Is Django Racist: A Look At The Conundrum Tarantino’s Latest Created In Progressive Black America

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Django-Unchained-2

No single Hollywood film in the last decade has sparked the kind of controversy and wide-ranging response as Quentin Tarantino’s latest, Django Unchained. Is Django racist? Some believe it is, some have said it’s one of the year’s best films and everyone seems to have an opinion on the film’s larger impact.

One of the more interesting, though hardly unexpected developments to accompany the film’s release has been the peculiar predicament it has created for blacks who like to think of themselves as progressive or forward thinking. For progressive, forward thinking blacks, Django presents a bit of a quagmire. On one hand, it’s a Quentin Tarantino flick and, generally speaking, Quentin Tarantino flicks have a pretty strong place in the cannon of acceptable cinema for smart-thinking black folk. His highbrow homages to lowbrow and oft-ignored or forgotten movie genres tend to appeal to the collectively imagined sense of otherness cool black nerds and wannabe cool black nerds have ushered into vogue. Tarantino flicks pretty much occupy the space between post Hard Eight Paul Thomas Anderson and pre Dark Knight Rises Christopher Nolan… and that’s a good thing for most. In Django, you have a film about a super-slave who kills white slave masters, slave trade profiteers and house negros by the handful. And if that isn’t enough to pique your excitement, this super-slave just so happens to be married to none other than…  the great Olivia Pope.

"What!? We're slaves!? Don't Worry, I'll Handle It."

“What!? We’re slaves!? Don’t Worry, I’ll Handle It.”

On the other hand, the film’s director is a white man. And not just any white man, he’s a white man who’s had a couple of run-ins with Spike Lee — and while Spike’s standing in the smarty-art black community has been a bit tenuous at times, he’s still on the team. Tarantino is also the kind of white guy who maintains a discomfortingly comfortable relationship with black folks that always seemed to lead to annoyingly awkward pairings … like that of him and Rza. Those pairings always lead to annoying, irreconcilable questions like,”Why is Quentin Tarantino wearing a Wu-Wear hoody… in 2013?” “Is it because he and Rza are really good friends.” “If they are good friends, did he tell Rza that The Man With The Iron Fists was … ‘f*cking re-dik-a-lis’ or did he encourage him despite knowing how bad it was.” “And if he did, is it because he thinks that while it mostly sucks, it ain’t half-bad as rapper-directed movies go?” Add to all of that awkwardness Tarantino’s notoriously curious affinity with the word nigger, the fact that the word appears in Django Unchained more than 100 times, and the fact that Django’s love interest in the film is none other than… the loathsome Olivia Pope — and you officially have a mind-numbing array of equally awesome and offensive circumstances coalescing #AtTheSameDamnTime around a single film and director. It’s easy to understand why the “black intelligentsia” (as one friend of a friend put it on facebook) came out in full force across the blogosphere attacking or championing the flick.

Now while there has been a great deal of unnecessary intellectual flexing going on on Twitter and Facebook since the film debuted, there’s also been a ton of great stuff written about it. Aisha Harris’ piece for Slate, When Blaxplotation Went West, did a great job pointing out how not revolutionary Django is when compared to its black exploitation film era predecessors:

“Of course, these blaxploitation movies had a different aim than Tarantino necessarily does in Django. Made at a moment when Hollywood was finally recognizing black audiences as an untapped market, the point was to give hope, however fantastical, to those viewers.”

Django Unchained offers its own slave-revenge fantasy, but it sticks closer to the more conventional aspects of the Western than any of Williamson’s films do—in Tarantino’s world, the outcast individual is mostly in it for himself; he’s not standing up on behalf of his fellow subjugated man. You can choose to identify with Django, but if you do, you’re rooting for his overcoming of oppression, not a collective victory for the black race.

Jamelle Bouie on the other hand, does a solid job pointing out how Django, in may ways, represents an alternative take on Hollywood’s traditional depiction of slavery, stating:

The most important thing about Django Unchained is that it’s a reaction against, or corrective of, movies like Birth of a Nation and Gone with the Wind. At every turn, it subverts or inverts the racist tropes that have defined Hollywood’s—and our culture’s—treatment of slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. The sympathetic, gentlemanly slaveowner? Inverted in the form of Leonardo DiCaprio’s venal, brutal, and sadistic Calvin Candie. The pliant, fearful slave? Inverted in the form of Jaime Foxx’s Django, a gifted and confident sharpshooter. The brave white vigilantes? Shown as fearful and incompetent.

