Race - A Giant Middle Finger to Nazi Germany

Marter

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Race - A Giant Middle Finger to Nazi Germany

Race tells Jesse Owens' story in as bland a way as possible - and also feels way more interested in other people.

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J-Dig

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In fact Hitler wasn't in attendance on the day of Owens's success, meanwhile he was snubbed by Roosevelt due to his colour. Owens became very popular in Berlin but remained a second class citizen in the US.
 

Leon Royce

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"Hitler didn't snub me. It was our president who snubbed me" he said months after the Games. The president didn't even send me a telegram."

The reason the movie feels bland is that it's based on a myth. Owens maintained until his death (in his autobiography) that he received far better treatment in Berlin than he did in the United States. He died in poverty.
 

Barbas

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It's a shame they didn't reserve the other giant middle finger for the United States for its own treatment of Owens. Be surprised if the film mentioned it at any length.
 

hentropy

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Indeed, there are two ways to tell the Jesse Owens story. The most popular way to tell it across the decades was as Marter described it in the first paragraph, a black man showing up a bunch of white supremacists in THE most villainous country of the modern era. Jesse Owens went into Berlin and gave dear old Hitler quite the twist in his panties, I'm sure he was steamed about it all night.

The other way to tell it, or as like to call it, "the truth", is the uncomfortable fact that Nazi freakin' Germany treated Owens better than his home country, albeit for the short and privileged time he was there. Others have pointed out the uncomfortable factoid that while he very well may have shook Hitler's hand (history's a little unclear about it), he didn't even get a telegram from the progressive hero of FDR. Hitler was quite pleased with Germany's performance in those games, doing very well, there's no evidence to suggest that Owens doing well bothered him more than other non-Germans doing well.

Unfortunately it seems this movie has made the decision to give much more weight to the first story than the second, which is understandable in Hollywood since it's clearly meant to be a "Black History Month Movie" that will be shown in middle social studies classes, but it is still an example of how we are hesitant to confront our own legacy of racism.
 

shintakie10

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hentropy said:
Indeed, there are two ways to tell the Jesse Owens story. The most popular way to tell it across the decades was as Marter described it in the first paragraph, a black man showing up a bunch of white supremacists in THE most villainous country of the modern era. Jesse Owens went into Berlin and gave dear old Hitler quite the twist in his panties, I'm sure he was steamed about it all night.

The other way to tell it, or as like to call it, "the truth", is the uncomfortable fact that Nazi freakin' Germany treated Owens better than his home country, albeit for the short and privileged time he was there. Others have pointed out the uncomfortable factoid that while he very well may have shook Hitler's hand (history's a little unclear about it), he didn't even get a telegram from the progressive hero of FDR. Hitler was quite pleased with Germany's performance in those games, doing very well, there's no evidence to suggest that Owens doing well bothered him more than other non-Germans doing well.

Unfortunately it seems this movie has made the decision to give much more weight to the first story than the second, which is understandable in Hollywood since it's clearly meant to be a "Black History Month Movie" that will be shown in middle social studies classes, but it is still an example of how we are hesitant to confront our own legacy of racism.
I honestly thought the second way was what the movie was actually trying to present when I saw the original promos. To find out its just a fluff piece that has no bite to it is extremely disappointing, especially when there is so much bite they could have had in it.
 

Fiz_The_Toaster

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Well, that's disappointing.

I was really hoping that they would do the story of Jesse Owens properly, but it looks like that isn't the case.

Then again, I don't know why I'm surprised since Hollywood has a hard time doing movies based on real events.
 

K12

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The incredibly heavy-handed title made me suspect that this film might not be that great.

I think it really undermines the problem of racism and the experience of people who live with it if you just have a film where the racists are all bad people. This was kind of the problem I had with films like "the Help", all the racists were nasty people generally and all the nice characters seemed to have a modern 21st century view of race. Part of why bigotry is such a big deal is that it makes normally kind and generous people act like arseholes because it "doesn't count" when they do it someone outside their particular in-group.

