Remaking Alex Haley’s Fake Roots – Why the Racism-Industrial-Complex refuses to let the lie die.

In May, the History Channel will air its remake of Alex Haley’s Roots: The Saga of An American Family.

Unsurprisingly, the advertising for the broadcast fails to mention that Roots is a fake, and a fake of the first order.

First of all, the book upon which the successful mini-series was based was actually authored by Murray Fisher, Alex Haley’s editor from Playboy magazine.

  • andycanuck

    Your name is “Pip”!!!

    • Pipikunte?

    • Clausewitz

      Revisionist History. A progressive specialty, because everything is available for a political purpose.

  • Fiction speaks louder than truth, of course.

    • Makes for better TV evidently

    • Justin St.Denis

      Fiction is BETTER than PlainOldTruth! Fiction has “Oprah Moments”, after all, and it makes you get all weepy.

  • Interesting links. Haley’s Roots is “one of the great literary hoaxes of modern times.”

    • Justin St.Denis

      It’s a Whole Hunka Kunte!

  • BillyHW

    Roots was the most racist thing I ever saw on television.

    • Justin St.Denis

      Not to mention “cheesie, trite and melodramatic to a fault”.

  • Slavery existed among Africans before contact with white colonists and traders — not only because of Islam, but as a result of inter-tribal warfare slave capture was common, and in many cases ritualistic. Whites probably first took slaves because they were offered for sale from the locals — they may have even thought they could offer the slaves a better life under better conditions than in Africa.

    Not to say that many whites were not racist — many believed that blacks did not have souls and were sub-human. Nevertheless many believed that they were equally human, otherwise they wouldn’t have sent so many missionaries to Africa — you can’t convert people if you don’t believe they have souls and are human in the first place. I think the rare seemingly positive references to “slavery” in the Bible were in reference to indentured servitude, which was in fact voluntary “slavery”.

    Indentured servitude occurred when somebody became so indebted they could lose everything — so they temporarily sold themselves into “slavery” under contract with a wealthy person. The wealthy person would take on the debt until it was paid off by their labour. In many situations it was an act of kindness by the wealthy to help the poor especially if they didn’t really need any more labourers.

    Unfortunately some Christians in early America misinterpreted (probably deliberately) indentured servitude in the Bible as a justification for involuntary slavery — the latter of which is ridiculous. It goes against the spirit and the letter of the Judeo-Christian ethic everywhere else in the Scriptures.

    • To be truthful, there was a difference in status between Canaanite slaves and Hebrew slaves. In fact, historically, Canaanite slaves were a very rare phenomenon, and concern only the earliest period of Israelite settlement. All slavery had ceased to exist long before Mishnaic and Talmudic times, probably since the Return from Babylon if not centuries before.

      • Interesting. Naturally I was making some assumptions and you understand Hebrew history more than I can pretend. Thanks for that. Just in general, I think conditions and dynamics in warfare, exile, defending and securing one’s territory etc. are different and nothing happens ideally. But even where brute force was necessary, mercy was the ultimate goal in the Judeo ethic as far as I can see from the Hebrew writings. If not, there were plenty of instances where G-d punished his people if they diverted from his principles as far I can see. Maybe I’m being a little too idealistic myself with that view. What do you think?

        • You were right about Hebrew slaves. This was the servitude you described, which lasted up to seven years (as I recall) depending on the debt owed. The slave male or female was part of the family. If such a slave (ebed, worker) wanted to stay beyond that time, his ear was pierced as a sign that this was a stupid thing to do (i.e. not wanting to be freed was disapproved of).

          It is evident that in the early Biblical period (about 1300-700 BCE), judging by the Torah’s own accounts and the historical books (Judges, Samuel I&2, etc.), slavery of captives in war occurred. Sometimes, all the men and non-virgin women were killed, sometimes even children and the animals were killed, but often slaves and booty were taken. If women were captured in war, the men could not have sex with them until a month had passed and their heads had been shaved off (to make them ugly), and so on.

          These were common practices everywhere in that historical period (which indeed endured in some circles, as similar practices in Islam 1400 years ago and still today attest). Excessive mercy was often reproached of Israel by G-d. For instance, when king Saul did not kill the Amalekite king as he was ordered to, which resulted in his losing his crown. But in truth, this is a very ancient period. By the post-Exilic period, with some notable exceptions, perhaps because the Jews had suffered quite a bit themselves, the mores were very different.

          • Thanks. Great post. Obviously it was a situation of kill or be killed during some periods of ancient history, and mercy isn’t always a smart idea where survival is concerned.

            I know Arabic nations still practice indentured servitude with their working class, especially with foreigners from places such as Pakistan and Africa. And it can be quite exploitative — depending on whether the employer is honest and fair with the contract, which isn’t especially characteristic of Islam (Tarek Fatah has spoken and written about this injustice). And of course there is outright involuntary slavery, of the most brutal sort imaginable, that would even make the early American slave-masters blush — practiced by contemporary Jihadists.

          • This form of slavery, where Arab slave traders actually went abroad to Africa and captured slaves for commercial purposes back home was never, to my knowledge, practiced by the Hebrews.

        • P.S. an interesting, sympathetic History of the Jews is that by Paul Johnson (1987).

  • Gary

    How about the latest Mini-series ‘Obama’ where he gets the media to go along with how islam was part of the founding of the USA and how Islam was part of NASA since 1959.

  • marty_p

    $10 says the re-make will continue with the myth that Kunta Kinte was an innocent black Muslim captured by the white Christian slave trader vs. what more than likely happened i.e. he was he was captured by fellow black Muslim slave traders and schlepped to the coast where a white captained ship transported him to America and that Christianity was forced upon him. See Obama was right – Muslims were in America back in the 18th Century.

  • Hard Little Machine

    It’s true-ish enough I suppose. By modern standards they’d put ‘based on true events’ at the bottom of the screen somewhere. It’s about as honest as Shaun King and Rachel Dolezal. Reality is not what is but what we wish it to be.

  • reidjr

    Many years ago i went to Charleston South Carolina before my trip SJW told me buy just going it was racist as these grounds were where slaves etc were any way i went and the funny thing is black people down there want people to go to these areas and learn the history.

  • Dana Garcia

    How about a film depicting modern day Muslim slavery?

    That would be something to see.

    • Dana Garcia

      Another timely slavery story that would make a good film is the rise and fall of Indian immigrant Lakireddy Bali Reddy, who brought girls from his village to provide sexual services and property upkeep in his apartment empire. He was busted when a pregnant girl died in one of his rattrap apartments from a gas leak.

  • john700

    As it was with all of the Hollywood-made communist propaganda, the
    mini-series got extensive air-time in communist Eastern Europe in the
    ’70s. The idea was that white America has been bad and not in the
    position to lecture anyone else about human rights. And Hollywood was
    always ready to help enforcing this idea. It seems that McCarthy and the HUAC were right.

  • Edubeat

    February is Black History Month in our schools Perhaps they should broadcast this farce to a very impressionable audience of kids.

  • k1

    I’m holding on to my racism crutch because…
    – I don’t have to be responsible for my future
    – I get a nice fat salary from slinging the same old tired 1970’s schtick

    • Justin St.Denis

      “Last night, the ghost of my old ideals reran on Channel 5”