“Uncle Tom: An Oral History of the American Black Conservative,” wallows in victimhood for all of a minute.
Yes, we hear a crush of black voices describe being called you know what in the film’s opening moments, some of it framed in near comic fashion. Actvisit and YouTube star Candace Owens giggles at the notion she’s a “Black White Supremacist,” as some of her critics allege.
The black conservatives at the heart of the documentary refuse to be silenced by mere words. They have work to do, barriers to smash, and they’re grateful for the flawed but majestic land that made it all possible.
It’s a rare chance for pop culture to sit down and listen, really listen, to black Americans freed from the Democrats’ playbook. It’s both refreshing and enlightening, told by those whom the Left fears most — independent black Americans seeking their own solutions.
“Uncle Tom” doesn’t shove racism aside, nor does it suggest bigotry went away when Barack Obama took the oath of office. We see plenty of vile images, including the ubiquitous “white and colored” water fountains that littered the land for far too long.
The film does argue, though, that the black community in some ways prospered more during the nation’s toxic Jim Crow era than post-1960. Blacks in the first half of the 20th century, we’re told, married more often and enjoyed professional opportunities once denied to them.
The black family unit partially collapsed while civil rights rose to the fore. What changed? The Welfare state, the film argues.
“Uncle Tom” reminds us fathers matter, particularly within the modern black community. The assembled voices all had dads who taught them about dignity, hard work and treating women with respect. It wasn’t always easy to hear those lessons, they say, but each is grateful for those experiences now.
It might seem self-serving to have some “Uncle Tom” subjects praise talk show host Larry Elder, who executive produced the film, for the influence he’s had on their lives. There’s a critical point to be made, though. The media work in lockstep with Democrats to either ignore or demean prominent black conservatives like Elder.
They change hearts and minds, just like Elder has done so effectively. Just ask Dave Rubin, who recalls how Elder helped him evolve from a generic liberal to a classical one in “Don’t Burn This Book.”
That’s never more clear than while watching black late-night host Trevor Noah mock Dr. Ben Carson, the brilliant black neurosurgeon. Dr. Carson’s life story should be a beacon of hope to black America. Instead, Noah wonders if Carson could “pass the black test,” mocking his elegant speech patterns in the process. Carson’s true crime? He’s a Republican and part of the Trump administration, so he cannot serve as a role model in Noah’s eyes. And the comic is far from alone.
The film also recalls the blowback Carson endured after linking immigrants to slaves in a speech. It’s a comparison that could, indeed, open someone up to ridicule … except we then see President Obama make a similar comparison without anyone crying foul. Elder notes Obama did so roughly 11 times.
Again, the Carson critics didn’t say a word when Obama compared the two groups. Hmm.
Director Justin Malone dials down the flash in “Uncle Tom,” eschewing even basic title cards to show who’s who in any given interview. Of course we recognize Lt. Col. Allen West, Dr. Carson and Owens. Others aren’t as familiar, but they speak with one urgent voice. We can choose the political ideology we wish, thank you.
The film pulls no punches in swatting the Republican Party and its inability to woo more black voters. The black community, we’re told, is “low-hanging fruit” for the GOP. And too often the party leaves it there.
Sure, Republicans preach the power of vouchers to improve the educational lives of black Americans. They still must do more, much more, to ensure their message reaches black voters. President Donald Trump is an exciting, and notable, exception, to this maxim. “Uncle Tom” wouldn’t exist without the liberating power of both talk radio and the Internet.
Elder used his clout, and savvy, to bring a documentary celebrating black conservatives to the masses. He bypassed the usual distribution channels to form UncleTom.com, a web site where anyone could order up the film should they wish. And they should.