How ‘BlacKkKlansman’ could help America write a new chapter
( CNN) Spike Lee’s brilliantly provocative cinema “BlacKkKlansman“( about the true narrative of a black undercover police officer who joins the Klan with the aid of a white colleague) opens wide on the first anniversary of Charlottesville as a pointed reminder of the long historical roots of our present racial drama.
Lee’s film reminds us of what side President Trump appealed to in Charlotte’s aftermath by claiming a moral equivalency between anti-racist protesters and white supremacists marching in the usually bucolic college township. But the panoramic spectrum of fury unleashed in Charlottesville, Virginia, which left one person dead, far transcends the current White House occupant and his harmful bluster.
America’s contemporary political landscape constructs watching “BlacKkKlansman” an especially poignant instance of real life mimicking an art sort whose most enduring film( in this case D.W. Griffith’s 1915 paean to the Klan “The Birth of a Nation”) cast a national spell on America that we’re still struggling to snap out of. Even more mesmerizing than racial hatred, the film indicates, is the banality of white supremacists outside the heroic cinematic representations that continue to linger in the American imagination. While “Gone With the Wind” and “The Birth of a Nation” evoked a romanticized version of racial privilege and black subordination, Lee’s film reminds us that we must continue to wrestle with the ugly reality this lie is built on if we are to defeat the myths of racial superiority that offer ballast to white supremacists of all stripes.
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