The Confederacy Fallout
The fact millions of viewers are waiting to see whether or not Daenerys Targaryen will finally take back the iron throne and defeat the white walkers with her new ally Jon Snow, is a testimony to the creativity and good judgment that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (the executive producers and writers for the Game of Thrones TV series) had in bringing the George R. Martin fantasy novels to the small screen. Such primetime entertainment is destined to go down in television history. Which is why the roll out for their possible upcoming series “Confederate” left millions puzzled why the creative duo would decide to plunge into the controversial topic of antebellum slavery via the perspective of the Southerner whites should they have won the Civil War.
In this highly charged pc cultural environment where any infraction of race and gender is met with vitriol and instant shaming, Benioff and Weiss turned a successful run of press into damage control management due to the controversial subject matter which they sought to tackle by their new project. That Hollywood is obsessed with the depths of white supremacy should be nothing new. As I said in an article featured after the Charleston shooting in 2015, Confederate history was mainstream American history until the late 1970’s. The mockumentary CSA: The Confederate States of America (2004) by Kevin Willncott explored already the theme that Bernioff and Weiss want to in their new project with this difference: the film illustrated that the stereotypes generated by racism and slavery continued to be a part of mainstream attitudes about African Americans over a century after the end of the Civil War–perpetuated by everything from the movie Gone with the Wind to the Aunt Jemima box.
The most inventive foray into white supremacy in the cinema, which was in the scifi/fantasy genre, was Desmond Nekomo’s White Man’s Burden starring Harry Belfonte and John Travolta. In this movie, the racial roles were flipped! Nekomo made the African and not the European the race that dominated Americans and western culture-thus creating a parallel universe where it was the Caucasian who had to struggle for acceptance and humanity in a system determined to make him or her a nonentity.
Since this is a free country where filmmakers and producers are entitled to make whatever movie or series they want to, I see no reason why Confederacy shouldn’t be made. However, people should remember that tinsel town has always had a love affair with the Confederate narrative–which makes the goings on with Charlottesville,VA even more poignant! The Confederacy, the gangster, and drug trafficker have had primetime in the pantheon of the industry dedicated to entertainment.
It remains to be seen how exactly the Benioff/Weiss vehicle will add to the conversation on the overt and subtle ways in which white supremacy continues to dominate the American culture. For good measure the Game of Thrones producers have brought on the writing team of Malcolm and Nicole Trumble in order to be sensitive to the “black perspective” as they embark on this rewriting of American history into a world where the Confederacy has dominated the political and social structure of the US–Oh wait we’re already in this world!