What was Spike Lee doing with Blackkklansman?

This movie was based on some “real fo’ real sh*t,” as shown at the beginning of the film.

That wasn’t a false statement. The movie told the story of a Black Colorado Springs detective, Ron Stallworth, who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan by phone while a white detective played Stallworth undercover in person. Lee couldn’t just tell the story on the surface. That’s too boring. He used Stallworth’s story as the centerpiece of an alternative message he was trying to convey.

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Adam Driver, left, and John David Washington in Spike Lee’s latest film, “BlacKkKlansman.”CreditDavid Lee/Focus Features

He was throwing shade at white nationalism and Donald Trump’s road to the most powerful position in the United States. To effectively deliver his message, Lee used similarities from the past to highlight things he views as current problems in the present. It’s true: Spike Lee may have embellished a tad bit on the story by using fictional characters and events all to justify the points that he attempted to make.


Connie, the wife of a klansman played a vital role in this movie. As a matter of fact, the climax of the movie wouldn’t have been the same without her. There wasn’t a ‘Connie’ mentioned in Stallworth’s book, Black Klansman. She served as Lee’s example of a white woman’s part in white supremacy.

As highlighted in David Dennis Jr’s story for cassiuslife.com, Connie represented the 53 percent of white women who voted for Donald Trump in 2016.

After knowing that 53 percent of white women voted for Donald Trump, instead of voting for the first female primary winner was a terrifying juncture in American history. It showed how America really feels. It showed that not only racism is still alive, but male-superiority is as well.

In the film, Lee painted Connie as a Permit Patty and he’s depicting the 53 percent as Permit Patty’s that hide their racism in public but are always protected by confidentiality and/or excuses as to why their actions are justified. This mindset is a glaring, yet underrated answer as to why we’re in the Donald Trump era today.


Connie’s conflict comes from two different directions: An oppressed woman treated horribly by her husband and a woman that loves racism and the violence that goes with it.

Throughout the film, Connie’s relationship with her husband, Felix, was almost non-existent. She was more of a servant to him. He verbally assaulted her throughout and when he wasn’t doing that, he publicly imposed his dominance over her. Instead of confronting Felix, Connie chose to ‘deal with it’ to help him accomplish his goal with the Klan. Abuse from a male didn’t matter to Connie as long as white supremacy prevailed.

This takes us back to the present and why more than half of America’s white women (who were registered to vote), ignored the multiple allegations against Trump being abusive, verbally and sexually to women, still voted him into office. Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, had the support of the majority of minorities in America and white supremacy wasn’t having it. Especially after eight years of Obama. Not again.


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In this case, Trump’s seemingly limitless red flags didn’t matter as long as America’s whiteness was preserved. Women’s self-respect took a backseat role to keep white culture dominant in America. Connie was just the example Spike Lee used to portray this loyalty to white supremacy.

Connie yearned for love and affection from Felix, which only took place once in the movie when they romantically fantasized about murdering Black student activists. Knowing that Connie would pretty much do anything for Felix, he instructed her to carry out his most volatile plan yet. Her job was to place a bomb at an activist rally because no one would suspect she committed the crime. This was Lee’s example of the age-old practice of white women maintaining their innocence amidst anti-Black violence.

No need for example. This is a known fact. White women have always been there standing alongside their white-male counterparts, playing a visually innocent, yet essential role behind the scenes in the oppression of Blacks.

The last point Lee wanted to make came at the very end of the film. After Stallworth caught Connie redhanded, placing a bomb on an activists porch, fellow officers believed Stallworth was assaulting her and started to beat him, all while Connie instructed the officers to continue.

Spike used Connie’s character to tell a story through the lens of a woman who values being racially superior more than her self-respect as a woman. No one truly knows why 53 percent of white women voted for Trump, but Spike Lee believes he has the answer through Blackkklansman.

White power “trumps” everything else. A scary reality that we still have to live with today.

 

Addam M. Francisco

Founder & Editor-in-Chief. National Association of Black Journalists. University of Central Oklahoma.

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