Articles: Boston Columnist Condemns 'Birth of a Nation' Protest




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The pop culture columnist of the Boston Globe has sharply criticized the Los Angeles branch of the NAACP for spearheading a protest that forced an L.A. silent movie theater to cancel a screening of D.W. Griffith's 1915 film "The Birth of a Nation." Renée Graham, who is black, observed that she first saw the film when enrolled in a class on the African-American image in film and was revolted by the images.

"Still, even though it's unlikely I'll ever sit through this film again, I do not believe it should be consigned to some dusty closet, never to be shown in public again," she wrote.

Responding to the claim that the film could inflame racial hatred, Graham commented: "If a film, especially one made nearly 90 years ago, can send this nation into racist convulsions, then we're in a lot more trouble than we think."

Moreover, she writes, banning the film "also discards any chance to discuss early 20th-century representations of African-Americans in popular culture and to assess what progress has been made -- yes, we now have Denzel Washington as the hero in "The Manchurian Candidate," but how do we rectify the stereotypical buffoonery of or the modern-day minstrel act of the Fox TV show? (And why aren't people protesting those current images, instead of a near 90-year-old film few have seen?)"

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