Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

African History, Film

Goodbye Uncle Tom

Goodbye Uncle Tom – One of the most shocking aspects of this unashamedly racist film full of gratuitous violence and frankly disgusting, is that it was made not in the 1930s or 40s but in 1971 by Italian directors, Gualtiero Jacopetti Franco Prosperi. The directors claim the film’s stated aim was to expose the horrors of slavery and racism but it is crude and only succeeds in reinforcing racism and making a mockery of Blackness as the slaves are presented without voice or agency and are completely dehumanized.

This is part one and lasts only 40 minutes. For those living in London the whole film is to be shown on 3/11 followed by a discussion – venue: NFT as part of the London Film Festival.

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Thanks to African Writers for the link to SayItLoud

7 Comments

  1. This is precisely the mindset I was thinking about when I wrote my post today on Black resistance to White oppression. It always fascinates me to see dovetailed focus across the blogosphere. It makes me trust the process even more.

  2. I hated this film with a passion. You are correct it completely dehumanized Africans, and made us out to be nothing but beasts that grunted and behaved like savages. It’s despicable.

    http://power-2-people.blogspot.com/

  3. And what exactly, Sis. Sokari is racist about this movie?

    The fact that it portrayed Africans transported like less than cattle in a roach and rat-infested slave ship?

    The fact that black children were bred and sold like so many chickens?

    (Slave breeding, by the way was a time-honored tradition even advocated and practiced by “Mr. Freedom” Thomas Jefferson?)

    Was it the fact that it showed how slaves resisted by playing dumb and breaking everything in sight?

    The de-humanization of Africans in chattel slavery aimed and largely achieved exactly that: De-humanization and the self-image of black folks as little more than animals. 400 years of scientific behavior modification had and has taken its toll.

    It is a miracle and and ode to the resilience of our people that w have come out of slavery as human as we have.

  4. Comment by post author

    Sokari

    Michael@ The brutality of slavery is very real. I completely agree with everything you say, the dehumanization, the breeding – the legacy that continues today. But the presentation of this film was gratuitous and to my mind and voyeuristic and played on stereotypes of the black male and female bodies. The slaves are presented as dumb, without any agency, as clowns, complicit in their own oppression. There is a short 10 minutes scene in the whole film when a group of slaves escape and try to revolt. However this is made into a joke as after seeing 5 minutes of black body after body being thrown around, blood spurting out of heads we are shown a heap of dead black bodies with the captors standing by the side of the pile – a kind of “trophy” photo shot. Just when you try to digest the scene, everyone jumps up and you realise it’s just a pretend photo shot, which completely undermines the action of murdering tens of escaping slaves.

  5. I found this site as I was looking for a download link for this movie..I decided to write this in response to this post as well as the comments posted here. In my opinion this film is far from racist. The actions of those white devils in the late 1500’s to now are racist.. The way Afrikans were stolen from Afrika in order for those devils to steal Afrika from Afrikans were racist. I agree the film does portray our ancestors in a bad light. What we must deal with is the truth. Gualtiero Jacopetti & Franco Prosperi are no the ones to blame for thier semi-accurate account of the slave trade and the workings behind it. The directors werent involved in the slave trade, nor the killing of our people, although the profitted by portraying our people as slaves. When you watch the movie do not be afraid of what you see on the screen, embrace it. Do not bitch and moan about the contents of this movie, simply use it as a visual experiance of our past. The intentions of the directors probably was to make a mockery of slavery, however it’s up to us to combat racism.. The only way it indeed reinforced racism is the fact that “scared” Negros look at this film at face value. The scared nigga would sit back and complain that this movie is demeaning to our character. Slaver itself was dehumanizing to us Afrikans. Honestly, I wish the whole black nation would unify and watch this movie, not for entertainment value, but as a tool for shock treatment in awakening the mentally dead and those who ignored the facts of why we are in AmeriKKKa today. Followed by knowledge of self, we would be in a better position to see things for what they really are. For far too long we’ve made ourselves victoms of these white devils. This film opened my eyes… Blackstone, I totally understand your view.. What you need to realize is those white devils treated us as less than human beings, AND STILL DO. Those white devils taught us that we were savages and beasts in order for us to hate ourselves and seperate ourselves for our Afrikan liniage, AND THEY STILL DO.. Im not praising the directors in any way or form, but those fuckas hit it on the head… If anything, we must use that movie as a tool to teach our children the true nature of white people and why we are here in AmeriKKKa.. At the end of the day we are faced with the issues of white supremacy. White supremacy is the product of the white mans fear of genitic annialation… So watch this movie with your kids then expose them to truth. Sometimes truth hurts, but we cannot run or hide from it for it’s right in our face

    P.E.A.C.E.

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  6. jamaica4lf

    you have to really look at this movie for what it is. the filmmakers have used actual events and quotes taken from slavery.if you look at the film it represents alot of how we are today for example there is a sceene where they are feeding the newly arrived slaves from a trough and the white man says look at them they will eat anything we give them. look at our presnt day situations we are amoung the biggest consumers in this country and yet we dont own any thing of value all we want to do is buy the next pair of kicks or the biggest escalade we can find or put gold in our mouths there are very few of us that own fortune 500 companies as soon as we get a dollar it is gone. the white man knows if we have money we have power and if you have the power you are in control. listen to the uncle tom character in the movie he talks about how he is taken care of by his master and he is fed and clothed and doesnt have to pay taxes and how happy he is with that situation many of us are like that as long as “big massa” is feeding us and clothing us we dont complain we silently take what is given to us much like our government does in our welfare system and we are incouraged to breed and not to marry and what about how we pimp and degrade ourselves for a dollar on BET our peolple dont act that much differently than the poeple in this movie it is just a different time and a different back drop. there is another disturbing part that i would like to point out when they are cleaning the slaves in the pool to prepare them to be sold other blacks were washing them and dunking the new arrivals in a pool of lye and ash. this one man pushed the other down in the water so hard it drowened him this is what we do to each other now. the white man is responsible for this system of racsism and self hatered but it is up to us to end it we can say kill whitety all day long but if we do not change our selves and reclaim what was stolen from us we will continue the cycle and eat any garbage that whitey gives us

  7. blackistheword

    THIS MOVIE IS NOT A HATE MOVIE! IT SHOWS YOU WHAT HAPPENED,STOP BLAMING EVERYTHING ON HATE,IT HAPPENED LIKE SOMEONE SAID IN THE FORUM WE MUST SHOW THIS TO OUR CHILDREN AND FAMILES AND PAST THE WORD AND TEACH!