Inspired by several puff-pieces in the New York Times, featuring, reviewing and fawning over the 2016 remake of classic racial-propaganda series Roots, All Black People have helpfully pointed out that historically accurate fiction is racist.
“There were even some parts of the original 1977 Roots that were too truthful,” say All Black People who now agree that historically accurate fiction is racist. They add that even though the 1977 Roots was an excellent attempt at historically inaccurate fiction it was not nearly inaccurate enough.
All Black People point out that Alex Haley, the writer of the original ‘book’ (originally classified as ‘non-fiction’ and then quietly moved to ‘fiction’) did good work in establishing that, when it comes to black people, it is more important that the work ‘do the right thing’ than be accurate.
“He was working in the tradition of Solomon Northup,” they say, referring to the 19th century account of enslavement that also turned out to be made-up.
‘The Right Thing,’ named after a Spike Lee film in which ‘The Right Thing’ is to burn down local businesses, in the context of historical fiction, is to ignore history as much as possible and, instead, establish the following ‘universal truths’:
1. All white people are evil
2. All black people are beautiful, good, and Perfect In Every Way
3. Africa was home to advanced and noble civilisations before the white devil came and ruined it all
Indeed, in the case of the 2016 Roots, even promotional material such as interviews and magazine features include noble efforts to falsify history.
In the New York Times, Roots actress Anika Noni Rose says that nineteenth century life in Gambia was characterised by “civilization, scholarship, lineage and royalty before the Africans were stolen and brought to these shores.”
She happily and dutifully ignores that native civilisations with written languages have never existed in sub-Saharan Africa, that referring to Bantu tribal leaders as ‘Royalty’ is a bit disingenuous and that those Africans were bought fair and square in accordance with long standing local cultural traditions.