clutch | While perusing several of the hundreds of Django Unchained conversations happening on social media, I began to get this nagging feeling that just wouldn’t go away. It had nothing to do with the hatred hurled at Spike Lee or the brittle enthusiasm over Quentin Tarantino. It didn’t have anything to do with the film’s slant towards colorism and depiction of the White-Savior Complex as heroism — or even why the Tupac song at the end stopped right when I was getting into it.
All of that faded in light of the revelation that we — as in black descendants of slaves in America — converse as if we hate each other.
*And please skip the “Who is we?” question. If it’s not for you, the browse button is that way.*
Sambo, coon, nigger, nigga, and Uncle Tom have all been spoken with such a deep-seated hatred and resentment that I have literally recoiled from my screen at times — in disbelief, in dismay, in sadness. And it’s not just Django; any conversation that involves race spirals out of control so swiftly it’s as combustible as a lit match on gasoline. I asked myself, “Why are we using plantation language to insult one another?” “Why are all these black people fighting over a white man’s rendition of slavery, or a black woman sleeping with a white man (see: Scandal); or the infallibility (or cultural mirage) of a black president?” And the answer is simple:
Because some of us are still slaves.
Oh, the shackles aren’t there — for those of us not in the Prison Industrial Complex — but the damage has been done. And we are still divided into a contemporary version of what Ancestor Malcolm called House Negroes and Field Negroes.