Where Da White Women At?
Nate Parker’s Oscar-bait film the Birth of a Nation took its title from another film, released 100 years before, in which the Ku Klux Klan rescues white women from black men. Ironically, his career was derailed when it was revealed that Parker himself was once falsely accused of raping a white woman.
Nate Parker received a standing ovation before his film, the Birth of a Nation, ever even screened at the Sundance. The crowd, at the film’s premiere, was just that moved by the story of how the film came to be. They could give a rat’s ass whether or not it was any good.
Had they been instructed, and maybe even paid, to greet the heretofore more or less unknown Parker as a conquering hero? Possibly. Hollywood studios have been known to plant BS stories in the media since the days of LA Confidential. When I was in high school, in the mid ’90s, there was famously a fake news item about how a guy had a heart attack during the adrenaline-shot scene in Pulp Fiction.
Nevertheless, Parker seemed poised for Tarantino-like superstardom. Early word from the festival was that Birth, the story of a slave rebellion led by Nat Turner in the 1830s, was very good and extremely violent — so violent that there was concern about how white audiences would react, which made it that much more interesting to me personally. People were talking about the film as if it were a shoo-in for next year’s Oscars.
Nate Parker invested a significant amount of his own money, made from acting in films like Red Tails and Beyond the Lights, and financed the rest of it with money gathered from a group of investors, including a few random former pro athletes. After the initial screening at Sundance, a bidding war broke out for the rights to the film, which Fox Searchlight won for a record $17 million. The record had previously been held by the hilarious Little Miss Sunshine, which sold for $10 million back in the mid ‘00s.
$17 million seems like a lot of money, and it is, for me personally, but it’s nothing for Hollywood studios that produce films like the ridonkulously elaborate Captain America: Civil War. Rupert Murdoch doesn’t even get out of the bed in the morning for $17 million. And the studios can pretty much get these Sundance movies for free anyway, because they finance them by selling off the rights in foreign territories. The Chinese, for example, have been known to resent white people. Perhaps they’d be interested in a film in which between 40 and 60 white people are brutally murdered. There’s over a billion people in China. Even if the film is heavily bootlegged, they can easily make back that $17 million.
Also, reports of how much Fox Searchlight paid to acquire the rights to Birth of a Nation would function as free advertising. Black-interest publications love to run stories about random black people who excelled at, or became the first to do, something or other. Each spring, they run the same story about some African kid who’s been accepted to all five Ivy League schools. If only he were intelligent enough to make clones of himself, like in the movie Multiplicity. Whether or not Fox Searchlight could write off some, if not all, of that $17 million as a marketing expense I’m not sure; I didn’t pay much attention in the few accounting classes I took in college.
Nominations for the 2016 Oscars were announced on the morning of January 14, 2016, about a week before Birth of a Nation appeared at Sundance. I took a look at the list of nominees on an office computer at the warehouse where I work before I set about my important job affixing adhesive labels to cardboard boxes. I wasn’t sweating who was nominated, because I don’t see very many new movies anymore, and award shows are bullshit anyway.
There’d been a minor controversy the year before, and in years prior, because few, if any, black filmmakers had been nominated. And wouldn’t you know, in 2016, for the second year in a row, not a single black person had been nominated for any of the major awards, i.e. the acting awards, director, screenplay and what have you. And probably not for any of the minor awards. I only hesitate to say because who knows, or cares, who’s nominated for any of the minor awards? In order to say for certain that none of these people were black, you’d have to find pictures of them and hold a brown paper bag up to them, like they do in the admissions departments of some HBCUs.
Arguably, the Oscars shouldn’t televise anything other than the major awards, and maybe best song, if there’s an especially good song nominated that year. (As I recall, Tegan and Sara were once nominated for an Academy Award.) If the Grammys can’t even give out the award for Best Rap Album on TV, why should I have to watch someone win an award for Best Costumes? Is it any wonder the ratings for the Oscars are always in the toilet?
To look at the list of nominees for the 2016 Oscars, it’s almost as if the Academy was trolling the black community. Sylvester Stallone, for example, was one of the few white people involved in the movie Creed, and he was the only one nominated, for Best Supporting Actor. Michael B. Jordan killed it, as the lead in that film, and director Ryan Coogler single-handedly resurrected a franchise that hadn’t truly been worth a shit since the 1980s. They could have at least gotten a nomination!
None of the five black kids who played members of NWA in Straight Outta Compton were nominated for Best Actor, or Best Supporting Actor (not even the kid who played Eazy-E), but a group of five white people who worked on the script shared a nomination for Best Original Screenplay. The fact that so many people worked on that script raises the question: How come one of them couldn’t have been black? Not only would I have been willing to accept credit for having written Straight Outta Compton, I could have made it a better movie?
Straight Outta Compton wasn’t truly worthy of being nominated for Best Picture, but arguably it should have been nominated anyway, if only because it became the top-grossing music biopic of all time, but also for the sake of diversity. At a time when the Academy is nominated 8 or 10 movies per year for Best Picture, for marketing purposes, they could have squeezed it in there. (Nullus.) Plenty of not-very-good movies have been nominated for the Oscars’ top prize, and some of them have even won. Have you ever seen the movie A Beautiful Mind? I rest my case.
