Clint Eastwood doesn't care about black people. Or at least some think he doesn't care about their contribution to the battle of Iwo Jima. The Guardian has an odd story about the presence of African Americans in Flags of our Fathers, or rather the lack of them. If you've seen the movie you know almost without even thinking about it that there are none. One of the main characters is a Native American, but there's not a single black soldier to be seen.
Maybe that's excusable. After all, there were only 900 at the battle of Iwo Jima amidst tens of thousands of Marines. It's not like they'd stand out. When you think of it like that this sounds like some special interest group looking for publicity. Eastwood wasn't filming the United Nations, this is a war movie dammit. But wait, there's more.
Apparently at least one black solider played a key role in the flag raising Clint's movie obsesses over. African American Iwo Jima veteran Thomas McPhatter says he was part of the first flag raising on the island. "The man who put the first flag up on Iwo Jima got a piece of pipe from me to put the flag up on," he says.
Alright, that's a pretty minor piece of the flag raising puzzle isn't it? But if you've seen the movie you've also seen how much trouble Flags of our Fathers goes through to show every little detail of the flag raising. It's the focus of the entire movie. You'd think the black guy who helped get the thing up might have shown up somewhere in the background.
Warner Brothers however, has a defense. The movie is based on a book, and they say it sticks to it accurately. In other words don't blame them, blame the guy who wrote the novel.
Alright, I'll buy that line of reasoning. 900 soldiers amid 90,000 is a relatively small number, and though there was one specific guy who probably should have been in, he wasn't because he's not in the book. Seriously, that makes a lot of sense. Oh come on, Clint Eastwood isn't a racist and if he was he'd probably try to hide it by inserting African Americans into his movies as background fixtures. Sorry Guardian you came close, but this story stinks.