Dear Jamie Foxx,
For years I’ve anticipated Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming Django Unchained. The story of a Civil War-era bounty hunter teaming with a slave to liberate his wife from a plantation owner reverberated with me at a personal level, as I am a member of a mixed-race family. I couldn’t wait to have another fantasy-revenge experience on par with Inglourious Basterds. As the Jews, Americans, and Brits united together to crush Nazi slavery in an over-the-top explosion of cinematic violence, Django Unchained promised to celebrate how blacks and whites united to overcome Confederate slavery and rebuild America together.
But now you’ve ruined the film. I can no longer go and pay money to see a picture knowing that its own star so thoroughly rejects the film’s message of interracial unity.
Of course the anticipated criticism of your opening remarks focuses on the viciousness of the “kill all the white people in the movie” joke. But that was not the truly sinister racial evil you promoted.
Lost in the shuffle? Your racist claim that darker skin and “African” sounding names should correlate with a tough, violent, criminal masculinity.
You told America from Saturday Night Live‘s platform in no uncertain terms that the Angry Black Man stereotype isn’t just real, but the desirable, natural state of blackness — and something you hoped our president would achieve this term.
When racist whites try and argue that blacks are inherently more primitive and violent, we label them crackpots and dismiss them from civil society. Yet when you want to insist the same thing, we applaud.
It’s not the fact of your racism that bothers me. It’s the real-world consequences of what happens as your poison filters out into the culture and confused young boys (many lacking fathers in the home to model real masculinity) drink it up.
Who killed Biggie and Tupac? What rap fantasies of black manhood flowed through Trayvon Martin’s head as he broke George Zimmerman’s nose? How many young black men would still live today if they didn’t have people like you preaching to them that to be an authentic black man one must wage a criminal war against a weak, corrupt, irredeemably racist white society?
David Swindle, a future-father one day of sons and daughters who will be neither “black” nor “white” and will look back on this era’s racist popular culture with shock and disgust…
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