I’ve never cosigned the age-old argument that in the future, there’ll be no black or white people and that everybody will just be beige. For my money, there’ll always be tribalism, there’ll always be race pride and there’ll always be personal preference. But if two current Oscar Nominees for Best Picture are showing us anything, it’s that some white people certainly seem to hope that I’m wrong.
Director James Cameron’s Avatar is a less than thinly veiled retelling of the European incursion into the Americas; only in the movie version, the natives are 10-feet tall, blue and have tails. The people from earth, mostly white, overwhelmingly materialistic and hostile, intend to steal all the land from these big, beautiful blue people while pushing them further and further away. Sound familiar?
Spoiler Alert: Through a process that allows the earthlings to assume similar bodies to the big blue people, one earthling saves the blue people and thwarts the other earthlings.
Producer Peter Jackson—maker of the most virulently racist films since D.W. Griffith— brought us District 9. Now, many of you already know Jackson as the director of that awful Lord of the Rings trilogy where it took little imagination to realize that the big, dumb, ugly black Orcs were the Black people, the slightly more clever but almost as unattractive Uruk-hai were Latinos and that ring-crazy Gollum was symbolically Jewish.
In District 9 (or simply, the 4th installment of Jackson’s own personal Birth of a Nation), earth is invaded by big, ugly bug-like aliens from space. The aliens are shepherded off apartheid-style to their own section of Johannesburg, South Africa while their mother ship hovers, unable to move. For flavor (I’m guessing) Nigerians are presented in this movie as the only people savage enough to deal easily with these aliens. Nigerians also want to eat the aliens and have sex with them.
Spoiler Alert: As with Avatar, it takes a mutated white human with rapidly increasing alien characteristics to save the world.
In both of these movies, the non-humans are presented as physically superior to the humans. And in both of these movies, the humans need to blend in some way with the aliens simply to survive.
In Avatar, the more honest of the two, at least the humans are presented as the invaders. It’s almost shameless how in District 9 however, the humans (white people) are both at home (in Africa!) and the aliens (Black people) are big cockroaches. Still, if I’m to read between the pixels, I’d say that James Cameron is buddying up and to and proposing a blend with the Native Americans just in case they ever rise and rightfully attempt to reclaim America. I’d also say that Peter Jackson is using a ‘neg’ straight out of The Game to convince us that we Blacks should feel lucky that he’d consent to blend with us.