Jon Wiener: 'Django Unchained' ... Quentin Tarantino’s Answer to Spielberg’s 'Lincoln'tags: Abraham Lincoln
Jon Wiener teaches US history at UC Irvine.
Two films about American slavery in the Civil War era are currently playing in theaters.
Steven Spielberg’s film Lincoln begins with a black soldier reciting the Gettysburg Address.
Quentin Tarantino’s film Django Unchained begins with a black slave being recruited to kill two white murderers.
In Spielberg’s film, the leading black female character is a humble seamstress in the White House whose eyes fill with tears of gratitude when Congress votes to abolish slavery.
In Tarantino’s film, the leading black female character (Kerry Washington) is a defiant slave who has been branded on the face as a punishment for running away, and is forced—by Leonardo di Caprio—to work as a prostitute.
In Spielberg’s film, all the black people are good.
Tarantino’s film features “the biggest, nastiest ‘Uncle Tom’ ever”—played by Samuel Jackson—who is insanely loyal to his evil white master, and savage in his treatment of fellow slaves.
In Spielberg’s film, old white men make history, and black people thank them for giving them their freedom.
In Tarantino’s, a black gunslinger goes after the white slavemaster with homicidal vengeance....
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