What if #noconfederate?
What if the South had won the Civil War? 4 sci-fi scenarios for HBO’s ‘Confederate’. That’s the headline of a recent piece by Allen C. Guelzo in USA Today. If those opposing the making of the Confederate series have their way (#noconfederate) none of these scenarios will see the light of day. We hear their concerns. Not another slave narrative. Not another sop to White supremacy and White privilege. Not another recounting of emasculated men, violated women, lost languages, and auction blocks sanitized by modernization. A lot of us are tired of that, but apparently it still sells. But why does it still sell? Why do we still buy it?
The Unpaid Labor Project believes that it still sells because it provides just another platform for using sex, violence and controversy to sell products. We buy it because it is what blacks and whites alike have been taught to believe without challenging the false narrative of racial slavery in America that supports it. It also hides the real impact of that false narrative on the problem of race today. And not challenging the false narrative that has been at the root of the problem of race in America from 1607 until today makes these kinds of representations comfortable in a perverse sort of way.
Even as we complain that we’re tired of it, our weariness is overcome by the comfort of what we’ve been taught. And the tragedy of imagining a reality based upon false thinking about race and Black and White people in America is that it keeps us from using the real history to inform the present. That can be a lost opportunity to address the national need for reconciliation between Blacks and Whites in America.
From the perspective of the Unpaid Labor Project, none of the sci-fi scenarios being discussed can compete with today’s real world scenario of what actually happened as a result of the North winning the War. A more interesting scenario to imagine is a future where the North won the War; and the system of White superiority and Black inferiority that was created to support slavery was dismantled in 1865. We are living the reality that the TV series Confederate might imagine. There’s no need to wait for the series. Just look around.