Why Birth of A Nation Isn't Just For Black People
I am just going to be honest with you guys. This is attempt three at this blog post because I just do not know how to say a lot of the things I feel must be said. Not too long ago I saw Birth of A Nation and was hands down blown away. From start to finish my eyes were glued to the screen in a way that was almost fiendish. Mostly because I felt like there was so much information and emotion to be ingested throughout the ENTIRE movie. So many different dynamics that could be pinpointed on. I honestly struggled with how to start this article because there are just so many things I want to talk to you guys about. With all of these things surrounding race happening around all of us it is so important to know the facts - truth is, there are people who are sadly under the impression that black people aren't dying at staggering rates. There are also people who claim that the black people who have died somehow deserved it. I know these people exist because I fight with them daily on social media simply just trying to get them to see. This movie highlights how black people were treated in early American history - to be specific, a time when slavery was at its peak. Nate Parker stars in his own film as Nat Turner a former slave and preacher who led a revolt and slaughtered slave owners urging to fight for the lives of the slaves.
I am proud of this movie because it uses our oppressed history to expose the inner workings of early America. Birth of A Nation is blunt with their depiction of how blacks were treated by their masters and families - and serves as a great example for explaining the dynamic of how a household actually behaved among slaves. But I do not want to give off the idea that this movie was just another slave film. This movie challenged a lot of norms that are still prominent today. For example, the bible was questioned which in itself is a huge talking point for me. Religion is another topic going off of the idea that the bible is in question. And lastly I wanted to question the fact that this blip in American history has gone unnoticed until now. How is it that I have gone through an entire life of schooling and have never been taught about Nat Turner.
Would you believe me if I told you I had no idea who Nat Turner was before seeing this movie?
The bible & Religion //
There is a scene in Birth of a Nation closer to the beginning surrounding Nat being deemed a bright boy and needing schooling. He was getting caught reading books that were laying around the plantation an had an eye for learning. So much that the masters wife noticed and wanted to teach him more. On the first day of teachings Nat walked into the study of the home and reached for a book to read off of the bookshelf. The masters wife stopped him and said, "there books here are for white folks, it contains information your kind would not understand.." - Then she turned around and handed him a bible.
This scene was one of many that I saw giving off the idea that the bible was imposed upon slaves. Used as some sort of way to control behavior. A way to instill both fear and faith in the hearts of the slaves. This to me was absolutely mind blowing. How on earth do people go to church every week just to read from a book that has been used to control people for the last 400 years? I will wait...
And from there, if the bible is in question so is every religion hybrid in today's world. Every religion chooses which version of the story they believe in. But all or most of the stories originated from a book, or an idea, or a story told from generation to generation. The bible has been re-done a handful of times yes, but there are still versions circulating to this day that refer to people as slaves, indicating that there are in fact slaves. Nat Turner says something in the movie that really resonated with me in regards to religion and the bible. It was around the time he realized what he was created to do and why. He was raised to be articulate, to be able to communicate, to understand. Such that he would be able to spread the word of the bible to his fellow slaves and help the owners seemingly maintain control. So ultimately what I took from internalizing this is that the bible in hand with religion was born with the intention to control. That is how I decided that I wanted no parts.
Why this movie is so important for black people //
If you happened to be black while watching this movie I am positive you were uncomfortable. Somewhere in between watching slaves have their teeth knocked out and seeing people hanging from trees I got a little mentally violent. It is one thing that a lot of us have gotten used to seeing our black men and women gunned down in the streets on social media, but it is a completely different situation when you are watching a piece of history you were never taught. On purpose. It finally dawned on me that this cruelty may not have stopped happening at all. The media has just gotten so powerful over the years that information is spilling out of our screens.
To me this movie was a message, and I think anyone watching while black should consider a few things. I noticed that throughout the movie there were a handful of things highlighted that the white man did not like. These are the things we should be capitalizing on and taking advantage of in this day and age. To start, he does not like us to have pride in ourselves or in our relationships. This was indicated by the strength I observed in Nat's marriage. He also does not want an independent mind or someone who thinks critically enough to decode certain situations. Given what I saw, your relationship is the most important, for if you have chosen the right one you will be lifted up in exactly the right way to achieve your destiny. On a personal level what should be focused on is mental strength, and personal pride. Never let anyone break you down or tell you that something is unattainable.
Any black man or woman should have reflected on where they are and the resources they have to be better and progressive. This movie motivated me to have my own, to think on my own, and to take care of my own. We have to be better not just for ourselves but for our people. We need to stat taking pride in what we have internally, instead of breaking each other down or letting ourselves down.
Why this movie is so important to white people //
This is my chance to talk to any white friend I may have had throughout my life. To me, you are still my friend if you are genuine, and if you know how to think critically for yourself. Understand that we are living in a time currently that is begging for social change regarding race. Having said that I am sure you have seen black men dying in the hands of police all over the world every single day. I simply want you to take a moment to realize what is happening not just with black people but with your country. Realize the flaws that are being presented and correct them in how you respond to things moving forward in your life. To me a friend is a friend as long as they can commit and show they are genuine. I will never turn anyone away because they are white, nor will I assume that you think a certain way because you are white.
I realize how hard a lot of this is to ingest because you were never taught this information. That alone should leave you skeptical about what it really is your government is trying to teach you but that is a separate conversation. I am just asking you as your friend to ask questions and to join the conversation. The only way we will better our relationships and friendships moving forward is by talking. So if you do not agree with something online, respond! If I write something on the blog you do not agree with please feel free to start a debate with me below. I love debates because it promotes healthy communicative conversation. Which is in my opinion exactly what we need as a people.