When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren’t Called ‘Hitler’
Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is?
Most people haven’t heard of him.
But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in your stomach as when you read about Mussolini or Hitler or see one of their pictures. You see, he killed over 10 million people in the Congo.
His name is King Leopold II of Belgium.
He “owned” the Congo during his reign as the constitutional monarch of Belgium. After several failed colonial attempts in Asia and Africa, he settled on the Congo. He “bought” it and enslaved its people, turning the entire country into his own personal slave plantation. He disguised his “business transactions” as philanthropic and scientific efforts under the banner of the “International African Society”. He used their enslaved labor to extract Congolese resources and services. His reign was enforced through work camps, body mutilations, executions, torture, and his private army.
Most of us – I don’t yet know an approximate percentage but I fear its extremely high – aren’t taught about him in school. We don’t hear about him in the media. He’s not part of the widely repeated narrative of oppression (which includes things like the Holocaust during World War II). He’s part of a long history of colonialism, imperialism, slavery and genocide in Africa that would clash with the social construction of the white supremacist narrative in our schools. It doesn’t fit neatly into a capitalist curriculum. Its bad to “say racist things” (sometimes), but quite fine not to talk about genocides in Africa perpetrated by European capitalist monarchs.
Never learned about him or this so I appreciate this post.
Jaden Smith to Play a Cross-Dressing Slave in "The Good Lord Bird"
Jaden Smith has signed a deal to star in an adaptation of The Good Lord Bird, alongside Liev Schreiber. In the movie, Smith will play a young slave named Henry “Onion” Shackleford who befriends abolitionist John Brown, played by Schreiber.
The story is told with a satirical bent through the eyes of Onion, who wears a dress and is at first mistaken for a girl, as he bears witness to Brown’s historic campaign and encounters the likes of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman en route to the bloody Harper’s Ferry raid that helped spark the Civil War.
Cross. Dressing. Slave.
Here’s my thing. There’s nothing wrong with creating films about slavery…as long as it’s from new perspectives (i.e. slave rebellion) and they don’t drop frequently (at least 10-15 years apart). There needs to be a long overdo push on building a variety of feature films starring black actors in multi-dimensional roles. instead of sticking to the usual because it “sells.”