12 Years A Slave is a film for white people. More specifically, white liberals. When I say that, I also mean that I firmly believe that no black person has any business watching the film. For the very reason I don’t watch films about slavery: it is traumatic.
Of course many black folks have watched the film, and maybe they came out no worse for wear, or think they did, but I am more inclined to think that this sort of psychological trauma, rooted in the Diaspora’s beleaguered history in the United States, doesn’t always surface on the level of consciousness. Beyond that, the film doesn’t tell us anything that we didn’t already know. That the institution of slavery was brutal, inhuman, and one of few things in this world that can be considered unequivocally, objectively, and absolutely evil.
What does any black person stand to gain from sitting in a dark movie theater—more than likely surrounded by white people—and being psychologically assaulted for two hours?
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