HBO's #Confederate: 7 Alternate Ideas
I think the showrunners got the idea from The Man in the High Castle was written in 1962 and it is very much understood that the Nazi's were wrong. I'm sure if you asked someone what's the first thing they think of when they hear Nazi they think Hitler if the world evil doesn't come first to their minds.
The Man in the High Castle is moderately successful because it's deeply rooted in science fiction. The hope that an alternate reality in where the Nazi's lose is what keeps the main characters going and what keeps you rooting for them.
When I hear, "let's do a show of where slavery still exists" that gives me and plenty of other people pause. That doesn't tell me what the story line is so it makes me think that it's just an idea to embolden people who think of African Americans as nothing more than animals. I am not Jewish but I know that the Nazi flag is banned - everywhere.
So much so when the marketing team of Man in the High Castle used the imagery of Nazi flags to promote the show they had to stop. It was upsetting (understandably so) they had to know that method of promotion was not going to work. But it drew a buzz and attention. The Confederate flag is argued that it apart of southern history. Just because it's apart of your history does it mean you should be proud of it?
That's where the comparisons end for me. During the Clinton administration money towards public housing was cut and the funds were reallocated to the construction of prisons.
Federal funding for public housing fell by $17 billion (a 61 percent reduction) under Bill Clinton’s tenure; federal funding for corrections rose by $19 billion (an increase of 171 percent), according to Michelle Alexander’s seminal work, “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.” The federal government’s new priorities redirected nearly $1 billion in state spending for higher education to prison construction. Source
We are living in a time of where African American's are experiencing a New Jim Crow. It is an indisputable fact that minorities are arrested at a higher rate than non-minorities. While in prison for lighter sentences they are offered the option to work. Here's a list of all of the companies that employee prisons for nearly free labor. Article and here's Another Article
Given all of this information, it is more than a sensitive topic but a reality for a lot of people. Rubbing the issues of African Americans in everyone's faces is tasteless to say the least.
I can't speak for the experiences of Jewish people, I don't know if the affects of the Third Reich has reached into today's world and affected them today but I can speak for the African American experience. Jim Crow was a direct result of slavery. Jim Crow "ended" in my parents lifetime. And even though Jim Crow "ended" the mindset behind it didn't.
So, I find it very interesting that out of ALL the alternative ideas these show runners could have created they come up with this one.
Like this Blavity article explores we could have had a show of where
- cattle slavery in America doesn't happen at all
- The African's kidnap the Pilgrims and take them to Africa for slavery
- The Native Americans don't lose and run the Pilgrims out
- Any other event doesn't happen, neither World Wars, the stock market crash
- A reality where Malcom X and MLK lived
- What would America do if all the black people really did go to Africa or vanished? (which was an episode of Cosmic Slop)
- Aliens come to Earth and enslave everyone to teach everyone a lesson
There are literally several other avenues that could have been pursued aside from the basic one. "What if we kept America's darkest period going?" Aside from it being just offensive because of the reasons I named, it's also offensive because of how basic of an idea it is.
Here's a good Opinion Article on the topic: I Don't Want Slavery FanFiction
And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this is a story that should never be told (that's censorship) but I would say the best way for me to describe it is this: your life's story, would you want it to be told from Ava Duvernay or the guys from Game of Thrones?
Or maybe this analogy will be better would you want the person to narrate your life's story to be Morgan Freeman or Lil Yachty? Presentation matters, representation matters and I think as sensitive of a topic this is it's irresponsible to place certain people in charge of something like this.
What's ironic is that the Civil War was partially sparked by Uncle Tom's Cabin, so yes entertainment in any media can be so inflammatory that it can fan the flames of a war. And here are these guys who want to be, in my opinion, reckless with their gifts and responsibilities. I think they are pandering to those who wish to see slavery or want slavery to return or wish it had never ended. Which to me, is problematic.