Monday, February 29, 2016
The Magic Negro Myth is Older than Sidney Poitier Movies; Indeed, It is Older than Movies, Period
[Re: “Oscars, RIP: The Red, the Black, and the Nation of Islam.”]
By A Reader
The rise of the Magic Negro myth was not born of Marxism brought to these shores starting in the final two decades of the 19th century. It was made an inevitability by Honest Abe deciding to be the Great Emancipator. Once that move was made, the Union winning the War would mean that forever more (unless overturned by another revolution), the centralized new nation would feature a romanticizing of Negroes and a demonizing of at least some whites. The nation took a break from that suicidal insanity from the collapse of Reconstruction through WWI, but it was revived with a fury.
That is central to the paralysis. All kinds of basically “conservative” white people see Lincoln as the greatest of heroes. And that means they are easily twisted against themselves and their kind.
Karl Marx, living in London and working as a journalist, wrote editorials praising Lincoln and his war effort. Marx knew who was acting to advance basic Marxist goals long term.
N.S.: This is a brilliant letter, and yet I must say a word on behalf of Abe Lincoln. In The Birth of a Nation, D.W. Griffith’s brilliant, notorious, and reportedly faithful adaptation of Thomas Dixon’s pro-KKK novel, The Klansman, Lincoln was referred to as “the Great Heart,” and was depicted as showing compassion towards defeated slavers and freedmen alike. Though I was raised to deify Abraham Lincoln, and in recent years have been known to consort with men who hate Lincoln with such a fiery wrath that they still blame him for crop failures, I consider him the most tragic of presidents. Keep in mind that Lincoln’s plan was to repatriate the freedmen.