April 12, 2013

In My Opinion: Shaping the American identity

What an interesting time to be an American, especially considering the construction of the American identity.

For example, the controversy over the word “nigger” in the movie “Django Unchained” is ridiculous. How could it be overused in a film that depicted an era where whites in power could say and do whatever they wanted to their property? Even whites without power could improve their status by saying what they deemed necessary to avoid being at the bottom of the barrel.

In defense of black identity, Spike Lee must realize that if he is truly an admirer of Martin Luther King Jr. then Dr. King’s adage “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” must be considered relative to his challenges of Quentin Tarantino’s usage of the word in Django.

Spike claims that Tarantino, as a non-black, has no right to use language that often disparages black people, even if it is historically accurate. However, Lee, as a male, must realize that he can’t logically avoid applying the same rationale to his own projects. To avoid hypocrisy, he couldn’t excessively use the word “bitch” in any of his films, right?

From my perspective, the only controversy justified around “Django” was the timing of its release in light of the Newtown tragedy.

Campbell Brown’s April 3 Wall Street Journal article challenging President Obama about the pass he has given Hollywood film violence while chastising the National Rifle Association speaks truth to power.

The necessary conversation can’t just be about the NRA’s role in contesting gun control. If America is to create a culture where our children are safe, everyone must be present.

Obama’s identity as the first social-justice president is in jeopardy. He must challenge Hollywood’s power brokers or leave them looking like Wayne LaPierre and other soulless politicians selfishly trying to spin what just can’t be spun to hold onto their constituencies or jobs. It just can’t be about the box office on this one.

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