12 Years a Slave-Generations of Oppression

08 Dec

black historyA great film with superb acting. This film showcased dynamic writing skills and impeccable acting from the main character Solomon Northup-Chiwetel Ejiofor to the children actors, from the co-stars to the extras. This film also introduced us to the beautiful Adepero Oduye on the big screen. Everyone in the film put their best foot forward, showing the harsh reality of our history, making this book come alive across the big screen. Importantly so, this story needed to be told, and the observations made during the viewing served a reminder of how the African American race has been mentally poisoned, slowly dieing off.

The initial thoughts prior to viewing this movie rang out with tones of “not another slave movie.” and “here we go again.” During the movie feelings of annoyance, frustration, anger and sadness filled the theatre. Unspoken, the emotions seemed to seep from our pores. We felt each other’s hatred, hurt, depression, oppression and inferiority. Our subconscious mental inferiority causes some of us to rise to the occasion and beat the odds, to become better than expected. Causing others to rebel and perpetuate every stereotype, mostly out of anger and ignorance. The most powerful message came from the smallest roles. The minimal roles showed the mental paralysis of the slaves. Survival by conforming. This mindset is prevalent today, doing what is needed to make it day to day regardless if it is demeaning. Often times we sit and listen to people disrespect our race and culture, abusing our words or even our fashion. In casual settings and even our workplace, racial comments and generalities are made with no correction or confrontation as a rebuttal(enter Richie Incognito stage left). Often times, nothing is said out of fear-losing job, friends, lack of support; Shock/Stun-being put off guard, disbelief; These issues aren’t widely addressed as frequently as they occur because of confrontation. Often times we wonder if it’s worth it to get ourselves upset over something we feel may not make a difference.

In conversing with others about this movie, I realized why these movies are continuously made. The younger generations who may have forgotten the turmoil of our race need a refresher course. They are cognizant of our history as it relates to slavery, but still ignorant to the brainwashing that has led to a possible genocide. They may have never seen Roots, Rosewood, Amistad, The Birth of a Nation, and other movies depicting the hardships our ancestors endured, and need new and graphic visuals of the mistreatment of our people. Schools haven’t ever taught the subject in its truth, so young Black America lack that ever present knowledge of our history. The black history that is taught doesn’t show the greatness of our people. Unless its read in a book or researched through self initiative, the successes of those who came before us are unknown. Many people are unaware of the affluent black community dating back to the 1800’s and earlier. This movie depicted a small part of this, but just enough to spark a curiosity amongst younger blacks with hopes of personal research. We have done well for ourselves for a race that was born out of hatred, greed and contempt. We’ve come a long way for equality but our sense of community and unity is worse off than it has ever been. We now live with the “Everyman for Themselves” mentality with no regard for the race as a whole.

Unsure why, but I feel as if these past few years’ racist actions have been a lot more blatant than previous years. Or is it that I am more aware because of natural maturation. So I challenge myself as well as others to represent themselves in such a way that uplifts our race.

“The ghetto is a place to be from, not a person to become. Not who I am not what I am. Being black doesn’t make me ignorant, being black doesn’t make me a criminal…”-Nana Ochi

Just a lil of the TRUTH…

1 Comment

Posted by on December 8, 2013 in Our Culture/Our World


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One response to “12 Years a Slave-Generations of Oppression

  1. docr8der

    December 8, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Sadly, movies today become a vehicle for learning; a stand in for what should be in a textbook or a part of a highschool lecture in social studies or American history. Even if the movies are criticised as being unfactual, or ‘whitewashed’ for lack of a better term by noted critics or historians…to what part of history do they refer? The parts that were hand me down oral histories to begin with? Not all of it is as ‘real’ as they wish it…perhaps some dates are changed in film or names are changed and characters become composites, but its the essence, the theme that is important. And his story of being in bondage after being a free man and the cruelties that have given scar tissue to the US is what resonates, not if someone’s costume or geo-location is amiss.
    Youre right Mz Doss in that reminders need to be out there, the precautionary tales of how bad things happen, to anyone, any faith or any race, and that one needs to remember and pass that down.


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