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Grow Up

How many times are the US Cavalry riding to the rescue in some movie black? Not often enough if you ask me. I knew there were black cavalry regiments, the Buffalo Soldiers, but I hadn’t realised until recently that they made up 20% of cavalrymen. And yet the US cavalrymen in the movies are always white – and when they speak they usually have American accents (unless it’s Englishman Victor McLagen playing a crusty Irish sergeant).

And yet the real US Cavalry in the late 1800s was more like the French Foreign Legion than anything else. Its ranks were filled with immigrants, many of them Irish or German, lots of Germans. It would be interesting to find out which had more Germans, the Legion or the Cavalry. I guess it used to be a necessary part of nation-building myth that the West should had been won by white good old American boys rather than a ragtag bunch of mercenaries and the sons of slaves. But the United States has been around for a while now and maybe it’s time Hollywood grew up.


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