Monday, April 11, 2011

White Savior/Magic Negro

 Some bemoan the existence of The Magical Negro.
The Black individual who has the ability to help someone white and does so.
These Magic Negroes are seen as modern representations of Uncle Toms.
From Sidney Portier (To Sir With Love), to Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption), to Will Smith (The Legend of Bagger Vance), to Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost), to Michael Clark Duncan (The Green Mile), to Queen Latifa (The Secret Life of Bees), to .... .
Blacks are often portrayed as possessing some type of mythical power or talent which is only used to rescue white people.
 But Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for playing the opposite role.
The White Savior is even more common in Hollywood.
Those who fill these roles are seen as ignant coons.

But these archetypes are more fact than fiction.
When those from different races interact - one person will be in a position to help another person.
Even when equals - there is always a Hegemon.
There is always someone who is even more equal than the others.
This is just the natural dynamic of interaction.
Most people don't walk around actively hating people predicated on race alone - most people have their own concerns to worry about.
One may think bad thoughts or have negative views, but few have the power or the desire to actually carry out such thoughts.
In the real world, you are either a Magic Negro or a White Savior (Or in need of one or the other.)


DF said...

I don't think they are as common as portrayed on film and that's where most people think it's some racist angle.

No white folks ever came down my block or just about anywhere in Compton if they weren't cops. And, I'd bet that the majority of Black folks in the whole country don't know a white savior at all. So this is much more of white guilt angle that sells movies and is kin to civilizing the uncivilized.

The Magical Negro is the opposite but still white guilt. If whites would listen to the indigenous magical folk who look uncivilized in their ways they would benefit with some Soul Food!

Shit, I can agree that people are usually unequal when they meet but neither or Magical or a Savior. This is just a another white folk guilt angle that makes them feel better and think highly of theirselves.

When the whole world thinks you are evil it's best to put out propaganda and try to convince the naive that your History isn't one of rapists and plunderers.

brohammas said...

Compton is lacking in an outreach centered University.
Temple University in Philly and Penn both get grief for reaching out to the community, or grief for not reaching out.

Just last night I was driving through the black part of town to go visit an old lady and someone shouted "go to bed white man"! MAde me chuckle.

It does happen. just because you havent seen it, doesnt mean it doesnt exist. (often vice versa)

uglyblackjohn said...

@ brohammas - South Central has USC

DF said...

@brohammas - Just because I didn't see it doesn't mean it isn't happening. But, just because you site one school and there are 42 million Black people doesn't make it enough that movies of helping whites should be considered the rule.

If we both don't know let's just say we don't know. But, either way it's not enough to make movies where some helpful white is trolling for Blacks to help. C'mon man.

brohammas said...

All I'm sayin is it does happen, not that its the norm. DOes it happen enough to make movies? I dont know, but when have movies ever needed to be based in reality?

Sure white guilt exists but I say not to the extent you may think. In fact, I have real issue with the opposite. Whites in general are swinging so far the other way in resenting any program that asiists minorities, and are so ignorant of the history and background of black white relations, that I think a little more "white guilt" (if thats what we want to call it) would be better for the country.

DF said...

@brohammas - When perceived resources are being used up white people have no white guilt at all. When the shit hits the fan it's easy to see exactly what they were always thinking in the first place. When there is surplus then they feel guilty.

Since this post is about films I'll keep it there. Most of these so called "white savior" movies find the needle in the haystack and blow it out of proportion. If a Black Man made a whole series of Nat Turner slave revolt movies where white people were portrayed as racist, rapist scum of the earth people.... do you think white people would object?

Yes, because even though there are a lot of documented FACTUAL slave revolts in slavery white people wouldn't want to be subject to propaganda labeling them as devils. So it's the same here when white people keep cranking out movies where they help this helpless hapless Black get their life together. Just two scoops of white influence makes life better huh?

So why is it wrong when Black folks want to make sure this kind of BS doesn't get accepted as true when we know otherwise.