Sunday, October 15, 2006

FLAGS OF WHOSE FATHERS?



So Clint Eastwood has a new flick out that's garnering quite allot of buzz. Not surprising, because Clint usually makes good movies. His latest project, is a tribute to the Marines at Iwo Jima titled "Flags Of Our Fathers". Now according to most critics the movie is getting a thumps up. But I want to focus on one critic in particular, and my own personal issues with this movie.-And no I haven't seen it yet, but I don't have to-

Now Roger Friedman is one of the critics who thought the movie was well done. But he had one little problem with its historical accuracy. It seems the movie did not have any black soldiers representing what happened at Iwo Jima, something that he had to acknowledge was a historic inaccuracy. But he blamed this little over sight on the screen writer, William Broyles, Jr., and not the producers, and creators of the film itself. To Friedman, this was a "mere quibble", and nothing to be serious enough to take away from the excellence of the movie.

Well Mr. Friedman, the field begs to differ. This is not a "mere quibble" as you put it, this is huge. To leave out the African American Marines who gave their lives at Iwo Jima is not only an affront to those men, and their families, but a historical affront to all black people in this country.

Unless I missed something in my history books, didn't blacks serve in the 34th and 36th Marine Depots with distinction at Iwo Jima? Didn't black Marines of the 8th ammunition company land with the rest of the Marines on the second day of that now famous battle? Didn't blacks from the 471st and other amphibious truck companies serve with distinction, in a battle that had higher casualties than all the battles in the Civil War except Gettysburg? The answer folks is yes they did. And they played such a key role supplying ammunition to the rest of the Marines from one of the beach fronts, that without them those six soldiers might not have had the opportunity to raise that flag on Mount Suribachi, which allowed Joe Rosenthall to capture that famous photo that we all have come to know.

Folks, not only did blacks serve, they served with distinction, many of them being awarded the Presidential Unit Citation Medal. Without their bravery and service, those men from Easy Company could not have raised that flag inspiring that photo Americans rallied so famously behind during World War II. But you won't see that in Clint's movie. In fact, you will see at least thirty white actors from Iceland no less- playing soldiers as extras- before you see any black people in this film.

So where is the outrage from black folks? I guess it's still early. After all, the movie hasn't even been released yet. But somehow I doubt if when it is released, you will hear black folks protesting. Not us, we are more concerned with how many black coaches are in the NFL, or how many black actors are playing in fictional comedies on television. Take note black people, how democrats and the Clintonistas lost their minds when they thought Disney was tarnishing Clinton's legacy with a historically inaccurate portrayal of 911. Take note, how republicans lost their minds when they thought that CBS was unfair to their cowboy hero, the father of Iran contra, and the crack epidemic, Ronald Reagan. Take note, how the Jews lost their minds when the tequila drinking anti Semite negatively portrayed them in his movie, The Passion Of The Christ. These people get it; because they know that movies and literature that are supposed to represent history, should represent it correctly. They know that if they don't, people's perception of history will be flawed and be damaging to to the legacy they are trying to preserve.

This is what happens to black folks time and time again. We let people get away with this s^#t, because we don't care enough about our history and our historical legacy. Our children grow up not realizing that people that look just like them were heroes too. People that look like them fought in famous battles that helped to make America what it is. Blacks were airmen, they were Marines, they fought in the Civil War, the Korean War, Vietnam, and now in Iraq. Blacks shed their blood to give us our freedoms just like whites did. But sadly, you would never know it from watching movies like Saving Private Ryan, and Flags Of Our Fathers. Because let's face it, they don't care about our legacy like we do. To them, we are all Americans and that's what matters. So what if those are all white soldiers? They are all Americans, fighting for all of us.
Field, can't you just for once see beyond race? Let me answer that for you: NO!
Because you don't, and until you do, I will be the first to call you on it when my people are slighted.

So this time, when Clint drops his movie, let's make some noise about the dearth of our people in it. Let's make it for the three platoons of African Americans, who because of them, the sands were not the only thing that was black on Iwo Jima. I am tired of seeing my folks marginalized in history, and I am going to let Dirty Harry know about it.

So go ahead punk, "make my day"!

16 comments:

TNB Alerts said...

Now that's what I call TNB! Complaining about not being adequately represented in some movie. Get over it negro, and maybe you can then get on to more impoh-tunt thingz and sheeit. Aside from that, I see no citations. Hmmm.

field negro said...

