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10 Thoughts About “The Birth Of A Nation”

Fox Searchlight Pictures

 

[***If you’ve read any articles about this movie, there are no spoilers. Also, Nat Turner dies at the end. That is also not a spoiler.***]

Last night, I saw The Birth Of A Nation (BOAN), the story of slave revot leader Nat Turner, helmed in every part by Nate Parker of Peak Fuckboy fame. For that reason, I was on the fence about seeing it but the truth is I wanted to see the movie as Nat Turner has always been a subject of immense fascination to me (I was one of the folks rocking Nat Turner University t-shirts back in the 1990s), and I also wanted to be able to talk about the movie. I figure that with all of the well-earned negative press Nate Parker is getting, especially in Black circles, at some point, talking about the actual movie would need to happen. Of course, it comes out nationally on Friday, October 7th, so I imagine the discussion would shift then, but if I had to wait until then, I’d have had to pay to see it.

I rebel against paying for movies.

1. I was somewhat disappointed in this movie. Here’s why: Because of all of the early press and the record setting $17.5 million price tag attached, I actually thought we might be getting a game-changing movie. The fact that it was about Nat Turner was icing on the cake to me. Despite the negative press, I went into the MOVIE with fairly high expectations, and they weren’t met, almost anywhere. Don’t read that as it’s a bad movie; it’s not. It’s just not the movie I expected. I was looking for a movie with significant depth into the psyche of a man who struck the fear of God into white America with God at his side in the 1800s.

I expected a galvanizing movie, especially amidst the times we live in. I expected to be moved in a way that I was moved at 12 Years A Slave, except moreso because this time we fight back. 12 Years was a movie so jarring that I truly hope to never see it again. I could watch BOAN again, and not with any type of “gotchabitch” towards overseers like in say, Django Unchained, but just as a movie about man who had too much. Not that I’d watch it over and over, but it just didn’t have an emotional impact on me the way I expected.

2. I often find it hard to reconcile how kid gloves soft we treat some of these white savior slave owners in these movies. BOAN features more “somewhat good whites” slavers whose moral dissonance was on display in a sympathetic manner. There’s nothing like seeing the white slaver being nice-ish and actively being uncomfortable with treatment of other slaves…while being a slaver himself because economics. I just don’t really buy the “some of these folks were good people at heart trapped in a time where the social order of things dictated a racial violence hierarchy.” Those white folks were trash. Plain and simple.

3. This movie was nowhere near as graphic as I expected. I don’t know if I’m desensitized to depictions of violence, but I expected to see blood everywhere and I didn’t. I even thought that the two instances of rape mentioned in articles I’ve read would be uncomfortable. But that’s because I expected actual violence. I realize they could be triggering as presented, I just expected them to be aggressive, and not implied. You know it happened, but we were treated to the before and the after. We were spared the violent actions of them. The Roots remake was more graphic. To be clear, I’m not saying that I wanted to see those things, what I am saying is that I’ve read articles speaking of those scenes, and specifically of Gabrielle Union and how she handled it given her history, and well, I was just surprised. Even the killing scenes were fairly tame. I’m not saying it was The Chronicles of Narnia, but definitely not as much gore as one might expect of a movie depicting a slave revolt where babies were killed and it was all done with knives, axes, and mallets.

4. If not for the negative press, I feel like Nate Parker would win the Best Actor award at the Oscars. He put his entire ass into this acting role. I realize that nobody cares, and that’s fair. I’m just pointing out what seem like facts. It almost seems like he truly prepared his entire acting life for this role and movie. The Academy isn’t exactly full of people looking to make a point or statement, so I imagine Nate Parker will be nominated but I’d be very, very surprised if he were to win. I’d also imagine the boos and backlash would be swift and Twitterific.

5. Despite what I said about being somewhat disappointed, it’s a well done movie. Great care was taken in several arenas with the directing. Parker clearly cares a great deal about this movie and how it was presented. Damn shame he didn’t feel that way about his own presentation. Sometimes I feel like Chris Brown is his PR manager.

6. I feel like they took some fairly substantial liberties with parts of the movie, namely Nat Turner as a person. It’s been a while since I read The Confessions of Nat Turner, and it is entirely possible that the account of Nat Turner could be entirely fabricated, but they made this version of him seem a bit, warmer and less religiously fanatical that I’ve always thought him to be. Yes, he was a preacher and had been deemed a prophet at an early age, but he seemed more…normal? I’m not sure what the right term is. My predilection towards Nat was always one of a man motivated by God and principle, purely. He wasn’t a man of many luxuries or emotions. Also, the entirety of the movie takes place with Nat Turner being the property of Samuel Turner, whereas historically, Samuel Turner died and Nat and his family were separated and sold to separate slaveowners. For the sake of the movie, I guess those details aren’t AS important as the message, but it was noteworthy. Similarly, his capture doesn’t align with his own words. Again, assuming what was told to his lawyer was presented fairly and I guess it doesn’t change the story. Just noticeable.

7. I’m not sure where I stand on how “important” this movie is. It’s important in that exists and the more narratives we have the better and a movie about Nat Turner definitely matters to me. I’m not against further slave movies because there are millions of stories gone untold. I understand why others might not want to see anymore though. However, this movie was framed as being of significant importance, especially given our current climate, and I’m not sure the execution managed those expectations. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t Red Tails, a cinematic failure on every possible level and levels I didn’t know existed. But part of BOAN’s import was in its flashpoint harnessing of the rage of a people who had had enough and with God as their witness, reached the end of their rope. Except I don’t think you’d see this movie and feel ready to rise up. I was more emotional after watching Rosewood. I honestly think that the greatest legacy of this movie will be in its title. Clearly on purpose, from here on out, searching for Birth Of A Nation is likely to yield this movie as opposed to the 1915 racist movie of the same name. Fuckboy shenanigans aside, that is a win.

