In this #DailyThought, Dr. Ray provides a history of the original 1915 Birth of a Nation film. In addition to highlighting the pervasive racial stereotypes in the film, he discusses how rape is a central tenant throughout the original and the new Birth of a Nation, which is about the slave revolt led by Nat Turner following the rape of his wife.
Dr. Ray then turns his attention to the case of Nate Parker and Jean Celestine, writers and producers of the new Birth of a Nation, who allegedly raped a woman at Penn State in 1999. Parker was found not guilty, while Celestine was originally convicted and later acquitted because the victim did not want to testify again. Penn State paid the woman a settlement, Parker and Celestine transferred, and years later the woman committed suicide.
Dr. Ray uses these incidents to frame a larger discussion about rape on college campuses, the complicity of universities in the raping of women, and the importance of transforming men’s language with women during sexual encounters from conquering to collaborative.