The Black Klansman

June 10, 2014 at 2:34 am (6 Heads, Black Klansman) (, , , )

The Black Klansman – 1966 – United States

After a Ku Klux Klan member kills his daughter, a light-skinned African American poses as a Caucasian to infiltrate the Klan and find the murderer. The Black Klansman is set in the South, shortly after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Issues of race are discussed with some sincerity. In a poignant scene, a black man refuses to marry his white girlfriend since he worries their mixed children will suffer prejudice. The film also muses about violence in a somewhat objective way. The oppressed blacks hire a gangster to help wage war on the Klan, but are ultimately disturbed by his brutal methods. In the climax, the main character faces a similar moral dilemma when he is finally able to avenge his daughter, but is unsure if he wants to pull the trigger.

Of course, since The Black Klansman was produced and directed by Ted V. Mikels, its exploitative elements undermine its message. The mayhem and carnage are occasionally excessive and unrealistic. Even worse, the original title was I Crossed the Color Line, and old promotional materials insinuate the film is about a black man who balls white women. Also, the main character is played by a Caucasian. Regardless, The Black Klansman is Mikels’ most thought-provoking film. When released in 1966, I imagine its sensitive treatment of mixed race relationships, and its black vigilante hero might have been pretty challenging.

Rating: 6/10 Shrunken Heads. Apparently Black Klansman is 2014 non-fiction book by Ron Stallworth, an African America police officer who also infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan.

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