Kindness, cruelty and “12 Years a Slave”


A few years ago, there was a piece on “This American Life” about a “living history” museum outside Indianapolis that tried to give patrons a more immediate sense of what it was like to live under slavery. So tourists would actually role-play the part of slaves, yelled at and berated by a historical reenactor playing the part of a slave master. Judging by the audio, he played the part very well — so well that he would make some tourists cry, even throw up.

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