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Letters to the Editor: Canceling ‘Gone With the Wind’ puts us on a censorship slippery slope

GWTW
Vivien Leigh, left, as Scarlett O’Hara and Hattie McDaniel as Mammy in “Gone With the Wind.”
(MGM)

To the editor: I support Black Lives Matter and acknowledge the need to go from non-racist to anti-racist. No doubt I have a lot of personal growth potential in that regard (“I don’t like ‘Gone With the Wind,’ but I hate to see Hattie McDaniel canceled,” Opinion, June 12).

But with all due respect to critics of “Gone With the Wind,” I believe that censorship is the wrong approach.

Films, plays, books and other works of historical significance should be readily available and studied, for all their brilliance and failings, not shut away and censored. Don’t we yet understand the slippery slope of censorship?

Should Margaret Mitchell’s book also be banned? Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn? Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice” because of its depiction of Jews? The film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” because of Mickey Rooney’s character? All of these works have serious racist elements.

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Plants grow in the sunlight — so do we.

Ward Bukofsky, Encino

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To the editor: As a Black American, I can tell you that “Gone With the Wind” is so very painful to watch. It’s just as bigoted as “The Birth of A Nation.” I will never allow my grandchildren to watch that blasphemous movie.

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I still can’t understand how those in power in Hollywood could ever produce something so offensive to minorities.

Paulette Mashaka, Carson

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To the editor: As someone who has seen “Gone With the Wind” not merely once, but at least 30 times, I take issue with some of the opinions expressed by Pamela K. Johnson in her piece on the film and actress Hattie McDaniel.

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Although it is certainly true that the film’s depiction of slaves was most certainly offensive — most blatantly the portrayal of Prissy by the actress Butterfly McQueen, who later deeply regretted playing the role — I believe that Mammy as portrayed by McDaniel was the most fully developed character in the film.

It is to its credit that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences realized as much in 1939 and voted her best supporting actress. McDaniel’s Oscar, a historic achievement, was well deserved.

Kristine Kazie Keenan, Pasadena

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To the editor: Worrying about McDaniel’s acting legacy — however brilliant — in the wake of “Gone With the Wind” being dropped from the HBO Max streaming service is like bemoaning the demise of the Marlboro Man’s career when cigarette ads were banned on television.

The greater good takes precedence.

Eileen Flaxman, Claremont


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