And finally, in his piece for The New Yorker, Jelani Cobb does a wonderful job of showing that the idea that a slave might be willing to fight and kill for his freedom was not as uncommon in the south as Django Unchained makes it seem.

"Keep Up"

“Keep Up”

It’s worth recalling that slavery was made unsustainable largely through the efforts of those who were enslaved. The record is replete with enslaved blacks—even so-called house slaves—who poisoned slaveholders, destroyed crops, “accidentally” burned down buildings, and ran away in such large numbers their lost labor crippled the Confederate economy. The primary sin of “Django Unchained” is not the desire to create an alternative history. It’s in the idea that an enslaved black man willing to kill in order to protect those he loves could constitute one.

Another common theme I’ve seen in the discussion around Django has been an eagerness to view the film through the same lens Tarantino’s other ‘revenge’ flicks, Kill Bill Vols I and II and Inglorious BastardsI find these comparisons a bit more problematic than they are useful. The Kill Bill series for example, is similar in that it too centers itself around a singularly focused, mayhem inducing character whose sole objective is to reunite with a loved one. Where it differs greatly is in that it lacks the weight of history and cultural resonance that undoubtedly informs the way a large portion of the moving-going populace perceives the film. Inglorious Bastards is similar to Django Unchained in that both films re-imagine an era of historic tragedy. The difference is the greatest tragedy of World War II, the holocaust, is not depicted nearly as overtly or as viscerally as is the tragedy of american slavery in Django Unchained. Also, the two films differ widely in tone. Despite its absurdity, Inglorious Bastards still treats the heft of the subject matter it covers with a sensitivity and reverence for the inescapably horrid reality surrounding the fictional world and events Tarantino has created. Django Unchained is afforded no such reverence or sensitivity. It doesn’t even approach the dark, ominousness of the Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns for which so many readily compare it to.

blazingsaddlesAnd that is where my greatest issue with the film lays. For my taste, Django lingers a little too long in the slapstick comedy reminiscent of Blazing Saddles and in the subtle, buddy-flick humor of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. My gut kept telling me that the ancestors were frowning as the majority white crowd in the movie theatre where I watched the film burst into frequent fits of laughter over the course of the film’s two and a half hours. The tone just didn’t feel appropriate. Even the  blood, guts and gore that have become staples of Tarantino films, and that should be appropriate for a film about the slave-owning south, seemed counter productive to me. It’s not as if the violence is unrealistic, or as if this stuff didn’t happen in the south, we know it did.  The problem is that, by showing non-stop killing, maiming, whipping and beating throughout the entirety of the film, by the end, the viewer is so desensitized that mental digestion of a slave master preparing to cutoff the genitals of a naked, upside down hanging slave is no more difficult than the mental digestion of Beatrix Kiddo chopping off the back half of O-rin Ishii’s head … and that’s a problem.

Lastly, when you look at the characterization of each of the main players in Django Unchained, a pattern becomes clear: There is no middle ground in the 19th century deep south. You are either the brutal, slave torturing white master that is Leonardo Dicaprio’s ‘Calvin Candie’, or you’re the benevolent, won’t even shake a racist’s hand slave-saver that is Christoph Waltz’s ‘King Shultz’. You’re either the contented, happy to be serving massa house slave that is Sam Jackson’s Uncle Ruckus ‘Stephen’, or you’re the kill anybody, blow up anything to be free super hero that is Jamie Foxx’s Django.  I don’t believe that most of the people in this world exist at such extremes. The truth is, most us would not have been Django and most white folks wouldn’t have been Calvin Candie. On the flipside, that doesn’t mean that every white person who voted for Obama this election would’ve been an abolitionist in 1860, or that every black republican would have been a conniving house slave (well, maybe but… you get the point). The truth ain’t ever black and white – it always lays in the gray. By painting all of the characters with such broad strokes and by wrapping the film up neatly into what is essentially a happy ending, Tarantino robs the viewers of any incentive to place themselves in the film and reconcile who they are today against who they might’ve been during that time. That annoys me.

