"History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon."Politically Correct History is when shows set in the past change that past to fit the cultural norms of the time in which the show is filmed, or the prejudices of those currently in power. Originally, this manifested itself through making the main characters surprisingly "enlightened" (and thus more sympathetic to a modern audience). An example of a more recent development is extras being cast without regard to race, even in historical situations where it doesn't make sense. However, sometimes what is perceived to be modern political correct history is actually more accurate but previous portrayals have entrenched wrong perceptions. This trope can run both ways. Nowadays, movies and shows depicting the past are more likely to show society and individuals being far more tolerant than they actually were. However, it can also go in the other direction. For example, black cowboys in recent depictions of the Wild West are sometimes accused of this trope, except that historically black cowboys did very much exist. See also Popular History, Fair for Its Day, Videogame Historical Revisionism, Eternal Sexual Freedom, Aluminum Christmas Trees, We All Live in America, America Won World War II, Black Vikings, Historical Hero Upgrade, Historical Villain Upgrade, and Historical Villain Downgrade. Contrast Deliberate Values Dissonance. Compare Fractured Fairy Tale, where this is usually Played for Laughs. For other uses of the term Politically Correct, see Political Correctness Gone Mad.
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- A Bluebell ice cream ad has a cute, gentle song about "the good old days" while some kids play outdoors and their mom call them in for a snack, harkening very much to the 50s or earlier. Only thing is, a black child is playing with them, and the boy's father sits down at the picnic table with the families of his white friends to eat. Someone seems to have forgotten that racial equality didn't really begin to take off until the late 60s and early 70s, and even then, things remained quite tenuous for years, particularly out in the countryside - even if those families themselves weren't racist, they might avoid associating with blacks due to their neighbors. This would be especially true in Blue Bell's primary geographic market, which is Texas and the surrounding states.
- In episode 3 of The Ambition of Oda Nobuna, several characters talk of marriage. While they do talk about marrying for political gain and alliances, ultimately they conclude that it's more about love. While commoners may or may not have done this in the past (and certainly in Yoshiharu's timeline), back around this time period through much of the world nobility often married for political reasons, largely in an attempt to unite lands or nations together.
- Black Butler:
- The series includes significant Indian and Chinese characters, as appropriate to Victorian Britain. However, they are portrayed as encountering very little, if any, racial discrimination for people living in the age of imperialism.
- Madame Red is not just a female doctor, but a female doctor who performs abortions, which are legal and are carried out in a hospital. Again, the series is set in Victorian Britain.
- One of DC Comics's many Elseworlds storylines has the Justice League of America back in Wild West times. Wonder Woman was a sheriff... and showed a HECK of a lot of chest, as in her modern day outfit (though she wore pants). Sure, the town she was sheriff of was indicated to be progressive, but she spent a lot of time wandering through other towns and didn't get hassled for being a woman with guns with half her boobs hanging out.
- The old west was one of the few places it was even remotely possible for a woman to rise to such a position; in some western towns women had the right to vote before the 20th century. Yes, there were a lot of prostitutes, but that only means that there were a lot of women who didn't have a husband, and could be independent business women. So, in theory, a woman like Wonder Woman could, through quite a bit of hard work, eventually rise to the position of Sheriff.
- Downplayed in Incredible Hercules, in which most of the characters from Classical Mythology whom Hercules and his young teenage Side Kick Amadeus Cho run into assume that they are having sex, even though they aren't.
- In The Sandman:
"It's just someone's idea of the English Middle Ages crossed with bloody Disney Land."
- Played with when Hob Gadling criticizes everything while accompanying his current girlfriend to a Renaissance Fair.
- Dream's reaction to Hob Gadling's occupation as a slave trader could be considered a straight example of this trope: He tells Hob, in 1789, to find another line of work because "it is a poor thing to enslave another." This seems a bit out of character for Dream, who at this point in his timeline doesn't seem to have much compassion for anyone.
