Cancel HBO's "Confederate" in light of violence in Charlottesville, VA
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In light of the racial violence in Charlottesville, VA, we call on HBO, and producers David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Malcolm Spellman, and Casey Bloys to cancel their planned series "Confederate."
"Confederate" is a drama that "imagines a modern-day Confederacy with an intact slavery industry." (Hollywood Reporter, 8/10/2017) While, officially, the Confederacy ended when the Civil War ended, in practice, the Confederacy is still alive and well. Even more disturbingly, the slave industry never truly ended. We do not need to "imagine an intact slavery industry." We need only look around us.
"Confederate" would not be an imagining of what would have happened if the Confederacy had won; "Confederate" would be a fictionalized documentary of current events in the United States of America—a documentary that is at once unnecessary and at worst deeply hurtful to Black Americans. As the distribution company of the powerful, racially-integrated shows "The Wire" and "Oz," we believe that HBO recognizes the importance of showing reality while not exacerbating or condoning dystopian tendencies. Based on the description of "Confederate," we believe that "Confederate" would in fact condone the dystopian view of slavery and the oppression of Black Americans—going so far as, in the minds of white nationalists, to state that Lincoln was wrong in reuniting the North and South.
You may think that "Confederate" is needed now more than ever, to show the harm of oppression, to humanize people of color, to do your part to create a "post-racial" society. We believe that "Confederate" would have the opposite effects. "Confederate" runs the risk of affirming the backward, violent beliefs of white nationalists and triggers the psychic (and physical) trauma experienced by so many Black Americans on a daily basis.
The powerful Netflix documentary "13th" highlights the persistence of slave culture in the United States in spite of the passing of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in the form of the prison-industrial complex and systemic racism. We do not need to "imagine an intact slavery industry." We need only look around us. And Black Americans need only wake up every morning.
On August 11th, 2017, white nationalists rallied on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA, to protest the removal of a statue honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The white nationalists carried torches and chanted, "You will not replace us." The Confederacy is still alive and well. We need only look around us.
On August 12th, 2017, counterprotesters gathered in Charlottesville, VA, to confront white nationalists' "Unite the Right" rally. Clashes broke out, and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency. A few hours later, a Dodge Challenger intentionally drove into a crowd of counterprotesters on a street of downtown Charlottesville. A 32-year-old woman was killed, and 19 others were injured—including 5 people in critical condition as of the writing of this petition on Sunday, August 13th, 2017. The confederacy is still alive and well. We need only look around us.
It was lazy imagining before the violence in Charlottesville to consider producing a show such as "Confederate." After the racial violence in Charlottesville, it is unethical, immoral, and simply unconscionable to continue the production of "Confederate." We, the signers of this petition, cannot imagine that the producers of "Game of Thrones," in addition to "The Wire," "Oz," "The Sopranos," "Six Feet Under," "Westworld," "Deadwood," and others would lack the imagination to come up with a new show that doesn't rely on highlighting the continuing, perpetual oppression of Blacks.
The Confederacy is still alive and well. We do not need to "imagine an intact slavery industry." We need only look around us. And Black Americans need only wake up every morning.
We call on HBO and the producers of "Confederate" to wake up to these realities and cancel "Confederate" immediately.
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