- Posted January 30, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
iReport at the movies
WHY “DJANGO UNCHAINED” IS AN INSTANT CLASSIC
How does one present slavery from the victim’s perspective, you ask me? Just watch most movies about slavery, or better yet, just read any history textbook. Aren’t you tired of the usual presentation of slaves as irresponsible, bewildered, and highly dependent and in need of a white savior? (cf. Amistad, Amazing Grace…)
Well, you won’t get that in this movie! Jamie Foxx’s character – Django – is smart, sharp, ambitious, focused, and walks with his head high because he knows who he is and what he can do. He has skills that have nothing to do with working the land and in the movie he could be called “the fastest shooter in the South.”
Neither does Django fit with the image of the Mandingo slave: the strong, over sexualized black man who is more seen and treated as a beast than as a thinking man. In contrast, Django is presented as equal to Dr. Schultz (Christoph Waltz) who takes him in as a partner in his bounty hunting business. In that way, Django and Dr. Schultz craft and execute plans together.
It is a real breath of fresh air to see the victorious slave. In fact, numerous times during the movie I wanted to cheer for Django. Whether when he said something really smart, when he stood up to somebody, or when he shot at people.
Don’t get me wrong, slavery was violent and perverse. And slaves were brutalized, disrespected and ridiculed on a daily basis. We all know that. We’ve all seen Roots. But do we all know that there was more than that? Slaves rebelled, organized, and ran away, many with more success than others. The idea is that they were resilient, as portrayed in the character of Django.
Unfortunately both the media and the education system have failed to show us this side of history, but thanks to Django Unchained, this image is now spreading among households and we can finally have open conversations about how slavery was really like.
Indeed, it is necessary to have conversations about slavery. Why? Because you can’t fight what you don’t understand. I know, I know, slavery ended nearly 150 years ago as an institution, but its impacts are still visible today. One area in which this is visible is in self-esteem, mostly for black people. Mentioning slavery should not bring up sentiments of shame but of pride because of what our people endured and overcame. It is important to tell our children that our heritage does not rhyme with living in servitude but with determination, strength, pride, and relentlessness. So for that, I say thank you to Mr. Tarantino, because now all my people will understand that they can walk with their head high, proud of where they come from and determined to be the best at what they are.