I'd like to see more films have the courage to say "hey white viewers if you lived in this time you probably would have been one of the racists" rather than just give modern progressive audiences a chance to feel smug and discourage them from being reflective on their attitudes and assumptions about people.
 

JimB

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Barbas said:
It's a shame they didn't reserve the other giant middle finger for the United States for its own treatment of Owens. Be surprised if the film mentioned it at any length.
Of course not. Jesse Owens won the Olympics. That means racism is over and whatever America did was colorblind.

K12 said:
The incredibly heavy-handed title made me suspect that this film might not be that great.
...Oh my god, I can't believe I didn't notice the pun in the movie's title. Oh my god. I'm a moron.
 

the December King

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JimB said:
...Oh my god, I can't believe I didn't notice the pun in the movie's title. Oh my god. I'm a moron.
Thank you JimB, that was the funniest comment I've read on the site in a while! Happens to all of us from time to time, to be fair.
 

Campaigner

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Not that I've seen this movie (and likely will not) but it's refreshing to see hollywood(!) represent Leni Riefenstahl in a positive light. Totally unexpected actually considering hollywood is owned by the jews/zionists who are against nationalism of other people.

I don't believe some black guy winning a sprinterrace bothered the National Socialists too much. They knew about the races abilities thus they knew that blacks are good runners.
 

Karadalis

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Ugh.... more US propaganda.. well i guess the "victor" does write history.

Hitler himselfe had absolutely nothing against black people surprisingly. Its not even clear if he held the same views about them as he held about jews, gypsies and communists/russians.

Infact throughout all the hammering in during my school days about how germany was "zhe uber evil" and solely responsible for 2 world wars (yeah as if...) never did anyone say anything about atrocities commited against black people being mistreaded or send to concentration camps... even in the few german colonies in africa.

For all intends and purposes... the third reich simply didnt care about black people? And why should they? During these days there where no strong black nations... no political or financial black parties to worry about.. and africa was very much an uncivilized wasteland cut up by colonial powers. So unlike with the jews and other minorities.. there was absolutely nothing in it for the nazis to hunt down blacks.

This whole "nazis hate blacks" and "white supremacist hate blacks" nonsense came out of the good ol modern day US of A

Love how the USA projects its insecurities and its own out of date white guilt onto nazi germany here. I mean nazis are evil.. so why no one will question if we protray them as hating blacks right?

Campaigner said:
Totally unexpected actually considering hollywood is owned by the jews/zionists who are against nationalism of other people.
Well speaking of the devil...

Did it just get a bit more brown in here?
 

Thaluikhain

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Karadalis said:
Ugh.... more US propaganda.. well i guess the "victor" does write history.

Hitler himselfe had absolutely nothing against black people surprisingly. Its not even clear if he held the same views about them as he held about jews, gypsies and communists/russians.

Infact throughout all the hammering in during my school days about how germany was "zhe uber evil" and solely responsible for 2 world wars (yeah as if...) never did anyone say anything about atrocities commited against black people being mistreaded or send to concentration camps... even in the few german colonies in africa.

For all intends and purposes... the third reich simply didnt care about black people? And why should they? During these days there where no strong black nations... no political or financial black parties to worry about.. and africa was very much an uncivilized wasteland cut up by colonial powers. So unlike with the jews and other minorities.. there was absolutely nothing in it for the nazis to hunt down blacks.
I don't think that's true, IIRC they viewed black people as subhuman, and black music as subversive. But there just weren't that many black people to murder or blame the depression on.

But yeah, no surprise they completely rewrote history on this one.
 

Amaror

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Karadalis said:
Ugh.... more US propaganda.. well i guess the "victor" does write history.

Hitler himselfe had absolutely nothing against black people surprisingly. Its not even clear if he held the same views about them as he held about jews, gypsies and communists/russians.

