Three reasons why #Blackkklansman rules-and two reasons why it is irresponsible.

As a white woman, I write this response to Blackkklansman out of love and conviction that we must unite to end racism in our county.

In order for us to move forward, we have to face the truth about ourselves and our racist history, and I think Blackkklansman is a powerful teaching tool.

Three reasons why Blackkklansman rules:

1) Blackkklansman succeeds in drawing a straight line between white people, white supremacy, and the election of Donald Trump, and does so in a very powerful emotional and unforgettable way.

Many white progressive Americans thought that the election of Barack Obama invoked a post-racial era in America.

Blackkklansman, released on the one year anniversary of Charlottesville, forcefully holds white people accountable for the election of Donald Trump, evincing a very strong emotional response, particularly among white people.

2) Blackkklansman dispels the myth that the Ku Klux Klan is exclusively Southern.

When you picture Colorado, what do you envision?

Eric Harris (left) and Dylan Klebold (right) caught on the high school’s security cameras in the cafeteria, 11 minutes before their suicides

Colorado is rooted in toxic white male gun culture, racism, and massacres.

A volunteer Colorado militia of white men massacred, mutilated, and desecrated hundreds of peaceful unsuspecting Native American women children and elderly at Sand Creek in 1854 in an act of barbarism so atrocious, even the Federal government condemned it.

“The Sand Creek Massacre” by Robert Lindneaux portrays his concept of the assault on the peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho village by the U.S. Army.
Crosses burn at a KKK night ceremony held on Table Top Mountain in Golden (Jefferson County), Colorado c 1024–1925.

Not only did the Klan rally in Colorado, they got elected and appointed to policy making roles on boards and commissions, and their influence lasted decades.

From 1920–1926 the Klan ruled Denver.

Long after the Ku Klux Klan members were no longer in office, the ordinances and practices they established continued to affect communities.

Their intellectual heirs enacted redlining and opposed school integration, resulting in residential and educational segregation- and a racial wealth gap- that persist to this day and is itself a root cause of racism and racial inequality.

Pew Research Center chart on racial wealth gap.

Who wants to be the first Black family to move to a sundown town?

Klan political power and membership waned after the 1920s in Colorado, but other organizations took off- such as the John Birch Society, Federation for American Immigration Reform, and the National Rifle Association, and the Republican Party.

#Blackkklansman dispels the stereotype that white supremacy is primarily a Southern institution. It’s popular in the East, North, and West, too.

3) Blackkklansman exposes White Women’s Role in White Supremacy on the big screen for the first time.

Connie, wife of a Klansman, prepares to execute Patrice, Black woman student leader, in #Blackkklansman
Ku Klux Klan women members, who include Mrs. Gano Senter, as they prepare to distribute baskets of food for Thanksgiving in Denver, Colorado in the 1920s.

Today, white women continue to uphold white supremacy.

But- and this is a MAJOR but- for all the good it does, Blackkklansman also is seriously flawed in the way it whitewashes police infiltration of movements and police generally.

This warrants SERIOUS conversation, because I already see so many non-Black people watching Blackkklansman and proclaiming they are now “woke,” but the way the movie portrays police is harmful, inaccurate, and irresponsible.

Kudos to Boots Riley for his analysis, to Leslie Mac for calling Blackkklansman “#copaganda,” and to the “Young People of the Charlottesville Attack” for holding Spike Lee accountable for Blackkklansman’s irresponsiblity.

(L)Lakeith Stanfield as Cassius “Cash” Green in Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You; (R) John David Washington as Ron Stallworth in Spike Lee’s Blackkklansman, two must-see movies.

Two reasons why #Blackkklansman is irresponsible:

1 Blackkklansman portrays Officer Ron Stallworth’s infiltration of a Black power student group as benign, when in reality police infiltration of the Black power movement was immoral, unjust, and destroyed peoples’ lives and the movement.

In real life and in the film, Ron Stallworth desperately wanted to be an undercover cop.

J Edgar Hoover calling the Black Panthers the greatest internal threat to the security of America.

That was exactly why Stallworth was sent on this assignment, but instead of exploring this angle, the film fictionalizes a relationship between Officer Stallworth and Patrice Dumas, the President of the Black Student Union at Colorado College who organized the lecture, also a fictionalized character.

In some ways, I appreciate Spike Lee adding Patrice as a fictional character, because she is a strong Black woman leader, and we see too few characters like this in movies.

But I wish instead in this movie, Spike Lee would have explored how police infiltration of Black led movements was immoral, racist, and devastating.

And then make the biopic Angela Davis so richly deserves!

Yet because Blackkklansman succeeds on so many levels described above, many viewers will leave with the impression that Stallworth is some kind of social justice hero.

Anyone who worked to decimate the Black Power movement is no hero.

Even worse,

2 Blackkklansman takes another completely implausible plot twist at the very end, wherein “good cops” unite with Patrice to take down a “bad apple” racist cop, Master Patrolman Andy Landers.

Fred Weller plays Master Patrolman Andy Landers in Blackkklansman

Not only did this not happen to the real Ron Stallworth, actions like this NEVER happen.

This scene is deceiving, fictionalized, completely implausible, and totally unnecessary.

Cops do not weed the bad ones out, they protect the bad ones.

Cops are sui generis racist institution that began as runaway slave patrols and militias to kill Native Americans. They can never be reformed, because they have no incentive to change, and racist violence is a principle of their organizational culture.

In conclusion, #Blackkklansman is a very important movie, and I hope many people will see it- and I hope they will also read Boots Riley’s essay on what is wrong with it.

I also hope they will see Sorry to Bother You, Boots’ movie, which is ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT

My greatest hope is that #Blackkklansman prompts not only a long-overdue national conversation about racism, but also leads white people like me to become accountable and actually change our beliefs and behaviors and pay reparations to the people we have harmed.

Thank you for reading to the end, and I welcome your thoughts and reflections (unless of course you’re going to drag me, in which case, I hope you remember I’m human too :) ).

Founder, Racy Conversations Inspiring the antiracist generation.