Here is a template letter to the editor that I encourage you to try to get published in your local newspaper, school newspaper, or facebook post. Notice that the letter urges readers to google “Knockout Game” and “John Rocker racism” and “Mel Gibson antisemitism.” People who actually google these terms are more than likely to find our commentary and our blogs, while maintaining deniability for the letter writer.
For reference, here is the trailer about which I am writing — the relevant part is at 2 minutes and 4 seconds if you don’t want to sit through the whole trailer.
Does anybody but me see something wrong with a movie whose trailer includes incitement to racially motivated murder? In the trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming movie, “Django Unchained,” actor Jamie Foxx says, “Kill white people and get paid for it? What’s not to like?”
If such a line was used in a movie and any group besides “white people” was named as the group targeted for mass murder, there would be an official outcry from politicians, mass media figures, and organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. However, it seems that inciting the mass murder of white people is somehow A-OK or “kosher” in the minds of the people who would otherwise create the “official response” to racism or anti-semitism. Recall the response to Mel Gibson’s movie, “The Passion of the Christ,” or the response to Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker, neither of whom ever incited mass murder against any group of people. Googling “Mel Gibson anti-semitic” or “John Rocker racist” will show that there was a robust response by people in official positions and people with power, money and influence.
In this case, however, it is a man, Quentin Tarantino, who has money, power and influence who is glorifying incitement to murder of an identifiable group of people. The silence of the people who condemned Mel Gibson and John Rocker betrays their utter hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy. They collect fat salaries to “fight racism and anti-semitism,” but we see that there is at least one group for whom they most certainly do not speak.
Finally, there is an argument that movies like Django Unchained is “just entertainment,” and has no effect on society. But after the movie “Beverly Hills Chihuaha” there was a spike in purchases of chihuaha dogs, and a similar response to the Disney movie “101 Dalmatians.” I remember reading commentary in a newspaper by trendy dog buyers remarking that Dalmatians made terrible family pets as they tended to bite children..
So it’s quite clear that people are indeed influenced by mass media. If they weren’t, there would be no advertising industry. Movies themselves are very powerful advertisements for one idea or another. In the case of “Django Unchained,” it is a 90 minute advertisement for “killing white people . . . what’s not to like?” There is, in fact, a problem of racially motivated violence against white people in the United States, which you can read about by googling “Knockout Game.” Tarantino just made it “officially cool” to kill white people.
If you are the sort of person who would speak out against any kind of racism, hate, or anti-semitism, you have every reason and duty to speak out against Quentin Tarantino’s infomercial for racially motivated murder. And if you are a white person, you should take it seriously that Quentin Tarantino is painting a bullseye on you, your family and your friends.