Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained has faced controversy upon controversy since its release. Spike Lee said he wont watch it, and one of its stars, Samuel L. Jackson tried to get a reporter to say the 'N' word, plus it has been criticized for racism and excessive violence. Now that some action figures of its main characters are available to buy online, there have been calls for boycotts, but why is this so contentious?
While this may seem like a banal question, and one with an obvious answer: Racism, duh! It is one with a point. Where's the outrage over 'Coyboys and Indians' figurines, and why do kids play Cowboys and Indians, but not Master and Slave? Just to make one thing very clear: absolutely no one should ever play master and slave, that would be disgusting. But it certainly is a curious phenomenon that a race and culture that was subject to partial genocide should still be mocked and infantilised in childhood games, while a similar story with slavery gets far more serious, and thus far more appropriate treatment.
According to the Rev. K.W. Tulloss, "Selling this doll is highly offensive to our ancestors and the African American community," reports NY Daily News. The interesting point being made by him, though is: "The movie is for adults, but these are action figures that appeal to children. We don't want other individuals to utilize them for their entertainment, to make a mockery of slavery." This is precisely the treatment given to 'Indian' figurines.
If there should be a boycott on these toys, and the Rev. K.W. Tulloss makes a good case for it as he points out that Holocaust survivors don't have dolls made in their likenes, then likewise, there should be a boycott for figurines made of Native Americans.