In my first film, Roger & Me, a white woman on Social Security clubs a bunny rabbit to death so that she can sell him as “meat” instead of as a pet. I wish I had a nickel for every time in the last ten years someone has come up to me and told me how “horrified” and “shocked” they were when they saw that “poor little cute bunny” bonked on the head. The scene, they say, made them physically sick. Some had to turn away or leave the theater. Many wondered why I would include such a scene. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) gave Roger & Me an R rating in response to that rabbit killing (which compelled 60 Minutes to do a story on the stupidity of the rating system.)Teachers write me and say they have to edit that part out of the film so they won’t get in trouble for showing my movie to their students.

But less than two minutes after the bunny lady does her deed, I included footage of a scene in which the police in Flint opened fire and shot a black man who was wearing a Superman cape and holding a plastic toy gun. Not once- not ever- has anyone said to me, “I can’t believe you showed a black man being shot in your movie! How horrible! How disgusting! I couldn’t sleep for weeks.” After all, he was just a black man being shot on camera. (Least of all from the MPAA ratings board, who saw absolutely nothing wrong with that scene.)

Why? Because being a black man being shot is no longer shocking. Just the opposite- it’s normal, natural. We’ve become so accustomed to seeing black men killing- in the movies and on the evening news- that we now accept it as standard operating procedure. No big deal, just another dead black guy! That’s what blacks do- kill and die. Ho-hum. Pass the butter.

Michael Moore in his book, Stupid White Men
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