Much like the film’s polarizing characterization of its protagonists, the debate around Django Unchained is equally polarizing. It seems everybody with an opinion on the film must either be for it or against it. The problem with this kind of compartmentalization is that it creates an extremely narrow and myopic lens through which we’re allowed to view the film. The folks who believe the film is great tend to site its greatness as a buffer to all criticism folks might levy against it. The folks who are against it, site its perceived racism as paramount to any artistic value the film might hold.

Let me be clear: Django Unchained is by no means a great film. Anyone who tells you that this film is high art worthy of all manner of praise is likely struggling to reconcile the various emotions the film suggests. It is meanderingly long, the characterization leaves much to be desired (as outlined above) and it departs way too far from the historical record for a film essentially billed as a slave narrative. And even if it were a great film — its greatness would not mean it is thereby freed of all critical analysis.

Let me also be clear about this: Django Unchained is by no means a racist film. Does the film err on the insensitive side – sure. Is it almost pornographic in hits depiction of the brutalization of blacks… definitely. But it also gives one of the most shockingly graphic depictions of the horror that was American slavery that we’ve ever seen in a Hollywood film. It also shows just how deeply ingrained racism is in this country. And it also gives us our first big-budget, fictional super-hero slave. Despite its shortcomings, Tarantino has crafted an… interesting… alternative take a difficult period of this country’s history.

Django’s most important achievement is that it forces us to come to terms with the fact that it’s completely possible to be both thoroughly entertained… and thoroughly offended.

Till next time… stay low… keep firing.

spradleysignature

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  • http://www.BlackGirlsAreEasy.com NC_17

    Great write up, I'm glad you decided to tackle it. While I agree that the characters were played to an extreme with no true realistic middle grown, I respect QT for doing what no one else in hollywood, would do, which is create a true black super hero myth. I'm not talking Meteor man, I'm talking something from a historic (even if re-imagined) point of view that will make blacks young and old feel some sense of pride.

    We have 300, witch is history on steroids, but gives white kids a reason to claim Greek heritage just because it's bad azz. From Ben Hur to the other countless fantastical films where the protagonist are white and unconquerable, they get their white pride. When it comes to blacks it's like we're almost forced to skip over the entire 1800's and jump to WWII to start hero worshiping, because fictional or not, any representation of the slavery era is a source of shame. Django, as over the top as it is, is a superhero who was created to give us pride. Sure history books talk about authentic great men during that era, but in the world of film we're left with white washed representations or direct to DVD Mario Van Peebles movies.

    This is a comic book gunslinger who says, "regardless of circumstances brothers were always kicking azz and taking names". Accurate or not, the next time a black person sees a white cowboy movie, he's going to think, "Django is a better shooter", and that's the legacy of the movie. That kind of myth has no place is the classroom, but it was much needed in american cinema.

    • Larry

      +1

    • http://twitter.com/MrSpradley @MrSpradley

      I dig this. And agree with a great deal of it. At the same time… I'm still offended. lol. I think that's what so special about the film. You gotta just let all your feelings on it stew. No way around it.

    • Streetz

      AGREED 1000%

  • CHeeKZ Money

    "f*cking re-dik-a-lis"

    one of the funniest comments in SBM history.

    When I first saw the trailer, I thought two things. Damn, they are going to say Ninja alot in that movie and second, finally black people get to star in something smart and cool. Here we have a movie that is box office smash and critically acclaimed and half the people are complaining about it. The movie has to tackle the sensitive topic of slavery, b/c that is what good art does. Keep in mind this isn't the greatest QT Flick of all time or the best movie of the year. Why would we want the subject of slavery left alone… what good does that due our ancestors? Do the whipping come off their backs if the lash marks aren't put on Kerry. And I whole heartily disagree with your take of Inglorious Bastards being sensitive to Jews and Django removing the horrors. The hot box, the Mandingo(pause) fighting, the whipping, the raping… it was all there. But with a good movie everyone takes something different… none of the opinions you posted were wrong.. and none were right. That is what QT sparks. ..A great article by most.

