Written by: Dennis R. Upkins

As previously explained in the first op-ed on whitewashed history, every time Blacks get some, here white supremacy come trying to steal it, putting some blonde hair on it and calling it something different.

Say what you will about the 2000 teen comedy film, Bring It On, its commentary on cultural appropriation, racism, privilege, white supremacy, and the exploitation of Black culture seems to be more relevant now than when the film was released nearly two decades ago.  Sometimes these erasures take place in speculative fiction; other times its history. Sometimes it’s both, as the following examples among countless others illustrate.

5Bass Reeves/The Lone Ranger

If you know American history, then you know that the Lone Ranger and Bass Reeves share more than a few “parallels.” There is a reason for that. The Lone Ranger was based on Bass Reeves. For those of you who don’t know your history, you’re no doubt asking, “Who in the world is Bass Reeves?” Reeves was the first African American U.S. Marshal. An escaped slave who beat his former “master” within an inch of his life (after the latter became irate over losing to Reeves in a card game) After the Civil War, Reeves headed out West. Like many escaped slaves and even freed Blacks, Reeves peacefully lived among Native Americans and often worked with them when apprehending criminals. Speaking of apprehending criminals, Reeves arrested over 3,000. A master of disguise, Reeves often rode a white horse. Reeves is considered by many to be the greatest lawman of the Wild West.

 

Back