I am looking forward to see Lincoln, the recent film by Steven Spielberg. I want to see it for purely selfish reasons: I am a huge Daniel Day Lewis fan. He plays Uncle Abe and from what I see from the previews, his performance is spellbinding. Those who have followed along with me in this blogging journey from the beginning, know that I used to be a working actor (in what now seems to me like a “previous life”).
I was waiting to see it before writing a review, which most likely would have been from an afro-political rather than an artistic perspective. However I was watching Meet the Press on Sunday and the roundtable panel, which included the Obama apologist and MSNBC sellout Rev. Al Sharpton, were not only praising the film, but the nobility and sacrifice of Lincoln the man, in his fight to abolish slavery in Amerikka. Huh…I could see Sis. Deb shaking her head… and as we Jamaicans say… “sucking her teeth”… at the commentary (i.e. bullshit) they were spewing.
I recall that many, many years ago when I was a university freshman (in what again seems to me like a “previous life”), my final paper in my Political Economics course was based on the premise that Lincoln did not free the slaves for any noble or altruistic reasons, but primarily because he and the Northern industrialists knew that Amerikka could not reach it’s full industrialization potential with a slave based, agrarian economy dominating the South. Cheap labour needed to move North, while capital for industrialization needed to move South and the domestic consumer market needed to be nurtured. My thesis certainly wasn’t an original one, but as a young and very naive Black man living in Canada, who was just beginning to understand the “real” world and how it had been influencing my perspective about myself and those around me, this revelation was a part of the process I had been going through at the time: the stripping away of illusions and lies I had been told about “the good white people” like Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.
Now let’s fast forward to the present and speaking of Sis. Deb, let’s be clear. As I watched the Meet the Press segment, I was reminded of an insightful and educational article she did on her blog entitled: Lincoln, the resolute white supremacist — the Changeling’s “homeboy”? I encourage you to read the whole article, including the links… it’s fantastic! It portrays the real Lincoln… in his own words. Another excellent article was previously posted here by brothpeacemaker: Quotations from Abraham Lincoln.
I have come to understand and expect the behaviour of the dominant culture, like that of a drug addict, to constantly feed it’s white supremacy cravings, so as to satisfy its needs to feel superior to the “others”, while at the same time feel comfortable about their white privilege, through the guise of their (supposedly) noble endeavours and sacrifices for these same “others”. We can see this playing out especially among the so-called “White progressives and liberals”. It is their “White man’s (and woman’s) burden”! Hence, no character representing, nor a mention at all of Fredrick Douglass and his influence on Lincoln in the film.
This discussion brings to mind a portion of the lyrics of Fight The Power by Public Enemy, with a couple of minor revisions:
Lincoln was a hero to most
But he never meant shit to me you see
Straight up racist that sucker was
Simple and plain
Motherfuck him and JFK