8. You know how when you go to see slave movies and people are either eerily silent (12 Years A Slave) or uproarious (Django Unchained) in parts? I felt like this movie was going to have more of the latter with people yelling at the screen and being “Black power” when the revolt happened. And I didn’t get that. Which I found interesting. This goes back to it’s impact; folks watched it and when it was over mostly kept it moving. I remember walking out of 12 Years A Slave and everybody was quiet. It was the closest to #distewmuch I’ve ever actually been in my life. I expected that here and I mostly wanted to go to Chik-Fil-A for a spicy chicken sandwich after. I didn’t need to process. I wonder how most other folks felt, but the conversations I intentionally listened to after weren’t as pensive or angry as I expected. I’m not sure what to do with that, but I noticed and am sharing.

9. I read this review in the New Yorker by Vinson Cunningham this morning after seeing a comment about the screening from Bene Viera on Facebook. This review is about as good as its going to get. Seriously. It gets to the crux of it all and touches on everything related to the movie and its release. However, the one area I disagree with, is the idea of the ravaging of Black women’s bodies being the incitement to action, as if taking a man’s pride through his woman is a bridge too far. While it can be viewed that way (and assuming I’m reading that critique properly), I didn’t see it like that all. In the two instances that are presented, while yes, their women are raped, and yes, they can’t handle it, I don’t view it as a manly pride being dashed and their ego being unable to deal; the women they love, the one’s they want to protect from the world are hurt and demeaned and its the reminder of their powerlessness. It is through the lenses of wanting to remove that access to pain from their loved ones that their spirits are ignited. It’s hard for me to see that as a negative. Perhaps I’m being myopic.

Women are often reduced to sideshows in these films and used to turn men into superheros saving their honor in a very macho way, but what I saw in this movie was a man whose family was threatened and it helped to strengthen his resolve and clarify his purpose. His revolt was ordained from God to rid the oppressed, which included the women in their lives, of their oppressors. Women are often men’s backbones, and that is present here. I just didn’t see it as such a lazy representation of women as bland accessories to Nat’s mission.

10. Some of you won’t see it. That’s fair. And expected. Some will. Also fair and expected. Nat Turner’s story is one worthy of note and worth telling. It’s terrible that the vessel with which this story is told happens to be an individual who is having the worst months ever and is doing nothing to help his own case. With that said, I’m very glad this movie exists because, “good” or not, well done stories about who we are and from whence we came are significant.

Matthew 20:16 says that “the last will be first, and the first will be last; many are called but few are chosen.” Nat Turner’s story is that verse. We’re seeing a return to that type of feel nowadays. If anything, knowing that almost 200 years ago, one man incited a community to Black Lives Matter the fuck out of white people for two days knowing that the end would come speaks to inspiration.

Shouts to Nat Turner 1800-1831.

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • Other_guy13

    Before I read this post…and before I watch the movie…because I may actually watch it based on the reviews…read this and watch the video…it’s amazing how many wypo’s think Nat was not a hero….this movie will produce peak white tears…I may be okay with the movie just for that response. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-descendants-disagree-about-1831-slave-revolt/

    • panamajackson

      If he took out my family, I might disagree on his hero-ness too.

      • Other_guy13

        Anderson Cooper thought it was funny his ancestor was killed with a garden tool…it honestly comes down to what you want to see. Saying it’s heritage and not hate is a lie. Why does he have such an emotional connection to someone he never knew…but he knows that man participated in one of the most evil and disgusting acts in all of human history? It’s like saying a N@zi is my great great great grandpa and I’m mad he was killed by a Jewish person at a concentration camp…I wouldn’t even claim gramps if that was my people. My family history would start and Mom and Dad from that point on…different strokes I suppose…good post btw PJ..you always make me laugh even in serious situations

        • panamajackson

          I’m just here so I won’t get fined.

    • Dope link. I gotta check out the embedded vid when I get home.

    • Annalise Keating

      classic page from white supremacy handbook: double standard for definitions of crime and hero divided across racial lines.
      Columbus is a hero who has a national holiday to celebrate his greatness when he killed and raped tons of people for greed.
      Nate turner is a criminal because he killed people who were oppressing him and his family.

      SMDH.
      Btw-thanks for the link.

      • Other_guy13

        np

  • Brass Tacks

    Appreciate your balanced take of the film.

    I will check it out.

  • grownandsexy2

    If it will bring on peak white tears, I’m here for the tears.

    • Other_guy13

      Ditto…get your raincoats ready lol

  • miss t-lee

    You and your spoiler alert has me crying…lol

    ” If anything, knowing that almost 200 years ago, one man incited a community to Black Lives Matter the f*ck out of white people for two days knowing that the end would come speaks to inspiration.”

    Indeed. Limitless courage.
    Shout outs to Nat Turner.

  • circa1908

    one of my side hustles is that I am a mystery shopper, I do mystery shops for one of the large chain movie houses. I will use one of my mystery shops to watch BOAN, Instead of watching the bootleg, I will make the industry pay me to watch this f*ckboy’s film

  • Welp..there’s that… I appreciate your assessment. I’m biased as hayle!! But that being said… I’m over revolt lite so even if NP wasn’t RAPEY MCRAPEY….I would pass. I’m sick of seeing us never being warriors… we ALL know mfers weren’t just lying down.

    • Mary Burrell

      Yes to “revolt lite” that’s why it did so well at Sundance and I do take into consideration his spouse I knew he didn’t have the guts to go all in.

