It boggles the mind how some conservatives can still say that slavery wasn't that bad

1312 Years A Slave has done more than just present a great film to America’s slavery narrative. After having watched the film, I noticed that some of the film’s reviews were about slavery itself. No surprise that then that some of the those who criticized the film have admitted to not even watching it. Sad, but true.

I managed to watch the film three days ago, and I have to admit I was rather impressed. The film managed to beat some of my expectations. Honestly going in, I thought the film would place too much emphasis on shock value for the depictions of slavery. However what McQueen managed to do with the movie was rather artistic, especially in how balanced the film was in terms of its depictions. Granted, slavery is displayed for the horror it was, yet it was done in a way that made it seem natural, rather than overtly shocking.

The movie, for me managed to blend the right quality of shocking realism and human emotion. It is also interesting context for those who do not know the story of Solomon Northrup, to know that Solomon Northrup was not born a slave. He was a free man, kidnapped and wrongly enslaved. His perspective on slavery is among the most unique, as it comes from a man viewing slavery from the viewpoint of someone who was free.

While the film has rightfully garnered much critical praise for its work, there are still some detractors. What I find interesting about the few detractors is that their attitudes about the movie seem to reflect a still standing attitude among some white Americans about slavery.

12 Years a Slave
12 Years a Slave

An article from Think Progress reviews a “review” of 12 Years A Slave where the attitude I speak of is clear and present. The attitude, as was broken down in the article, was basically that 12 Years A Slave is “Civil Rights Porn.”

As I read, the attitude in the review was that the film merely wants to point out the evils of slavery and how awful the white man is because of slavery. Honestly, I don’t quite see what’s so unreasonable about depicting the horrors of slavery. However, I have noticed that many conservatives have been making similar attacks on the movie based on the idea that “slavery couldn’t have been that bad.”

Indeed it is so shocking to me and many others that in the year 2013 that anyone could believe that slavery wasn’t as bad as we have been told. In fact, a narrative I have been confronted with is slavery provided food and shelter to the slaves. Slavery wasn’t that bad, and liberals are merely trying to over dramatize the situation for their “civil rights fetish.”

I have encountered this narrative of slavery before the release of 12 Years A Slave. Slavery was not as bad as liberals say it was. Some people look for any little excuse to try and exonerate the slave system and slaveholders. Obviously not all conservatives make excuses for slavery, but when conservatives say that slavery wasn’t so bad then one has to wonder how deep this sentiment runs. I choose to believe it is a minority. Then again, with the right today, who can tell.



  1. While watching the movie, I couldn’t help but wish that someone would put Sarah Palin and Paula Deen in chains for a few hours to make them watch it so they could get a little perspective. It wasn’t so quaint.

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