1976: When I was a kid I remember being so upset after watching the first episode of “Roots” my folks had to talk with me. They explained the historical significance of this ground-breaking documentary and how to channel my anger towards something positive. A few weeks after Roots debuted I eventually stopped side-eyeing every white person. The series was traumatic; so much so I have not re-watched it.
2017: After reading the plot details about HBO’s new TV series, “Confederate” it struck me as tone deaf, hurtful, and really asking myself why? Confederate is about a modern-day America where slavery is legal. I mean, the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania does not even understand why America even fought a Civil War. Trump said, “People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?” So, I do not understand why anyone would want to make slave fan fiction into thing.
According to EW, “Confederate imagines the events leading to a Third American Civil War. The series will take place in an alternate timeline, where the southern states have successfully seceded from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution, according to HBO.”
Slavery is not Fiction
Why this? Why now? Why ever? Why? Of off the things you could have spent your money on, this is the topic that inspired you? This is your fantasy? Slavery in 2017? Why are we making a show about white supremacist slave fantasy? You’re lazy.
While asking these questions, I remembered an article by Kassidi Jones, asking something similar. Specifically Jones, asks, “Why is America so obsessed with Black death?” The article was in response to viral videos of black people getting shot by police officers and not wanting to watch them. In the article, Jones said: “I cannot think of another reason why the public insists on watching and sharing death so nonchalantly. People are swallowing morbidity in huge gulps without taking a moment to digest and critically think about the scenes that they have just watched. Black death is becoming another societal norm and that’s not even the scariest part.”
This series’ concept sounds like a chance for people to be ignorant, racist, and just plain stupid. If you wanted to imagine what it would be like to live in a confederate America, go down south. We have white nationalists protesting the removal of statues that pay homage to confederate leaders. There are schools named after confederate leaders that are being renamed. The confederate flag is being taken down from government building, as it should be, and that, according to these confederate-loving patriots, is wrong. Saying the confederate flag, is “a symbol of pride, not prejudice” is also absurd. Arguing to keep these participation trophies is a waste of time.
Casey Bloys says HBO botched the show’s announcement. He also said the outrage is “a little premature.” April Reign is getting us together on social media to send HBO a message and hopefully they won’t move forward the slave fan fiction show. If you wish to participate, tweet using the hashtag #NoConfederate during the airing of Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones. “We would like HBO to cancel Confederate and instead uplift more marginalized voices with a different series.” April Reign told CNN.
If you want to use the same tag line (with just one slight change), “…giving rise to a nation in which slavery (remains legal) is illegal and (yet evolved into) continues as a modern institution,” you could focus on the Prison Industrial Complex being used to modern day slavery and about the government and private industry’s exploitation of this. You’ll have endless topics for each episode. The use of surveillance, policing and imprisonment as solutions to economic, social and political problems is something that needs to be addressed.
Or, we are coming off eight years of Barack Obama being the first Black President. Maybe I’m crazy, but if you wanted to advance the race dialogue in modern-day America, why not use Obama’s two terms as the 44th President of the United States? You can name it “Racism and 44” and use images, interviews from 2008 to 2017. There is, sadly, an endless trove of items to choose from. However, despite all racism, division and attacks this family endured and left with honor after eight years.
But what do I know?