Cambridge University College Forced to Drop ‘Racist’ Gone with the Wind Ball Theme After Complaints

Lucy Crossley, Daily Mail (London), March 19, 2014

A Cambridge University college was forced to drop plans for a ‘racist’ Gone With The Wind themed ball after complaints from students.

St Edmund’s College had planned to theme its annual summer ball around the 1939 Oscar-winning film staring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable.

However, organisers have been forced to abandon their original plans, and instead re-brand the event the Journey Through The Seasons ball after concerns were raised over the racism in the film.

Although Gone With The Wind is most famous for its depiction of the enduring romance between Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler, it has been heavily criticised–both at the time of its release and now 75 years on–for its glamourisation of slavery, and its stereotypical depiction of black characters.

Founded in 1896, St Edmund’s prides itself as being one of the most diverse colleges at the University, with students coming from over fifty different countries.

St Edmund’s Student Mamusu Kallon, who was born in Sierra Leone, had been angered by the original choice of theme.

‘It is a film that glamourises the romantic dreams of a slave owner and a KKK member while rendering the horrors of slavery invisible,’ the third-year human, social and political science student told The Independent.

‘The black characters fulfil every derogatory racist stereotype of the “slave” and black people continue to be subject to the modern-day versions of these stereotypes. Surely Cambridge University should not be perpetuating this?’

The decision to change the theme of the annual May Ball, which costs as much as £129 per person to attend, was made by organisers last month.

A website advertising the ball states: ‘We are pleased to announce the theme for St Edmund’s May Ball 2014 is “Journey Through the Seasons”.

‘Experience all four seasons in one memorable night; our college grounds will evoke fruitful autumn gardens, long midwinter nights, the early hours of spring and the fierce passion of midsummer.

‘Expect scorching heat and wild storms throughout this explosive May Ball.’

Last year the event was themed around the 1920s set F. Scott Fitzgerald novel The Great Gatsby.

A St Edmund’s College spokesman told MailOnline: ‘The committee initially selected the theme of Gone with the Wind, but then changed it to “Journey through the Seasons” after concern was expressed by some of our students.

‘The college felt that it would have only been necessary for it to intervene formally if the matter had not been resolved satisfactorily.

‘The college supports the change of theme and is proud of its record of friendliness and cordiality.’

A Cambridge University spokesman said that the issue was a ‘college matter’, and he was unable to comment.

Last week members of Cambridge’s Black and Minority Ethnic committee ran the ‘I, Too, Am Cambridge, campaign calling on students to speak out about racial discrimination on campus.

During the campaign committee members invited students to be photographed holding up a whiteboard proclaiming a message about their experiences as a means to raise awareness of the issues facing ethnic minority students.

The campaign also aims to promote engagement with the BME issues amongst the student body. Vice President stressed that students need not self identify as belonging to an ethnic minority in order to engage with the BME campaign.

‘I want students to feel interested in what we have to say, and even though it does not affect them directly understand that it affects their friends or people they know,’BME Vice President Millie Ngage told Varsity.

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  • Fed Up

    Oh, well! So Blacks claim GWTW glamorizes slavery? I see Blacks glamorizing racial stupidity. But that’s the way it goes.

    Guess the only films Whites are allowed to enjoy being “ROOTS” and that other equally nonsensical one about a free Black sold into 12 years of slavery. Anyone recall that nonsense film Oprah Winfrey made a decade or so ago? The film that made such a stupendous box-office hit no one even remembers it.

    • ejXinMI

      Yup… pick any Denzel Washington film… Glory, Crimson Tide, Unstoppable. Can’t stand to see Morgan Freeman’s face anymore at all… how many times has he played POTUS, anyway? Bad, stupid, white man, good, smart, black man… how predictable.

      • SFLBIB

        He was also in Much Ado About Nothing

    • Katherine McChesney

      “The Color Purple”. “Beloved” tanked and Winfrey whined that her audience didn’t support it. This was after she began making racist comments and comments against God and her WHITE audience was abandoning her after making her rich beyond imagination.