  • http://www.singleblackmale.org/author/wisdomismisery/ WisdomIsMisery

    I haven’t seen the movie, but apparently I need to. Will correct this soon.

    • cynicaloptmst81

      Me either…and me too, lol.

      • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

        this as well

  • Larry

    Good write up, per usual.

    I liked the movie. It was entertaining, funny and kept my attention albeit the length of the film. I'll probably rent it and watch it one more time when it comes out on bootleg DVD. There are quite a few points I would elaborate on, but I won't. NC17 articulated similar sentiments of my own.

    One narrative I saw was ppl feeling a "certain type of way" when in a theatre with white folk and hearing them laugh at "the wrong time" or what have you. Maybe I'm just not as easily insensed, but my feeling of the matter was 'so what?'. I'll never see those people again and I'm aware I've probably been insensitive by laughing at things that arent generally funny like the RGIII meme of him getting crossed up by Allen Iverson . If they want to laugh, fine…but I'm not going to get my blood pressure worked up or give someone a death stare over it.

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

      yo I cried at the rg3 meme too…they should’ve never gave us photoshop yo

      This all reminds me of the demise of chappelle’s show when Dave let Oprah n nem get in his head and felt white ppl were laughing at the wrong time.

  • KitKatCuty84

    I saw the movie. It's friggin' awesome. I understand it's going to spark a lot of debate, but I had a blast and everyone in the packed theater I saw it in this past Saturday had a blast too. Showings were selling out and lines were wrapping around the theater to get in. I loved it. One of the best movies I've seen recently.

    • Robert

      If this had been a movie with no hero Django and no happy ending the out cry would have been huge but seening as the story goes they way blacks would have hoped its ok and not racist,some serious hipocracy in these statements.

  • DoomsBaby

    The same people who thought this movie was racist are the same people who literally look for race in every situation they are in ( and ironically, claim they are not racist.) The movie had a strong narrative and interesting characters

    Hearing the laud and odious approval of DJango killing a White person from other(and usually much lower class) members of our community during the movie was the only tiresome thing about it.

    • http://twitter.com/MrSpradley @MrSpradley

      "(and usually much lower class)" <—- Dislike.

      • DoomsBaby

        Why?

  • The CPT

    I watched it two times over the last couple of days. I've read all the outrage due to his insistent use of the N word, but I can say one thing: Tarantino tells a helluva story. Which brings me to Spike Lee. I understand Spike's drive and hustle. I understand what he's trying to do and where he was going, but let me tell you that a lot of Spike's recent movies get lost in Spike's usual vision or inability to tell a story without going off on some sporadic and broken tangent that leaves you scratching your head. On the other hand…even if I were offended at some parts I couldn't look away. The movie was actually pretty entertaining and I liked Jamie Foxx's character. I've seen a lot of old blacksploitation flicks and this wasn't even comparable. I don't know why anyone would have a problem with slavemasters and lynch mobbers getting their just desserts. I know I certainly didn't flinch.

  • newgirl

    I thought it was a good movie and didn't feel the use of the N word was excessive in the movie, however, I do feel like the director wished he could say the N work from time to time without any backlash.

    My movie theater had a mixed crowd. I wished that there was a dialogue among attendees after the movie though.. I was so curious why the white people were there and how the felt about the movie, and I am sure they were curious how black people felt about the movie.

    The movie is a reminder to those black people that want to act like racism is dead, that it is very much alive, and that ignoring it won't make it go away.

    I think the movie can open eyes to those that every question whether the feeling of white entitlement still exists, it definitely does.I experience it all the time and when those white people come across a black person that checks them on it, which a lot of times is me, it eats them up, you can see it in their face, the look that says how dare you. That's why I LOVE the Django character!