Infact throughout all the hammering in during my school days about how germany was "zhe uber evil" and solely responsible for 2 world wars (yeah as if...) never did anyone say anything about atrocities commited against black people being mistreaded or send to concentration camps... even in the few german colonies in africa.

For all intends and purposes... the third reich simply didnt care about black people? And why should they? During these days there where no strong black nations... no political or financial black parties to worry about.. and africa was very much an uncivilized wasteland cut up by colonial powers. So unlike with the jews and other minorities.. there was absolutely nothing in it for the nazis to hunt down blacks.

This whole "nazis hate blacks" and "white supremacist hate blacks" nonsense came out of the good ol modern day US of A

Love how the USA projects its insecurities and its own out of date white guilt onto nazi germany here. I mean nazis are evil.. so why no one will question if we protray them as hating blacks right?
Speaking as a german that's not really true. Hitler described black people as being an inferiour race. He just hated other white people (jews, polish, russians) way way more.
I think in "Mein Kampf" he actually says that the reason why there are black people in europe at all was not that they moved there on their own accord. The reason was that they had been brought there by the jewish people in order to weaken to arish race by having them mix with black people.
As far as I know there was a purely black Legion fighting for nazi germany recruited from africa. So they didn't had any problems having black people fight for them.
That being said it's still really telling that some form of racism was way worse in the USA than in Nazi germany, too bad they don't want to portray it that way in the movie.
Though I do think it's funny that there's the myth that his gold medals were such a big middle finger to the nazis, considering that the nazis still won the VAST majourity of gold medals during those olympics.
 

rcs619

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Karadalis said:
Hitler himselfe had absolutely nothing against black people surprisingly. Its not even clear if he held the same views about them as he held about jews, gypsies and communists/russians.
So... Hitler didn't hate black people enough to have them systematically exterminated. That doesn't mean he had nothing against them. Black people were considered an inferior race, and they were placed at the very bottom of the nazis' heirarchy of races along with poles and romani.

You know what the nazi plan for inferior races not fit for immediate extermination was right? It was to isolate them, segregate them from the population, and then eventually exterminate them through forced sterilization. So yeah, either way the eventual goal would have been to have black people cease to exist as a race in Europe. Hitler may have not gone out of his way to kill them all like the jews (although, there's no guarantee he wouldn't have changed his mind later if he got impatient), but he did consider them just as sub-human.

Fun fact: Hitler believed that black people were brought into the Rhineland to begin with by the jews, as some sort of long-term plot to "bastardize the white race" to weaken it for eventual jewish conquest, or some shit.

Another fun-fact: In 1937 Hitler actually ordered the Gestapo to begin a program that would discreetly sterilize mixed-race children in Germany. Something like 500 children were put through this.

Infact throughout all the hammering in during my school days about how germany was "zhe uber evil" and solely responsible for 2 world wars (yeah as if...) never did anyone say anything about atrocities commited against black people being mistreaded or send to concentration camps... even in the few german colonies in africa.
To be fair, *everyone* helped start the first world war. Germany can take the blame for the second one though.

Yeah, blacks weren't sent to concentration camps, but they were also forbidden to have sexual relationships with aryans, any mixed-race children were likely to be sterilized (eventually the plan was to sterilize all of them so that their race died out), and they faced discrimination in employment, housing and were completely barred from seeking higher education.

As for black prisoners of war, that varied. It kind of depended on the commanding officer. Some of them were summarily executed, others were merely put into segregated (and often worse than the white sections) prison groups.

For all intends and purposes... the third reich simply didnt care about black people?
Not true for all the reasons listed above. They had specific policies in mind to limit blacks' place in society, and eventually purge through through a sterilization program.

This whole "nazis hate blacks" and "white supremacist hate blacks" nonsense came out of the good ol modern day US of A
The crossover between white-nationalist groups and neo-nazi groups in the US is definitely a disturbing trend. Considering how much one side tends to hate any federal government, while the other side are literal fascists, they should hate each other's guts. But hey, when you're that much of an irrelevant joke, I guess irrelevant jokes gotta stick together.

