One of New York City’s most prestigious prep schools has apologized after screening a satirical movie about slavery.
The Dalton School showed “C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America” to sophomores at a presentation of history projects on Monday. The movie portrayed the south as the winners of the Civil War and treated slavery as comical.
“C.S.A.,” released in 2006 and directed by Kevin Willmott, an associate professor at the University of Kansas, is presented in the style of a documentary, nearly 150 years after Ulysses S. Grant surrenders to Robert E. Lee, following the film’s conceit.
The movie is a hodgepodge of commentary by fake historians and altered footage, including an image of a Confederate flag on the moon. It freely uses racial stereotypes, with the not-so-subtle message that attitudes toward black people in the real world are not so far off from the imagined 21st-century Confederacy.
Some of the film’s most provocative moments came during its spoof advertisements. In one ad promoting Confederate Family insurance the narrator says, “For over 100 years, protecting people and their property.” Another ad for a tracking device called the Shackle refers to the device as “a revolutionary new way of servant monitoring.”
After viewing the screening, some of the students said that the film was insensitive to the struggle of blacks and made light of slavery.
Thoughts on the film screening at the school?
Is slavery a topic that is never meant to be portrayed comically in any context?
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