  • AfterMath

    I disagree with the no middle ground parts. I thought that some of the slaves who were with Django in the initial scene and in the final scene before he goes back to the ranch kinda show that part of the slaves. I mean there isn't much of a focus on them, but their facial and emotional reactions to Django said a lot (at least to me). As far as the White side of things go, you can look at the main characters like the slaveowners in Nashville and in Mississippi, but there are also those in the movie who stated the law but didn't really do anything about it. Also, the fact that in Texas they were claiming to be bounty hunters and usign that as an excuse killing Whites alone would be enough for them to be lynched, but the fact that they didn't shows me a middle ground

    I have to say though that what annoyed me about the film was the lack of a strong female presence. I mean, I wish that Kerry Washington had been more angry and willing to tell Sam L Jackson **** you. Even if it did land her in some type of punishment or whatever. I mean, the stories about her being a runaway made me think she'd act like this, but she just didn't. But I'll also add that I was glad that they didn't show any rape scenes. I could barely take the violence they had, but I don't think I would be able to take a rape scene. He left the viewer to believe (or understand) that rape was taking place, but I'm glad I didn't have to see it.
    My recent post Fraction Arithmetic

    • Smilez_920

      Kerri talks about her role in the movie as being the "Damsel in Distress" and how black women often times don’t get to be the damsel that’s saved, but they have to be this overly outwardly strong character. I think Keri's character had a lot of silent strength, I mean she ran away and probably would keep doing so until she realized Django had came to save her. (She didn’t have a lot of speaking parts lol just a lot of screaming and smiling) I wish she would have told Sam off too, but she probably thought it would cost Django his life and hers.

      • AfterMath

        Hmmm, thats interesting. Maybe I've just been conditioned to not expect those type of roles out of Black Women. Gimme an Angela Basset type of fire anyday.
        My recent post Fraction Arithmetic

      • Southerngyrl_

        I haven't seen the movie, but I have heard this from Kerry before. I do have to say, we do get a lot of black women can do it all type of characters out there. It definitely feeds into a stereotype we have within our own community. We can be vulnerable. We have weaknesses. We do not have to shoulder all of the burdens. In regards to acting roles, it is like we went from one extreme to the next in 50 years.

        • Smilez_920

          I think some people saw Keri’s tears as tears of weakness and not tears of frustration and anger. To me she was crying and yelling out of frustration, anger, hurt, not necessarily because she was weak. We need her to be vulnerable because that’s the picture that Django has in his head of her, beautiful, vulnerable, looking for him. If we had seen her in the movie being the sassy mammy, snap your finger roll your neck stereotype, it would take away from the movie. I’m sure her character has probably told off Sam Jacksons character many times in that house, tired to fight off WM that tried to rape her etc… But for the audience to relate to Django and understand his feelings we had to picture Keri through his eyes.

  • Streetz

    1) Spike Lee is a certified and documented hater. Still my dude but a hater

    2) Greatness is in the eye of the beholder. Is this a "classic"? time will tell. Is it dope? to me it is. It was one of the better releases of this year, and will be remembered for this dialogue more than anything.

    3) Tanrantino forcing this dialogue through a sphagetti western is genius in itself, and a lot of black hollywood directors will probably be salty that their work didnt spark that, and I feel them.

    4) If Leo/Sam Jack dont get emm nods, we RIOT!

    5) We can be too sensitivie at times. No one story about "slavery" will please us all. We can appreciate the artisitc creativity though, which is what I choose to do. I always wanted to see the slaves "get back" at their owners and this movie helped me live that even in a fantasy world.

    6) If this was a video game, the dialogue would probably be even crazier.

    7) Excellent write-up!

    • http://twitter.com/MrSpradley @MrSpradley

      *Oscar nods. Emmys for the small screen bro.

      And I completely agree. Leo and Sam Jack both knocked it out of the park.

      • Streetz

        I always get those sh*ts mixed up lol. Thank you

  • DeKeLa

    I disagree with you on this one Sprads, I think it was a great movie. I laughed, winced, was amused, wrote about it on the internet and will be buying the collector's edition Blu-Ray. Any movie that I would pay money to see again, is a great movie. Granted the near all-caucasian elder male panel for the Oscars, and Golden Globes will not let this movie be great.

    Then again, I do not consider myself a member of the Black Intelligenista, and a lover of all things
    Ni&&a-ish, so your mileage may vary.

