Thread for People to Discuss Why They Are Not Going to Watch "Reconstruction" The Henry Louis Gates Documentary Tonight

Mark F. Jenkins

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Central Ohio
That's me too. Rarely do I watch anything on television. Watched some of The Masters last weekend. Other than that,my TV hasn't been turned on in 2 weeks.

Yeah... I use it more as a DVD player than anything else. I basically broke the TV habit about 15-20 years back when I had a disagreement with the only cable TV service available at my address, and cut the cord-- discovered the only thing I seriously missed was the weather channel, so I bought a weather radio. (And now the weather channel barely shows weather anymore, anyway!)

Since I don't watch sports and prefer to get my news from the newspaper, there's little reason for me to turn the thing on.
 

uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
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Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
It is streaming on PBS. I watched the second part last week. It is Black centric. Which is not a bad thing. For someone who hasn’t studied the issues closely, which would be the majority, I suspect, it is educational. It’s not all about the South. Which was good to see.
 

Bruce Vail

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
The subject is just too depressing, what with the lost opportunities, the selling out of the Freedmen and the subsequent servility of the white lower orders to the white elites.

Reconstruction is a depressing subject. It has few heroes (in the conventional sense) and is really a tale of American failure, not success. We are not accustomed to thinking of our country in these terms.
 

Pat Young

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Long Island, NY
There were far more white sharecroppers than black. Much of the white and black population of the South was impoverished for decades after the war.
Just checking re a good source for stats on this. I really only started looking at sharecropping a few years ago and I am looking for metrics to review.
 

Andersonh1

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South Carolina
Just checking re a good source for stats on this. I really only started looking at sharecropping a few years ago and I am looking for metrics to review.

I don't know that I can recommend a definitive source for you. I've done some reading on the subject, and I remember being surprised to find out that more whites than blacks were involved in the system, though given the disparity of population overall in the south, it should not have been a surprise. But that fact stuck with me. Of course numbers varied from time to time and region to region. It was a system that predated the Civil War in Mississippi and Tennessee, but it grew enormously after the war, and was still being practiced through and after the Great Depression.
 

Pat Young

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I don't know that I can recommend a definitive source for you. I've done some reading on the subject, and I remember being surprised to find out that more whites than blacks were involved in the system, though given the disparity of population overall in the south, it should not have been a surprise. But that fact stuck with me. Of course numbers varied from time to time and region to region. It was a system that predated the Civil War in Mississippi and Tennessee, but it grew enormously after the war, and was still being practiced through and after the Great Depression.
Thanks. I saw in Ed Baptiste's course on American Capitalism that many whites were sharecroppers and I was very aware that there were white sharecroppers even when I was a boy. It seems like an important part on the labor system post-war, and one that tied in national banking.
 

Joshism

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Location
Jupiter, FL
The subject is just too depressing, what with the lost opportunities, the selling out of the Freedmen and the subsequent servility of the white lower orders to the white elites.
Reconstruction is a depressing subject. It has few heroes (in the conventional sense) and is really a tale of American failure, not success. We are not accustomed to thinking of our country in these terms.

I concur with Reconstruction being a generally depressing subject. There are other subjects that I don't study either Edited.

I don't think the idea of "American failure" explains it. The Indian Wars Edited are also American failures, but I don't mind reading about them.

It might be that Reconstruction is just such a mess. It's not just an ugly part of the past. It's got a longlasting impact up through the present, even partly tied into modern politics. Furthermore, trying to actually sort through what actually happened is incredibly difficult. It's been seen though a long series of distorting schools of thought. There are few good books on the subject, and arguably no great ones.

Most history has a sense of a conclusiveness, that after some study we will, more or less, know what happened and why. It's usually a matter of uncovering the facts and resolving a few discrepancies. New information and new perspectives might shift the conclusions, but rarely reinvent the wheel. In contrast, Reconstruction feels like a morass that one sinks into, never really reaching The Truth.
 

bdtex

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Reopening after staff review. Be advised that anything about anything after 1899 will be deleted and any pre-1900 stuff not CW/Reconstruction-related will be deleted.
 

dhh712

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Gettysburg, PA
I'm so happy to read that others besides myself do not watch cable TV. Until now I thought that I might be the only screwball in the US, so never admitted to my peculiarity. The documentaries that I watch are from newsletters and DVDs. I receive around 50 free newsletters each day from around the world to keep up with current events that I can read nonstop while skipping the ads. Can't do that with TV. Comcast/Xfinity provides the Internet and Telephone only.

Not at all! I don't even own a television at the moment--haven't had one in about 5 years. I enjoy watching movies, just hadn't had the time lately. I actually didn't think it was looked at as extremely peculiar, though when I did relate to someone with whom I was talking about my internet account (they were trying to get me to sign up for cable) that I didn't watch television she then asked what I did for entertainment (? Like that's the only form of entertainment??); I told her I read books!

I didn't know about the reconstruction documentary. I'd probably want to read a book about it first (have not explored the topic much), one that was at least trying to be non-biased. I get the impression that film-based things tend to be more heavily biased, but that's not necessarily true.
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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I get the impression that film-based things tend to be more heavily biased, but that's not necessarily true.

I think the issue I have with many of them is not so much bias as oversimplification in order to meet the time limitation.... which itself can end up looking like (or even actually being) bias depending on what gets skipped or cut. There's almost always so much more to the story that any TV program can usually only scratch the surface... so I usually end up more frustrated than educated or entertained.
 

Norm53

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Feb 13, 2019
Location
Cape May, NJ
Not at all! I don't even own a television at the moment--haven't had one in about 5 years. I enjoy watching movies, just hadn't had the time lately. I actually didn't think it was looked at as extremely peculiar, though when I did relate to someone with whom I was talking about my internet account (they were trying to get me to sign up for cable) that I didn't watch television she then asked what I did for entertainment (? Like that's the only form of entertainment??); I told her I read books!

I didn't know about the reconstruction documentary. I'd probably want to read a book about it first (have not explored the topic much), one that was at least trying to be non-biased. I get the impression that film-based things tend to be more heavily biased, but that's not necessarily true.
"I told her I read books!"
Touché!
 
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