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Neill Blomkamp’s story of space aliens abused by Earthlings is about racism without actually involving raceā€”and therein lies the problem. The parallels reflecting atrocities committed against black South Africans by white ones are clear: the aliens, called hateful names (“prawns”) by human bureaucrats are being forced from their shantytown in a multiple-of-three district in Cape Town to a smaller, more out-of-the-way compound. Signs read, “Humans only;” the aliens are constructed as violent for no real reason (they like to blow things up “for fun,” says the human protagonist), while the humans destroy them with impunity.

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