  • King Beauregard

    “I just don’t really buy the “some of these folks were good people at heart trapped in a time where the social order of things dictated a racial violence hierarchy.” Those white folks were trash. Plain and simple.”

    Bingo. If you own slaves and you feel guilty about it, you free them and you pay them a wage to work for you. Not willing to do that … ? Then your pangs of conscience count for nothing.

    • I detect no lies.

    • LMNOP

      I mean I’m sure some of them had the potential to be good people if they were raised and lived in a better society, but talking about “good slave owners” is like “good Auschwitz guards.” Just no.

    • Question

      Plus we know how social norms work. Cruelty to slaves was the social norm – so you’re trying to tell me that people were actively trying to buck norms through the treatment of their slaves even though the count of one’s slaves was a marker of social status? That doesn’t even read right.

      • AT ALL.

      • “This is the perfect condition of slavery, which is nothing else, but the state of war continued, between a lawful conqueror and a captive: for, if once compact enter between them, and make an agreement for a limited power on the one side, and obedience on the other, the state of war and slavery ceases, as long as the compact endures: for, as has been said, no man can, by agreement, pass over to another that which he hath not in himself, a power over his own life.”

        John Locke, “On Slavery,” Second Treatise

        Slavery can only be maintained with an unending, brutal state of war.

      • Blueberry01

        Nothing about white supremacy ever does.

    • Val

      ‘Good slave owner’ is a contradiction in terms. It’s the ultimate oxymoron.

      • truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

        Indeed.

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      • Blueberry01

        Exactly…Whose white ayus said that slaves were fed and had a nice place to stay? His name isn’t coming to mind.

  • Glo

    I’m glad to hear this. I’ve been conflicted between not wanting to support Nate Parker in any way, shape, or form, and wanting to support a movie that had such strong opposition from Hollywood.

    Hearing that it’s not *amazing* makes me feel better about waiting to see it for free.

    • miss t-lee

      Another commenter yesterday said the same thing. She saw a screening and she wasn’t wowed either.

    • LadyJay?

      I’m so unconflicted like the way he is soooo nonchalant(sp?!) about THAT night he and his rapist friend decided to rape.

      • Glo

        Oh, yeah, he is definitely terrible (because, at the very least, he has been supportive of a convicted rapist…who happens to be one of the writers for this film).

        My conflict comes from a place of 1. knowing that hundreds of innocent people were involved in the making of the film, and 2. knowing that this film could potentially be important (especially when you consider that much of Hollywood flat out refused to make a movie about Nat Turner).

        • LadyJay?

          Mmkay.

        • NonyaB

          Eh, innocent production crew didn’t lose; they were paid and have a great addition to their resumes. Regardless of the film’s financial performance, they have new material that increases their demand, i.e. can be assessed technically by other directors who will hire them based on that. Also, it doesn’t mean this is the last time anyone will ever make a movie on Nat Turner’s story.

  • Val

    Those old White men who make up the majority of Academy voters are not going to vote for an actor playing a Black revolutionary who led a rebellion against and killed White men.

    And White women Academy members are not going to vote for an actor who allegedly r@ped a White woman.

    I’ll actually be shocked if he’s even nominated for an Oscar. In fact, I can see this film getting snubbed in its entirety.

    • miss t-lee

      I don’t think so. The Academy loves a slavery film. Might not win best picture, but it’ll win something.

      • Val

        That’s not what this is, apparently. It’s about enslaved Black folks but they fought back. That’s not your usual Hollywood slavery film.

        • miss t-lee

          I still see them winning something.

          • LegallyClueless

            If he/the film isn’t even nominated, there will be ppl who cry out “What about Woody Allen”

            • miss t-lee

              But, of course…lol

      • -h.h.h.-

        Best Costume Design.

        • Brass Tacks

          Makeup and Hairstyling?

        • miss t-lee

          See…we’re >here<
          Best Cinematography or something.

        • Cleojonz

          Exactly. Period pieces always win this award.

        • brothaskeeper

          Best Antebellum Foliage.

    • White folks LOVE him.

      • Val

        Really? I haven’t seen any evidence of that.

        • They gave his ayus 17 milly….when knowing about the rape.

          • Amber

            Though you have to look at that 17 mill in the context of the Oscars So White protests… Movie companies were probably waiting to throw 17 mill at the problem. That was cheap for them.

            • Epsilonicus

              They spend 17 milli on a night at the casino…

          • Val

            That’s not love. That’s a money making opportunity.

          • Negro Libre

            Was it 17 million to purchase the rights of the film, or 17 million in salary?

            • Epsilonicus

              Purchase the rights to the film. Fox gonna make that back and then some

    • K_

      yeah thats was my thought too …..after all this i cant see the movie even getting nominated for anything except those “back awards” like production design etc

    • mssporadic

      Nominating him and giving him the award would be a great answer to #OscarsSoWhite. When the inevitable backlash occurs, they won’t nominate another black person for another 20 years. Win-win for them.

      • Val

        Lol As if they need a contrived backlash to not nominate any of us. I don’t think they care what we think about lack of Noms as long as they’re still getting our money at the box office, Ms s.

  • Other_guy13

    “2. I often find it hard to reconcile how kid gloves soft we treat some of these white savior slave owners in these movies. BOAN features more “somewhat good whites” slavers whose moral dissonance was on display in a sympathetic manner. There’s nothing like seeing the white slaver being nice-ish and actively being uncomfortable with treatment of other slaves…while being a slaver himself because economics. I just don’t really buy the “some of these folks were good people at heart trapped in a time where the social order of things dictated a racial violence hierarchy.” Those white folks were trash. Plain and simple.” His wife is white….what did you expect?