  • Pro_Whitey

    I wonder whether I watched the same movie others did. I don’t think there was any glamorization of slavery, just a glamorization of the life of the richest people who owned lots of slaves and had beautiful plantations and plantation houses. As I saw it, the slaves did not have it so good. In the movie I saw, I concluded after a while that every other character’s life would have been a lot better if someone had put two bullets in Scarlett’s head at the beginning, because she did a great job ruining other’s lives for ultimately no benefit to herself. What really might rankle the leftists is the portrayal of the former slaves as loyal beyond any reason why, especially the one who pulls out a pistol to save Scarlett from being raped and whatever else might have happened to her . . . at the hands of white men, by the way. I guess they don’t appear to have the proper bloodthirsty raised consciousness the leftists think they should have.
    Props to the writer for putting quotes around “racist” in the first line. At least there was that much objectivity.

    • ncpride

      GWTW is actually my all time favorite novel. Scarlett was a complicated, sometimes clueless character, but she was tough as nails and did what she had to do to survive. Despite all her faults, you have to give Scarlett credit for taking care of her friends and family, always making sure they had what they needed to survive, and she did that by sacrificing, and doing the dirty work that had to be done.

    • DonReynolds

      Haven’t you noticed… has to be blood porn, or BDSM, to really get the white guilt to bubble to the surface. That is what the white liberals like most.
      Blacks just like the blacksploitation films where the black hero has sex with gorgeous white women and kills all the white men in a particularly brutal fashion, and still manages to get her daddy’s money by the end of the movie.

    • SFLBIB

      “…every other character’s life would have been a lot better if someone had put two bullets in Scarlett’s head at the beginning…”

      LOL !!!

  • MekongDelta69

    Ten million stories like this since 1964.

    How many times have Whites not caved in to these racist leftists?
    How many fingers on your hand do you have?

    How many times have Whites made demands because of something they get all whiny and moany and bitchy because something was anti-White?
    How many fingers on your other hand do you have?

    • DonReynolds

      I agree with you. I am sure we all do here.
      But I think we all know, the only way we are going to get what we want is to be left the hell alone. They can sit around their campfire and we have ours.

    • Tim_in_Indiana

      I ran out of fingers…and toes…long ago on your first question.

  • Robert Binion

    Why not call it “The Graveyard Opens at Daybreak”? Then the little dears can bury their freedom.

  • Luca

    Some of the most revealing research one can do about 19th century slavery is to read the interviews of ex-slaves from the Federal Writers Project. The government paid writers to interview ex slaves who were then in there 80’s, 90’s and the few centenarians. I have two books edited from that project, “Bullwhip Days” and “Before Freedom” and I believe there is no better material on any historical matter than reading numerous eyewitness accounts.

    The movie “Gone With the Wind” is about as accurate as you will ever get out of Hollywood of life shortly before and after the Civil War, with the depictions of slavery, Southern plantation life and the Reconstruction. Although the movie’s main focus was the love story, the supporting events and characters are true to life.

    Any film made after 1965 will contain various amount of political-correctness and liberal myths.

    For an academic institution to buckle under the illogical assumptions, threats or shouts of the usual suspects shows its willingness to be censored and stifled.

    They are therefore complicit in their own destruction.

    • JohnEngelman

      Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938 contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves. These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and assembled and microfilmed in 1941 as the seventeen-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. This online collection is a joint presentation of the Manuscript and Prints and Photographs Divisions of the Library of Congress and includes more than 200 photographs from the Prints and Photographs Division that are now made available to the public for the first time.

      “Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938” presents a more nuanced view of slavery than is presented in movies like “The Birth of a Nation,” “Gone With the Wind,” or “12 Years a Slave.”

      Some slave owners were cruel. Others really were “kindly.” One elderly Negro said, “I haven’t anything to say against slavery. My old folks put my clothes on me when I was a boy. They gave me shoes and stockings and put them on me when I was a little boy. I loved them, and I cant go against them in anything.”'t%20anything%20to%20say%20against%20slavery.%20My%20old%20folks%20put%20my%20clothes%20on%22&f=false

      • me

        Yes, history is forgotten a lot of the time….

        • me

          And this…

          • me

            And this…

        • JohnEngelman

          How did Jewish ownership of slave ships compare with Gentile ownership?

          • me

            Who are you gonna believe, Engelman or your own lying eyes?