Perhaps to placate black people on the Internets upset with a lack of black nominees, Chris Rock was brought in to host. Criticism was widespread. Both 50 Cent and Tyrese tried to get him to pull out, which you’d think would have been enough. But the thing is, if Chris Rock had refused to host the Oscars, as a matter of principle, the powers that be would have been none too pleased. He might not have been able to eat lunch in this town again. As it is, it’s since been announced he received $40 million to film two stand-up comedy specials for Netflix. Both Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett announced that they wouldn’t be attending, but it’s not like either of them had a reason to be there anyway.
Arguably, black people shouldn’t be concerned with how many black people are nominated for Academy Awards, because what difference does it make if a black person wins an Oscar? Black people have been winning Oscars, albeit not very many of them, since the actress who played the mammy character in Gone with the Wind won back in the 1930s. That didn’t stop very many black men from being strung up from trees for false rape accusations.
In 2002, Denzel Washington and Halle Berry won the Oscars’ top two acting prizes on the same night. They also gave Sidney Poitier a lifetime achievement award that same night. It may have been black people’s proudest moment before Barack Obama won the election in ’08. However, there was concern that Halle Berry’s character had surprisingly graphic sex with the white man who killed her husband (who was played by P. Diddy), and Denzel played a corrupt cop, who compared himself to King Kong, long before the Lebron James cover of Vogue. At any rate, none of these awards benefited me much personally. And obviously they didn’t benefit black filmmakers much, if they’ve hardly been nominated since.
One thing black people do dominate is Twitter. It used to be that there were only enough black people on Twitter for black trending topics to dominate at night, when people who work for a living were sound asleep. You’d see the remnants of this early in the morning, before they were replaced with something less vulgar and/or obscure. By the time the nominations were announced for the 2016 Oscars, there were enough black people on Twitter for Jeff Foxworthy-style fill-in-the-blanks humor to dominate at all hours of the day and night. Hence the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag, which eventually became a trolling campaign unto itself, not unlike Black Lives Matter. Oscars So White continues to this day, resurfacing in any year when the list of nominees isn’t more or less identical to the list of nominees for that year’s BET Awards, and has been credited for rule changes in the voting process that may have led to Moonlight, a black, gay film shot on a shoestring budget, triumphing over the heavily favored La La Land.
Like Black Lives Matter, Oscars So White is emblematic of the neoliberal preference for empty symbolism over actual progress. Which is to be expected from the people behind these campaigns. The black feminist community from which Oscars So White emerged is made up of professional types who, at least in one case, kick black single mothers out of their houses by day and harangue people on the Internets about their lack of concern for black women by night.
Of course if you were to accuse literally anyone of being a neoliberal, they would deny it as if their life depended on it not being true. Neoliberalism is like Fight Club: both the first and second rules are that you can’t admit that it exists. For example, DeRay Mckesson, the de facto leader of Black Lives Matter, has complained that no one who’s accused him of being a neoliberal even knows what neoliberalism is. He’s counting on his followers being the kind of people who aren’t about to read a book, which is true, actually, and just goes to show how savvy he is.
Neoliberalism is the set of economic policies traditionally favored by conservatives. The core tenets of neoliberalism are cutting taxes, deregulation and privatization. Once upon a time, back in the 19th century, neoliberalism was known as laissrz-faire capitalism. It was renamed (possibly) as an affront to the French and also to trick otherwise reasonable people into supporting center-right politicians like Hillary Clinton. Similarly, while the term neoconservative suggests someone whose goal is to shrink the size of the government, neoconservatives, many of whom are former ‘60s-era radicals, constantly advocate for war in the Middle East and the attendant increase in military spending.
One of the foremost proponents of neoliberalism was Milton Friedman, who, throughout the mid 20th century, taught at the University of Chicago, the same school where Barack Obama was once a constitutional law professor. In the 1950s, Friedman taught a group of Chilean economists, known as the Chicago Boys, who would implement neoliberal reforms after Augusto Pinochet rose to power in a CIA-backed coup on September 11, 1973. The idea of putting people with suspect ideology in place so that they might one day take advantage of a tragedy is central to what’s since become known as disaster capitalism. In Naomi Klein’s book the Shock Doctrine, from 2007, Friedman is quoted as saying, “Only a crisis — actual or perceived — produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around.”
In the Shock Doctrine, Klein breaks down how New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina, bulldozed public housing that hadn’t even been flooded during the storm and replaced their public school system with charter schools. Charter schools are preferable to public schools because charter schools, with a non-union workforce, are free to pay their employees a salary that’s more in line with what they could make elsewhere, on the free market, i.e. more than the guy who operates the sour cream gun at Taco Bell but less than the guy who’s got his own key to the walk-in cooler. Some charter schools have higher test scores than public school, but that’s because they juice the stats by kicking the dumbest kids to the curb.
DeRay Mckesson, the aforementioned de facto leader of Black Lives Matter, is a member of Teach for America, a school privatization scheme. Teach for America recruits kids from elite colleges to teach in inner-city schools for two years. The purpose of Teach for America is not to teach poor kids how to read good, but rather to learn the ins and outs of the public education system so that, after their two years is up, TFA alumni can infiltrate local governments and advocate for neoliberal reforms. For example, Mckesson, who hails from Baltimore, taught in New York and then became and administrator in Minnesota. Sensing an opportunity to get his name in the paper, he left his job in Minnesota to protest the Mike Brown shooting in St. Louis. At the height of his Black Lives Matter pseudo-celebrity, he ran for mayor of Baltimore, but alas, he only received 0% of the vote, which is the exact same percentage I would have received, and I’m not even from Baltimore.
