Subtext and Song of the South

Dear Samantha Bee:

Even though I spent years as a community and arts activist, fighting for diversity in housing and public offices, I love the movie “Song of the South.” Always have, in spite of the seemingly overt racism. (It’s there, but it’s the racism of white folks in the forties who thought using the term “negroes” instead of “darkies” and “jigaboos” was more tolerant and enlightened. These were, after all, the same men who expected women to leave the factories and go home to make supper so they could take those jobs for themselves.)

The Uncle Remus stories taught generations of readers the value of subversive thought. Br’er Rabbit represented the sly slave mentality always getting one up on massuh without massuh knowing it. The fox and bear could enslave the rabbit, and even eat him, but never outthink him.

The Uncle Remus stories taught generations of readers the value of subversive thought.

The tar baby was a metaphor for the insidious but innocent-looking traps white masters left for their slaves. The point of the story, however, was the inevitability that slaves would outwit their masters and earn their freedom. (Picture courtesy of Disney Studios.)

That this message is lost on Trump and his ilk. I can think of nothing I will enjoy more than watching a film spreading (albeit inadvertently) a revolutionary message while shedding tear for the good old days,

Written by

Living metaphor. Follow me @stephens_pt.

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