    • Tacitus1

      Most who hate American history fail to comprehend the concept of patronage. Based on my research most of the lower orders were grateful to a benevolent patron and did not question the social stratification.. That seemed evident at the antebellum sites that I have visited. Those most appalled by early American slavery are in fact interjecting a modern sensitivity onto another era, when in fact, people in the past did not view the world in the same light as these modern idealist. Not even the abolitionist were egalitarians !!

      • SFLBIB

        I always did say it was unfair to judge yesterday by today’s standards, as though we could look decades into the future and today tailor our lives accordingly. If we did judge yesterday, what would tomorrow say about us?

        • Tacitus1

          my thoughts exactly SFLBIB. What will the future think of us ?

          • SFLBIB

            I hope they will be smart enough to see the folly in our trying to make reality fit an ideology.

      • Luca

        Many abolitionists advocated freeing the slaves simply to repatriate them back to Africa.

        Most people in the 19th century were race realists and were more logical on most racial issues. They were right in viewing slavery as a sin and knew full well the two races could not live together in civilized harmony.

        • Tacitus1

          right you are Luca. The problem is those who preach to us are not interested in history in general, so they speak with emotion but not facts.

  • David Ashton

    At this western universities themselves will be “gone with the wind”.

  • David Ashton

    Didn’t you even have a Joint Action Committee Against Racial Inequality? We lucky Oxonians had one back in the 1960s.

  • So CAL Snowman

    Im sure the blacks would have been fine with a “Django Uncchained” theme

  • Jesse James

    Why exactly do blacks think they have any right to screen and limit white cultural expression? They howl and scream if anyone dares to critique their culture or even comment on anything related to blacks. It is time for them to learn that white things are about and for whites and they are not any of their business.

    • Einsatzgrenadier

      Blacks screaming and moaning is not the problem. The real problem is the white liberals in positions of power who encourage them to scream and moan by giving in to their every single demand. If they just told blacks “no” every time they complained, blacks would shut up. They did this during segregation and they can do it again.

      • wildfirexx

        Not likely…they would probably just start a riot, when they couldn’t have their own way!

  • borogirl54

    Gone with the Wind is a story that takes place during the Civil War. It does not glamorize slavery, nor does it promote it.

    • JackKrak

      True, but it doesn’t come right out and say SLAVERY IN AMERICA WAS THE WORST THING EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE ever five minutes either, so therefore by default it “glamorizes” it.

  • One edition of one of my economics textbooks that I and a colleague co-wrote contained a reference to Gone with the Wind and we asked the publisher to reproduce a picture from the movie in the book. There was controversy in editor’s offices. I can’t remember now if we got the pic or not because there are hundreds of similar decisions involved in writing a textbook. Today, an author asking for a GTW pic would be in trouble with the publisher. In fact, GTW may very well go the way of Amos ‘n Andy and Birth of a Nation
    . In spite of Negress Hattie McDaniel winning an Oscar.

    • Tarczan

      I just read GWTW and thought it was a great book. It would have been better if it had been a little shorter, but it was one of those books that had several layers to it, many subplots.
      When I asked the librarian for GWTW she commented that she would have to send for it, and she looked at me as if I was a budding ax murderer. The book is clearly on the outs with the intelligentsia.

      One of the subplots was after the war and how the carpetbaggers appointed worthless blacks to lord over the southern whites. How the whites were afraid to pass through black areas because the darkies no longer feared them and now instead of fearing them, the blacks attacked whites.The actions of the federal overseers was almost exactly what we are experiencing today with the Federal government and the AA crowd.

      This book was a primer on what is now happening on a national, and worldwide basis. Darkies who previously lived a relatively lawful life became criminals and predators, just as we are seeing in most large cities worldwide where blacks are a significant portion of the population.

      • DonReynolds

        THE reason the white Yankee occupiers COULD appoint blacks to positions of authority is because whites who served in civil government (including state and local) or military under the Confederacy were stripped of their civil rights after the war, including the right to run for public office or even to vote. Somehow, they thought this would help resolve all the race problems.

        • IstvanIN

          Makes Putin and his Crimea vote seem a lot more democratic than Lincoln and Johnson and that whole lot.

        • SFLBIB

          “…whites who served in civil government (including state and local) or military under the Confederacy were stripped of their civil rights after the war, including the right to run for public office or even to vote.”

