the theater and nothing changes. They are designed to win trophies at award time, and get a lotta stars.

    They do nothing to change the current state of affairs, interactions between "races", cultures or religions, or promote any social justice whatsoever.

    Anybody who didn't know the history of slavery and all it atrocities before watching 12-years is an idiot, and catering to idiots is like casting pearls before swine. Anybody who can't empathize with another group before seeing a graphic movie about their mistreatment is also an idiot, or a sociopath. Common sense would tell you that being a slave, regardless of whether it's in the "Old World" or the "New World", sucks, and individually being at the mercy of the whims of another person is a terrifying situation that no person should be in.

    I roll my eyes whenever these kinds of movies play on my TV screen, because they have the stink of Hollywood all over them with their closeups and extreme closeups of white men with moist and misty eyes and the stereotypical dialogue of everybody, including slaves,  involved in these events. Our movies about Native Americans, however, is much, much, much worse. Our movies about Nazi Germany are slightly better, only because we aren't trying to cover our rear end when we write them from the American point of view.

    One is better off listening to the lyrics of Hip Hop, or even tuning into Fox News occasionally to see their high-tech lynching of the First Black President of the United States if they want to be enlightened about race relations in America.

    Is that off base?

  •  I hear ya Meteor Blades (0+ / 0-)

    History can often get in the the way of a clean, uplifting story.  See, considering the pervasive racism in the nation at that time. And that the majority white population ran everything,  it would be hard to find a story of a black man who fought his confinement and won, without at least some white acquiescence.

    Maybe if you found solace in the fact that many whites considered the black man equal, and even risked their own standing in society to help him be free, then the concern would wane a bit?

  •  An obvious question for Hollywood (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, MPociask, JeffW

    When will someone make a film about the life of Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth or Harriet Tubman?

    Nothing human is alien to me.

    by WB Reeves on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 03:30:44 AM PST

  •  Instead of discussing Christie! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, JeffW

    We should be discussing, analyzing and learning from the social and political phenomenon that is apparent here.

    He was "annointed" by the back room money boys (esp Rove's donors.) He scrapes every sign of a controversial policy off his website, waffles on every issue in the state, vetoes bills he suggested, and loses weight. Every media source is calling him "likely candidate." (From whom did they get that information.)

    More importantly, because he is the "likely candidate" Dems in the state roll over in fear. He gets re-elected by a huge majority because they are scared silly of him.

    Then one person says "The Emperor has no clothes." Then the next...then the next...drip, drip, drip.

    What we should be discussing is why New Jersey Dems fell for that shuck and jive to begin with.

  •  "white saviors" (0+ / 0-)

    kind of what I think of some progressives sometimes.

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility

    by terrypinder on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 04:42:25 AM PST

  •  A fellow I knew who liked to tell stories and (0+ / 0-)

    jokes said he was an extra in a movie where the Indians and the cowboys were in a battle. The first shot was fired and all of the Indians fell off their horses. The scene went way over budget.

    Now they have the 2nd (safety net for sloppy) Amendment, and can't be infringed to actually treat their gun like a gun and not a video game controller.

    by 88kathy on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 04:43:47 AM PST

  •  The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (0+ / 0-)

    The best 'black' movie ever made. No white savior.

    The best scene is the Traveling All-Stars marching through town to advertise their game. When they march through the white part of town they are a raggedy poor bunch. When they get to the black town they are transformed into major athletes.

    It's done with music and acting. It was one of the greatest scenes I have ever watched.

    Now they have the 2nd (safety net for sloppy) Amendment, and can't be infringed to actually treat their gun like a gun and not a video game controller.

    by 88kathy on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 04:52:30 AM PST

  •  More "white saviour" narrative movies (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bartcopfan, cmoreNC

    Amazing Grace and Amistad.

    Marcus Reddiker's new book on Amistad helpfully refocusses the narrative not on John Quincy Adams (the star of the movie), but on the Mende leaders of the rebellion, and the ways in which it was shaped and facilitated by Mende spiritual and cultural traditions.

    I haven't read Solomon Northrup's memoir on which the movie was based, but Henry Louis Gates was the historical consultant for the film, and I assume that the story of how he eventually got released is more or less accurate. For many enslaved Africans, getting free took a combination of enormous courage, savvy, persistence, and yes, a helping hand from the outside, which was sometimes a white hand. I don't have a problem with recognizing that -- it's like the "righteous Gentiles" who hid Jews during WWII, or forged visas, or whatever they could. And for me (white, straight) it's a reminder of how important allies can be -- not as the main story, but in that critical moment, it matters.

  •  FWIW, I DON'T see these as White Saviors. (0+ / 0-)
    I've seen Brad Pitt's role in 12 Years defended on the grounds that Northup was in fact aided, and saved, by a white man. That's certainly true. It's also true that Lincoln did a great deal to end slavery. And it's true that white men worked to free Africans in the Amistad case, and that Colonel Robert Shaw bravely fought side by side with black troops during the Civil War. I'd even argue (as I did here) that white people need to see stories about anti-racist whites, both as inspiration and as an exercise in humility. (If Shaw is the standard for principled resistance to racism, I know I, at least, don't measure up.) But when every major film representation of slavery hinges on venerating the noble sacrifices of honorable whites—well, let's just say that as a challenge to white supremacy, it leaves something to be desired. […]
    I think rugbymom says it very well above, "...it's a reminder of how important allies can be..." and I take these types of movies as a challenge to, wherever possible, be that ally.  FWIW, I'd also add "Cry Freedom", "The Help", and "The Butler" to this list of movies.

    As a Unitarian Universalist (UU), I am proud and stand in awe of my forebears' legacy, including Col. Shaw, Viola Liuzzo, and the Rev. James Reeb, all of whom lost their lives in support of black human rights.  But I never think for a moment that they "gave" or "got" blacks their rights (or even that they would have thought that).  

    For me, rights inhere in human beings (as referenced in our beautifully-written, but very imperfectly-applied Declaration of Independence--though I have strong doubts about the "Creator") and all we can do is accept or reject that.  It's very analogous to global warming--not a belief as in religion, but an acceptance or rejection of the science.  

    Other humans have rights (as do I) and I (as do we all) have to choose whether to accept that notion and behave accordingly, or not.

    "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

    by bartcopfan on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 08:02:51 AM PST

  •  White heros (0+ / 0-)

    I know the word used here was saviors but I don't think that truly fits.  Slavery and oppression of blacks was something that was started in Africa by blacks that sold their countrymen to whites who sold those blacks into slavery in America.  Slavery became not only accepted here but became a way of life.  It was wrong and in America, it was totally controlled and maintained by whites.  So, stories about black heroes in this dark period in our country just aren't readily available.  There was no real chance for blacks to be heroes.  They'd be killed if they tried.  Yes, there were the Rosa Parks and the Greensboro 4 and Martin Luther King, Jr.  And, there have been many, many films made about them.  But, blacks got out of slavery and gained freedom and gained social acceptance and equality almost entirely because of whites that stood against huge odds and a large majority white population that were against them.  They were heroes without a doubt and should be lauded for their actions.  We need many more influential, strong-minded white people today to do what these white people did in our sordid past.  

    Blacks make up 12% of the population.  They have no real power except that we now have a majority of our white populace in America that are wanting equality for them.  It is not easy to discuss and saying things like this can be cherry-picked to make it look like there are racist remarks here.  But, that is not true and we all should be proud of our white citizens that stand and stood the line in our history for black equality and those that have done so bringing about better lives for our African American citizens should be called heroes.  

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site