Spike Lee and an American Revolution

Spike Lee should make a make a movie on the French or American Revolution.

But instead of casting mostly white people (which would kinda make sense, by the way) he would cast 100% black people. Or Asians. Not the ambiguously white looking ones, either.  I’m talking Tony Jaa style Asians.  In fact, he can cast Tony Jaa himself.  That would be kickass.  He has a pretty mean flying knee.  Can you imagine someone getting hit like that off of a horse?

Spike in making this movie would, in essence, cast a vast mix of non-whites without a single white person seen.  From George Washington to every rank-and-file colonial Soldier.  Including the Brits.  And it would be his greatest political-statement-through-cinema, ever.  Why?

Because with this masterpiece Spike’s intent would be to wait for the outrage — the white outrage off the fact not a single white person was cast.  From there, he would use the same excuse white directors and producers have done for years:

“The race of the population of actors playing doesn’t matter.  They’re supposed to be stand-ins for all people.”

 I wonder how that would work.  Denzel Washington as, well, George Washington.

The reason why I mention this and I strongly encourage Spike Lee to step up to the challenge, is because in my efforts to explain sociological concepts to white people (implicit bias, white defaultness and white privilege) I realize one thing — I cannot get through to them by way of talking to them about how it is to be black.  It’s quite impossible; most whites who get it already got it before I spoke, and naturally blacks and other non-whites understand how Racism 2.0 works.  Therefore, I have an infinite number of brick walls to leap over.  But when I saw this web article and my movie-lover self got to thinking, and this scene played in my head… that old Matthew McConaughey scene as Attorney Jake Brigance in the 1995 movie A Time to Kill.  It dawned on me.

White people will infinitely throw a deaf ear at the issue of white defaultness (in this case being exemplified in Hollywood’s preference of Monochrome Casting) when we speak about it because due to it being the “default setting” it’s simply the way things are and they cannot see past it… unless you flip it into something that they can understand and will feel some way about, like black defaultness.  I believe the only way to make white people realize how left out non-whites are with monochrome casting, is to show the inverse version of it, and then maybe even turn a blind eye to it and call them “pulling the race card” or “simply whining” when it’s brought up.  Just for shits and giggles, precisely imitating the same behavior in return.

Let’s pause for a bit — I love the sword-and-sandal themed stuff.  I think nothing compares to the blade clashing, the shield using, the archaic weapons and maneuver of equipment.  The rawness of those themes amazes me.  While this sub-genre has always existed, in recent times it has certainly picked up.  I think the movie 300 (2006) has the credit of REALLY jump starting the genre (yes, even though Gladiator came out in 2000), with it’s dark comic-book style blood splatter noir it certainly influenced Spartacus’s Blood and Sand series (2010-2013) .  With movies as such, it allowed other entertainment such as Rome (2005-2007) and the Bible TV series (2013), and even Game of Thrones (2011-).  Another 300 movie came out this month, and I enjoyed that also.

Now when it comes to monochrome casting, no one is in high complaint when it comes to areas in time and space where there’s little to no deviation to ethnic look; It is highly understandable for example, to cast all whites in the King Arthur movie that has Clive Owen fending off Saxons.  It’s also understandable to cast our Greeks as white and Persians as non-whites (300 movie series).  It’s perfectly okay to cast all whites in a movie starring Napoleon and the French Revolution.  Other points of understanding are historical domain characters such as Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, George Bush.

But when we begin to move closer to Africa and Asia… to include an era when people in the scene are far more likely to be non-white… Casting all whites is bullshit.  Jesus, wasn’t white.  Mohammed wasn’t white.  Noah wasn’t white and the vast majority of people in the Afro-Asian area were NOT white.  But, how do we make you see this point we are making here?

We will have to have Spike Lee (or Quentin Tarantino, whoever does it first) cast a movie of the American Revolution… with nothing but non-white actors.  Then watch the reaction.  The Jake Brigance flip… I wonder would that work.  In the meantime, I will not be present to watch the Noah movie, despite being a fan of Russell Crowe.  Sorry Russ, but it wasn’t your fault time.

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