Joe Queenan: the recurring white hope

From Friday’s Guardian film/music review section, Joe Queenan on a recurring theme in Hollywood films prominently featuring Africa or black people generally: that “no matter how bleak the situation seems, they can always rely on some resourceful, charismatic and, in some instances, shapely white person to bail them out”. In this particular case, it’s the movie Blood Diamond, due for release in the UK on the 26th, in which a corrupt former Rhodesian mercenary, “serving a shockingly brief stint in a Sierra Leone prison for violating that sovereign nation’s contraband smuggling rules”, comes to the aid of a fellow prisoner who hid a priceless pink diamond in a riverbank somewhere while enslaved by some rebels in Sierra Leone. The trend for white lead characters saving black people, he says, started with To Kill A Mockingbird, “a beloved, fabulously successful, thoroughly absurd novel” about a white lawyer defending a black man accused of raping a white woman at a time when such a man would most likely have been murdered rather than charged.

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