The Slave Rebellion Genre

Lakitha Tolbert
15 min readJun 30, 2020

White Hollywood loves slave rebellion movies starring robots, but starring Black people, not so much.

White men have always been looking forward to the next slave rebellion, but only if it features robots. Why?Because robots, (or any beings classified as non-human constructs), are a lot easier to kill than people, and it’s easier for people to argue against their autonomy.

Because of the absolute refusal to deal with one of America’s original sins, white men are cursed to relive the terror of the slave rebellion, over, and over again, in film after film, and show after show. The Terminator, Bladerunner, I, Robot, Roujin Z, Ghost in the Shell, Metropolis, The Matrix, Saturn 3, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Humans, Westworld, Almost Human, and Doctor Who, these are all part of a long history of slave rebellion narratives, featuring robots, that have turned against their human masters, or just want to destroy humanity, and have you ever asked yourself, Why?

Ava DuVernay on How ‘13th’ Reframes American History — The Atlantic

*Slavery lasted roughly 245 years followed by what some like to call “Slavery 2.0”, in which the 13th amendment allowed it to continue, just under a different name.

See:”Slavery By Another Name

Terminator Salvation/Columbia Pictures

America is always casting around for its next slave race, and if they can’t enslave and/or bully PoC, well then they’ll just have to create brand new ones. Yes, White people have been working diligently to create the next race of beings that they hope won’t protest their shoddy treatment. Except, in the movies, that never Seems to work out. Sooner or later, their slave allegories always turn against them. But on the bright side, maybe the invention of a new slave race of robots, will finally get Black people some racial equality.

White people are almost as traumatized by slavery, and its aftereffects, as Black Americans. (I said “almost”.) With white people it takes the form of guilt, atonement, deflection, minimization, and projection, and, as in most cultures that have a thriving entertainment industry…

Lakitha Tolbert

(She/Her) Busybody librarian from Ohio.