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Relevance of ‘Watchmen’ in midst of George Floyd Protests

Credit: Warner Bros. Television Distribution / HBO

One of the shows known for its better portrayal of racial prejudice in the United States of America is HBO’s adaptation of Alan Moore’s 1986 graphic novel “Watchmen.” On Memorial Day (25 May, 2019) George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American, died in Minneapolis while being restrained by the police. Video of this incident, which went viral, was shown in media and broadcasting services. Following the spread of the video, protests continued in Minneapolis and other cities. In the context of such tumultuous milieu, Watchmen(2019 TV series) has great relevance. Breaking down few parts from the episodes, to find out why that is.

Tulsa Massacre:

The creator Damon Lindelof has spun off the Graphic Novel and presented it in Tulsa, Oklahoma and not the usual big cities like New York or Los Angeles. The Greenwood district of Tulsa was posthumously called ‘black wall street’ since it was inhabited by the richest African-American community in America. It begins in the middle of “the single worst incident of racial violence in American history; The Tulsa massacre of 1921.” The setting was chosen purposefully to highlight the show’s racial connotation.

KKK:

Though the series is set in a different reality than ours (for example a giant squid drops on New York in the 1980s which made the world power aware of forces beyond the galaxy), mention of the Ku Klux klan which makes its racial subplot very real to the viewers. The plot advances as the Klan would later evolve into organizations such as ‘The Cyclops’ or ‘The Seventh Cavalry’ that would seem to work for the cause of white supremacy (and spoiler alert: would also try to destroy Dr.Manhattan).

Redfordations:

The Victims of Racial Violence Act of 2008 also known as the Redfordations is a law in the United States Congress in the Watchmen Universe, signed into law by President Robert Redford( Redford’s presidency makes up for a whole new subplot in the series). The law declares restitution to victims and direct descendants of said victims of racial violence in terms of tax exemption. The redfordations directly hint towards the fallibility of the anti-discriminatory laws in the U.S. On a different scene, we see our protagonist (Regina King as Sister Night) facing racist comments from one of her daughter’s classmates, owing to the reparations she received for being a survivor of the 1921 Tulsa massacre. Among the ultra-extraordinary plans of evil mega-minds and super-villains, the show is deeply focused on the root-level atrocities of racism.

Watchemn(2019) is not restitution for the extant racism in America. Rather it’s a chance of succor. The death of George Floyd strip-exposed the racial prejudice prevalent in American society, which has manifested itself as Ahmad Aubrey, Amy Cooper and several other incidents that shocked the nation. Perhaps George Floyd was the last piece of the domino. A precinct of the Minneapolis PD was torched on May 28 and a hacktivist group called Anonymous has leaked several classified archives that involve Donald Trump, Jeffery Epstein, Princess Diana’s death, the Royal Family, Bill Gates, Naomi Campbell and many more. It is clear that people have had enough and they’re not going to sit back and stay silent. “Justice is coming to all of us. No matter what we do.”

Sagnik Das

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