Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) is deeply discouraged to see the continuing examples of racial extremism and hate, which are too often demonstrated across the United States of America. Extremist groups regularly hold events to argue that some are inherently inferior or inherently evil based on their race, and we see this with extremists among white Americans and extremists among African Americans. A volunteer human rights organization committed to equality must challenge those who reject equality and dignity for all based on their race, and R.E.A.L. has done so for many years.
One would hope that the terrible sacrifices, the deaths, torture, and slavery seen in factual history would have been enough at some point that Americans could continue to vow “never again” to such racial extremist and segregationist values. By 1860, the African American population was 4.4 million, of which 3.9 million were slaves – nearly 90 percent of the African American population was enslaved. The long struggle for equality resulted in so many sacrifices to such horrific wrongs. Millions of Africans died in transportation as slaves from Africa to the new world. The inhuman process of slavery was an immoral inhumanity by those seeking slaves in America and around the world. The Gilder Lehrman Institute has reported that “a third of slave laborers were children and an eighth were elderly or crippled.”
This horrific reality also led to many sacrifices to change the stain of white supremacism and racial extremism. During the U.S. Civil War, 620,000 died among the military struggle to end slavery. Many more were killed, injured, and struggled to end racial segregation in the century after that to secure civil and human rights for African Americans. Still in the 21st century, we continue to struggle for equality in the legal treatment, dignity, and opportunity for people of all races. As an individual, even as a child, I saw and protested the white supremacist segregationist practices that had become institutionalized across too much of America. Those who do not understand the human rights tragedies that this country faced, not that long ago, did not see the public signs “white clientele only,” and the institutionalized segregation in schools, restaurants, hotels, public facilities, and too many other parts of America. But despite the terrible tragedy, loss, and sacrifice of so many, there remain those who stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the lessons of history.
So many have given their lives in the pursuit of equality and justice in an indivisible United States of America. We have worked to ensure equal justice under the law. We have worked to ensure equal respect by law enforcement. We have worked to challenge racial extremist hate. We have worked to promote equality, not just of law, but also of dignity and opportunity. But despite this, there remains a segment of society which continues to seek to impose racial extremist and segregationist views on others.
The abuse of social media has allowed racial extremists, racial nationalists, and racial segregations to find like-minded individuals to continue to spread messages of hate and messages that attack the fundamental equality of their fellow human beings, based on their race. Such efforts seek to normalize views of racial extremism, nationalism, and segregation in a United States, where so many have paid the cost for equality with their lives.
As such racial extremist views have become increasingly normalized and acceptable, it should not surprise us to see that such normalized views on racial inequality have now found their way into corporate entertainment media. For too long, corporate entertainment media has accepted degrading and second-class citizen treatment of people of color. Many have worked to change this with corporate media, as part of a continuing effort to achieve racial equality and dignity for all.
But despite this, two American cable and Internet television outlets have announced plans for “alternative reality” television shows centered on the continuation of African-American slavery in America and on the continuation and expansion of racial segregation in America.
HBO has announced plans to make an “alternative reality” televison program, called “Confederate,” where slavery of African Americans will remain legal in part of the United States, and which will seek to provide an “entertainment” television program that addresses African Americans continuing as slaves. Amazon has announced its own plans to make an “alternative reality” television show, where racial segregation has become physically institutionalized (again), by actually dividing part of the U.S. out and making a separate nation for African Americans called “New Colonia” in a television program that is titled (with no concept of its own irony) “Black America.”
These corporate media giants have come to the apparent conclusion there was not enough horrific real history on slavery and racial segregation to report on. So they have decided to manipulate history to come up with more “entertaining” “alternative reality” programs. Both media giants have defended these ideas, with HBO being criticized by many, and there has been a painful silence about Amazon’s similarly misguided plans for such an essential issue in American history.
Corporate media and its supporters view that criticism of such projects amounts to censorship. But the American public, who have struggled for so long on the issues of slavery and racial segregation, have a right to free speech on outrageous media projects, which undermine efforts for shared equality and a shared respect for the truth of actual history.
Our generations are losing the ability to fully understand the reality of history. Too many do not know the facts of history in America today. Too many have been given “manipulated” versions of the historical trauma regarding slavery and racial extremism in America, and the echo chamber affect of those with like views in social media is only reinforcing such false beliefs on history and fact. When we have a nation with such problems today, the last thing American corporate media needs to layer on to this challenge on facts are fictional “alternative realities” about slavery and segregation.
Corporate media “entertainment” on slavery and segregation will inspire racial extremists, and find enjoyment by the followers of white supremacist leaders and black nationalist leaders. American efforts for equality, dignity, and respect for people of all races need to be based on the truths and facts that we must openly and honestly face as a nation, not “alternative realities.”
R.E.A.L. urges corporate media to recognize that there are compelling stories in American history, stories of great drama, great struggle, and great accomplishment. The real-life, true stories of courage, sacrifice, loss, and overcoming impossible odds in America’s history deserve to be heard, not allow the twisting of such history by fiction that does not honor such struggles.
We work to be Responsible for EQUALITY and Liberty for all.