Do The Right Thing, Spike

The thing which amazes me most about people like Spike Lee is that they have frozen in time. While the US is getting ready to elect the first black President in it’s history – no, make that the history of the Western world – old Spike is trying to hammer a point home about Clint Eastwood’s World War II movies (see here and here). They’re “all white”. It’s not the first time Lee has been on Eastwood’s case, either. He wasn’t too happy about the movie Bird about Charlie Parker, just because Eastwood made it – white Eastwood.

Now that’s interesting. Mr. Lee, do me a favour, tell me how that’s not the most racist load of clap-trap that ever came out of the mouth of a famous Hollywood director. Do I hear you actually calling for a segregated movie industry, where whites do white subjects and blacks tackle black stories? And if so, what’s the problem with Clintwood not including the tiny minority of black people in the battles he depicted in his films? He’s leaving them for you to pick up and turn into the next self-righteous movie about how The Man has kept you all down.

The way I see it, Eastwood is trying to be historically accurate within the frame of his stories. He is not the kind of man who would include a friendly Japanese soldier, for example, to pander to the Japanese American community (which, to the best of my knowledge, never complains about stereotyping in WWII movies). He is not the kind of man who would insert a female nurse into the movie, just because there probably was a detachment of female hospital staff around somewhere. And so he doesn’t insert a black man just to please people. If he’d shown them doing anything other than unloading munitions, it would be historically inaccurate. And if he’d shown them unloading munitions you’d probably be on his case for portraying blacks as pack horses or slaves.

Mr. Lee, you need to move on with the rest of us. We’re way past this 1970s era include-a-good-black-guy ideology. We’re way past that whitey-keeps-the-black-man-down syndrome. These days a black person can be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Security Advisor or Secretary of State, and maybe even President.

And I may be wrong, Mr. Lee, but right now you are not helping Senator Obama with your old fashioned, Sharpton style ranting. Time for you to do the right thing and shut up already. Like Mr. Eastwood suggested, indeed.


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