    • Whoomp there it is.

    • King Beauregard

      The solidarity of all whites across space and time is not as monolithic as you might think. White guy from Cleveland here, and I feel no sympathy for slave owners. In fact we kind of take pride in how the Hope line of the Underground Railroad ran through our neck of the woods, more or less along Route 42. The Pomeroy House in Strongsville (a suburb) is beloved enough as a former stop that it is now an upscale restaurant — the anti-slave cred is a point of respect.

      Which of course is not to say that “hating slavery” is the same as “having sane views on racial issues today”, but a great many white folks draw a line and put slaveholders on the other side of that line.

      • Hmmmmmm…. I’m not to sure about that.

        • King Beauregard

          Think of it this way if you like: “slavery is bad” is a very easy stance for whites to take, now that slavery isn’t an option. It costs nothing to say “those people 150 years ago were bad people”, especially when they were on the other side of the Civil War.

          More historical trivia: John Brown’s father also had a stop on the Underground Railroad out towards Akron, and John Brown was motivated to launch his rebellion by an abolitionist preacher. Even back in the mid 1800s, there were white people who drew the line at slavery.

          Again, to be clear, that doesn’t mean they’re all saints today.

      • LadyJay?

        It might not be monolithic to ya’ll but to us, it is.

        • King Beauregard

          We white folks tend to draw our lines on acceptable racism in terms of what we’re personally comfortable with. That means that we can easily see the other guy’s actions as beyond the pale, while insisting our own actions are clearly respectable and defensible.

          Not saying that you owe white folks a whole lot of understanding, but it might help explain some of what you’re seeing. It’s a matter of drawing the lines so that one is coincidentally always on the right side of the argument without a whole lot of self-examination or self-correction.

          • LadyJay?

            I didn’t know there is such a thing as ‘acceptable racism’ .

            • King Beauregard

              And therein lies the problem that whites don’t necessarily see.

            • QueenAT

              He did clarify.

            • Question

              If you think about how White people actually (meaning in reality) and typically respond to topics of racism, his notion of acceptable racism makes sense. Said differently, how they litmus test their words and behavior is very different from how people of color litmus test.

              Example: They don’t see assuming that all Blacks on a college campus are affirmative action admits (and therefore somewhat unqualified) as racist. Despite the fact that they’ve made an assumption about a large group of people based on their beliefs about that group, and applied it to everyone with a shared characteristic, which is the textbook definition of racism, it isn’t eyebrow raising to them. But many are quick to point out that assuming that all Blacks come from single family households or inner city environments is racist, even though the mental mathematics is the same.

              • Kas

                Ding, ding, ding

              • King Beauregard

                Nobody knowingly persists in error, and racism can be easier to see in the other person than one’s self (particularly if, as you observe, they were taught to believe some concepts are racist but they haven’t properly examined other comparable concepts).

                There is case when people knowingly persist in error, I suppose, and that’s when defensiveness keeps a person from addressing their error. A person wouldn’t be so defensive if they didn’t know there was something wrong with what they believed; the trick is for them to figure out how to defuse their own defensiveness.

                • Question

                  “Nobody knowingly persists in error”.

                  Really? I find the opposite to be true – people knowingly persist in error all the time, hoping that with enough time, tides will shift and they’ll be redeemed. Governments and organizations are particularly prone to this out of fears for being blamed for wasting other people’s money.

                  Its why White people love to act like BLM was created solely and only in response to Michael Brown because “he didn’t just have his hands up”. They were right*, for once. They don’t want to talk about Tamir Rice and Ezell Ford and Philando Castille and Alton Sterling etc etc. But if you bring them up, they will definitely go back to Michael Brown or Trayvon Martin.

                  Someone should do a study to see if White people are genetically more predisposed to cognitive dissonance or something. They’re position in this country depends on it. They’re lucky they can turn that mess off during interviews and the SATs or they’d be screwed.

                  • King Beauregard

                    There’s a lot of defensiveness at work there: if BLM is right, then that means a number of things that compromise comfortable whiteness. First among them, the awareness that the system is NOT fundamentally just. The system is pretty fair and reasonable if you’re white, but knowing that it’s brutally unfair to non-whites is a bitter pill. Not nearly as bitter as actually being on the receiving end of the system, I grant you …

            • Furious Styles
              • Mochagirl73

                Very comprehensive! Thanks for sharing.

          • Other_guy13

            Acceptable Racism…King you better than that

            • King Beauregard

              I’m making a point about how a lot of white minds work: “that other guy is wrong to want to use the n-word, but when I clutch my purse a little tighter in the presence of blacks, it’s because I don’t know if any of them are criminals”. The former is “unacceptable” to the person in question, the latter is “acceptable” and is held to be perfectly understandable and reasonable (and is probably not even felt to be racism).

              • Other_guy13

                I see…good point

              • King Beauregard

                BTW I am trying very hard to not come across as seeing myself as “one of the good ones”, because I know there must be some messed-up ideas in my head somewhere, and when I’m talking about whites who feel their own views are justified in ways other people’s are not, that almost certainly includes me in some fashion. So, there’s that. Basically I’m running full-speed through a minefield and sooner or later it’s going to make for stirring entertainment.

                • Other_guy13

                  You been on here a while…we know ya heart…still…as long as you are willing to have a real conversation…you good with me

                  • King Beauregard

                    Thanks! I do come here to listen and to learn. Fantastic writers, rantastic forum (I was aiming for “fantastic” but the typo works even better), I feel much improved for reading and discussing.