- Both Nick Fury's Howling Commandos and Sgt. Rock's Easy Company included one African-American soldier. In Real Life the US armed forces weren't racially integrated until 1948. Eventually justified, at least in the Howling Commandos; they're a special unit hand-picked by Fury himself. If he thinks an African-American soldier is a good addition to his line-up, the military isn't going to tell him no. Per Word of God, one of the intentions when creating the Howling Commandos was to include as many minorities as possible, so readers could confront any prejudices they might have against any of those ethnicities. Stan Lee even threw in a Camp Straight. Partly an example of Reality Is Unrealistic. Black soldiers actually served in integrated rifle companies as early as 1945. Still the entire US military was not integrated until 1948. Heck, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower selectively integrated some black soldiers into his forces in 1944 in real life (he was running low on men, but even then, his aides advised strongly against it), so a small force with a leader as respected as Rock or Fury should have been able to do the same.
- Captain America is often subject to this in recent history among fans.
- People often express amazement that in his World War II years, Cap is depicted as a man with none of the prejudices that a typical American at that time would be considered perfectly reasonable unspoken assumptions like racism, sexism or homophobia. The alternate universe series The Ultimates attempts to address this, and Cap here is significantly more reactionary and prejudiced than most any other incarnation, including the Captain America actually published in the 1940s. This led some fans to claim that this version of Captain America is an aversion of Politically Correct History showing that such a man would be out of place in 21st Century post-Civil Rights America. Others argue that the Cap is more a projection of Eagleland type II in the wake of The War on Terror, (eg. the infamous "Do you think this A stands for France?") than anything else.
- In any case this rests on a fundamental misreading of The Thirties and The '40s, the era of the New Deal and anti-fascism, that Jack Kirby and Joe Simon were liberals, and that Captain America wanting to fight Nazis before America's entry into the war was a powerful anti-fascist statement Steve Rogers was an intelligent artist from liberal New York before he enlisted, so he probably wouldn't be that mainstream in his views. The vision of America as eagleland-II comes from the eisenhower fifties which was in many ways a cultural backlash to The Thirties.
- The members of the actual Golden Age JSA were all white and mostly male, with Wonder Woman acting as the token female secretary. Modern depictions of that period in DC history have more women involved in groups like the All-Star Squadron, and even a few minority characters like Amazing-Man and Tiger.
- Explicitly invoked by the writer of the DC Comics Bombshells series. The series takes place in an Alternate History version of World War 2, where according to Word of God, segregation has already been done away with and parts of the women's lib movement have already occurred. She also pointed out that thanks to Hollywood History, the contributions of black and Asian-American soldiers in WW2 have already been thoroughly ignored, which is part of the reason she wanted to work with a diverse cast in the first place.
Another issue [we have] as Americans, especially, is we have this tendency to accept the media that's discussed the war more than the [actual] history. We have these White actors in these movies, and we have this idea that it was a White war. That completely glosses over the contributions of people of color except in these very specific and again, often brutalized and downtrodden circumstances, so I wanted to get rid of that. It's just so funny because folk have this reaction because, "Well that's not historically accurate" because they're getting other media that is in itself not historically accurate.
- Astérix is not very politically correct at all, but lapses into this occasionally (possibly to indicate how weird the Gauls are compared to the Gallo-Romans and Romans, but also possibly as part of Purely Aesthetic Era). For instance, How Obelix Fell Into The Magic Potion When He Was A Little Boy (which shows the education in the Gaul village) and The Big Fight (which shows the Roman-style education in a village run by a chief with a huge Foreign Culture Fetish for all things Roman) show little girls being educated alongside little boys, being taught things like language and Maths - and young adult Panacea is said to have returned from studying in the city with the implication it was at something like a university. We don't know very much about how the Brittanic tribes educated their children, but we do know that the Romans very rarely educated girls.
- The Gauls mostly fit the popular description from Cicero - that the only two things they care about are getting drunk and fighting - but the more unsavory descriptions of their culture from the same accounts are omitted, since some of it includes cannibalism and human sacrifice that would make them much less likeable heroes, not to mention hard-to-draw behaviour like wearing complicated tattoos.