The people of Baltimore, despite their weird accents, knew better than to go for the okey doke. Teaching is one of the last good government jobs. You can make upwards of six figures, with summers off and an old school, defined-benefit pension, to teach kids who graduate from high school barely knowing how to read. The quality of instruction provided is neither here nor there, in a system in which a white guy who just got out of jail has a better chance of getting a job than a black guy with a degree.
It was only a matter of time before someone on the Internets found out that Nate Parker had once been accused of rape, since it was right there on his Wikipedia page. If he’d been thinking, he would have paid someone to go in and delete that part. The way Wikipedia works, he could have done it himself, but eventually someone would have traced those edits back to his computer. Anyway, there’s a whole industry of companies that help scammers and former thots remove embarrassing information from the Internets. They create fake web pages that make it seem as if you’ve won various awards and donated large sums to charities and then use SEO to boost those pages to the first page of search results for your name, thus burying what you really did deep within Google, where no one will ever find it. (More than 90% of people never go past the first page of search results in Google.)
Nate Parker didn’t do anything, having been acquitted of all charges, but that was neither here nor there on the 2016 Internets. The trend at the time was to announce, in front of as many people as possible, that you believe women, meaning that you automatically side with the woman in any and all sexual assault allegations, regardless of the merits of the particular case. To suggest otherwise was to be seen as having contributed to the rape culture and could result in being reported to the proper authorities. In all seriousness, you could lose your job behind that shit, especially if you work in education or in a coveted, high-profile position in tech or the media.
The Internets are always looking for a good rape scandal. In 2014, campus rape was poised to be that year’s hot-button issue, but they could never find a very good example, despite the number of rapes that supposedly take place on campus. Rolling Stone ran a story about a girl who was supposedly gang raped at a frat party at the University of Virginia that turned out to be some ol’ bullshit. After they got caught, they claimed they didn’t fact check the story because to do so would be to suggest that a woman could lie about having been raped. In retrospect, the correct course of action would have been to fact check the story and just pretend that they didn’t. If it turned out to be fake, they could pretend it was preempted by an article on Beyoncé, pay the girl who wrote it a “kill fee” and let her run it in Mother Jones. The proliferation of fake, or at least questionable, rape stories in the media, including the UVA story, a false accusation against Conor Oberst, the Columbia University “mattress girl” case and the since discredited film the Hunting Ground, among others, led the campus rape meme to stall and instead the media focused on the series of police shootings of unarmed black men that led to Black Lives Matter.
The alleged incident took place in 1999 at — where else — Penn State? It’s interesting to think that Nate Parker was accused of rape at the same time that Jerry Sandusky may have been effing poor black kids in the a in a shower elsewhere on campus. If only campus anti-rape activists hadn’t been so occupied with persecuting Nate Parker. Think of how many lives could have been saved.
At the time, Nate Parker was an 19-year-old sophomore on a wrestling scholarship. His victim was an 18-year-old freshman. One evening, they made plans to meet at a bar. She would later claim that she had too much to drink waiting for him to arrive. He must have been on CP time. When he did arrive, he invited her back to his place, either to play Scrabble or maybe to have sex. Possibly both. He would have been at an advantage, in a game of Scrabble, with her drunk like that. Similarly, it’s easier to convince a girl who’s drunk to have sex with you.
None of the articles I read mentioned whether or not they played any board games, but I can confirm that they made sweet, passionate love that night. He claims it was purely consensual in nature, while she claimed to have been in and out of consciousness. She must not have been in consciousness long enough to say no, or as Don Lemon recommends, bite his dick off. In her drunken state, she may not have realized that she didn’t want to have sex until after the fact.
During the act, Parker noticed two of his friends sneaking a peek and invited them to get in on the action. It ain’t no fun, he may have thought to himself, if the homies can’t have none. One of them was like, “Nah, I’m cool on that.” The other one, Jean Celestin, took him up on his offer.
Celestin put his penis in the alleged victim’s mouth while Nate Parker was hitting it from the back, essentially using her as a pair of Chinese handcuffs. They may or may not have high-fived during the act, which is known as the Eiffel Tower. The alleged victim claimed to remember waking up with Celestin in her mouth, which definitely isn’t the best part of waking up, though it would certainly rouse you from even the deepest slumber.
The following morning, the alleged victim had sober and hence possibly consensual sex with Nate Parker before they parted ways. If she was aware that she’d had supposedly non-consensual sex the night before, she apparently wasn’t that concerned. Maybe his pipe game was just that strong. He excelled at wrestling, and many wrestling moves mimic lovemaking techniques.
Two weeks later, the alleged victim called Nate Parker talking about how her period was late — one of the most difficult calls you can receive in college. Or at any point. You never know how to respond. The natural tendency is to want to ask if it’s yours, especially if it’s someone you pulled from a bar or nightclub, but that never goes over well. Of course sometimes a pregnancy scare is just a ruse to try to gauge a man’s interest in a long-term relationship. If he doesn’t sound psyched about the prospect of having a kid with you, there’s a possibility he’s just using you for sex.
After she called Nate Parker, she spoke with a faculty adviser who, despite not having been there, ensured her that she’d been raped. She then called Parker again and, this time, recorded their conversation, which in many states is illegal. She asked him who all she had sex with that night and whether or not she’d been raped. He told her that only he had sex with her, and that it was consensual.
About two months after the impromptu group sexual encounter, the alleged victim reported the incident to the police. The police recorded another phone conversation between Parker and the alleged victim. As I recall, from watching the Wire, it’s legal for 5–0 to record your phone conversations, but only if they have a warrant. The alleged victim asked Parker to tell her everything that happened that night. This time, he admitted that Celestin had been in her mouth, which may or may not have been why he wasn’t interested in kissing her anymore.
Parker and Celestin were both arrested and charged with rape, among other things. They lawyered up and hired a private investigator to gather information about the alleged victim, probably one of those guys who sits in a parked car outside the home of someone’s estranged wife and snaps photos of all the guys she’s fucking. If the alleged victim was fucking a lot of other guys, that could be useful in court — though on the Internets that would be considered victim-blaming. The private investigator showed a photo of the alleged victim to people he interviewed on campus, inadvertently revealing her identity. The alleged victim accused him of harassment, as if he did that on purpose and later sued the school for failing to protect her identity. They settled out of court for $17,500, which may have come from the student activity fund. As a result they may have had to settle for booking Yellowcard instead of Weezer. (I still fuxwit “Ocean Avenue.”)
Parker was acquitted of all charges, while Celestin was convicted of the lesser charge of sexual assault. He was sentenced to six months to a year in jail. Depending on what jail it is, you might only end up doing two weeks of a six month sentence. Remember that time Paris Hilton went to jail? The fact that he was given such a slap on the wrist suggests that the judge felt that whatever he didn’t wasn’t that bad. Something similar happened to 2Pac back in the ’90s. He was charged with rape, but he was only convicted of sexual abuse, which stemmed from him slapping the victim on her bare ass before his homeboys had their way with her. To think, you can be sentenced to three to nine years in prison for slapping someone on the ass. Our legal system is out of control.
The Internets have come to believe that Parker got off because he’d had consensual oral sex with the alleged victim once before, and the judge decided that the consent from the blowski carried over to the subsequent encounter as if it were Boost Mobile rollover minutes. If true, that would have been a profound miscarriage of justice.
Most likely, the judge was privy to a lot of information that wasn’t widely disseminated on the Internets, some of which may have been collected by the private investigator, including the alleged victim’s history of drug use and mental illness, the false pregnancy scare and the fact that she was willing to have sex with Nate Parker again after he supposedly raped her.
Celestin’s sentence was overturned on appeal, when the alleged victim refused to testify in another trial. Parker transferred to the University of Oklahoma, where he learned about Nat Turner in an African American studies class. Over the years, he’s stayed in touch with Celestin, who was given a story credit on Birth of a Nation and might have won an Academy Award if it weren’t for the rape controversy. Parker and Celestin must share a special bond specific to codefendants in sexual assault cases.
Initially, the plan was for Nate Parker to avoid discussing the rape in interviews to promote Birth of a Nation. This wasn’t a bad idea, but Parker made the mistake of saying too much about the case, pointing out the fact that he’d been acquitted and sounding resentful about the fact that he’d been accused in the first place.
Contrast this with Heems from Das Racist’s response when confronted with sexual assault allegations during a Reddit AMA. He refused to discuss the incident, supposedly out of respect for the alleged victim and instead suggested they take the conversation offline, preferably in a conversation that wasn’t being recorded. If only Nate Parker was as adept at social media anti-rape culture advocacy and virtue signaling.
Refusing to discuss the matter for privacy reasons would have made anyone attempting to relitigate his case seem insensitive, whereas commenting on the case, albeit just barely, created a void that people were free to fill with whatever they could imagine. A consensus developed around the idea that Nate Parker really was a vicious rapist, but that he benefited from kid-gloves treatment in court, not unlike Brock Turner, the Stanford swimmer who was given a slap on the wrist for fingering a girl, who fell asleep on him, after receiving affirmative consent. Announcing that you wouldn’t be seeing Birth of a Nation, therefore, came to be viewed as a virtuous act, and an especially appealing form of activism, since it didn’t involve actually doing anything.
In an article in Variety that read like an orchestrated hit on Nate Parker, it was revealed that his alleged victim committed suicide in 2012 at age 30, leaving behind a son. She OD’d on sleeping pills in a rehab facility. Why in the world she had access to sleeping pills — a drug — in a rehab facility, I’m not sure. That may have been something for Variety to investigate. I mean, if they were so concerned for the alleged victim. In an autopsy, a medical examiner cited depression, psychosis, drug use and PTSD resulting from sexual abuse as factors contributing to her demise. The Internets of course seized on the part about PTSD resulting from sexual abuse, which they took to mean that this was all Nate Parker’s fault. Never mind the fact that she was crazy and on drugs before they even met.
2012, the year he starred in the movie Red Tails, was more or less the height of Nate Parker’s pre-Birth of a Nation acting career. Shortly thereafter, he told his agent that he wouldn’t act in any more movies until after he made a movie about Nat Turner. The alleged victim may have seen the level of success he achieved and realized the error of her ways. Worse, he’d married a girl he met at Penn State. If she hadn’t been tripping, maybe that could have been her.
I googled Nate Parker around the time the allegations surfaced in the media. In addition to the section on the alleged rape in the wiki, I found articles on bored-hoodrat blogs about how his wife supposedly isn’t very attractive and a minor controversy having to do with him refusing to accept gay roles in films. Hollywood likes nothing more than to put a black man in a dress. It might be a psyop to condition people to believe that black men aren’t worthy of the respect typically afforded a grown, straight man. Examples include Martin Lawrence in Big Momma’s House, Marlon and Shawn Wayans in White Chicks and Tyler Perry as Madea, among others. Nate Parker said he wouldn’t put on the dress, because he wanted to “preserve the black man.”
Parker’s wife Sarah DiSanto is reasonably attractive, but it’s important to keep in mind that she got with him before he was a successful actor and that she’s had four of his kids. A woman who’s had four kids can’t be expected to have a very good body, but she at least remains height-weight proportional. Other than youth, which is as important as it is impossible to hold on to, ability to keep the weight off is the most important determining factor in a woman’s looks.
Something else to consider: Because they met when they both attended Penn State, DiSanto had to have known about the rape accusations. How many women would marry a guy with something like that in his past? It takes a special kind of woman to be able to sacrifice for the greater good. You don’t let a woman like that go, even if your status becomes such that you have access to women with better bodies.
Many black women were as concerned with the fact that Nate Parker’s wife is white as they were with the rape allegations, if not more so, not to mention the fact that the alleged victim was white. They’d almost rather he’d been accused of raping a black women, if only to prove that black women are worthy of being assaulted.
Black women hate to see any black man with a white woman, but they especially hate to see a successful black man with a white woman. They feel entitled to rich black men’s money because they’re the same race. If a man felt similarly entitled to a woman’s body, his name would be put on a list. The stereotype is that, when a black man gets a few dollars in his pocket, he gets a white woman as a sort of status symbol, like an expensive car, but that’s not always the case. Nate Parker’s wife, for example, got with him long before he was worth a shit.
Part of the reason black women can’t stand to see a black man with a white woman is that they’re desperately lonely, and they see miscegenation as part of the reason black women are the least married group of people, along with black male homosexuality, lack of educational attainment and the prison-industrial complex. Lack of educational attainment wouldn’t necessarily contribute to a shortage of black men, but black women, like all women, are hypergamous by nature. They can’t be satisfied in a relationship with a man who makes less money than they do, even if, between the two of them, they bring in enough money to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. It’s not so easy for a black woman to find a man who makes more money than she does, because many black women are highly educated and make, if not a lot of money, at least more than their black male counterparts. However, they don’t have much to show for all their success. As revealed in a study a while back, the average black woman has a $5 net worth. Men who make similar amounts are able to build more wealth, in part because they spend less money on their hair.
To get Birth of a Nation’s promo cycle back on track, an ostensibly conciliatory interview was arranged with Ebony magazine. Nate Parker would address the rape controversy in significant detail once and for all, and then everyone could move on with their lives. This was a huge mistake. Ebony is the number one magazine for desperately lonely black women. Anyone who would read that interview would hate Nate Parker’s guts for being married to a white woman, regardless of what he said about the rape case. Anyway, you should never issue an apology to someone who’s demanded an apology from you. It’s a trick. You embarrass yourself issuing an apology, in the process admitting guilt, only to be told that your apology wasn’t sufficiently sincere, leaving you still on the hook for whatever you supposedly did wrong.
In the interview, Nate Parker admitted to not knowing what consent meant back in 1999. This was almost certainly true. I was a freshman in college in 1999. I lived in a dorm with mostly girls, with a rape information booth in the lobby. We were warned against things like making sexually inappropriate remarks and looking at girls in ways that made them uncomfortable, but we were never told, for example, that consensual sex could be determined after the fact to be non-consensual, or that, if a guy and a girl are both drunk, that means the guy is the rapist. Those concepts had yet to be invented. Anyway, it was a nonissue. I don’t recall there being a single rape the entire five years I was in college.
The Ebony magazine crowd took the fact that Nate Parker, in 1999, wasn’t familiar with modern, ridiculous notions of consent to mean that he had no way of knowing if he had consent, and therefore he didn’t. Furthermore, the fact that he refused to admit to being a rapist meant that he didn’t truly apologize. They still weren’t going to see Birth of a Nation. Ebony’s staff probably knew the interview wouldn’t do him any good and set him up to fail anyway because they resent his interracial marriage.
Dylann Roof sat in a pew for over half an hour contemplating whether or not he should go through with the shooting he’d planned. At one point, he was given a list of the bible verses they were discussing. None of the people there that night thought to ask him what in TF he was doing there. Later, he told investigators that he almost didn’t go through with it, because they’d been so nice to him. He may have been attracted to some of the female parishioners. A frequent visitor to strip clubs, some of his friends later told a local newspaper that he preferred black strippers. It’s not uncommon for white supremacists to be attracted to black women, which is why it’s silly for black women to argue that black men who aren’t attracted to black women are somehow race traitors. Strom Thurmond, for example, loved black women, at least sexually, and had a secret black daughter.
Roof later told investigators that he chose that church in particular due to its historical significance. One of the founders of Emmanuel AME was Denmark Vesey, a free black man who, in 1822, was convicted of planning a slave revolt and executed. Supposedly, his plan involved killing all of the slave-owners in Charleston, freeing the slaves and then escaping on a boat to Haiti, which by then was a free black republic. He was ratted out by two slaves, the 1822 equivalent of Ray Lewis and Jason Whitlock. After he was executed, a crowd of angry white people burned down the church he founded, forcing the congregation to meet in secret. After Nat Turner’s rebellion, in 1834, the city of Charleston outlawed all black churches. Emmanuel AME wasn’t rebuilt until after the Civil War.
During the shooting, one of the victims reportedly tried to talk Dylann Roof out of shooting her by explaining to him that they didn’t mean him any harm and therefore it wasn’t necessary for him to kill them. He could just leave, and 5–0 probably wouldn’t even come looking for him, because it’s a known fact that the police are sympathetic to the cause of white supremacists. Roof replied that he did in fact have to kill them, because black people were “raping our white women” and “taking over the world.”
The latter was obviously not true, unless you count the time Obama was president, and the former wasn’t true as he’d like to think. Maybe a few black guys are out here raping white women, but not to the point where it’s necessary to go around shooting up black churches. As discussed in Eldridge Cleaver’s fascinating Soul on Ice, a black man is much better off strategically raping black women. The police are much less likely to take an interest.
White supremacists are as obsessed with miscegenation as black women, if not more so, but with consequences a lot more dire than interrupting the marketing of some Oscar-bait film. White supremacists are out here killing people. They actually kill more people than the real terrorists, i.e. Muslims. Their obsession with miscegenation stems in part from the belief, known as white genocide, that there’s an ongoing conspiracy, perpetrated by the Jews (natch), to eliminate the white race by promoting race-mixing, illegal immigration and abortion and disincentivizing procreation. You’ll recall that, during the 2016 election, Donald Trump would sometimes retweet a guy named White Genocide. White supremacists took this as a sign that, if elected, Trump would pursue a white supremacist agenda.
In the years leading up to the ’16 election, members of the nascent alt-right began using the term cuckservative, or cuck, for short, to refer to refer to conservative politicians who weren’t sufficiently concerned with combating white genocide. The prefix cuck- comes from the cuckolding subgenre of pr0n, in which rich white men pay black guys with ginormous schlongs to fuck their wives. Sometimes, the white guy sits in a corner and masturbates. As a black man, the appeal of seeing your wife violated by someone of another race is lost on me, but I’d argue that cuckolding videos are superior to white-on-white pr0n videos if only because they’re more, erm, taxing on the girl. A pr0n video isn’t truly interesting unless a look of genuine fear flashes across the girl’s face when the guy’s schlong is revealed.
The influential black psychiatrist Frances Cress Welsing, in her unfortunately named book the Isis Papers, breaks down how white supremacy was invented to ensure white genetic survival. White people only constitute a minority of the world’s population, and they’re in decline, in part because whiteness is a genetically recessive trait. When a black man procreates with a white woman, the child comes out black, albeit more pale than the father, e.g. Drake. The same is true in the relatively rare instances when black women procreate with white men. Incidentally, Welsing also believed that homosexuality was introduced to the black community as a population control measure and that the AIDS virus was manmade. If the former is true, it makes sense that the latter would also be true, and I would add that the fact that she was a licensed medical professional lends her a certain credibility.
It was once thought that the US population would be majority-minority in our lifetime, but that was fake news. The US is still overwhelmingly white, especially if you count Hispanics as white, which you should, because Hispanic isn’t a race unto itself but rather a subset of the white community. Reports that white people would become the minority were based on the fact that the Hispanic population is skyrocketing. They surpassed black people back in the early ’00s, and they’ve only continued to grow since then. Illegal immigration has slowed since the economy shit the bed back in the late ’00s, but Hispanics reproduce at much higher rates than non-Hispanic whites.
Not only are non-Hispanic whites no longer reproducing at replacement levels, but they’re also randomly dying off. Middle-aged white women are drinking themselves to death, to cope with the despair that comes with being the most privileged group of people to ever walk the earth, more so than their male counterparts, gender wage gap notwithstanding. Part of it is that white women, like Nate Parker’s alleged victim, can’t hold their liquor, and that’s before their tolerance decreases in old age. It’s a fairly common thing for a woman to claim to have been slipped a mickey, possibly by Bill Cosby, because she only had one drink before entering into a blackout state, but then the hospital can’t find anything. They also get DUIs after having a single glass of wine with dinner.
Women don’t want to believe that they can be rendered incapacitated after one drink, because men can drink all night long and drive home safely, if not legally. Some feminists believe that there aren’t any innate differences between men and women and that women are merely socialized to be smaller and weaker (but smarter and better-looking) than men. I once drank 24 beers and three mixed drinks in a bar, albeit over the course of like seven hours, beginning in the early afternoon. I drove home just fine and didn't even feel that bad the next day. I’m also a very large man. 24 beers for me is like eight beers for most people.
White people are also overdosing on heroin like it’s going out of style. They get hooked on pain meds after stubbing their toe or being jostled by a stiff breeze, and then they switch to heroin when they can’t afford heroin anymore. Sometimes the heroin is cut with Fentanyl, the same shit that killed Prince, which is 100 times more potent than heroin, leading to huge numbers of overdoses. Some areas don’t have room in the morgue for all the bodies. Vice President Mike Pence, when he was governor of Indiana, slashed funding for needle exchanges and HIV testing facilities, leading to a ridonkulous HIV outbreak in a lower class white area. Sometimes you meet interesting women in motel parking lots in Indiana, traveling from St. Louis to New York. I’ll have to remind myself not to score in that part of the state, if that hasn’t already been added to Trip Adviser.
Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation of course takes its title from the 1915 film directed by D.W. Griffith, or as black people called him, D.W. Griffin. The original Birth of a Nation was the very first blockbuster, long before Star Wars, let alone the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Essentially an epic-length ad for the Klan, it depicted white women being assaulted by black men (played by white men in blackface), and then rescued by the Klan. After it was screened in the White House, President Woodrow Wilson famously remarked, “It’s like writing history with lightning. My only regret is that it is all so terribly true.” The release of the original Birth of a Nation sparked a rebirth of interest in the Klan, eventually leading to thousands of lynchings during the Jim Crow era.
In an interview with Filmmaker magazine, Nate Parker spoke on his intention in “reclaiming” the film’s title.
And I quote:
Griffith’s film relied heavily on racist propaganda to evoke fear and desperation as a tool to solidify white supremacy as the lifeblood of American sustenance. Not only did this film motivate the massive resurgence of the terror group the Ku Klux Klan and the carnage exacted against people of African descent, it served as the foundation of the film industry we know today. I’ve reclaimed this title and re-purposed it as a tool to challenge racism and white supremacy in America, to inspire a riotous disposition toward any and all injustice in this country (and abroad) and to promote the kind of honest confrontation that will galvanize our society toward healing and sustained systemic change.
William Styron’s 1967 novel the Confessions of Nat Turner, which won the Pulitzer Prize, takes its title from a pamphlet distributed by Turner’s lawyer, Thomas R. Gray, who spoke with him in the brief period of time in between when he was arrested and when he was executed. He didn’t succeed in preventing Turner from being hanged, but he at least got his story down on the record. However, there’s some question as to the pamphlet’s veracity. It’s been speculated that the real purpose in releasing it was to convince white people that Nat Turner’s rebellion was an aberration, lest they execute the rest of their slaves as a precautionary measure. It was the 19th century equivalent of one of those Sarah McLachlan TV commercials with the sad-looking shelter dogs.
Styron, like Nate Parker, hailed from Virginia and grew up not far from the site of Nat Turner’s rebellion. He became interested in Nat Turner after stumbling upon a historical marker where some arguably deserving white person had probably been killed back in the 19th century. At that point, Turner’s rebellion had long since been forgotten. The novel, for which Styron consulted with historians, is the source of much of what we now know. Parker, however, says his film wasn’t inspired by the novel, which he felt did Turner a disservice.
In order to make the novel more interesting, Styron had his Nat Turner lust after an 18-year-old white girl, supposedly the finest white girl in the entire county. Who could blame him? The historic Nat Turner, like the Nat Turner in the film, was probably married. More black people were married back then than now, despite the difficulty. In the novel, Turner is depicted as a coward, too afraid to personally kill anyone, until he encounters the object of his affection, whom he kills, presumably because he resents the fact that he can never be with her. Arguably, it would have made more sense for him to rape her and then kill her, but if he had, the novel probably wouldn’t have been as well-received as it was.
Styron sold the movie rights to the novel for a colossal sum, but the studio ended up having to shelve the film. They went so far as to scout locations in Virginia, but there they encountered white people upset with the idea that their ancestors might be depitcted as racists. Not all white people owned slaves, I’ll have you know. There was also concern that black people would be upset about Nat Turner lusting after a white women. Many of the era’s leading black intellectuals wrote angry responses to the novel, which were collected in a volume called William Styron’s Nat Turner: Ten Black Writers Respond. This was the era of black is beautiful. To have Nat Turner sweating some white chick suggested that the girls on the plantation weren’t good enough.
One of the few black writers to jump to Styron’s defense was James Baldwin, the Ta-Nehisi Coates of the ’60s, who encouraged Styron to write the novel when they lived together for a period of time in the early ’60s. Baldwin met Styron through a mutual friend when he was looking for a place to work on his novel Another Country. He ended up living with Styron and his wife for a few months. This was the period of time right before he traveled to Chicago to meet with the honorable Elijah Muhammad, as discussed in the Fire Next Time. It would have been rude for James Baldwin to criticize William Styron, after Styron let him stay at his house, but Baldwin was right to defend Styron, regardless of his reasoning. Styron wasn’t obligated to be completely historically accurate, because he was writing a novel, not a history book. His only concern was entertaining his audience, and what’s more entertaining than miscegenation?
Henry Louis Gates, the Harvard professor who was famously arrested trying to break into his own house, is also a fan of the novel and once defended Styron against black critics in the pages of the New Yorker. In the late ’90s, he tried to talk Spike Lee into directing a film adaptation. Lee, who hasn’t had anything better to do since the early ’90s, seemed interested but ended up backing out of the project for fear that they wouldn’t be able to secure financing, which of course they wouldn’t.
Initially, the plan had been for Nate Parker to promote Birth of a Nation by speaking at churches on college campuses.
It made sense to send Nate Parker around to colleges. The fact that he learned about Nat Turner in college, and now here he was promoting a Nat Turner film he directed, made for an inspiring story. Not to mention the fact that he was a black man succeeding in such a white-dominated industry. College students like to imagine themselves as being especially progressive.
Tyler Perry has had a lot of success, and made boatloads of money, pandering to the black church crowd. Birth of a Nation was probably a bit highbrow for people who fuxwit Madea, but as was the case with white college kids, I’m sure they would have appreciated seeing, as Leon Black might put it, a black man doing his motherfucking thing in the world.
Once the rape allegations resurfaced, college campuses were literally the last place Nate Parker needed to be. (Jail may have even been preferable.) He might not have been allowed on a college campus, if the studio hadn’t canceled the speaking tour. College campuses are currently in the midst of a tragic, albeit largely imagined, rape epidemic. one in four girls who attend will be raped at some point, supposedly. They can’t afford to knowingly invite to campus someone who was once accused of raping a college student. The justice department might consider that a Title IX violation. They could lose their funding!
