First, I must confess that I am a Game of Thrones fan. To be more precise, I am a Tyrion Lannister fan as interpreted by Peter Dinklage. I continued to watch Game of Thrones after the first episode primarily because I was fascinated by Tyrion. I love his wit and his joy of life. As the series progressed, I started to love his cunning, his morality, and his willingness to walk away from everything and to return again when he thought he could serve a leader who would be good for the people of the Seven Kingdoms.

I was and remain at once enthralled and deeply dismayed by the imagination of George R.R. Martin in the books and by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss in the television series. They have conjured an entire world complete with history and religion and food. They have imaged flying dragons and a human queen who can withstand fire. They have given us a human being, the Three-eyed Raven, who can see everything past, present, and future. I enjoy the library at the Citadel, the warrior women and the dangerous queens. Games of Thrones earned an everlasting place in my heart for bringing back the great Diana Rigg as Lady Olenna Tyrell. The Game of Thrones imagination imagines an army of the dead that is the ultimate enemy of the living, and the saying of the House Stark is correct: “Winter is coming.”

My disappointment comes with the rapes of women and the torture porn. It especially comes when I look at the world these wonderful imaginings have given us, and I see a world where African or Asian people hardly exist. We have seen a few minor black characters, but it seems beyond their imagining that there could be high born black people who would have something to say about who will sit on the Iron Throne. Perhaps this would be a good starting point for a sequel as Game of Thrones, the television show, comes to an end.

Rather than thinking with delicious anticipation about what a sequel to the series could be, we are instead faced with an HBO announcement that Benioff and Weiss will produce a show called Confederate. The premise of the show will be what would the world be like if the Confederacy had won the Civil War and slavery existed to this day?

What? Who thought this was a good idea? (See: https://www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/535512/)

Here is where I reach the limits of my own imagination. I cannot image how anyone would think that what the world needs now is a fantasy about the enslavement of African American people continuing to the present day. How can anyone think that such fiction is appropriate when the truth of the aftermath of the Civil War is hardly known?

Let us consider the true history. After the Civil War, federal troops were stationed in the South to oversee Reconstruction. A Freedman’s Bureau was established to help the formerly enslaved to build new lives. We NEVER got our forty acres or our mule. We NEVER got reparations for hundreds of years of stolen work, but that is another essay. African Americans insisted on education, so people, black and white, can thank African Americans for the existence of public education in the South. African Americans served with honor and dignity in state legislatures and in the United States Congress. Do not believe the racist propaganda of the movies that depict freed men and women as pawns in the hands of corrupt carpetbaggers from the North.

Time passed, and in a deal to swing a close election – the Compromise of 1877 – the last of the federal troops left the South. White southerners quickly imposed segregation by law, a neo-slavery in the share-cropper system took hold, and the white power structure robbed African-American men of the right to vote through torture and terrorist violence perpetrated by the Ku Klux Klan. Mob violence that included frequent lynching of African-Americans and pogroms, attempts at racial cleansing and intimidation, erupted across the United States.

In the face of all of this, African-Americans worked with white philanthropists to establish colleges and universities. We built churches and businesses and cultural institutions. We exercised our freedom and left the South during what is known as the Great Migration. We established training schools to help young men and women learn skills that would help them earn a living. We established organizations to agitate for equal rights and to help African Americans make the adjustment to city life.
We invented gospel and the blues, and the marriage of the two gave the world ragtime, jazz, boogie-woogie, rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and hip-hop.

We produced artists of all kinds, inventors, doctors, lawyers, journalists, business men and women, politicians, and world champion athletes. With all of this history that ought to be told, with so many awe-inspiring true stories to tell, HBO asks us to wait and see what the results of an insulting concept of the Confederate will look like.

No.

During the Sunday night 9 pm EDT showing of Game of Thrones, people protesting Confederate asks that those of us who Tweet will include the hashtag #NoConfederate in our tweets to show HBO, that we protest the very idea of such a show. I plan to do this, and now is a time when we need our allies of all races. Think back to the time when your ancestors were slaves. Would you enjoy a show that imagines the continuation of such a horror?

 

 

Valerie Elverton Dixon is founder of JustPeaceTheory.com and author of “Just Peace Theory Book One: Spiritual Morality, Radical Love, and the Public Conversation.”


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