- Enforced in the Neon Genesis Evangelion fanfic A Century Apart. Due to the death toll of the Second Impact in 1900, armies from all parts of the world, including Imperial Japan, are forced to accept women, but the older officers are still grumpy about this. If the Second Impact didn't happen, there would be no difference.
Films — Animated
- Inverted in Mulan, of all the surprising places. In the original Chinese folktale, Mulan is an almost all-powerful figure who gets away with practically everything, despite being a woman — this in a time where being a girl was... not so much fun. In the Disney version, the simple repercussions of her merely being female are treated more seriously. For example, in the original story, when she reveals herself to be a woman, everyone in the army is totally cool with it. In the Disney Animated Canon version? She is automatically declared a traitor, is spared death only because the army captain Owes Her His Life, and is abandoned in the mountains to meet whatever fate may come to her despite the fact that she's injured.
- Mind, the original Mulan had been their general for a while and saved the empire by literal force of arms and stuff already by the time she voluntarily revealed herself. This probably helped, but does not make a suitably dramatic story.
- Mulan was actually criticized for taking this too far, as in this time period women were not as oppressed as would become the norm in later dynasties (beginning with the Ming Dynasty), and there was no law in China prescribing death to women impersonating a man to serve in the military, nor was that part of the original story. It was added by Disney for dramatic purposes.
- Mulan II, however, plays this trope completely straight when Mulan goes on a crusade against arranged marriage. Traditions and societies are very resistant to change, especially in a country as all-fired huge as China. Famed war hero or not, you couldn't just defy the Emperor's orders and marry off the princesses to your own soldiers. Even in the most open-minded of Chinese dynasties, something like that wouldn't have gone over very well. The fact that she managed to be completely pardoned for it and be able to give a lecture about how arranged marriage — something she was knowingly and willingly ready to do in the first movie — is bad makes the entire film one big Politically Correct History movie.
- The Disney-esque Anastasia shows the Tsars as benevolent, white-hat rulers and their rule as a time of peace and prosperity. Their downfall was caused not by injustices setting off an uprising, but by a "spark of unhappiness" sent across Russia by the evil magician Rasputin. This is played in contrast to how terrible and cold Russia became under the Soviets, with the citizens of St. Peterburg singing, "Oh, since the Revolution, our lives have been so grey!" This is what made Anastasia so infamous in Russia, where people know very well what really caused the February 1917 coup/abdication: the lacklustre war effort and near-starvation in the urban centres over the winter of 1916-17, caused in turn by the Romanovs' 'light touch'/'hands-off' approach to government (ironically done for fear of antagonising the people), though in fairness the Romanovs were decent people overall, just incompetent at government.
- Zig-Zagged in The Princess and the Frog. The movie takes place in the Disney Animated Canon, so its outlook is brighter than the real world. However, Old South attitudes are still present, if gently handled: Tiana and her mother sit in the back of the trolley and clearly live in "that" part of town. Further, the realtors selling the sugar mill Tiana wants to buy are very condescending towards her in a combination of racism and sexism at the idea of a black woman running a restaurant. However, Big Daddy Le Bouf has no qualms eating at a black-owned diner, or with his daughter marrying a Latin(ish) royal. Tiana's restaurant proudly serves and employs people of all races.
- In Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire, which is set in 1914, the Atlantis expedition includes, among others, a female Hispanic mechanic, a half-African, half-Native American medical officer and a female second-in-command. A justification is provided, though: the team's core is comprised of mercenaries - which put petty little things like ethnicity aside in the Search for More Money - and was assembled by Crazy Awesome Eccentric Millionaire Whitmore, who doesn't care much about what people say is 'impossible'.
