Did a Racist America vote for a Black President and 12 Years a Slave?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 9th, 2014

Week in Review

On a recent Daily Show they did a skit about racism in America.  A lot of people say there is no more racism in this country.  So they showed how racist people were in their little sketch.  But with a black president one has to ask themselves is there structural racism in the United States?  Or were they finding racism where there really wasn’t any?  Perhaps we can ask a higher authority (see Oscars: ’12 Years a Slave’ puts spotlight on Hollywood’s approach to race by John Horn posted 3/4/2014 on the Los Angeles Times).

Was it ultimately a race about race?

The best picture Oscar is meant to honor the year’s greatest achievement in film, and “12 Years a Slave” had no shortage of supporters before winning the top honor Sunday. But for all the film’s artistry, the undercurrent of many “12 Years a Slave” conversations hinged on race and how Hollywood has for decades given short shrift to one of the most inglorious chapters in the nation’s history…

All the same, two Oscar voters privately admitted that they didn’t see “12 Years a Slave,” thinking it would be upsetting. But they said they voted for it anyway because, given the film’s social relevance, they felt obligated to do so…

Though most Oscar ceremonies carry a bit of suspense, the tension inside the Dolby Theatre on Sunday night was palpably different.

Would “Gravity,” an apolitical thriller about a space accident, return to earth with the best picture? Or would Oscar voters endorse “12 Years a Slave,” a film that many feared was so unsettling they put off viewing it until the last moment, if they watched it at all? Or as DeGeneres said in her opening monologue, “Possibility No. 1, ’12 Years a Slave’ wins best picture. Possibility No. 2, you’re all racists.”

Well, there you have it.  The movie 12 Years a Slave won.  Therefore, we are not racists.  It’s good to have settled that once and for all, isn’t it?

Imagine the poor filmmakers whose movies didn’t have to win the best picture Oscar to prove America wasn’t racist.  But I’m sure they’ll get over losing eventually.  I mean, what’s winning when there is the greater good to serve?  Besides, how important is winning an Oscar anyway?  It’s not like they have an annual ceremony where people are overwhelmed by emotion and have better career prospects after being honored by the Academy.  Well, come to think of it, there is.  So apparently winning an Oscar is a big deal.  Unless, that is, there is a social statement to make.  Then it means nothing to the people who lose even if they had a better picture.  While at the same time meaning everything to the winner.  Even if it’s only a social statement made with a potentially inferior film.

Of course we’ll never know what film was the best film.  Not when people vote for a film they’ve never watched because they felt it was the right thing to do.  Gee, do you think that’s how President Obama won both of his elections?  For it sure looked like people voted for him without ever looking at his record.  I mean, even the Nobel people awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama even though he didn’t do anything yet to earn it.  It was for the peace he was going to make.  A bit risky giving out awards for future achievement.  As we can see by the world becoming a less peaceful place during the Obama years.  Unrest in the Middle East.  Two uprisings in Egypt.  Civil War in Syria.  Al Qaeda in Iraq.  Air strikes in Libya.  Four dead Americans in Benghazi.  Drone strikes killing innocent civilians.  Iran working on a nuclear program.  North Korea testing rockets.  Russia invading Crimea.

Perhaps the Nobel people will ask for their Peace Prize back.  For unlike an Academy Award where the judging is subjective events on the ground are objective.  And real.  Whatever the Nobel people thought President Obama was going to do it is clear he didn’t do much to advance peace.  Making it look like the Nobel people voted for President Obama the same way some of the Academy members voted for 12 Years a Slave.  Because it seemed like it was the right thing to do.  Making a decision based solely on race.  Hmmm, making a decision based solely on race?  That reminds me of something.  I think there is a word for that.  What was that?  I can’t recall.  It just slipped my mind.



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