Birth of a Nation

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As a person of color, I find this film to be almost entirely offensive, and more than anything, sad. As a lover of movies, however, I understand the film's enormous value. People who viewed “The Birth of a Nation” seem to attack its movie scenes based on a belief that to appreciate a film is to be entertained by it. That is not always true. “The Birth of a Nation,” while created to entertain, has left behind a true depiction of our history. Many of its themes; race fear, race war, the myth of the Old South, myths of Black and White sexuality, remain relevant and troubling ninety-six years after the film's release. "The Birth of a Nation" depicted the fall of the Old South and justifies the rise of the Ku Klux Klan. It exploits and depicts Black men as sex-crazed and violent, as well as preserving the antebellum stereotype of Black people as simple-minded, childlike and chaotic. White people are presented as well-mannered, well-educated and sophisticated. White folks, the film would have us believe, were fair slaveholders who cared for their childlike slaves, and who were wronged by a Northern occupation that allowed those slaves to become wicked masters. WHATEVER!

The Old South had fallen; consequently, the institution of oppression used to maintain social order and status was swept away and replaced by an awkward and poorly managed system of reconstruction that sought to provide land, welfare and rights to the newly freed Black community. White Southern men most likely felt emasculated by their failed rebellion, compounded with the nullification of Confederate currency, the division of land to provide for the Black community, and the threatening presence of a Black vote. It is crucial to remember that, while slavery was unquestionably the major reason for the Civil War, Southerners rarely saw slavery as a prime issue, and Northerners were largely in disagreement about it. The Black community became a living symbol for Northern invasion, the "negro manipulated...
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