Actor Samuel L. Jackson raised eyebrows when he expressed disappointment that the San Bernardino terrorist attack perpetrator (or perpetrators) wasn’t a “crazy white dude,” but he may have engaged in a further instance of stereotyping.
In the same Hollywood Reporter interview, the self-described “forever Democrat” and Hillary Clinton voter (because Bernie Sanders “can’t win”) seemed to suggest a causal connection between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and police shootings of African Americans. He also described Muslims as “the new young black men.”
According to the WebMD description of the illness, “Once called shell shock or battle fatigue syndrome, [PTSD] is a serious condition that can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic or terrifying event in which serious physical harm occurred or was threatened.”
Clarifying that there are both good cops and bad cops, and that he wasn’t painting every police officer with a broad brush, the Hateful Eight star, 67, who has appeared in many violent movies such as Pulp Fiction, offered this analysis of alleged rogue elements in law enforcement.
“In the sixties or whatever, guys went to Vietnam, and they came home and people hated them; they were ‘baby killers’ or whatever, and a lot of them became cops ’cause that was the job — ‘Oh, you have ex-military service? You can become one of the boys in blue.’ And because they were so vilified by everybody outside, they formed this ‘blue wall’ that’s now still a part of what that is, but now it’s kids coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, and now they’ve identified PTSD — but that’s not one of the tests they give for people who put on the uniform. So, consequently, you’ve got people out there who are used to looking at people as ‘the enemy’ ’cause that’s what it was — people were trying to kill them every day. It was like, ‘Oh, my God’ — you see a guy, the guy jumps up, ‘Hold it!’ And young black men are threatening, you know, and it just happens. So all these things snowball and snowball.”
Returning veterans generally receive a priority for open positions on the police force or in government jobs.
Jackson also accused GOP front-runner Donald Trump of running for president on “hate.”
In April 2015, during the civil unrest in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody, CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin was forced to apologize after a huge backlash for making a similar suggestion as the one advanced by Samuel L. Jackson about cops allegedly being predisposed to violence. “I love our nation’s veterans, but some of them are coming back from war, they don’t know the communities, and they are ready to do battle,” she said.
Quentin Tarantino, Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta on the set of Pulp Fiction pic.twitter.com/C7d8dHKtXh— Behind the Scenes (@Moviedisplay) December 27, 2015
Parenthetically, many police unions around the country previously announced a boycott of The Hateful Eight, which opened on Christmas Day in a limited release before reaching theaters throughout the country this month. Hateful Eight director Quentin Tarantino prompted the controversy when he referred to cops as murderers while making a speech at the #RiseUpOctober anti-police brutality march in New York City’s Washington Square Park. Tarantino now claims his remarks were taken out of context and that in no way is he anti-police or a cop hater.
Separately, Hateful Eight co-star Kurt Russell recently got dragged into another political issue in several interviews while promoting the film in a media tour, specifically the issue of gun control vs. gun rights. While admitting, “The last thing thing I like to watch is entertainers or actors get political,” Russell declared himself a hardcore libertarian who supports the Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms for hunting and for self-protection. He famously accused a reporter who brought up the subject of being insane and out of his mind if he thought that gun control would change the mind of any terrorist (or by extension, any street criminal).
[Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP]