Oh Come All Ye White Saviors

machine gun preacherLast week, Salon magazine’s David Sirota penned an article titled, “Oscar Loves a White Savior.” In it, Sirota noted that “If a movie features white people rescuing people of color from their plight, odds are high an Oscar will follow”–singling out current Oscar contender Lincoln and showing ten others in the past three decades that have done much the same. On some sites, and even CNN, the article was met with surprise, shock and (of course) spasms of denial. However, if anyone is unaware of the white savior motif, which has become a Hollywood staple, it’s only because of its troubling normalcy.

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Robert A. Heinlein- Letter from the Dean

“Nor do I feel responsible for the generally low state of the Negro—as one Negro friend pointed out to me; the lucky Negroes were the ones who were enslaved. Having traveled quite a bit in Africa, I know what she means. One thing is clear: Whether one speaks of technology or social institutions, “civilization” was invented by us, not by the Negroes. As races, as cultures, we are five thousand years, about, ahead of them. Except for the culture, both institutions and technology, that they got from us, they would still be in the stone age, along with its slavery, cannibalism, tyranny, and utter lack of the concept we call “justice.”–Robert Heinlein

Well at least he didn’t use the n-word…

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