The skanner. (Portland, Or.) 1975-2014, June 08, 2016, Page Page 2, Image 2

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    Page 2 The Skanner June 8, 2016
Challenging People to Shape
a Better Future Now
Bernie Foster
Why We Must Never Lose Sight of Our Roots
Bobbie Dore Foster
Executive Editor
Jerry Foster
Advertising Manager
Christen McCurdy
News Editor
Patricia Irvin
Graphic Designer
Arashi Young
Monica J. Foster
Seattle Oice Coordinator
Susan Fried
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tablished in October 1975, is a
weekly publication, published
every Wednesday by IMM Publi-
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o Dad has joined the
up there. I feel that
they do watch and
guide, and I also feel that
they join me in the hope that
this story of our people can
help alleviate the legacies of
the fact that preponderant-
ly the histories have been
written by the winners.”
– Alex Haley, from the conclu-
sion of “Roots: The Saga of an
American Family”
On the 40th anniversary of
the publication of Alex Ha-
ley’s landmark book “Roots:
The Saga of an American
Family,” a new television ad-
aptation is bringing renewed
attention to the story that
opened so many eyes to the
harsh truth about American
slavery and its atermath —
an atermath that continues
under new guises despite
much progress.
The publication of “Roots”
in 1976 came at a seminal mo-
ment in American history.
Cities across America were
hosting celebrations of the
nation’s bicentennial and the
founding creed set forth in
the Declaration of Indepen-
dence: “We hold these truths
to be self-evident, that all men
are created equal, that they
are endowed by their Cre-
ator with certain unalienable
Rights, that among these are
Life, Liberty and the pursuit
of Happiness.”
In 1963 Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr. reminded our nation
and world on the steps of the
Lincoln Memorial that Amer-
ica had never fully lived up to
that promise: “When the ar-
chitects of our republic wrote
the magniicent words of the
note insofar as her citizens of
color are concerned. Instead
of honoring this sacred ob-
ligation, America has given
the Negro people a bad check,
a check which has come back
marked ‘insuicient funds.’”
With “Roots” Alex Haley
provided an epic lesson in
American history through
the story of his American
family — slavery from the en-
slaved people’s point of view.
His book spent months on the
bestseller list and the original
television adaptation of Roots
that aired in January 1977
shattered viewing records
For the irst time descendants of
slaves, descendants of slave own-
ers, and people of all backgrounds
were sharing a common experi-
ence and understanding of Amer-
ica’s original sin
Constitution and the Decla-
ration of Independence, they
were signing a promissory
note to which every Amer-
ican was to fall heir. This
note was a promise that all
men, yes, black men as well as
white men, would be guaran-
teed the ‘unalienable Rights’
of ‘Life, Liberty and the pur-
suit of Happiness.’ It is obvi-
ous today that America has
defaulted on this promissory
as it gave tens of millions of
people a visual, visceral ex-
perience of the true horrors
of slavery. For the irst time
descendants of slaves, descen-
dants of slave owners, and
people of all backgrounds
were sharing a common expe-
rience and understanding of
America’s original sin whose
ater efects still radiate
across our land. Acknowledg-
ing that truth together was a
transformative experience.
In the past year we have seen
a welcome surge, prodded by
new books on slavery, campus
debates, and student protests,
of new commitments by some
universities and other insti-
tutions to confront the truth
about their own histories, es-
pecially the ugly legacies of
slavery and Native American
genocide. Black Lives Matter
protests denouncing indefen-
sible deaths of Black youths
and citizens at the hands of
out of control law enforce-
ment oicials in Ferguson,
Baltimore, Cleveland, New
York City, Texas, and else-
where and the shocking rac-
ist vigilante citizen killings
of Trayvon Martin in Florida
and the massacre of praying
Black church people in South
Carolina heightened the need
for greater racial awareness
and national action.
I hope the renewed interest
in “Roots” will spark much
greater and sustained in-
terest in an honest retelling
of our history and promote
new dialogue about the ways
today’s structural, cultural,
racial and economic inequal-
ities relect racial seeds from
our violent past of slavery
and Jim Crow which still poi-
son the soil and political dis-
course of our nation.
