“Birth of a Nation” Bombs

Chris Roberts, American Renaissance, October 29, 2016

Are whites fed up with white-guilt films?

The results are in: The new Birth of a Nation is a box-office disaster. Its ticket sales are going to fall several millions of dollars short of the cost to make and market the film–maybe as much as ten million dollars short. This is excellent news for white America. Birth of Nation glorifies black-on-white violence at a time when black-on-white violence is on the rise, and the anti-white vitriol from groups like Black Lives Matter has never been more mainstream.

The financial failure of Birth of a Nation is even better news when you consider the success of other recent films that cultivate white guilt and glorify black violence. In 2012, Django Unchained, another story of a black slave killing white southerners, made well over 150 percent of its production costs. In 2013, Twelve Years a Slave nearly tripled its production costs, and The Butler, the story of a sad black servant in the White House, did even better.

Have American moviegoers lost interest in movies that tell them to feel guilty about their history? If so, the reason must surely be the rising disgust among whites at always being cast as the villains of history, and I suspect Donald Trump has had something to do with this. Win or lose, Mr. Trump has sparked a sense of pride in whites, and that affects many things, including movie-going habits.

Think back to 2012 and 2013, when anti-white films were box office bonanzas. That 24-month period may well have been the lowest point for whites in American history. Politically, the implicitly white Tea Party movement disintegrated, and Mitt Romney lost to Barack Obama despite winning as much of the white vote as Ronald Reagan had decades earlier. Meanwhile, the number of journalists and commentators being purged for “racism” was higher than ever: John Derbyshire, Jason Richwine, Robert Weissberg, Jack Hunter, Frank Borzellieri, Pat Buchanan, Leif Parsell, Peter Brimelow, Paul Gottfried, and Thomas Bertonneau all lost jobs.

The white world outside of politics was not looking good either. The catastrophic waste of our wars in the Middle East had become obvious to anyone. Perhaps not by coincidence, the heroin epidemic in New England was starting and the white suicide rate was rising. The university system was becoming more and more aggressive with its theories of “white privilege,” microaggressions, and gender fluidity–and there seemed to be no one fighting back. The longstanding trends of black dominance in music and sports continued, and America seemed on its way to becoming this hemisphere’s South Africa.

In such a world, why not laugh along with black actor Jamie Foxx when he joked about enjoying killing all the white people in Django Unchained? When the theory of “white privilege” is all but doctrine, blockbusters naturally vilify whites.

People often make their conditions worse. Frustrated young men often compound their problems by watching pornography. Frustrated jobless people often compound their problems by drinking too much. A few years ago, white America only hastened its cultural and political dispossession by going to the theater and watching The Butler.

Things are different now. The George Zimmerman trial, the Michael Brown shooting, and Black Lives Matter have helped many whites shed their last feelings of guilt. At the same time, Donald Trump has arrived almost like a modern version of the “redeemers” who helped end Reconstruction in the South. All this helps whites give “black grievance porn” the cold shoulder.

In any case, blacks and whites have always watched different movies. From about 1915 until the early 1950s, the “race film” industry produced no fewer than 500 movies that touted an “all black cast,” or an “all-star Negro cast.” Oscar Micheaux was a major black producer in his day, but the only whites who know about him now are dorky cinephiles. Blacks didn’t want to watch Clark Gable or Joan Crawford, and when they went to a “race film” they could sit anywhere they liked in the theater. The original (and excellent) Birth of a Nation, about the Civil War and southern resistance to Reconstruction, was boycotted by the NAACP, but a boycott by blacks was mostly symbolic. In the 1970s, blacks gorged themselves on “blaxploitation” films, while whites occasionally watched one out of curiosity.

Today, playwright and film-maker Tyler Perry is overwhelmingly popular with blacks–he made $130 million in 2011, making him the highest paid man in entertainment that year–but many whites have never even heard of him. Who honestly thinks there are many blacks who watch contemporary white films such as Interstellar or The Lord of the Rings or Gravity?

Only in recent and unfortunate times have large numbers of whites watched movies made by black film makers like Spike Lee who are openly contemptuous of whites. Let us hope this has finally come to an end.

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Chris Roberts
Chris Roberts is Director of Special Projects at American Renaissance.
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