Samuel L. Jackson Worried 12 Years A Slave Limits Racism To The Past

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February 1, 2014 | 9:40am EST

Hollywood icon Samuel L. Jackson is concerned the popularity of historical drama 12 Years A Slave has distracted audiences from the racism that is still prevalent in modern America.
Steve McQueen’s film is based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from New York who was captured and sold into slavery in the 19th century.
The movie has been a critical and commercial hit and is tipped for glory at the 2014 Academy Awards in March after receiving nine nominations.
But while Jackson is pleased at the response to the film, he worries that it limits American racism to the past and allows audiences to avoid confronting the discrimination that plagues the country to this day.
He tells Britain’s The Times, “America is much more willing to acknowledge what happened in the past. We freed the slaves! It’s all good! But to say, ‘We are still unnecessarily killing black men’ – let’s have a conversation about that.”
The Avengers star suggests that last year’s Fruitvale Station, a film about the real-life events that led to the death of young African-American Oscar Grant at the hands of California police in 2009, makes more relevant points about the issues of racism.
He says, “It (Fruitvale Station) explains things like the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the problems with (popular police practise) stop and search, and is much more poignant.”
Florida teen Martin hit headlines in 2012 when the unarmed black youth was shot by Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman. The shooter was acquitted of murdering the kid during a high-profile trial last year.