What a strange coincidence that “Twelve Years a Slave” has won the Oscar for best motion picture at the same time Richmond, Virginia is planning to build a ballpark right on the top of one of the largest slave market districts in the country: including several slave auction sites, slave prisons, slave hospitals and, most importantly, a burial ground for enslaved people. Hollywood has recognized so many movies commenting on other atrocities, movies such Schindler’s List and The Boy in Striped Pajamas, for example, depicting the suffering of the Jewish people, and we have all developed compassion for that theme and acknowledged that pain. Nevertheless, the suffering inflicted by slavery is so close to home, that it makes it hard to tolerate – to have a dialogue about it. And the easy solution is always to try to forget.
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