                    But I will inevitably screw up at some point, probably in tremendously embarrassing fashion, and I can only hope it will be the stuff of legends.

                    • Maestro G

                      The fact that you are willing to listen and learn, and can honestly and without pandering express your positions and the fact that you don’t understand some things by virtue of your race, as well as take the heat that might bring, puts you light years ahead of many people, KB. Props.

                    • Dee

                      I am loving this thread between King and you all, now if the whole convo can happen in real time on a television screen LIVE so everybody can see this that would be dope.

                    • Mary Burrell

                      I can appreciate that

                  • QueenAT

                    @kingbeauregard:disqus your invite to the cook out is still valid. :-)

                    • Other_guy13
                    • King Beauregard

                      Yay! I can pick up a giant tub of potato salad at the grocery store.

                    • grownandsexy2

                      Since I’m trying to learn too, and you seem to be in a sharing mood, and this is off topic but, do you have any thoughts on why WP in the workplace insist on introducing every black man who walks through the door to a BW as a potential bae? I haven’t seen this with them introducing WW to a WM when he comes thru. It’s not about the so called unavailability of good black men and BW lamenting they can’t find a good BM because this hasn’t always been the mantra. I don’t look thirsty/parched. Something else is at work here that I can’t quite put my finger on. What are your thoughts?

                    • King Beauregard

                      I’ve never seen exactly what you’re describing, but as a guess, maybe it’s like this. If Tess in accounting is into “Lord of the Rings” and it turns out Hank (the new guy we just hired) is also into “Lord of the Rings”, that distinguishing characteristic might make people say, “hey, wouldn’t Tess and Hank make for a cute couple?”

                      Non-LotR fans are vaguely aware there’s a whole world of ideas that they aren’t privy to, and likewise, your white coworkers are vaguely aware there’s a world of black experiences they aren’t privy to.

                      … I can’t make it sound non-stupid. Sorry. They … mean well, in an unintentionally demeaning way?

                    • grownandsexy2

                      These people weren’t in a position to know what I like and they certainly wouldn’t know what a random guy who just walked into the company liked. It’s only happened with a black co-worker twice because I can count the times black men were co-workers on one hand, with a few fingers left over. I worked for a black attorney once and they were even trying to set me up with him (who only dated light-skinned and white women) I’m dark-skinned. LOL! It’s happened throughout my corporate life. A big part of it is because we just share the same skin color. It’s annoying and insulting and demeaning on so many levels to say the least. Thanks for your thoughts :)

                    • grownandsexy2

                      And speaking of rebellions and such, the other thing some WP do is whenever two or more BP are talking, we’re always asked “what’s the matter, what’s going on?” Why does something have to be wrong? This never happens while talking to white co-workers. Or to white co-workers if two or more are talking among themselves. Or trying to listen on the sly to conversations being had with other black co-workers. People in your area who have no business in your work area trying to listen to conversations with other black co-workers. I’ve often thought it had its genesis in slavery when the slaves talked in codes/sang songs before they fled. Maybe they think we’re planning something along the lines of an uprising. IDK. I’ve talked to other BP in other disciplines so it’s not just me.

                    • Kas

                      Poor KB gonna have to answer all the questions today.

                    • grownandsexy2

                      Yup. Inquiring minds want to know. Filed under things I shoulda asked WP when I had the chance but didn’t.

                    • NonyaB

                      Seen this too. Some think plotting is going on at worst or at best, they’re nosy because they want to be part of the cool crew and conversations. Next time, while staring him dead in the eye, ask John Doofus why he’s always interrupting you and X’s convos without ever doing the same for the others.

                    • NonyaB

                      Let me tell what I do: call ’em on it. The last time it happened (at event with people I just met, no less), to the chick who intro’d BM to me and emphasized his singledom, I said something like: “Why are you doing this? Because we’re both black?” Her: *Starts babbling, stumbling backwards* Me: “Then why didn’t you intro your other male friends here with their single status? WP should really stop doing this when you meet BP”.

                    • grownandsexy2

                      Yaaaaaas!!! Someone understands. I should have said something when it happened. I usually just give them the eye-roll and keep it moving but one co-worker ran up on me one day when a new engineer was hired. She was literally breathless. She had all the brotha’s stats. I asked her if he was such a good catch, why doesn’t she keep him for herself. The look on her face was priceless. She’s one of these I don’t see color folks but was stressing out because the only Asian in the office asked her out to his sister’s wedding. “Why or why did he ask me” – girlfriend was upset as hayle.

                    • King Beauregard

                      Depending on your office politics, next time someone says you should meet suchandsuch person, you can possibly make the point indirectly: “Oooh, is he into [hobby or interest of yours]?” Make their brain gears turn just a little bit and hopefully they’ll figure out where they went wrong.

                    • Other_guy13

                      What do you suggest when the BW sales girls would come into the office and I hear “oh, she’s cute, you should ask her out” then when WW sales girls come in “….” *crickets*…doesn’t happen anymore given my current work environment and situation…but curious to your response to that.

                    • King Beauregard

                      I got no answers to that one, that’s just shïttÿ. :-(

                    • Other_guy13

                      I wasn’t offended by it because I typically don’t date WW anyway…but I did notice it back it in the day and and found it odd.

                    • grownandsexy2

                      Ugh! They do it to you too, eh? Of course they don’t want to see you with a WW. Then where would that leave their daughters, nieces, cousins, sisters? Just roll your eyes real hard.

                    • grownandsexy2

                      I don’t plan to be so gracious next time.

                    • King Beauregard

                      That sounds fair.

