Friday, May 30, 2014

"Belle" and a word on Reparations (video)

Ashley Wellls, Pat Macpherson, Seven, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; Ta-Nehisi Coates, Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now, 5/30/14); Michel Martin (Tell Me More/

(FMT) An illegitimate mixed race daughter of a wealthy British aristocrat, a Royal Navy Admiral... based on a true story, "Belle" follows the story of an Dido Elizebeth Belle (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle, Lord Mansfield, and his wife, Lady Mansfield, Dido's lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the color of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing. Left to wonder if she will ever find love (because she, unlike the women of her time, can afford to marry for love due to her handsome inheritance), Dido falls for an idealistic young [religieux, a] vicar's son bent on change who, with her help, shapes Lord Mansfield's role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.
Written by Misan Sagay. Directed by Amma Asante. Also starring Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, Sara Gadon, Penelope Wilton, Miranda Richardson, Tom Felton, Sam Reid, Matthew Goode. © Fox Searchlight Picture. In theaters today, May 30, 2014.

The Untold History of Slavery in the United States of America (AP/

The Case for Reparations
Reckoning with U.S. slavery and institutional racism 
Part 2: Coates on slavery reparations
An explosive new cover-story in the June 2014 issue of The Atlantic magazine by the famed essayist Ta-Nehisi Coates has rekindled a national discussion on reparations for American slavery and institutional racism.

Levittown, Penn. 1957 (AP/Bill Ingraham)
Coates explores how slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and federally-backed racist housing policy systematically and purposely robbed African Americans of their possessions [recapitulated in the recent Wall Street banking/mortgage housing bubble and foreclosure crisis] and prevented them from accruing inter-generational wealth.

Much of the essay focuses on predatory lending schemes that bilked potential African-American homeowners, concluding: "Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole." More
"Belle": Romance, Race, and Slavery with Jane Austen style
Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Dido Elizabeth Belle in Belle.After the success of movies about the brutality of slavery, the film Belle brings a new perspective. Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw talks about her role as a mixed-race 18th century heroine.

British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw was brought up on Jane Austen adaptations. "You know, the Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle was something I watched on a weekly basis with my mum at home in Oxfordshire," she tells NPR's [magnificent but exiting "Tell Me More" host] Michel Martin. AUDIO: LISTEN NOW
Untold History: More than quarter of US presidents involved in slavery, human trafficking

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