What’s this? There’s going to be a TV show that’s set in an alternate universe where the Civil War turned out differently? This is an outrage!
Just kidding. This time it’s different, because shut up.
A century and a half after slavery was abolished in the U.S., the wounds left by one of the darkest periods in American history are far from healed, as evidenced by the controversy surrounding the recent announcement of HBO’s upcoming drama series Confederate…
Another alternate history drama series, which has been in the works at Amazon for over a year, also paints a reality where southern states have left the Union but takes a very different approach. Titled Black America, the drama hails from top feature producer Will Packer (Ride Along, Think Like A Man franchises, Straight Outta Compton) and Peabody-winning The Boondocks creator and Black Jesus co-creator Aaron McGruder. It envisions an alternate history where newly freed African Americans have secured the Southern states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama post-Reconstruction as reparations for slavery, and with that land, the freedom to shape their own destiny. The sovereign nation they formed, New Colonia, has had a tumultuous and sometimes violent relationship with its looming “Big Neighbor,” both ally and foe, the United States.
I’ll say the same thing about this that I said about Confederate: It’s an interesting idea. It could be good. It could be bad. There’s no way to know until I see it, and nobody has seen it. Right now it’s nothing more than a premise. I’m willing to reserve judgment until there’s something to judge.
Can you guess how the people who were outraged at the announcement of Confederate are reacting to this news? I’ll bet you can. @ReignOfApril is one of the brave hashtag activists behind #NoConfederate, which was powerful enough to force HBO to put out a press release in response. In the wake of that stunning victory, here’s what she thinks about this show she hasn’t seen yet:
— April (@ReignOfApril) August 1, 2017
A show where the Confederacy won the Civil War is bad, because the Confederacy was bad. A show where the Union gave Southern states to freed slaves is good, because freeing the slaves was good. We don’t need to actually see either show to make these judgments, because that’s not how it works. Identity politics frees us from the burden of deciding for ourselves. Social justice is a handy substitute for thought.
I don’t judge art by whether it furthers my political goals or reinforces my view of the world. I just want to watch something that’s entertaining and/or thought-provoking. I guess that’s just my inherent fascism talking.
One thing I do know for sure: No matter what I say about either show when it comes out, it will just be further proof that I’m a racist. Can’t wait. Hurry up and get here, 2019!