  • AfterMath

    P.S. If anybody's read the book Beatrice and Virgil, I think its on point with regards to this topic. The book is about a guy who writes a comedy about the Holocaust and gives an argument that we should be allowed to tell stories about this period that don't make us just want to sob and cry. Argument being that if those are the only types of stories we tell about it, then nobody will want to listen to those stories because nobody really wants to just sit and cry.

    When I read the book I immediately connected it to slavery and wanting more Nat Turner or just more stories that talk about that period but didn't try to educate me or remind me of how much ish my people went through. I thought itd be nice to have more movies that were just historical fiction from the slavery period where the writer had more freedom to deviate from the historical script a bit. Thats how I saw this movie and I was impressed that it was done and done well.

    I will agree that its not a classic though. Maybe one day it'll grow in my books but its not one of those movies that you've got to have seen to be in Black conversations or movie conversations right now. Maybe one day, but not yet.
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  • InsomniaPoet

    Nice post – really got deep into the various aspects of the movie. Good job :)

    I saw it & now I'm over it. Didn't much care for Kerri's character in the movie (and I love me some Olivia Pope) but I did think she did a great job going from Boss Ms. Pope, to submissive slave – if that counts for anything. I still think her role was very vanilla basically any black woman could've smiled and screamed & cried on cue.

    Didn't realize the movie was causing this big of a stir but I guess I should have seen it coming – white man directs movie about slavery of course we have to discuss it. When I left the theater I remembering thinking – entertaining but hella unrealistic and kept it moving. I didn't take time to think of race relations, slavery or why/when white folks in the theater w/ me laughed.

    At the end of the day, glad I saw it, just so I can say I did but probably won't watch it again.

    • Larry

      "I did think she did a great job going from Boss Ms. Pope, to submissive slave – if that counts for anything."

      Agreed! She's a good actress. Also, not that it matters, but she really went from slave to Boss Ms. Pope. I'm pretty sure they finished filming on this movie before she started working on Scandal. I've seen previews for this movie out for over a year. I believe my favorite recent Washington role was her character in "I Think I Love My Wife".

  • Uncle Hugh, BP

    I guess I have to see the movie this weekend. While I'll reserve judgment until after I see it, my suspicion is the "intelligensia" is being overly sensitive, as they are wont to do. It's not a documentary, or makes any pretenses to be one. It's not like Inglorious Bastards was a documentary on Jews in the first half of the 20th century either. So I expect to be entertained by a fictitious tale about a black man "killin' NAZIS! slaveowners", with the typical gore of your average Tarantino film.

  • JJFad

    Good write up. I can only say that it was a thought provoking movie and not for the content but because of the audience experience. The inclusion of slapstick comedy put the horrors of slavery into stark contrast and the role of the audience into question. Watching and cringing as others laugh I wondered, why I wanted to watch this movie. What is the appeal and what aspects of the audience actually engaged in? Tarantino's fetishized violence took on a whole knew meaning. I think for viewers who watched the film critically it was the experience of being in the audience and how Tarantino manipulated it that was most thought-provoking.

  • MaggK

    Great post!!! i feel like you put in words what i couldn't express after watching it! Thank you :)!

  • Robotic

    Actually, I thought that for once in a Tarantino film the desensitization to violence was sort of the point. You say, "by the end, the viewer is so desensitized that mental digestion of a slave master preparing to cutoff the genitals of a naked, upside down hanging slave is no more difficult than the mental digestion of Beatrix Kiddo chopping off the back half of O-rin Ishii’s head," and maybe I'm reading too much into this here, but I think that was intentional. Steven even goes so far as to point this out to Django- that after all of that, after all of the horrible physical abuse he's had to endure, what would this one more thing be? That in the end, it's the emotional abuse that really sticks. That, to me, is the major message of the film, not just for the characters, but for the audience. Some of the dialogue scenes are much, much harder to watch (as an audience member) than the violence, and by contrast the violence is much easier to deal with.

    The difference between Django and Steven or even Candie and Schultz isn't one of good vs. evil; it's one of conditioning. Schultz, the "white saviour," is never really a white audience stand-in, at least not for white American audiences. He isn't different than Candie because of some greater impulse to kindness or humanity, as he proves when he forces Django to shoot a gang leader in front of the man's son. He's just foreign and, as Django says, "unused to American ways." Another place we see this is with the man being torn apart by dogs. Schultz is clearly horrified by the brutality, even though we have seen him murder men in cold blood while looking into their eyes.

