‘American Fiction’ and the Race Conversation
A new film provides quite the contrast with another one based on the work of CRT racist Ibram X. Kendi.
“The soft bigotry of low expectations.” That’s what George W. Bush cleverly labeled the idea that blacks and other minorities should achieve less or be less educated simply because of the supposed systemic racism of American society. Speaking to the NAACP in the heat of the 2000 presidential campaign, Bush was calling out the racism of the American Left to the very people who needed to hear it most.
Two upcoming films illustrate what he meant, albeit from opposite directions.
First up is Cord Jefferson’s directorial debut, titled “American Fiction,” which hits theaters in December. The Daily Beast called it “a cinematic stick of dynamite,” and MGM/Orion Pictures summarizes the plot this way:
Jeffrey Wright stars as Monk, a frustrated novelist who’s fed up with the establishment profiting from “Black” entertainment that relies on tired and offensive tropes. To prove his point, Monk uses a pen name to write an outlandish “Black” book of his own, a book that propels him to the heart of hypocrisy and the madness he claims to disdain.
Monk appears to be a well-educated man and a great writer, but he can’t sell books because publishers want what his agent called “a black book,” meaning one that depicts inner-city life. “They have a black book,” Monk replies. “I’m black, and it’s my book.”
To our eyes, the trailer indicates that the film is lampooning elitist leftists who stereotype blacks and expect them to live down to that stereotype. Whether that’s ultimately the message leftist elites in Hollywood intend to convey — well, that remains to be seen. But both Jefferson and Wright are black, and maybe they’ve had enough.
“Look at what they publish. Look at what they expect us to write,” Wright’s character says exasperatedly as the trailer shows a book titled We’s Lives in da Ghetto. “I just want to rub their noses in it.” He proceeds to type “My Pathology” before changing the spelling to “Pafology.”
This begins a story of his adopting a different persona he knows will be considered “black,” which leads to (white) media fawning, massive book sales, and a lucrative movie deal. “The dumber I behave, the richer I get,” Monk marvels. It will be fascinating to see the resolution of that tension.
In contrast, we have Ibram X. Kendi, who has indeed embarked upon a profitable career telling white leftists all about the racism of the system. Kendi recently garnered some unfavorable press after his $43 million grifting operation at Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research laid off nearly half of its employees in September, while he seems to be doing just fine.
He is the embodiment of Booker T. Washington’s admonition about “another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public.” They do this, Washington said, “partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays.” It’s paid for Kendi, alright.
His seeming response to bad press is to release a documentary in select theaters and on Netflix this month. Monk’s character in “American Fiction” parlays a bad book into a multimillion-dollar movie. Kendi’s doing it in real life, as “Stamped From the Beginning” is an adaptation of his 2016 book by the same name.
The trailer indicates it’ll be exactly the kind of race bait we expect from the Left generally and a Marxist purveyor of critical race theory like Kendi specifically.
“The myth of black inferiority is destroyed,” says one woman. Another says, “If you make us a threat, then you remove our humanity.” A third says, “It justifies all kinds of horrific actions.” Others in the trailer talk about erasing history — probably a reference to people who don’t want to focus on racism and slavery all the time, not the ones who are melting down statues and celebrating it or the ones largely ignoring or enabling the wave of black-on-black crime in inner cities.
If you noticed that Kendi’s trailer featured all black women, that was intentional.
“When we started looking at historians and scholars, we came up with a long list,” noted director Roger Ross Williams. “I noticed the pattern that most of the people doing the work around racism in America were black women.” When he asked them why they did such work, he says they responded “that they had no choice” because racism was their lived experience. “If they’re going to dedicate their life to something, it’s going to be about changing and understanding racism in America because they can’t escape racism in America,” he said. “I said to everyone, ‘We’re going to have only black women in this film.’”
Gee, whatever happened to diversity, equity, and inclusion? And have you ever noticed that the leftists who just want to “have a conversation about racism” only want one side to speak while the other sits down and shuts up?
The irony here is that racists like Kendi and the scholars in his film are perpetuating “the myth of black inferiority” by casting blacks as only ever victims of oppression. They are stoking the flames of racism and racial resentment. They are producing exactly the kind of material that leftist whites desperately fawn over as they bow to it like the absurd characters in “American Fiction.”
Unfortunately, as “American Fiction” depicts, there’s a lot of money to be made in prolonging the problem.
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