I haven’t studied my black-history textbook lately, but I think the lineage of civil rights heroes goes from Marcus Garvey to Martin Luther King Jr. to Malcolm X to HBO Programming President Casey Bloys.
Speaking to the Television Critics Association on Wednesday, Bloys said that the criticism surrounding HBO’s upcoming show Confederate—which imagines an alternate reality in which the Southern states successfully seceded from the United States and slavery still exists—caught him off guard. According to The Wrap, Bloys admits that the rollout to the public could have been better, but he believes the production team who gave us Game of Thrones “could do anything they want.”
“I think we could’ve done a better job with the press rollout,” Bloys said, adding that he had had the benefit of having the producers of the show explain it to him in detail. “We heard why they wanted to do the show, what they were excited about, why it was important to them. So we had that context. But I completely understand that somebody reading the press release would not have that at all.”
But it was Bloys’ stated idea about how the show could affect race relations that was most interesting. The HBO chief said that Confederate provides a “real opportunity to advance the racial discussion in America.”
“If you can draw a line between what we’re seeing in the country today with voter suppression, mass incarceration, lack of access to public education and health care,” he said, “and draw a direct line between that and our past and our shared history, that is an important line to draw and a conversation worth having.”
Of course. It’s the old “We need to have a conversation about race” theory.
Whenever people of no color want to sidestep any criticism about racism—whether it’s shooting a black boy in the chest for walking home with Skittles in his pockets or equivocating about producing a televised version of an “alt-right” wet dream—they inevitably retreat to the safe cover of informing the country that we need to talk about racism. Then they immediately poke their chests out and bask in the self-congratulatory valor of acknowledging that racism even exists.
Bloys made his statements as if America doesn’t know. As if people don’t have access to the billions of pages of peer-reviewed academic studies that prove how slavery still impacts the lives of minorities. As if there aren’t novels, songs, speeches, books and essays about it. As if—all along—what this country has been waiting for is for some white dudes from Hollywood to make it clear to the country that slavery was fucked up by putting it on cable TV. Now they’ll understand.
Hey, Mr. Bloys, “we” don’t need a racial discussion—white people do. Black people talk about, see, feel and swim in the murky, poisonous pool of racism in America every day.
You know what would be fucked up? If you walked up to a victim of sexual assault and told him or her: “I’d like to make a television series about what happened to you, but I’d like for what happened to last longer and have it happen every day. Why are you frowning? Don’t you think this could advance the discussion about rape?”
And if you think it is hyperbolic or insensitive to compare racism to sexual assault, you must remember that that is exactly what slavery was: a legal, repeated, centuries-long literal rape of an entire people.
In his comments to the Television Critics Association, as he touted how the series could make America understand the impact that slavery had on America, Bloys did not mention how his company would make millions of dollars in profit by ignoring the feelings and pleas of black people.
Ironic, isn’t it?
Read more at The Wrap.