There’s an African proverb that says that “you should never argue with a fool, a blind man walking by will not be able to tell the difference.” In case you missed it, let’s bring you up to date with the utter foolishness that came from the mouth of a respected and admired actor, Samuel L. Jackson. At the 25th minute, 31st-second mark, the actor begins his offensive rant on the influx of British actors of African descent. Watch.
Let’s breakdown his utter ignorance, one offensive line at a time. We begin with his first foolish assumption regarding the recently released popular film GET OUT.
WHAT WOULD THE MOVIE HAVE BEEN WHEN AN “AMERICAN BROTHER” THAT REALLY UNDERSTANDS RACISM PLAYS IT
What may seems like a fair question is invalidated by the reminder that when the beloved Denzel Washington played South African anti-Apartheid activist Steve Biko in Cry Freedom, not a soul, rightly questioned the authenticity and integrity of the film had Steve Biko been portrayed by a South African.
Thus, ignorant and misguided mentality numero uno. Rather, Denzel Washington‘s Cry Freedom told an authentically remarkable story as any South African could have portrayed and told it to a global audience. Furthermore, it introduced the legendary actor to the hearts and minds of Africans all throughout the continent. The son of Africa was hailed, not accused of being an imposter, an outsider, a non-African portraying an African hero, but rather, as another son of mother Africa telling the story of his South African brother. We’re not done yet.
Ask any African person you’ve ever met, born on the African continent, young or old, if they’ve ever seen and or heard of Sarafina, and you’re bound to get a resounding “of course.” Besides Sarafina herself, known by her real name Leleti Khumalo, you want to guess who was the second most defining character in the movie? Whoopi Goldberg. Was she of Onitsha, Nigeria? No, of Manhattan, New York. Did the fact that she played the second most important role in the story of the film impact how much Africans from all throughout continent fell in love with the film and or Whoopi Goldberg? Samuel L. Jackson, think again.
The same questions can be asked of Idris Elba‘s moving portrayal of the world renowned late president of South Africa, Nelson Madiba Mandela.
How about the BET series Madiba, with actor Laurence Fishburn?
Morgan Freeman in Invictus??
Don Cheadle in Hotel Rwanda?
Will Smith in Concussion?
Samuel L. Jackson. All of these well-told stories are proof that your line of thinking is problematically misguided. We’re not done correcting your misguided thinking yet. Stay with us.
“THERE’S BEEN INTER-RACIAL DATING FOR LIKE 100 YEARS”
We assume, by this comment, that Samuel L. Jackson insinuates that because there’s this egregious idea that there’s been interacial dating in Britain for like 100 years, racism couldn’t possibly exist in Britain. What his misguided thinking does not realize is that virtually every African, many of which were the parents of the very same actors and actresses that Mr. Jackson insults, were British colonial subjects. Any idea what that means Samuel L. Jackson? Of course not, there was interacial dating in Britain 100 years ago, so that leaves African Americans the only victims of the sickening crime of racism. Well, Uncle Ruckus, misguided thinking numero dos. We neither have the time nor the energy to offer you centuries of racism that affects Africans till this very day, but, here’s where you can start. Ask yourself, how many African countries existed 100 years ago? How many peoples and regions of Africa were under British colonial rule? How many Africans were murdered? Denied the same opportunities you and those you speak of were denied of? Again, we’re not here to offer you history lessons. We just want to encourage you to think beyond your country, arrogant, and misguided thinking.
“THEY’RE CHEAPER, THEY COME HERE BECAUSE THEY ACTUALLY GET PAID WHEN THEY COME HERE, THEY THINK THEY’RE BETTER TRAINED”
Mr. Ruckus, what major African American actor, entertainer, activist, past or present, has not had to travel overseas for the same reason you accuse these men and women of? Ever read James Baldwin’s Native Son? Do you know where the early African, Caribean, and African American leaders met as part of the effort to free the people of African descent globally? Ever heard of the Pan-African Conference and what the intended purpose was?
THE PROBLEM WITH STEREOTYPES ARE NOT THAT THEY’RE UNTRUE, BUT THAT THEY TELL HALF THE STORY
Nothing justifies the ignorance that came out of Samuel L. Jackson’s mind. His words and thinking are misguided, untrue, and offensive. More importantly, in the words of British actor John Boyega, now is not the time for such divisive attitudes and mindsets. There’s no place for it. Unfortunately, such thinking, while not representative of the thinking of all African Americans, is very much indicative of the social conditioning of far too many. For many first and or second generation Americans of African descent, such Uncle Ruckus ways of thinking have contributed to memories of insult, violence, alienation, envy, jealousy, animosity, that’s been a part of the narrative of too many Africans in this country. The reality has been that the agony of growing up Black in America has crystallized within many African Americans, especially men, often times of the educated elite class, to embody the mindset of their oppressor and build walls separating themselves from people they should be unified with.
So Mr. Jackson, in this day and age we don’t sit around and complain anymore, we act. If you are so unhappy with the current situation in Hollywood, do something. Someone of your caliber should be capable of creating projects which tell African American stories, played by African Americans. Denzel Washington did just that in Fences for which Viola Davis just won an Oscar. Viola was celebrated by not just African Americans but people of African descent across the globe. The problem is there is no more room for this way of thinking. It is not them versus us but we, together. When one wins, we all win. For too long, we have believed the lies told to us while fighting and killing each other for scraps. For there are many people across the globe who supported African Americans in the Black Lives Matter movement, they didn’t need to live in America to be compassionate and show solidarity. Just like how many, rallied together for the Bring Back Our Girls movement. Black people are not monolithic, we are a diverse people and it is refreshing to see that represented in Hollywood. It seems you have to let go of your personal prejudices and see the beauty in the arrival and acceptance of “Black British” actors in Hollywood. They just want to tell stories too. We guess Mr. Jackson will not be seeing Cynthia Eviro play Harriet Tubman?