Matt Zoller Seitz is a freelance movie critic who works for New York magazine and is also the founder of the online publication of “ The House next door ”.
The Offensive Movie Cliche that won’t die ” he observes in a critique of the character called the “Magical Negro” he argues that white america is trying to strike a deal because they no longer have complete control of the cultural and political agenda. Forty years ago, the word “negro” started to fall out of fashion, it’s a transitional word that fell between “color” the white comforting word and the more militantly selfdetermined and oppositional word “black”. He continues to make his point by referring to many movies such as ” What dreams may come ” and ” The Matrix “. He defines “ A Magical Negro” as a saintly African American character who acts as a mentor to a questioning white hero, who seems to be from the community but is adored too much, has an ability to say and do exactly what needs to be said and done to keep the story going right along in the heros favor.
A candidate to chair the republican National Committee made out a song entitled “Barack the Magic Negro”. There was a sense that with the Obama candidacy that itwas a time to rebuild, repair, and move forward. Not just towards a postbush society, but a postracial one. Obama at first resisted endorsing this but soon played up his status as the first noncaucasian man to pursue and win the democratic presidential nomination. This election triggered paranoia and rage in roughly half the population (most were entirely white sector immigrants who embraced the idea that “we have to protect or reclaim” our country from them). He continues on with more references to movies where blacks are actually quite influential, not literally magical.