Appearing as a guest on the Monday, October 7, All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC to promote the film, 12 Years a Slave, screenwriter John Ridley seemed to blame America for taking slavery and making it even worse than it previously had been by introducing "concepts of racial inferiority," and went on to assert that Americans have "all been indoctrinated in these thoughts" and need to "understand that history" in order to "get past some of the notions we have."
Host Chris Hayes posed the question:
What did you come out of this project knowing about slavery or knowing about what the institutions of pre-Civil War American life were like that you didn't know going in?
I'd say the biggest thing that I learned is that slavery did not arrive in this country fully formed. We just assumed that it was here, that it was brought over in some fashion. But it went from indentured servitude to slavery, to slavery predicated on the concepts of racial inferiority.
He then tied in modern times:
And when we look at where we are right now in 2013, and we wonder why we can't get past some of the notions we have, it's because we've all been indoctrinated in these thoughts and until we understand that history, we're not going to be able to move forward into the future.