Oh 2016. You are the twenty-year old re-gifted fruitcake that nobody wants during the festive season. It was bad enough when you permanently kidnapped my first blue-eyed bae while I was getting hammered on knock-off Jameson during Christmas, but before then you have made it your mission to treat racism like a relative living in the basement that only comes up for the Christmas ham and spiked eggnog. Translation: it’s always in the background waiting to make an appearance once again.
This was the case when A&E teased us with the upcoming documentary series Escaping the KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate in America (originally titled Generation KKK. It sounds like the coming-of-age Aryan nation version of 90210), which was slated to be an eight-part series digging deep into the Ku Klux Klan’s culture of hatred, bigotry and tips for keeping your white sheets so fresh and so clean for your next rally. Well, after it came to light that producers have been supplying participants of the show with cash money, and after weeks of backlash from many whose eyes popped all the way out of their sockets like paddle balls in reaction to this wonderful idea, A&E has decided to cancel the show.
According to the New York Times, A&E released a statement revealing that third-party producers were involved in giving cash payments to the participants in the show, even after they reassured civil rights organizations involved with the program such as Color of Change and the Anti-Defamation League that they had not done such a thing.
A&E went on to say “While we stand behind the intent of the series and the seriousness of the content, these payments are a direct violation of A&E’s policies and practices for a documentary.” And as immoral as this practice may seem, it is technically still approved of by some media outlets, including reality television programs.
Honestly, the whole premise of this documentary seemed like a bad idea. If we have learned nothing else in 2016, we were reminded how much racism is still a huge part of our country. Although this victory may seem like we’ve trumped racism for now, honestly, how bad could the series have been? I’m sure there would have been tons of glimpses of racist white folks, incoherent arguments and bad haircuts. It’s not like we won’t already be treated to that brand of fuckery for, say, the next four years beginning on January 20th or anything like that.
We sure dodged a bullet! Thanks A&E.