TPT (Trailer Park Trash) a more adequate title for you. Do your own research, I give opinions on this site. And I am going to guess my facts are correct 99% of the time. If you have problems with that, prove me wrong. But I doubt if you will be able to.

BTW, I am seeing "twb" in places like Iowa and Pennsylvania ;) Shame on you folks :(

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

10 17 06

Hey FN:
Good post. I agree with the gist of the post. My Grandpa fought in WWII and saw action in the South Pacific. It really pisses me off that once again there is a movie that omits the contributions of our forefathers.

HOWEVER, is this a surprise to me? NO! Is it the movie maker's obligation to represent Blacks in a positive way? NO!

Ultimately it is OUR responsibility as a people, which is why I like how you talk about the different ethnic groups and how they advocate for themselves. Our values in Black America DO seemed to be rather warped and consumed with too much materialism and NOT enough planning for the future via building knowledge or the economy.

I don't get the shortsightedness, but it will bite us in the ass soon if we don't get it together. Where the hell is Spike Lee when you need him? And who will replace him once he stops making movies?

Whoa, there is a lot to digest here.
Have a great rest of week FN:)

field negro said...

Thanks Mahndisa, I actually agree with most of what you said. I say most-and not all-because I still think that if you are going to make a historical movie, regardless of who it is,be it Oliver Stone, or Spike Lee. You should still try to be at least as accurate with the facts as possible.

And you are right about us getting our sh%* together, because no one else will tell our stories for us.

Ditto on the nice week ;)

Peace!

Anonymous said...

This is very true but lets just say many black folks do not have any idea of the roles black people played in any war. It is not learned in school and is never shown on TV. Where is the outrage right where it has always been on the cutting room floor. The history of minority achievements in America is rewritten constantly. Because you can not protest if you don't know it is wrong.

Anonymous said...

Blacks comprised only a few hundred of the 50,000 or 60,000 Marines at Iwo Jima, and did not fight in the frontline infantry units, which are the main focus of the film. Of 6,000 American deaths there, two were black. So it's not surprising they do not appear in the movie.

field negro said...

"A", blacks were important to the battle in the it was their job to make sure the ammunition was workable and the supplies kept coming. Yes, way more whites died, but that's not my issue. Again, why the lack of blacks in the movie? Could Clint have at least shown them doing their job, if not actually getting killed?

I would answer the above question in the affirmative.

Anonymous said...

I suppose you would like a random scene of a bunch of black munitions soldiers checking bullets and the like? This would most likely get the masses of ignorants (whites and blacks included) all riled up about the portrayal of blacks in labor positions. I don't want to sound p/c or anything but you know how people are these days with their Starbucks liberalism: "Oh sure, of course the blacks have to be loading boxes of bullets". I can just hear it coming from the seat next to me. If the makers of the movie want to focus on 5998 white Americans aside from the 2 blacks that died then so be it. Why does everything always have to be a controversy anyways?

we saw that... said...

great post FN and your commentators give us a lot to ponder on as well. our take of the film, pop culture and the media in general is that the last thing "they" want to do is to show blacks and whites getting along. we know chris rock says words to the effect that the media aint never done nothing to me but really they do and have and continue to because like that other great philosopher w axel rose sang "the trash collected by the eyes and dumped into the brain it tears into our conscience thoughts now tell me who's to blame?"

Tyronius said...

"So where is the outrage from black folks?"

Well, I would like to ask, "Why should Black people be outraged?" Why must our emotions be placed at the whim of White screen writers? The Negro's feelings have historically been dependent upon the actions of his master. We should realize that we are controllers of our own destiny, just as white people have been controllers of theirs (and all too often have been allowed to be controllers of others' as well). If they wish to write us out of their movies, then so be it. Why should we even care? We can chronicle our own histories, just like you and other like-minded individuals have been doing all along.

field negro said...

I feel you tyronius, and I agree that we should not let our emotions and actions be controled by others.

I suppose my problem with this and other so called historical movies,is that it's supposed to represent history;and even though we have been cut out of such movies before-quite frankly I am used to it by now-it doesn't necessarily mean we should not call folks on it.

But you are right, at the end of the day, we will have to do for ourselves, because no one else gives a damn about our history.

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