Turns out HBO's "Confederate" is even hated by racists

If even the "southern heritage" squad calls the series problematic, it probably shouldn't air

Published August 3, 2017 1:35PM (EDT)

David Benioff; D.B Weiss   (AP/Vince Bucci)
David Benioff; D.B Weiss (AP/Vince Bucci)

If progressive political activists and the racist-tinged supporters of the "southern heritage" movement can agree that something is a bad idea, then it's probably worth torpedoing midships.

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss — the show runners for "Game of Thrones" — have mapped out their post-"Thrones" plans and no one seems to be happy about it. HBO recently gave the duo's idea for a new series titled "Confederate" the greenlight, and although the it's not set to premiere for at least another two years, the network is already facing harsh criticism from activists and Confederacy sympathizers alike.

The series imagines an alternate timeline where people are preparing for the Third American Civil War, following the successful seccession of the southern states from the Union, creating a nation in which slavery is legal and has been integrated into a modern institution. Sound familiar? It should. The the plot isn't too hard to imagine with the ever-growing problems people of color face, like police brutality, mass incarceration, and racial profiling, as many others have pointed out.

During Sunday's episode of "Game of Thrones," #OscarsSoWhite creator April Reign and her swath of followers took to Twitter to express their disappointment with the network's decision. Reign argued the series is racist as it ignores the systemic enslavement black people currently face.

The so-called "southern heritage" advocates have joined Reign in condemning the series, but not because they hate what the historic Confederacy represented. Quite the opposite. They're worried the series might paint a false and negative image of the south. David Kukri, an advocate from FreeMississippi.org, told Mic, "all this show would do is make every Southerner be shunned for being a Southerner."

"It is the saddest attempt to try to make the people call for the removal of our Confederate heritage,” Kukri continued. "To believe that slavery would last [in the South] all the way to today’s time is the most insulting statement I’ve heard."

It's a good point that we shouldn't condemn the American south for the crimes of over 150 years ago (there's more recent stuff to latch onto, surely). But such critique coming from the same disingenuous advocates who like to tilt the conversation about the Civil War into more philosophical discussions of "state's rights," "family pride" and "tradition" is, well, awful. But, hey, at least we can all agree that "Confederate" is a dumpster fire, right? It seems that Weiss and Benioff have done what no politician could — unite our fractured nation.

HBO recently released a statement in response to criticism they have received for moving forward with the series. "We have great respect for the dialogue and concern being expressed around Confederate," they said. "We have faith that [writers] Nichelle, Dan, David and Malcolm will approach the subject with care and sensitivity. The project is currently in its infancy so we hope that people will reserve judgment until there is something to see."

By Alessandra Maldonado

Alessandra Maldonado is an editorial intern at Salon. You can find her on Twitter at @alessamberr

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