                    • NonyaB

                      It’s just amazing how people shenanigate when y’all never even discussed dating life or preferences. Even if you did and you mentioned wanting BM, how does it equate to any BM on sight when you’d never tag any dude who is Asian/WM/whatever preferred group on sight for her?

                    • grownandsexy2

                      Yup, they were so busy trying to fix me up, they wanted me to meet the BM who delivered coffee to our office. What they didn’t know was that he was gay and happily paired up. And it never mattered what said BM looked like. If a homeless, unkempt BM somehow wandered in, they’d be trying to make introductions. It irks me no end. Like here’s one for you.

                    • brothaskeeper

                      It cuts both ways. In college, my YT compadres would constantly try to play matchmaker for me, and the only thing they’d get right was that we were both hetero and Black. It got to the point where I thought, do y’all even like me? I’m not shallow, but a brothaskeeper has standards.

                    • grownandsexy2

                      Trust me, I get it. They don’t let a little thing like standards eff up their agenda.

                    • Blueberry01

                      Yass, shenanigate!

                    • Other_guy13

                      It’s their only hope for alot of them. Where else will they meet acceptable BW’s who may respect them and think they are cool enough to have conversations…same thing happened in college…I would find that more offensive if I were you…why can’t he meet his brown sugar at Starbucks or the mall…why she gotta be vetted by HR first so she can be bae???

                    • Kae

                      Honestly I think folks that do that subconsciously want to see black people pair up with their own because then there’s one less pair of negroes to possibly contaminate the pool of white people in the nation.

                      I’d be VERY surprised if folks who have done this don’t also pull it with women of any other non-white race.

                    • grownandsexy2

                      I agree. And I considered that. I’m sure it does happen with others.

                    • grownandsexy2

                      I would have to agree with you Kae, and I really don’t think it’s subconscious.

                    • Jennifer

                      No, sir. Not that potato salad. You were doing so well…

                    • grownandsexy2

                      LOL!

                    • Maestro G

                      LOL. I was just waiting for the responses to that. KB, search for and read the posting about potato salad, if you have not already. It will shed light, illuminate your well meant misstep and help to ensure that you never make that suggestion again in these VSB streets (with all props to you for the sentiment :-) Your seat at the cookout is still good.

                    • King Beauregard

                      Heh, I’ve read Damon’s columns about potato salad, I knew what I was doing. :-)

                    • Maestro G

                      So you knew what was coming **Tips hat**

                    • Jennifer

                      So, you’re an instigator? A provocateur? An ish-stirrer?! That’s cool. See you at the cookout.

                    • King Beauregard

                      Just messing with ya, in clueless white guy fashion. And I will read you my “Star Trek” fanfiction too. :-)

                    • brothaskeeper

                      *sets down to read* I’m not a Trekkie, but I do like Star Trek in all its iterations, and I love a good sci-fi yarn. Just leave the tayda sallit on the shelf. For all our sakes.

                    • Other_guy13

                      You okay with me

                    • Jennifer

                      Ain’t enough time in the world for KB to read our Potato Salad chronicles.

                    • Maestro G

                      Ha! Indeed :-)

                    • Other_guy13

                      Um….no…just bring the beer.

                    • Cleojonz

                      No sir, just bring some booze lol.

                    • brothaskeeper
          • Question

            While I think your point about “acceptable racism” makes a lot of sense in practice it doesn’t explain why people persist on trying to erase the negativity and impact of slavery. Based on your comments about “acceptable racism” and putting slavery firmly on the other side of that line, I would assume that there would be no need to trumpet this idea of “good slave owners”. But it ALWAYS comes up.

            In discussions of slavery, White people are quick to the fact that Blacks owned slaves (yes, and?), that Blacks participated in the slave trade (yes, and?) and that not all White people were slave owners (yes, and?).

            For some reason, slavery and its imagery are quick to lead to the “but what about _____” in efforts to lessen the responsibility that White people feel that they are being asked to assume. No?

            • Epsilonicus

              You expecting logic where there is none

              • Question

                I dunno – I actually think his point about acceptable racism kinda makes sense in terms of explaining how White people behave in reality. It describes Hipsters and their thinly veiled racism to a tee (and if any of what I just typed even relates to the point you’re getting at…haha…).

                • King Beauregard

                  The core concept is, NOBODY thinks they’re a bigot. Everyone thinks their views are reasonable, and if the other person calls them a bigot, they’re full of it and are possibly being “politically correct”. (This is very much like how nobody sees themselves as the bad guy; a person generally sees himself as doing the right thing as well as they can but otherwise are just doing what they have to do. That applies to everyone from Barney Frank to Erwin Rommel.)

                  About those hipsters, I still cannot forgive the Sanders support base for their response to Netroots Nation and Seattle. They claim to be the most purest, principledest, bestest people in America, but as soon as blacks try to be heard so they won’t get shot, the hipsters IMMEDIATELY adopt all the Republican talking points I’ve been hearing since the 1990s? I’m calling BS on that. If it’s wrong when Newt Gingrich does it then it’s wrong when the Left does it too. And it calls into question whether their movement is designed to help anyone but themselves.

            • King Beauregard

              There are indeed whites who try to justify or mitigate or lessen slavery, I won’t deny it. But there are also plenty of whites who have no problem denouncing slavery because it was an evil practiced by those other, evil white people from that degenerate Southern culture, and isn’t a good thing we beat them in the Civil War. The test for THOSE whites is what they think of the draft riots in NYC during the Civil War, when whites were so angry about the draft that they took it out on blacks. That’s where you might find them smacked with cognitive dissonance, that their ancestors too were party to the brutal treatment of blacks.

