Struggle with Mel Gibson about racist Apocalypto

The other day Alicia Estrada, a Professor of Central American Studies at Cal State Northridge challenged Mel Gibson at a Q&A session following a showing of the very offensive, anti-Indigenous film Apocalypto. You can view a news account about the struggle. Gibson responded in a foul, white nationalist way to the legitimate issues being raised by the Indigenous community. Professor Estrada called up to the microphone a representative of the Mayan community who read a statement in Spanish. With Gibson cursing campus police were sent in forcing Estrada and the Mayan speaker out of the hall.

Last December we posted to the APSC website a statement calling for a boycott of this very foul movie.

We offer our solidarity with the courage of Professor Estrada and the others who took this courageous stand that has brought attention to this film that is a blatant white nationalist attack on the Mayan people.

When the Apocalypto first came out we put out our call for a boycott on the list serve of the Florida Alliance for Peace and Social Justice. A heated discussion ensued and some people defended the film. During that interchange, Chairman Omali Yeshitela weighed in with the following very enlightening statement:

The observation that I would make concerning this discussion is the error of taking the film at face value, independent of its CURRENT historical context. What is that historical context? It is an imperialism, white power, in severe crisis as manifested by events occuring in every area of the world. The film cannot teach us about ancient Maya history or culture, but it does tell us something about the history and culture of imperial white power.

“Regardless of Gibson’s intention this film, like many others, has a serious ideological mission. Just like movies like Sparta, the Gladiator, and some others, the names of which I cannot remember, including one that starred Gibson as a Scottish hero. They speak to an imperialism in crisis that challenges the commonly-held notions of the superiority of imperial white power. The films in the former category are designed to show the courage and nobility of white power, while the film currently being discussed is designed to apologize for the emergence of white power at the expense of African, indigneous and other peoples upon whose destruction white power depended for its emergence.

“I think it is an error to review this movie outside the context of the ideological warfare that we are faced with. Although Gibson may be the author of the film that we are discussing, he is a cultural/ideological gladiator for imperial white power. This is the guy from Australia. Surely, the indigenous from that place did not simply wither away because of the contradictions within their society, although it has been a common argument by imperialists that they have rescued the peoples they oppress from their own self-initiated destruction.

“I am not attempting to draw a perfect analogy between the so-called Aborigines and the Mayans, but I am attempting to show that Gibson cannot approach this question pure of heart, without imperial ideological influences.

“I am convinced that these very same ideological influences were apparent in his so-called anti-Semetic tirade and in his movie, about Jesus. Gibson is said to be a christian fanatic of some sort and the definition of the European or white nation is seriously connected to Christianity and whiteness.

“Watch the revues for the movie. Already there is talk about possible awards. This is because the movie reaches serious ideological/cultural needs of an empire in decline and whose ideals its beneficiaries are seriously challenged to hold on to.

“I haven’t seen the movie, but I know this is what it is about.

“One Africa! One Nation!
“Omali Yeshitela”

View Comments (3)
  • I have not seen this movie, but after reading this blog entry, I have been prompted to further investigate it. I share the views on the movie “Passion of the Christ”… I will surely be looking further into Apocalypto.

  • “I haven’t seen the movie, but I know this is what it is about.”-Omali YeshitelaThere are many egregious assumptions made in this post, but the worst of them is the assumption by Yeshitela that he can fairly judge this without ever seeing the film. To my mind, this makes him little better than most book-burners: passing condemnatory judgment in ignorance, with no desire to rectify that ignorance.

  • I also haven’t seen the movie, yet I’m 99% sure what the movie is about. I agree that any movie Gibson produces is bound to be white Christian imperialist propaganda. You don’t have to watch the movie to know it is almost assuredly trash. But I personally would not post a written review of something I have not read/watched/whatever.My girlfriend did watch the movie, however. She is Mayan. She said it did show the Mayans in a bad light and the Mayan (language) used in the movie was not very good Mayan, which says something about the production values. Of course I’m sure Gibson doesn’t care what my Mayan girlfriend thinks of his movie.

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