The Birth of a Nation?
By Raymond Shipley
In 1915 The Birth of a Nation was released. A century later, The Birth of a Nation has come again. And although the differences couldn't be greater, the similarities may very well be overlooked.
The 1915 original was about the Ku Klux Klan saving White America from the newly freed slaves. It was designed to inspire whites in America to despise their black counterparts by showing every possible negative stereotype and ignoring any virtue. The film was so successful that Progressive Democratic POTUS Woodrow Wilson showed it in the White House. Not surprising, considering the KKK was founded by the Democratic Party, and former Democratic President Truman, as well as the late Senator Byrd, were members of its ranks.
The film was very successful in fueling racial hatred, and inspired a resurgence of the Klan in the 1920s. In many ways, The Birth of a Nation was the ember that sparked the regression of race relations in America, and the pendulum continued to swing until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s catapulted it in the reverse direction seen today.
This new version of The Birth of a Nation isn't about the Klan saving America from the black man. Rather, it is about the Nat Turner Rebellion that killed roughly 65 white folks and led to over 200 black deaths. It is being heralded as a monumental triumph by critics, though this author has to wonder about the conscience of those who have given such an abomination a thumbs up.
Nat Turner and his cohort didn't just try to escape, nor were they fighting to end slavery. They went on a killing spree and murdered women and children. As written in Confessions of Nat Turner:
"I entered my master's chamber; it being dark, I could not give a death blow, the hatchet glanced from his head, he sprang from the bed and called his wife, it was his last word. Will laid him dead, with a blow of his axe, and Mrs. Travis shared the same fate, as she lay in bed. The murder of this family five in number, was the work of a moment, not one of them awoke; there was a little infant sleeping in a cradle, that was forgotten, until we had left the house and gone some distance, when Henry and Will returned and killed it..."
"As I came round to the door I saw Will pulling Mrs. Whitehead out of the house, and at the step he nearly severed her head from her body, with his broad axe. Miss Margaret, when I discovered her, had concealed herself in the comer, formed by the projection of the cellar cap from the house; on my approach she fled, but was soon overtaken, and after repeated blows with a sword, I killed her by a blow on the head, with a fence rail."
Nat Turner was a child killer, and is now being applauded for his atrocities. At least the country is on good footing with race relations now, or this may serve to inspire more race based violence. Luckily there hasn't been recent killings, lootings and general mayhem that has had racial connotations. Yes, sarcasm.
The original film was pure fantasy designed to draw upon hate, but this new movie is far more sinister. It shelves fantasy and delves into reality; the real world murder of whites are now to be applauded. After the Django debacle it should come as no surprise this movie, with its fitting title, should be released to such acclaim. Disgusting.