            • raul

              For me it comes down to slavery not being all that long ago and people ultimately not being all that different. I have a tough time believing that folks just evolved to such an enlightened state over such a short period of time. I think circumstances changed not the proclivities of people.

              • Question

                I agree. I also think there’s pent up resentment. For the most part, Southern states aren’t doing well. And when slavery became “persona non grata”, with it went the industries that depended on slave labor. And the South hasn’t recovered – massive debt from the Civil War, little investment in railroads (and later pipelines), so they’re left out of transit etc. They would’ve been better off paying their slaves as indentured laborers or freed people than fighting the war as long as they did.

        • Boom

        • Mary Burrell

          Bloop

      • Other_guy13

        Let me start off by saying..King…I mean no disrespect nor shade….I am not putting all white people in the same box…that said…here we go

        May White people put a line on slave owners but not at the killings of Tamir Rice??? Get real please…yes….the majority are against slavery…but many are still upset that their great great great grand pa got killed in the revolt. Sorry letting emotions take over.

        To my original point…him being married to a white woman and having white family that he needs to see this movie and support him leads me to believe that he needed to tone it down. The critique is that he treated white america with kid gloves…almost like “oh, it wasn’t that bad” It’s no secret that the majority of white people cannot take the raw truth of slavery and how it impacted their slaves. Bill O’Riley even points out they had meals and housing and were not treated like animals when we know that was the furthest thing from the truth. Your comment along needs to be reevaluated. Many Republicans down here in the south seem to love history and the fact that Martin Luther King lived in Atlanta and Civil Rights movement took place here…yet they still uneasy about having a public transportation system in their neighborhoods because the black people…I mean crime….will travel to their neighborhoods. Being proud of a movement and opposing slavery does not mean you are ready to hear the story of a slave from a raw black perspective…may would rather bury their head in the sand than experience that level of truth.

        • King Beauregard

          Man, the naughty word filter simply does NOT want me to respond. Let me trim about half of what I was saying and hope the other half clears …

          The thing that can make whites understand BLM is that it’s not just about a certain number of cases where the police made a tragic mistake — even whites will agree that Tamir et al should still be alive. The problem is that the system rushes to the defense of cops when it happens: the prosecutor throws the case and the media describes the victim as a criminal. At that point it’s not about a few bad apples, it’s about the system validating the bad apples. The problem is systemic.

          Yeah, there are probably black perspectives on slavery that would blow 99% of white people’s minds. But even without going there, I can tell you for sure that a great many whites don’t mind portraying slaveowners as villains who lived a couple hundred years ago; might as well get angry about the Etruscans.

          That said, it really isn’t a matter of a bunch of villains who lived a couple hundred years ago, is it? While it’s difficult for me to draw a direct line, I’m pretty sure my fortunes in life, or surely my ancestors’, came at the expense of black men and women. Now THAT’S a hard thing for well-meaning whites to deal with, because what does it mean? Do you feel any obligation to do something about events that happened before you personally were born? And if you do, how do you make it right? I have to admit, I really don’t know where to start or what would be fair or reasonable.

          • grownandsexy2

            Please tell some of the white brethren who utter slavery happened so long ago and no one is alive who remembers their ancestors from that period so why should they care, that slavery wasn’t really that long ago. Tell them that there are a lot of seniors alive today who remember their enslaved relatives and the stories they told. My dad was of them. He remembered his grandmother who was born in slavery. I have a cousin who celebrates her 105th birthday next month, mind still sharp as a razor. You think she doesn’t remember her grandmother? And my family is not alone.

            • Other_guy13

              You not alone on that…I have a few who tell the stories as well. It’s crazy to know its really not that long ago.

          • Other_guy13

            “While it’s difficult for me to draw a direct line, I’m pretty sure my fortunes in life, or surely my ancestors’, came at the expense of black men and women. Now THAT’S a hard thing for well-meaning whites to deal with, because what does it mean? Do you feel any obligation to do something about events that happened before you personally were born? And if you do, how do you make it right? I have to admit, I really don’t know where to start or what would be fair or reasonable.”…

            King you just said a word right there…. I have no Idea where to start as well…I will say this….it’s not your responsibility to give us anything…but knowing what you know…seeing what you see…feel our pain…fight this with us. Shannon Sharpe said it best..If Tom Brady instead of Colin Kap spoke out…he would have more people listen. Macklemore tried it but he came off as pandering and had already started appropriating the culture. It’s so much distrust and anger that I don’t know what will happen. The BEST day of my life was the day the President Obama was elected President. I had so much hope…finally…we are one nation…finally we have put race aside and are going to move in the right direction…THEN the GOP started blocking him…Tea party started saying racist things about him…Trump questioned his citizenship….and so many white people were silent. They stood by and said nothing. They saw our children and en being murdered in the streets…and after it happens over and over and over they finally speak up. It hurt man…it let me know that things didn’t change….we don’t have anything other than symbolic allies. I’m not mad…just right is right…wrong is wrong. Speak up…say to your brothers you are wrong…if we as African Americans should worry about black on black crime as so many would throw up in our faces…then y’all take on systemic racism. Maybe people listen to their own kind first…so if I am to teach my child to value black lives…and to not treat all white people the same…maybe the same should be done on the other side. When everyone is working toward the same goal…things get done. Not saying that’s you…this was a general statement.

          • I mean this in the most respectful way possible… I believe…. most whites are all “how do I make it right?” Until they GOTTA MAKE it right. No shade.

            It sucks to say it but even “well meaning” Whites mean well for so long.