Read the rest of this commentary at
Why Snoop Lion Should Write, Direct and Produce Black Movies
ast week rapper Snoop
Dogg put up an epic vid-
eo rant on his Instagram.
In the verbiage that only
Snoop can conjugate, he said
in no uncertain terms that
people should not watch the
21st-century remake of the
epic TV miniseries Roots that
aired on The History Channel
last week.
I must say that I thoroughly
agree with Snoop Dogg’s posi-
tion 100 percent, though I can
do without the raw language
he used.
“Roots: The Saga of an
American Family” was a book
written by famed author Alex
Haley in 1976. In the book, Ha-
ley traced his ancestral roots
back to The Gambia in West
Africa. He was able to trace
his family lineage all the way
back to Kunta Kinte.
Kinte was captured as a
teenager in The Gambia and
ultimately sold into slavery
and brought to the U.S. The
book was turned into a block-
buster TV miniseries back in
The remaking is what led
Snoop to do his now-viral vid-
eo on Instagram. His position
was that he didn’t want to see
any more movies about slav-
ery. “Where are all the movies
about Black success?” Snoop
I totally agree with Snoop. I
refused to watch the remake
of “Roots.” I was watching my
N.B.A. basketball playofs.
Following Snoop’s rant, TV
personality Roland Martin
addressed the subject on his
news program on TV ONE.
tive produced, produced, di-
rected, or distributed a major
movie or TV program about
the Holocaust? You can’t, be-
cause it hasn’t happened.
But most movies about slav-
ery have non-Blacks in major
positions of control or power,
even though there may be a
Black producer or director at-
tached to the project.
I am not aware of one movie
about slavery where Blacks
have had total control of the
process from beginning to
His position was that he didn’t
want to see any more movies about
slavery. ‘Where are all the movies
about Black success?’ Snoop asked
The one point that I do agree
with Roland on is that more
Blacks need to step up and
be willing to help inance
the production of some of
these movies about success-
ful Blacks. That’s a legitimate
challenge that Snoop should
Martin launched into this
tirade about Jews “never” get-
ting tired of movies about the
Holocaust. He is way of base
with his analysis.
Martin and those who agree
with him are missing a few,
very germane points. I mean
can anyone name a Black per-
son who has inanced, execu-
The movie “Amistad” (1997)
was written by David Fran-
zoni, directed by Steven Spiel-
berg and produced by Debbi
Allen (Black), Steven Spiel-
berg and Colin Wilson. John
Williams composed the musi-
cal score.
“12 Years a Slave” (2013) was
based on the life of former
slave Solomon Northup and
it was directed by Steve Mc-
Queen (Black) and produced
by Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner,
Jeremy Kleiner, Bill Pohlad,
Steve McQueen (Black), Ar-
non Milchan, and Anthony
Katagas. John Ridley (Black)
wrote the screenplay and Fox
Searchlight Pictures distrib-
uted the movie.
The 2016 version of “Roots”
was written by Lawrence
Konner, Mark Rosenthal, Al-
ison McDonald (Black), and
Charles Murray (Black). The
four-part miniseries was di-
rected by Bruce Beresford,
Phillip Noyce, Thomas Carter
(Black), and Mario Van Pee-
bles (Black).
Now, let’s look at a few of the
top Holocaust movies.
“The Diary of Anne Frank”
(1959) was based on the writ-
ings of Anne Frank and di-
rected by George Stevens and
written by Frances Goodrich
and Albert Hackett and dis-
tributed by Twentieth Centu-
ry Fox.
“Schindler’s List” (1993)
was written by Steven Zail-
lian and produced by Steven
Spielberg, Gerald R. Molen,
and Branko Lustig. Steven
Spielberg also directed the
movie and “Schindler’s List”
was distributed by Universal
Do you notice anything that
stands out to you here? There
are no Blacks in any position
of control or authority in any
of these movies. The Jewish
community tells their history
through their own eyes and
from their own perspective.
Read the rest of this commentary at