It’s Ok To Like Problematic Media

As long as you realize time marches on.

Sharonda Harris-Marshall
11 min readNov 18, 2018
Gone With The Wind (1939)

When I was in film school, I had to make a decision about Birth of a Nation. Not Nate Parker’s project. The three-hour long 1915 silent film.

Like most Americans, I had never watched the film before film school but I knew what it was about. You know what it’s about. The first blockbuster in American cinematic history is about the Ku Klux Klan restoring order to a post-Civil War South overran with uppity blacks. The film’s antagonist is emphasized to be a “crafty mulatto,” suggesting yet another tie with race and intelligence that doesn’t exist. It would be fair to say a black person may not want to see that.

But because I intended to study film and in particular, the history and portrayals of African Americans in American cinema, I decided I needed to watch this film. So I checked out the laserdisc from USC’s cinema library and watched all three hours. D.W. Griffith was one of USC’s first film instructors, so the library kept all his films in its vault.

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Sharonda Harris-Marshall

is a filmmaker, photographer, and digital media artist living a stereotypical artist life. She could have been a doctor or a scientist, but here we are.