Uncle Tom Movie Review
An Oral History of the American Black Conservative
In a collection of intimate interviews with some of America’s most provocative black conservative thinkers, Uncle Tom takes a different look at being black in America.
What’s It All About?
Uncle Tom is a series of interviews in a documentary-style format that is intended to provide insight into the root cause of the problems we see in “black America.” Some of the names you see in the film are notable Americans such as Larry Elder, Candace Owens, Jesse L Petersen, Herman Cain, Brandon Tatum, and Pastor Stephen Broden. By showing the perspectives of black Americans from a variety of walks of life share their views on politics, history, and being black in America, Uncle Tom drives home a few singular points well.
In the 21st century, there has been very little that has received so much attention as the plight of black Americans. In the age of sociology and psychotherapy, “professionals” everywhere pontificate on where to place blame for the poverty, lawlessness, fatherlessness, and other struggles of “the black community.”
I don’t think it’s a terrible spoiler to tell you that the movie effectively places the blame on individuals for their poor choices and the Democratic Party for incentivizing the poor decisions. The welfare state is portrayed as a form of modern-day slavery. The expectation that black people will vote Democrat if they know what’s good for them is highlighted, and the folks in the movie encourage black folks to think beyond this.
It Is All Good?
I enjoyed the movie overall and happily paid for it to support the folks who made it. I thought some of the statistics provided (wonderful Thomas Sowell cameos!) were helpful in thinking through the narrative that ALL the problems in the black community are simply the result of American chattel slavery. For example, why are blacks wealthier and more successful in the USA than anywhere else in the world if it’s so bad here? And why were there some statistical periods of flourishing BEFORE things got bad in some black communities? These questions are asked, and answers are proposed.
But I have a few moments of caution for you to consider when you watch this movie (which I recommend you do). This film has a couple of scenes with some strong language, yet it got a G rating? How does that happen? Maybe that isn’t the fault of the filmmaker, but for a film that is effectively marketed to the family-friendly GOP, you’d think it would come with a warning of mature content and some profanity. I feel bad for the unfortunate homeschooling mom who sits down with her little ones to watch and encounters language she normally keeps from their impressionable ears.
Secondly, the movie comes across as entirely PRO-GOP and PRO-TRUMP. And I don’t think this is by mistake. The Democratic Party is portrayed as basically no different from the KKK or some manifestation of reincarnated 19th-century southern plantation owners. Trump is almost nothing but a hero. It’s certainly the prerogative of the movie makers to do this, but it seems awfully one-sided. I’d consider myself a moderately educated American who is not a social-justice-warrior by any sense of that term, but I find it hard to believe that for 150 years Republicans have done nothing but try to help blacks while Democrats have singlehandedly tricked them and kept them down.
My final concern is that one could leave the meeting thinking that being Republican means being Christian and vice versa. Martin Luther King is heralded as “pastoral,” though he practiced homosexuality and womanizing while being a denier of core doctrines of the faith.
Even Joe Carter had the courage to speak clearly about MLK’s doctrinal beliefs. (Forgive me for linking to TGC, please).
Martin Luther King—by his own words—was not a Christian. And to the extent that he held the title of pastor, he only heaped further condemnation on himself. Properly portraying his vital role in history while teaching the truth of his apostasy is required for us to learn from his mistakes and his God-given brilliance and virtue that he did display in some areas.
Genetics and Fallacies
One potential issue is that the movie feeds into the genetic fallacy a bit. That is, the idea that ONLY a black American can speak about what has happened to blacks in America. The idea that stories and narratives from blacks are powerful tools to get the message across is a tenet of critical race theorists. I do hope that folks who claim they want to listen to “black voices” will listen to these black voices, but there are times that the film comes across as if it is pandering to people who would insist a white person couldn’t even have an opinion on these things. But, I’ll acknowledge that this is a reality we live with. I have a similar concern that my review will be ignored because I’m a white man…so the effect of this poison is far-reaching and likely shouldn’t be totally ignored.
I give Uncle Tom 4 stars. It was convincing and was an obvious attempt to share facts, encourage critical thinking, but also persuade its watchers to believe what they were teaching. These are the 3 marks of good and effective literature. My opinion (based on reading some Google reviews) is that the movie will reinforce some conservative thinking, be ignored by hard-core liberals and SJWs as lies and propaganda, and effective in swaying folks who are “in the middle” to a more logical and fact-based thinking about race relations and problems in the USA.
I recommend that you spend the money to rent or buy it and check out some of the other resources provided by the men and women featured in the film.