            • King Beauregard

              I wish I could form a counterargument, but you’re right. White progressives are notoriously unhelpful (they want to be recognized as the bestest allies one could hope for but refuse to do anything they didn’t already plan to), and ultimately, any efforts to make the system more fair mean a certain amount of effort / uncertainty / potential loss of privilege for whites with little direct reward.

              Not that I think it’s exactly a lost cause. I am a believer in the Democratic Party as an institution that, when it has the numbers to do so, promotes a lot of social good. Fifty-two years ago the Democrats passed the Civil Rights Act knowing full well it was going to mean losing elections for decades thereafter, and they did it anyway. They’re only starting to recover, and if they can ever get the numbers to dominate Congress and the state legislatures again, I like to think they’ll work to be on the right side of history.

              • Other_guy13

                Glad somebody know their history

          • Other_guy13

            Man….i’m fighting two wars on two fronts…i’m tired….i’m tagging you in….SN…King alright….Newton on the other hand needs assistance.

      • fedup

        I hear you King, and agree with you.

        However, it’s not about your feelings and emotions as a White man, but more about Nate Parker’s treatment of White slaveholders in his movie given that the face he stares into every night is White. I’m sure this man has done more than his fair share of defending his marriage to said woman on some “I don’t see color” typa shtick. That being the case, you can’t expect him to tell the complete truth, knowing how it would make said wife and her family feel, and ultimately, the inescapable inner conflict that creates (also, there are children involved; imagine the conversation/explaining that would have to go one for years if truth were told).

        • Mary Burrell

          You said what I was thinking.

        • Blueberry01

          I thought she was Latina. She’s White forreal? Or White Latina?

    • miss t-lee
      • Other_guy13

        Did I go too far…good thing I got this Avi

        • Tambra

          You being spied upon?

          • Other_guy13

            I stay ready for the feds

            • Tambra

              Set your profile to private to begin with.

              • Other_guy13

                Oh yea..

                • Kas

                  Your profile isn’t private? I thought I had mentored you better than that.

                  • Other_guy13

                    I thought it was…but it wasn’t …it is now…don’t disown me yet.

                  • What are the benefits of a private Disqus account, Kasakhstan?

                    • Kas

                      Why make it easy for strangers to get a bead on you?

                    • Get a bead meaning find your other stuff online?

                    • Kas

                      Other stuff online, cross reference to try and figure out who you are and use it for nefarious means.

                    • Couldn’t you just… not link to your other social media tho? Idk, I’m not doubting your wisdom (on this), I’m just not quick on the uptake today I guess.

                    • Kas

                      I don’t link to my other social media either.

                    • That part makes sense. I dunno, I’m a little foggy in the membrane today, I guess. I still don’t really get it but that’s okay.

                    • Other_guy13

                      Folks get fired all the time for posting online…I don’t have that type of time on my hands.

                    • What kind of stuff are y’all posting?? I thought the people getting fired (not nearly enough) are people posting objectively inappropriate stuff…

                    • Other_guy13

                      They nay go for a reverse racism angle…and I don’t have time to be the first victim of that foolishness

              • Blueberry01

                Yeah, uh, I hate to break it to you but if someone wanted to access your (or my or anyone’s) Disqus account, they easily could.

                Nothing on the Internet is truly “private”. #AskEdwardSnowden

                • Tambra

                  I know, but its a start.

        • miss t-lee

          I’m not saying a word.

        • grownandsexy2

          No, you were spot on.

    • NonyaB
    • L8Comer

      I was kinda thinking the same thing. It might be hard for some to immerse yourself in a film like this and not temporarily hate white people if you don’t give them a silver lining type story

      • lilylawyer

        Truth. I had to sit in the comfort of my blackness for 2 days after seeing Rosewood. I was so angry that it me propelled to name such a reaction as a “Rosewood moment.” I did not see 12 Years a Slave for fear of having a Rosewood moment. And I need my job.

        • L8Comer

          See? You gotta work out the double consciousness at
          Times tho. This past summer was rough.thankfully, I had some time off.

        • Blueberry01

          You know, I still haven’t seen either of those movies? Do I need to? I finally saw D’Jango in like March and afterwards, I was side-eyeing everything white in my place: the toilet, the walls, the lotion bottle (I use Nivea).

          • Diego Duarte

            Haven’t seen Rosewood but “12 Years a Slave” is a dmn work of art. However, as Jackson says, it is jarring. I can also imagine it would be far more jarring for a woman considering it doesn’t have a “happy ending” for one of the female characters.

            • Blueberry01

              Good looking out, DD. I’m not going to see it. Honestly, Roots and Glory did me in back when I was younger. (I can still remember when Kunta was being whipped until he said, “Toby”.) The violence in D’Jango, although redemptive, was gratituitous.

              I don’t need constant reminders of our past; I firmly hold onto the ones that I’ve seen.

        • Cleojonz

          Never seen Rosewood or 12 years a slave. Probably never will. I think I’m good.

        • will_the_thrill

          TALK ABOUT IT!

          I saw Rosewood when I was like 12. I ain’t been the same ever since. I’m just glad that the Rosewood moment is an established thing. I want to see 12 years a slave, but Rosewood. I mean I really want to see it, but Rosewood.

    • E_Deshon

      I didn’t want to be the one to say it, but man am i happy you did.
      http://www.reactiongifs.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/oh-snap.gif

    • justtwo post

      I was just about to post this.

    • Kosi Akosua Gyebi

      Must disagree, as a person with a white spouse who would never ever use him as an excuse not to tell the truth about white people. If she were my wife, I’d tell her deal with it however she needs to but I’mma tell my story. I mean, Jesse Williams managed to get up and speak the truth with his white MOMMA in the audience.

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