But yes, if you're going to tell the story of Jesse Owens you've also *got* to tell the story of what happens after he comes home. The man got treated horribly by his nation and he died in poverty. It's fine to tell uplifting stories about people like Jesse Owens or the Tuskeegee Airmen doing the amazing things that they did, but it does them a great disservice to not mention how badly their got treated by their own people later on.

It's like telling the story of Alan Turing (a man who helped win freaking WWII by breaking open the nazi's encryption technology) without mentioning that he would later be chemically castrated by the british government because he was a homosexual (which was a *crime* at the time). Oh wait... I'm pretty sure some of the movies they've made about Turing don't actually mention the part where he was forcibly sterilized by his own government.
 

Marter

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I know Americans aren't that great with history, but they do know there were negars,mongols,arabs,sikhs and cossacks serving in the Wehrmacht, right?
 

Marter

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rcs619 said:
It's like telling the story of Alan Turing (a man who helped win freaking WWII by breaking open the nazi's encryption technology) without mentioning that he would later be chemically castrated by the british government because he was a homosexual (which was a *crime* at the time). Oh wait... I'm pretty sure some of the movies they've made about Turing don't actually mention the part where he was forcibly sterilized by his own government.
Difference was Owens was sadly a victim of discrimination in this country. Turing broke the law and had to face the consequences. Breaking a law and getting punished =/= discrimination.
 

RJ 17

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shintakie10 said:
I honestly thought the second way was what the movie was actually trying to present when I saw the original promos. To find out its just a fluff piece that has no bite to it is extremely disappointing, especially when there is so much bite they could have had in it.
Yeah, but then they'd have to remind everyone that progressive liberals have a history of racism as well, and we can't do that in today's political climate.

Beyond that it was pretty obvious what purpose this movie was going to serve and how it was going to be written considering how incredibly subtle the title is.
 

RJ 17

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WickedBuddha said:
rcs619 said:
It's like telling the story of Alan Turing (a man who helped win freaking WWII by breaking open the nazi's encryption technology) without mentioning that he would later be chemically castrated by the british government because he was a homosexual (which was a *crime* at the time). Oh wait... I'm pretty sure some of the movies they've made about Turing don't actually mention the part where he was forcibly sterilized by his own government.
Difference was Owens was sadly a victim of discrimination in this country. Turing broke the law and had to face the consequences. Breaking a law and getting punished =/= discrimination.
So if a black person went into a white restroom back in the days of segregation you'd say they deserve consequences that would be coming to them?
 

Lightspeaker

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It's not angry about the racism; it includes it because it has to - because it's a fact.
I have to question why the review seems to present this as a BAD thing.

I mean...I love the film Invictus. Race and racism is a very central issue for the time the film is set. But I never got the feeling it was particularly 'angry' about that racism, so to speak. There was anger in how some of the characters acted, but the film never really condoned that anger. To me it very much felt like it was presenting it as "this is a thing, but people can be better than this". The film had messages of reconciliation and moving forward and overcoming racial issues; rather than simply stewing in them and getting angry over them.

Of course I've not seen Race so based on the rest of the review I'm guessing there's no real message at all on racism there, which is the real issue. But I really feel a film doesn't HAVE to have venom in it just because it happens to deal with racism.



rcs619 said:
To be fair, *everyone* helped start the first world war. Germany can take the blame for the second one though.
Well...to be absolute fair that's also debatable. The Treaty of Versailles after WW1 was an extremely significant part of why the Nazis came to power and why WW2 happened. It placed the blame for WW1 on Germany and was harsh enough to create a huge amount of resentment and make the Germans feel humiliated. There aren't too many historians I've read that will argue that this wasn't a significant factor in allowing for the rise of Hitler with his message of rejecting the treaty and making Germany great again. It was a very appealing message for a humiliated people suffering under harsh economic conditions.