Racism in Movies

The American streaming service HBO Max is taking the southern smack "Gone with the Wind" from its program for the time being. In the future, the film will be accompanied by hints that slavery happened differently than it was shown in the 1939 film: less happy togetherness of caring whites and grateful, somewhat retarded slaves ("I'll be foreman on Tara, I'll say when it's time to end! ") and more procrastination, mutilation, exploitation.

Britain's BBC is also cleaning the house. From the groundbreaking comic series Fawlty TowerThe episode "The Germans" is no longer available online because Major Gowen, a regular at the hotel, jokes racist jokes about a cricket team. The BBC also removed the comedy series "Little Britain" from its media library because white actors appeared as Asians or blacks. The streaming service Netflix has the BBC productions The Mighty Boosh and The League of Gentlemen Removed from the program because it contains "blackfacing", because figures are painted black.

And it shouldn't have been reported that the American country band Lady Antebellum her name in Lady A. changes, so an allusion to the time before the civil war, slavery, removed in order to recognize: something is happening. Only what?

After the HBO gesture, "Gone with the Wind" shot up on Amazon

That Margaret Mitchell's "Gone With The Wind" was a racist book that turned into a racist film that met a racist audience has not only been clear since Hattie McDaniel had to sit at a special table when a black actress was awarded the first Academy Award . This fact could not even be eradicated by the scrupulous new translation by Andreas Nohl and Liat Himmeltr├Ąger (Kunstmann-Verlag). What remains is the stylization of a crime of the century into a kind of collective adoption. But "Gone with the Wind" is still the most successful film of all time, adjusted for inflation, and after HBO's spectacular gesture, sales on Amazon skyrocketed. What some find unbearable, others seem to enjoy.

In terms of film history, few things have such a high feel-good factor for the - liberal - white audience as films about harmonious relationships between black and white. While the suburbs burn from New York to Los Angeles, white America is streaming the sixties southern drama "The Help" from 2011: Sympathetic young whites are full of understanding for the needs of blacks. "Green Book" with Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali from 2018 has a similarly calming effect: Chauffeur of Italian origin is a bad racist, but knocks out gay black concert pianists.

The American film industry and its budgets, its casting, its awards are still a whites' event. And the fact that they are currently finding it timely to remove a few blemishes in order to refute the worst allegations only makes this even clearer. Black blockbusters like "Black Panther" and independent triumphs like "Get out" may be acclaimed, but they are not a trend reversal.

Nobody can want racist works to be passed on secretly

This is all good news for Germany. From here you can follow with disgust or compassion what tensions are discharged elsewhere between people of different skin colors and origins. With a few exceptions, non-whites in film and television in Germany are mostly Muslim terrorists, enslaved women in the headscarf or decorative accessories. But everything seems to be more peaceful in this country, one could also say: more harmonious. And "The Tiger of Esnapur" is only rarely shown.

But it does not help much to ban films from the public, if the shown thoughts or sometimes only: the thoughtlessness persist in a society so stubbornly. And no one can want racist works to be passed on secretly, as rarities, as treasures for connoisseurs. While everyone else looks satisfied at the clean screen - and everything stays as it is.