Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Side-Kicks

            In chapter X and XI of King Solomon's Mines we learn more about Umbopa and his story. Umbopa reveals that he is the rightful king and asks Quatermain, Sir Curtis, Captain Good, and Infadoos (his uncle) for help with taking his place as king.The gentlemen are all present for the annual witch-hunt, where over 100 men are executed because they were accused of being "evil-doeers." Umbopa is chosen to be the last sacrafice but his life is spared thanks to the god like statues held by his friends. Until now, Umbopa had put the others interest before his own, as any helper does. After the gruesome spectacular, the men sit in on another ritual that ends with the sacrafice of a young girl. By this time the men have seeked villagers of great importance to assist them in the over turning of King Twala. They perform their magic and convinve everyone that they, not the ellipse, is making the world dark. As the phenomenon was about to occur, Scragga is killed after attacking Sir Henry. The men convince the chiefs that they are magical so they would agree to help Umbopa in his upcoming battle.
             In "Mystical Black Characters Play Compex Cinematic Role,"  Rita Kempley talks about characters such as Umbopa and the meaning of their role in films. The term "magic negro" was given to such characters in the late 1950's. A character of such, lacks individaulity because their purpose is to assist the white characters in suceeding and to make them look good. Rita agrees that their character is important and likable but they are over shadowed by the white character. Talented and highly esteemed actors such as Queen Latifa and Morgan Freeman have both played this role. Although Morgan Freeman plays God in the "Bruce Almighty," his ultimate purpose in the movie is to assist the whit, main character in fulfilling his goals. Queen Latifa falls vivtim of this trend when she plays Charlene in "Bringing Down the House." In this film she is there to assist a white family and make them look good all  while playing the role of a very undesirable character. She is literally the help of the family and portrays an obnoxious, ghetto woman.
             This suble form of discrimation is a clear reflectioin of societys attitude towards minorities. Regadless of sex or race anyone can accomplish great things, but for many the idea that whites are better than mirnoriteis still lingers in the very back of their heads. This is diplayed through these role of "magic negro," that shows us the white main character can accomplish anything but the closest a minority would be able to get to that kind of success ot to be an aide or side kick to the white character. In history this thought was more freely expressed such as in "King Solomon's mines," where even though Umbopa is a king he is still considered less than the three white characters becuase of his race. Quatermine was corrupted by his culture to believe Europeons are better than everone else but refuses to use the word negro. Still when describing black females it is clear that he views white as the more beautiful race. It is clearly stated in the book that Umbopa is the help just as Latifa and Freeman are in their movies. Todays writers just refrain from stating it.


  1. This is a great post! I also like how you went the extra mile and started with a summary of the specific KSM chapters that relate to this article! You could easily (and should) develop this into your first essay. Well done!

    It's just too bad it's late ;-)