The Racial Reckoning

By Ifeanyi Nwonye

The film, Tales From The Hood, directed by Rusty Cundieff uses several stand alone stories to orient a discussion of Black shared experiences through a campy, horror lens. The tale, KKK Comeuppance, uses voodoo as a way to unify and mobilize the Black community against White politicians who abuse an already corrupt system to further oppress Black populations. 

This story centers around governor Duke Metger, who, coincidentally, is the spitting image of Donald Trump. Aside from the similarities in appearance, both characters present a great blend of covert and overt racism. From the campaign slogan, “An original American, isn’t it about time?” that rings eerily similar to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” to their shared belief that Affirmative Action initiatives are racist. An exhibition of his more overt racism is his complete disregard for this cultural significance of this plantation home. Though proves to be historically competent by retelling the entire story of the massacre and  supernatural legend of the house to his campaign manager, he still displays his apathy towards the matter by admitting that he was hoping to sell the “negro dolls” to which the souls were allegedly bound to. His more racial transgressions that are more covert include the vitriol with which he refers to Black protestors on his lawn as “bastards” and the voodoo priestess in the painting as a “bitch.” Neither of which are racist, but very clearly used as placeholders for more a pointed choice-word. Additionally, we see the manipulation of his light-skin campaign who promises to clean him up well enough to get at least a few Black votes. But, much like Trump, the enlistment of the token Black people in their campaign team to create a mirage of racial tolerance and anti-racism was not nearly enough to get either of them re-elected. Of course, Duke Metger’s failure came from his death at the hands of the voodoo dolls he disrespected while living the plantation home. But this is hardly antithetical to Trump since the mobilization of the Black populations they’ve suppressed, disrespected, and exploited were ultimately their undoing. 

As for the voodoo, it serves as a way to give agency and peace to marginalized people since the priestess’s soul-binding spell was meant to keep them from spending eternity as mournful spirits forever traumatized by their own murders. The use of voodoo to enrich people’s experience in the afterlife challenges eurocentric and evangelist portrayals of voodoo. It’s because of this enchanted existence that the spirits are able to protect their home and exact revenge on their oppressors from the grave, which is ultimately more freedom than they were to enjoy when they were alive. And, by allowing these spirits to be the main heroes and victors against the racist villain, Duke Metger, the narrative counters the stigmatization of this Black spiritual practice as an malevolent, destructive force by using it as a positive means for acquiring justice and reparations for Black people.

 

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