Why HBO’s ‘Confederate’ Dramatizes Non-Black Privilege in Real Time
So, there’s a new kid in town! Actually the arrival is being heralded on the exiting heels of the profitable and world-wide phenom: Game of Thrones — an intriguing fantastical blockbuster that The Force Awakens heartthrob John Boyega, recently described as a show that showcases “no Black people.”
His statement is actually worth quoting due to it’s impeccable timing:
“There are no black people on Game of Thrones. You don’t see one black person in Lord of the Rings,” Boyega said in a recent interview with GQ. “I ain’t paying money to always see one type of person on-screen. Because you see different people from different backgrounds, different cultures, every day. Even if you’re a racist, you have to live with that. We can ruffle up some feathers.”
Well, feathers are definitely being ruffled — just not in the way that Boyega may have proposed. Before we get to that stash of shit — lets check out what George R.R. Martin — the dude responsible for your activated summer obsession had to say to a fan, who also challenged why White people have consistently dominated the mythical wonderland of Westeros:
“Westeros around 300 AC is nowhere near as diverse as 21st century America, of course,” wrote Martin. “But with that being said, I do have some ‘characters of color’ who will have somewhat larger roles in WINDS OF WINTER. Admittedly, these are secondary and tertiary characters, though not without importance.”
Wow! How amazingly considerate of Martin to admit that in the world he created — people of color never really mattered — in fact back in those times — the notion of diversity and all the consequences and responsibilities that amount with that level of awareness — couldn’t easily implemented. That’s because it was 300 AC — a period ruled solely by Caucasians — as opposed to present times — where people of color are finally being viewed under different lenses which makes the act of inclusion a lot more organic.
Unfortunately for Martin — the Wizard behind the wizardry — his useless explanation matches what most White people say — when faced with the daunting task of defending their right to exclude any human — from their vividly narrow imagination.
The best part is the consolation prize that consists of “characters of color” being regulated to “secondary and tertiary characters” that he promises will be “somewhat” impactful to the imposing landscape of his gigantically impressive kingdom.
Well, we are not worthy.
The last time I saw Game of Thrones was back in 2013 when I had my own TV in my own apartment. Since then, I have subjected myself to the lightening of tweeted recaps and the thunder of enthusiasm that ensues whenever the wave of a new season makes landfall.
Will you be watching, now that you know that your loyalty has funded the incubator of another offering from HBO — Confederate?
Yes, whatever you’re imagining — is accurately as horrifying as what will befall us once production is wrapped and the premiere date is announced.
There is no need for fancy fare — just the details, please.
Confederate is going to aim to entertain the masses with the nostalgic pull of abhorrence— by romanticizing an era that essentially forced human beings into a role that even street dogs would shudder to inhabit.
Slavery is still trending — ladies and gentlemen!
We revived Roots because we thought it would be necessary to give the young generation a taste of how television can be unnervingly potent. And then Underground came along, and while I decried it, I took it back when the rave reviews from sources I trust — consoled me into believing that it wasn’t just another creative attempt to beat a dead horse. Even 12 Years a Slave — was hard to watch, but I did it because the performances were pure and Steve McQueen isn’t a pussy.
HBO and Game of Thrones creators/showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are trifling in their quest to seize the suffocating climate of extreme hostility as a gauge for a project — that will surely thrive under the excited thumbs of those far removed.
And sorry, but strategically adding a couple of writers of color as currency won’t glaze over the underlying motivation that will yield many returns, at the expense of those of us who have to harbor the knowledge that the spotlight will once again focus on how we were brutally persecuted — for kicks.
You may think it’s premature to condemn a screenplay that is still waiting to be formatted, but I say that any story that centers on “slavery remaining legal” in a modernized society is hitting too dangerously close to home — especially at a time when Donald Trump is casually taking dumps in The White House while Black people are legally gunned down with their seat belt fastened.
White privilege is happening in real time — and Black people are cry babies who whine about every fucking thing because we’re sensitive to the fact that our entire universe was unhinged by the predatory tendencies of our captors — who threw us all over the map for the sake of power and wealth.
What’s the big deal, bro? It’s just some fictional show with great cinematography and cool as shit writing, and the same fairytale element that you loved so much when Game Of Thrones was all you could talk about.
The deal is this. Non-Black men, concocting a tale of slavery flourishing in a post-modern universe will never be acceptable in the eyes of children with forefathers — that were chained to ships on the verge of drowning with no hope of recovery.
This isn’t a story you get to energetically illustrate on your white canvas in Malibu with the ocean as vibe and your high as fuck comrades worshipping your new million dollar venture. This can’t be your check mark in the box of diversity where you hire Black people to screw over their own in word and deed.
This is beyond skepticism. It borders the painful realization that Non-Black men with power can unapologetically produce whatever the hell they want — and whether or not we participate — there is no doubt that we can’t prevent a series about the most fucked up time of our lives from seeing the light of HBO.
It’s the privilege of “modernizing” a turbulent and downright brutal offense with no personal strings attached. If you have no primal investment — then for sure it’s easier to heighten the remarkable effects for viewership and diluted pleasure.
If you can’t relate to the tragedy of accommodating the fact that your family tree was forced onto a cutting board and minced into bits — that you will never reconvene — then perhaps, permission to create “an alternate timeline where the southern states have successfully seceded the from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal” — shouldn’t ever be granted.
Slavery was a monumental affront to all that is holy and just in the eyes of whatever instincts receive you — when you last breath vacates your frame in righteous surrender.
Confederate has already won it’s Emmys and Globes, and tinseltown is back milking the blessings of America — Making Hollywood Great Again.
Stay tuned! It’s gonna get good.