“The Butler” — which claims to be “based on a true story” — opens with a stomach-turning scene of white cruelty.
A boy picking cotton on a Georgia plantation watches his mother dragged off to a shack where she’s raped by a white landowner, who not long after the assault coldly walks up to the boy’s unarmed father and shoots him in the face for timidly questioning his authority to violate his wife.
The mother becomes dysfunctional and the effectively orphaned boy is taken in by the plantation’s matriarch as a “house n—-r,” thus launching his career as a butler.
It’s a jarring depiction of Southern sadism. Groans and gasps can be heard from audiences as the scene unfolds.
Only, it never happened.
Longtime White House butler Eugene Allen (played by Forest Whitaker) grew up in Virginia, not Georgia, where he worked as a waiter in a resort and never spoke bitterly of his childhood, according to his biographer. Neither he nor his family experienced the atrocities depicted in the movie.
So why invent them, except to reignite racial tensions?
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