Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Absurd celebrations of the alpha white male (Part 1)…Tom Cruise, The Last Samurai, and asian amnesia…
In 2006, Japan’s Memorial Day Association declared October 6th ‘Tom Cruise Day’; supposedly ‘cause he’s been the highest profiled american actor who’s made the most trips to the island nation.
Another reason he’s so beloved in Japan is because of the film ‘The Last Samurai’, which has been playing on a continuous loop for the past week on the american movie classics network (AMC).
For those of you who’ve never seen this flick before; albeit I couldn’t imagine there’s a soul in america who hasn’t, I’ll give you a rough synopsis of the movie’s plot: Cruise plays Captain Nat Algren; he’s a military advisor who’s hired to defeat a group of Samurai warriors so he and his cohorts can make way for the latest phase of western ‘manifest destiny’; read: genocidal occupation. After losing the battle and being captured by the Samurai, he becomes enamored with their culture and joins them. At the final battle all the Samurai warriors lose their lives defending their homeland/culture except Tom; thus, making him…the white guy, the LAST SAMURAI.*yawn*
Don’t get me wrong, this movie has several redeeming qualities. A well-written script, lovely cinematography, and some of the best choreographed fight sequences in film, period. (Namely, the ninja attack on Katsumoto’s village) Problem is, how do hollywood and the japanese people reconcile calling some white guy the last samurai? And moreover, why do the japanese feel Tom deserves his own ‘day’?
Let’s take a little stroll back down memory lane, shall we?…After the December 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor, japanese americans were thrown into ‘internment/concentration camps’ in the good ‘ole U.S. of A. Let me put this another way, some 113,000 japanese people in this country, who had nothing to do with this bombing, were rounded up and incarcerated unjustly. But they’re giving an ‘american’ actor his own day in japan? Talk about a selective memory.
Let’s take one more stroll down this lane…in 1945, the japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were decimated by american atom bombs. Mind you, america is the ONLY country in the world to use nuclear weapons in any war—bar none—twice! Tom Cruise day in japan!? *shaking my head*
Is it me, or are people of color MUCH TOO forgiving of western whites? Everyday I see instances where Black and brown people extol the virtues of the 'scrupulous' and 'morally-high grounded' caucasian; and all I can do is shake my head. And we ALL do it; Africans of the diaspora, latinos, and all varieties of asians have these same bouts of historical amnesia.
Recently, I was on YouTube, and this person who identified themselves as ‘native american’ went on a rant that slandered Black people while talking about how ethical whites are. What?! Now, I don’t know if he was in fact a ‘native american’, but he seemed to press the issue and gave out info. on which tribe he was descended from, so I took him at his word. After I heard his bogus arguments, I asked him how he could talk about the virtuous nature of whites after what they did to his people, IN THIS COUNTRY! He responded by saying his people don’t pay any federal taxes and native american owned casinos were making them rich. I responded by saying, okay, you don’t pay any federal taxes…bravo! But you’re ‘native’ to this country, right? So why are you and yours paying ANY TAXES? As a ‘native’ person, you should be exempted from this nonsense. Then I said, it’s cool that your casinos are making you rich…but are at least HALF OF YOUR PEOPLE RICH BEHIND OWNING CASINOS? Are you personally rich? What he should or doesn’t know is, a large percentage of his people are STILL living on reservations. I remember seeing a news documentary about a native woman living on a reservation in Arizona; she didn’t even have running water in her home. This was in 2013! When the first whites washed up on these shores sick and starving, the 'native' americans fed them and nursed them back to health; and what did these virtuous whites do? They KILLED THESE NATIVES! That says to me, you’ve got to be one prideless idiot to praise the people that nearly wiped you and yours out. Also, it's documented that Black people occupied this country before and during the time 'native' americans were the majority population of this country. So 'native american indians' don't have a monopoly on this term...at least where Black people are concerned.
So I’ve said all that to say this; if you’re a person of color who’s in a heated debate about how white people are so much more scrupulous than Black or brown people, hopefully, your melanated mind will slap you in the back of the head and re-mind you of how dastardly these people, white people, have proven themselves to be time and time again.
Let’s get our right minds back and stop being amnesiacs!!
Ma’at Hotep (Peace and justice)