Samuel L. Jackson: '12 Years A Slave' Proof That Hollywood Still Isn't Ready To Deal w/ Racism
Photo Credit: S & A

Samuel L. Jackson: '12 Years A Slave' Proof That Hollywood Still Isn't Ready To Deal w/ Racism


Thank God for Samuel L. Jackson. He’s one of the few big

movie actors today who is always quotable. He always has something interesting

to say – whether you agree with him or not. This time it’s about racism and


In an interview in the International Business Times over the weekend, Jackson said that Hollywood, by and large, still avoids dealing with racism and that 12 Years A Slave

is a perfect example of that.

According to Jackson, the only reason why the film got

made was because director Steve McQueen

is British and not African-American, implying, I assume, that his take on

slavery would be “safer” in a manner

of speaking.

As Jackson said: “I would think that if an African-American

director went into a studio and pitched that particular film, they would be like:

‘No, no, no.’ It is a film about African-Americans – a dark period of

history that they don’t like to explore in that particular way.

He further added that: “Look, I’m glad 12 Years got made and it’s

wonderful that people are seeing it and there is another view of what happened

in America. But I’m not real sure why Steve McQueen wanted to tackle that

particular sort of thing.

I should, at this point, add that personally I’ve always thought and have said that the fact that McQueen was not African-American made him more likely to make a film

about slavery, since I hold that African-Americans are still too psychologically

shell-shocked, and therefore African American directors too, in dealing with the subject. But then

that’s me (Charles Burnett’s Nightjohn and Gordon Parks’ Solomon Northup’s Odyessy, the original 12 Years A Slave, being a few exceptions).

Jackson went on to say that a film such as Fruitvale Station is more honest and “braver” than 12 Years was, in

dealing with the subject of race in America:

It explains things like the shooting of

Trayvon Martin, the problems with stop and search, and is just more poignant. America

is much more willing to acknowledge what happened in the past: ‘We freed the

slaves! It’s all good!’ But to say: ‘We are still unnecessarily killing black

men’ – let’s have a conversation about that.

So what do you say. Do you agree with Jackson, or is he

talking nonsense?