    Django, by contrast, watches with quiet resignation. He's been conditioned to expect this sort of thing, even if he hates it.

    I said it was the difference between Django and Steven or Candie and Schultz, but it's more like the difference between Django, Steven and Candie or Schultz and Brumhilda. For all his worldly-wise affect, Schultz never really "gets" Candie's world the way Django does. He knows about it intellectually but only Django has really internalized it, can fully comprehend it, because he and Candie were raised in the same system. As a further illustration of this, we have Brumhilda. Like Django, she experienced this sort of abuse first-hand- but she still remains fundamentally different than him. Unlike Django, she can't fully slip on the coat of Candie's world, can only summon a pale imitation. Unlike Django, she didn't internalize the horrors of slavery at a young age; she has to learn them, painfully, one at a time.

    Maybe I'm an optimist, but that to me redeems the violence. It isn't arbitrary; it's a purposeful conditioning which allows the audience to understand, at least a little bit, how Django sees the world, and why. And I think that's worth a lot.

  • https://www.facebook.com/AnthonyBrianLogan Anthony Brian Logan

    django is not racist and i'm about as pro-black as they come. if you deep into the knowledge of self you will actually enjoy the movie and appreciate it's spin on the events of that time. people just need to watch the movie for themselves and draw their own opinion regardless of what.

  • http://www.barronnetwork.com Rex Barron

    Django is a GREAT movie because of the action , humor , fantastic score and the actual development of Django as a character. We first see him as a meager slave but watch him rise to become something much else. Leonardo's portrayal of Calvin Candie was not easy to pull off but he did …He somehow pulled off the balance between elegance and cruelty

    Yes there were several scenes that were a bit over the top and the comedy could have been played down a bit but movies are a form of entertainment…I didn't go see Django to be enlightened I went to be entertained so when I can laugh and feel pain at the same time I feel like that is a worthy movie!
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  • Randy

    I wouldn’t call Django a hero. He works solely for himself the entire movie and doesn’t even kill the main antagonist. Rather than that he gets to kill Steven, another black slave. In retrospect, Django shows no sympathy for any of the slaves he comes across. I walked away from the movie with the impression that Django hates not only white people, but also has a grudge against his own people. The only difference between the two attitudes, is that his distaste for white people is justified by the slavery he went through, which also is justification that, morally, I can’t stand behind. His detachment and unsympathetic attitude towards his fellow slaves is never explained and so now we must assume that he only cares for himself and enjoys being regarded as “exceptional” by his white rivals and doesn’t care what he has to do to prove it. It’s for that reason Will Smith turned down the role, Django isn’t the hero, “Dr.King” is. It was King that made Django exceptional. It was King who killed Candie. It was King that lost his life for the main love interest. Furthermore, can anyone list a single redeemable quality Django exhibits other than his bravery and gunslinging prowess? The depiction of Django or anyone like him as a hero makes me worry (even more than I normally would) about the future of Hollywood and its influence over Americans.

    • Robert

      He was disgusted with the fact that they were willing to be slaves and didn't fight back and there for felt superior and disconected.

  • Robert

    The director sparks racial tentions to sell tickets and rerights history to empower the black man with an alternate ending,his ideologue will surely influence the way black people will see mondern day whites based on events that happened to other people in a differnet time.Slavery was wrong and hundreds thousands of white people from the north died to free slaves and were talking brutal deaths and how about Indians killed almost to exstinction yet they portray all whites as evil slave owners.People today act as if they were there and its all our fault but truth is you weren't there its not our fault and time to move on.Racism will never die churning out garbage like this director wants you to buy into.When leaving the theators white people had to look over there shoulders to see some angry black chanting go Django kill that white bastard just utter crap.This movie was crafted by clever jokes and great shooting all this while sending home the idea that whites are bad and racism will live on.Making movies to send a subliminal message of hate should not be glorified at the expense of any race.Just admit you can't let the race card die with films like this!