          I thought it was because they lost their citizenship. Robert E. Lee’s citizenship wasn’t restored until 1975, 105 years after he died.

          • DonReynolds

            They found a note in Lee’s papers where he seemed to swear fealty to the Federal Union. It was just a PR stunt really. Had Lee wanted to do so, he would have while he was still alive.

  • dd121

    Negroes are allowed rap but whites can’t have GWTW?

    • me

      Negroes rap, rape, rob, and ruin EVERYTHING.

  • DonReynolds

    Perhaps, since “Gone With The Wind” is completely unacceptable,
    perhaps they would like the 1915 movie “Birth Of A Nation”.
    Of course, my personal favorite would be a Disney classic….”Song Of The South”.
    That is sure to be a favorite at Cambridge.

  • DailyKenn

    One again ‘multiculturalism’ excludes Southern culture.

    • mobilebay

      The South will rise again!

  • gemjunior

    More pathethic self-pity about the past, it never ends. Instead of the movie “glorifying slavery” why not face the reality that at the time the movie was set it, slavery was on the wane and white men had died in the hundreds of thousands fighting in the civil war. And part of the whole thing was fuelled by abolitionists. THAT would never cross their pea-brained minds.

    • DonReynolds

      Who were the abolitionists?
      Who were the women suffragettes?
      Who were the prohibitionists?
      Who were the anarchists?
      Who were the source of many of the social and political conflicts in US history?
      Yes, they (nearly) all came from the Congregationalist church.
      Do a search and find out more.

  • mrcan

    Maybe they should have a gangster rap theme. Frankly I don’t give a damn!

    • mobilebay

      You forgot “my dear.”

  • JSS

    Good for Cambridge! Now in keeping with the inclusive utopia that England is on the road to becoming I recommend a female genital mutilation theme.

  • Tim_in_Indiana

    Although Gone With The Wind is most famous for its depiction of the enduring romance between Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler, it has been heavily criticised–both at the time of its release and now 75 years on–for its glamourisation of slavery, and its stereotypical depiction of black characters.

    Was it really “heavily criticized” 75 years ago? Really? or is that perception merely the product of our anal, politically correct era? It may have been criticized at the time by a few elites, but I hardly think it would have achieved the reputation it has long enjoyed as one of the greatest movies ever made if it had been viewed as nothing more than a pack of stereotypes. Such a claim is just more modern-day, revisionist nonsense.

    • Tacitus1

      No, I don’t think it was “heavily criticized” 75 years ago !

      • SFLBIB


    • SFLBIB

      The Civil War and life in the South were mere backdrops for the love story. A good writer could take the plot and fit it into the times of 15th Century Merrie Olde England the Wars of the Roses.

  • ncpride

    While they did a good job with the movie, it still doesn’t do the actual novel justice. Margaret Mitchell penned a masterpiece IMHO, and well worth reading.

  • thomas edward

    Okay, get rid of “GWTW.” Put “Judge Priest” (1934) with Will Rogers in its place. Really good movie.

  • Tacitus1

    ” St Edmund’s Student Mamusu Kallon, who was born in Sierra Leone, had been angered by the original choice of theme. ”

    Watch the film “Blood Diamond” and see Sierra Leone’s high ideals of equality and human rights.

    • SFLBIB

      “high ideals of equality and human rights”

      Just rub a little money on the right places and watch how convictions take a back seat.

  • DudeWheresMyCountry?

    Silly knee grows, so stupid and narcissistic they always shamelessly think everything is about them when virtually nothing actually is.

  • mobilebay

    Just as well. I don’t anyone tromping all over my plantation. I’ve always known that Tara rightfully belonged to me. And Scarlett can keep that wimp, Ashley Wilkes. I’ll take Cap’t Butler any day.


    More proof that you can find racism anywhere, even under a rock, if you look hard enough. The down side of a rock is dark, therefore it is discriminated against.

    Did anyone remember Hattie McDaniel won an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in Gone With the Wind, becoming the first African American to be nominated for, and win, an Oscar?

  • me

    Ya know, if these ‘minorities’ don’t like it in White countries, there is an easy solution–LEAVE! Freeloaders and haters, just leave!