Spike Lee Stirs The Racism Pot

Famous African-American person is offended and accuses a famous white person of racial bias. Sound familiar?

When will this ever end?

To his credit, Spike Lee is a first class movie director. He’s also a thin-skinned boob stirring the racism pot. This is the kind of rhetoric that serves to exacerbate race relations, not help them.

Imagine casting Sidney Poitier as Mafia heir, Michael Corleone, in “The Godfather” instead of Al Pacino. Would that make sense? Or, casting lily white Keanu Reeves for a lead role in “The Color Purple?” Better yet, Halle Berry as Queen Elizabeth I.

Politically correct, maybe. But would viewers buy into racial equity instead of historical accuracy?

At a recent conference at the Cannes Festival, Mr. Lee openly complained that Eastwood’s Epic movies “Flags Of Our Fathers” and “Letters From Iwo Jima” were cast without black actors. Spike went on, “There were many African Americans who survived that war, who were upset at Clint for not having them in the films. That was his version: The Negro soldier did not exist. I have a different version.”

Spike picked on the wrong guy who, at the age of 73, two Oscars to his credit and nothing to lose, had one thing to say. “A guy like him ought to shut his face.”

Flags Of Our Fathers” is a film about the men raising the flag on Mount Suribachi, one of whom was a Native American, so casted. Other than a small munitions detachment on Iwo Jima, there were no blacks involved in the core story. In “Letters From Iwo Jima,” Eastwood made the movie from the point of view of Japanese Soldiers. Sorry, no African-Americans there either.

Well…let’s castigate that racist Clint Eastwood, he should have hired on Samuel L. Jackson as the Japanese commander.

 

I’ve said it before. This society will never become color blind as long as those of color continue to remind us of what color they are. That goes for sports figures, journalists, actors, politicians and the dudes of the Hood.

Motion picture actors must be cast as the script calls for, particularly in true stories when historical characters are being portrayed. Joan of Arc was not a black woman and Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t white.

Is this stupid, or what?

Spike Lee has made some good movies, like “Mo Better Blues,” “Malcom X,” and “Jungle Fever.” Even if he felt a pang of personal anger over the absence of blacks in a non-black movie, he should never have gone public with it. Low class. What was there to gain? Intimidation? Clint Eastwood?

Spike should take the master’s advice and shut his face. Not only that, he owes Eastwood a public apology. No…I’m not holding my breath.

Maybe I am a bit racist when it comes to role playing in films. I lived through the era of Jackie Gleason’s hey day, and could not bring myself to accept African-Americans portraying Ralph Kramden and company in “The Honeymooners,” any more than I could accept Sean Connery playing Malcom X.

In Barack Obama’s first speech when he would not disassociate with Reverend Wright, I’ll not forget the subtle but significant reference to his grandmother which his starry-eyed followers chose not to hear, “Like a typical white person.” I still wonder what the reaction would be if a white politician uttered the same remark in reverse.

I, for one, am sick and tired of the likes of Reverends Wright, Jackson, Sharpton, and Farrahkan (and I hesitate to use the term Reverend) forever on the edge of finger-pointing, ready to scream racism at the drop of a hat, summoning the media, holding white America hostage to the sins of yesteryear.

In the justice arena, we hear about disproportionate numbers of blacks in prison, compared to their population ratio. With that mentality, the prisons should only house 12 percent African-American, and 12 percent Hispanics. But the actual crime tables don’t support that ratio, which is why the inmate population is out of whack.

Perhaps the justice system is sexist as well. After all, women comprise 51 percent of the population, but only 7 percent of prison inmates. Is this discrimination against men? Sure, let’s lock up more women than men to make it proportionately fair.

I digress…slightly. Spike Lee’s rant is but a microcosm of why strains still exist within the racial arena. He’s done well. He’s a genius. He’s a multi-millionaire. And he should be praising fellow directors who have accomplished so much, and indirectly taught him so much, instead of lashing out with empty-headed charges that make him more of a racist than the man he accuses.