Then there’s the fact that college students are so hostile to people with politically incorrect views, which I’m sure would encompass anyone who’s ever been accused of rape. Not long after I graduated from college, you started hearing stories about college kids demanding to receive trigger warnings if there was anything disturbing in the books they were reading and designated safe-spaces where they can go watch Teletubbies videos when their feelings get hurt. They may have already existed when I was in college, in the early ’00s, but the school I went to was very conservative. For what it’s worth, they were probably more accepting of me than some more progressive schools would have been.
With the campus speaking tour being key to the film’s promotion, and with the strength of the backlash, which was likely to increase if it were nominated for any Oscars, there was no point in the studio shelling out for a traditional Oscars campaign, with huge ads in Hollywood trade publications, and whoever else’s pockets they have to line. Birth of a Nation wasn’t exactly buried, like shitty films that are released at the beginning of the year, but it wasn’t promoted to anywhere near the extent it should have been. As a result, it premiered to mediocre box-office numbers — but with strong support from black audiences — in the first week of October, and then dropped off from there. It never made back the $17 million Fox Searchlight paid for it, though the people who put up the money for it may have at least gotten their money back.
Critics didn’t seem to care for the film either, or at least not as much as you’d think, given the rapturous response it received at Sundance. I’m sure at least part of it was that the press coming out of Sundance was some ol’ bullshit. Remember, the group of critics, studio people and what have you who attended the premiere gave Nate Parker a standing ovation before the film even screened. They probably wouldn’t allow you to attend one of those screenings unless they were sure you were “with the program.” By the time the film hit theaters, there was no obligation to be concerned for the studio’s bottom line. Instead, critics were under pressure to not appear to be overly supportive of the film, or its creator, regardless of how they felt about it, lest they be accused of somehow facilitating an alleged sexual assault umpteen years after the fact.
It’s hardly inconceivable that Birth of a Nation just plain wasn’t the world-conquering, Best Picture shoo-in of a movie that it was rumored to be coming out of Sundance, and therefore it was always due for a correction, so to speak, once credible journalists had a look at it. But would there have been such a correction, if it weren’t for the rape controversy? Birth of a Nation is not without its flaws, but it’s not so bad that it couldn’t have been nominated for Best Picture — though it definitely shouldn’t have won, in the year when Spotlight was nominated. If there’s a problem with Birth of a Nation, it’s that it’s kinda anit-climactic. The part where the slaves finally rise up isn’t the gross slasher flick I was hoping it would be. I wonder if they had to cut some of that stuff out, for fearing of alienating white audiences, or if they just didn’t shoot it in the first place. There’s a Braveheart-esque fight scene, in particular, that’s downright amateurish, like something you’d film in your own backyard. If this was due to budget concerns, they might have considered not hiring Gabrielle Union.
Once Birth of a Nation failed spectacularly at the box office, the fact that it wouldn’t do well at the Oscars was a forgone conclusions. Why waste any nominations on a film with such a toxic reputation. Black films already have the odds stacked against them anyway. Nominations for the 2017 Academy Awards were announced on January 24, 2017, almost exactly a year to the day after Birth of a Nation premiered at Sundance, and wouldn’t you know, Birth of a Nation wasn’t nominated for a damn thing. Not Best Costumes, not a bullshit nomination for Gabrielle Union… not anything. Though it wasn’t clear to what extent this had to do with the rape controversy. It may have just been a race thing. Plenty of alleged rapists have been nominated for, and won, Academy Awards, including Roman Polanski, Woody Allen and, this year, Casey Affleck.
The allegations against Casey Affleck were, as Jeru the Damaja might put it, the bullshit of bullshit, but what difference did it make in 2017? The fact alone that he’d been accused of anything at all inappropriate involving a woman meant that he definitely did it and therefore shouldn’t be allowed to work for a living ever again, let alone receive any awards awards. The thing is, there was no way Casey Affleck wasn’t about to receive an Oscar for his role in Manchester by the Sea. Not only was he staggeringly brilliant in that film, but he’s also Hollywood royalty. His brother Ben Affleck is a major celebrity and not a half bad director. His film Argo won Best Picture a few years ago. His friend Matt Damon was a producer on Manchester by the Sea. 20 years ago, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Good Will Hunting, which was probably ghostwritten by William Goldman. They’re among the most privileged white people to ever walk the earth.
Ultimately, it was hard to be too upset with the results of the 2017 Oscars. Birth of a Nation was shut out on some ol’ bullshit, but so many talented people ended up winning awards. The brilliant Kenneth Lonergan won for his screenplay for Manchester by the Sea. Damian Chazelle won Best Director for La La Land, becoming one of the youngest people to ever win that award. Emma Stone, who’s adorable, won Best Actress. And plenty of black people won, including Mahershala Ali for Best Supporting Actor, in Moonlight; Viola Davis for Best Supporting Actress, in Fences; Barry Jenkins for Best Adapted Screenplay, for Moonlight, which is based on some obscure play; and Ezra Edelman for Best Documentary film, for O.J.: Made in America. And Moonlight won Best Picture, in a bizarre upset. Not only was La La Land heavily favored, but the dumbasses who presented the award announced that it won. Someone from the Academy had to intervene and explain that Moonlight somehow won, and there was some sort of mix-up with the envelopes. It was maybe the most ridiculous thing that’s ever happened at the Oscars, if not the most ridiculous thing that’s happened in the past year or so.