King Kong — A Racist Movie?
I haven’t gotten around to seeing the new King Kong movie yet and to be honest, I’ll probably end up catching it when it comes out on DVD. The original was kind of a depressing story to begin with and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe & Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire are both ahead of Kong on the “see at the theater” list for me.
Yet and still, I couldn’t let this pass without comment:
“Most black men I know will think twice about going to see King Kong. First because of the story, second because of Peter Jackson’s other recent blockbuster movies.
…The story also touches the raw nerve of the Darwin-based association between black men and apes. Though the monkey noises and the discussion about whether Africans are the missing link between apes and humans may be out of the classroom, it still has to be endured by black footballers when they travel to away games.
Peter Jackson used the same hackneyed stereotypes for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The most fearsome baddies were big black and just a bit too Maori looking, the good guys – well white.
So when King Kong unfolded and the 1930s New York crowd scenes were almost devoid of black faces, rather than the 15 per cent you would have expected, and when the first black actors had small non-speaking parts – dancers and the only major black character was the strong caring second officer to the ship’s captain – the good and dutiful slave stereotype – I was squirming in my seat. If I had not been at a premier with my transfixed son I would have been out of the door soon after the wide eyed, homicidal, half dressed, blacker than black natives of Skull Island started cavorting one hour in.
…It left me thinking, that if censors look at violence, sex, and sexual violence when giving a certificate why do they not look at negative racial stereotypes?”
Setting aside the fact that this guy strikes me as the sort of hypersensitive ninnie who probably thinks 8-ball is a racist game because you use a white ball knocking a black ball into a pocket, there have been countless movies that feature Italian mobsters, buck toothed, inbred country folk, greedy businessmen, evil Republicans, crooked cops, dimwitted and excessively violent members of the military, etc., etc., etc., on and on and on. So why should black Americans — or any group for that matter — get a free pass on being portrayed negatively in the movies?
It may be irritating to identify with a group that isn’t being portrayed positively on the big screen, but that doesn’t mean it’s racist, sexist, anti-Islamic, etc., to portray some people as members of a particular group in a less than positive light — well, except in the case of Southerners. Any Yankee who makes a joke about Deliverance or Mayberry is obviously a bigot….just kidding =D.