While Wearing Their Pretty Dresses, They Ruined Lives: 12 Years A Slave & the Role of White Women in Slavery


Olivia A. Cole

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I saw 12 Years A Slave this weekend. Aside from crying uncontrollably for about 80% of the film—not an exaggeration: please take a box of tissue to the theater if you see it—I was struck by many things the film did in its portrayal of the institution of slavery and the people that upheld it. For starters, I think a spectacularly effective job was done in imparting the terrifying helplessness and profound unfairness of the system: long moments of silence juxtaposed with instances of extreme violence emphasized the normalcy of brutality; the environment that black children were raised in and alongside, an environment in which their parents and elders were subject to torture, degradation, and murder. That was life, 12 Years informs us. A life in which a child can play tag alongside a man hanging from his neck by a tree…because there was nothing that could be done…

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About obialone
I'm random and unwise. I'm always seeking wisdom in its simplest form. I'm scared of not being scared, so I find ways to terrify myself. I care about everything, and I'm interested in all things. I reserve the right to change my mind, anytime. So in most cases I find it best to humble my opinion

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