Films — Live-Action
- Whether The Birth of a Nation (1915) qualifies as Politically Correct History or merely Jim Crow propaganda is something of a Mind Screw. The film did reflect the Dunning Thesis of Reconstruction, which claimed that the South were victims of the Northern Republicans and dangerous egalitarian sentiment to which the heroic (!) Ku Klux Klan was a tragically necessary corrective. This view of Reconstruction was the political orthodoxy of the time. Especially striking to modern viewers is the scene where the Klansmen and Northern whites who have settled in the South join forces to, as the title card puts it, "defend their Aryan birthright."
- Gone with the Wind is more politically correct than Birth of a Nation in terms of building consensus. It is pro-South, via its focus on the sufferings of a Southern Belle and the loss of her plantation, however it avoids the controversial racism of Griffith's film via avoidance of blackface, and changing a Klan meeting in Margaret Mitchell's novel into a more "innocent" night of gentlemen getting drunk, which makes the film's basic internalization of the Dunning thesis more palatable to the mainstream audience. More dubious is its portrayal of the relationship between Scarlett and her slaves as one of friendship rather than one of master and slave.
- Song of the South (which skirts the line between live-action film and animation) gets criticized for portraying Uncle Remus as a happy-go-lucky Magical Negro who enjoys his life in the post-Civil War Deep South, which some see as an apologia for Jim Crow.
- Kingdom of Heaven is essentially the tale of a bunch of 12th-century secular Humanists fighting for peace and tolerance, opposed by Templars both literal and figurative. Appropriately enough, one historical figure's name was changed from "Barisan" to "Godfrey", a homonym for his anachronistic stance on religion. Near the end of the film, Bloom's character gives a speech to the defenders of Jerusalem, in which he argues that the Christians have no special claim to the city above the claims of the Jews and Muslims. The population is shockingly open-minded about this statement. Just to make sure viewers got the point, all the priests were self-serving jerks, and the villains were turned into Templars, despite them having been secular nobles in Real Life.
- The 1972 musical 1776 originally featured a musical number in which the "conservatives" of the Continental Congress express their unwillingness to jeopardize their personal positions and wealth by supporting American independence. Though the song was historically accurate, producer Jack Warner's good friend President Richard Nixon objected to the scene on the basis that it depicted "conservatives" in a negative light, in spite of the difference in meaning between the term then and now. In an instance of Chief Executive Meddling, Warner had the sequence removed from the film at Nixon's behest, though a surviving copy can be found on the DVD.
- Mel Gibson's The Patriot is guilty of exaggerating British atrocities during the American Revolutionary War whilst downplaying similar actions from the American side to non-existence.
- The 2009 Sherlock Holmes in which Rachel McAdams plays Irene Adler. Adler has no problem running around London in very tight pants, and is depicted as something of a Victorian era Catwoman. Interestingly, this depiction is consistent with Doyle's 1891 depiction in which Adler both flouts and manipulates Victorian stereotypes to her advantage.
- Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: Holmes and Watson openly and blatantly dance together in a room filled with diplomats, and receive nothing but a few odd looks. This is in a film set in a time where homosexuality was not just frowned on but illegal (cf, Oscar Wilde). Then again, and as The Dandy trope shows, many things we consider "obviously" homosexual were not at the time. The fact that Holmes nonchalantly changes from a female dancing partner to a male one to the same female again during the same song would more likely be seen as an extravagant joke rather than as an honest confession that Holmes plays for both teams. In any case, it was not against the law for two men to dance, only have sex.
- Some viewers mistakenly accuse Hollywoodland of this trope, due to the presence of black patrons in an upper-class Hollywood restaurant in the 1950s. On the commentary, however, the director defends this, saying that in the 50s many of these restaurants were not segregated, and a number of popular Jazz musicians did frequent them.
- A weird in-universe example occurs in the movie CSA: The Confederate States of America, where the South won the American Civil War. After the war ends, there's a strong effort to repaint the North as misguided, with the issue of slavery swept under the rug. As the announcer put it, "The Civil War became civil". This parallels our own timeline's whitewashing of the horrors of the antebellum south.
- In Annie Get Your Gun, Annie gives up her sharp-shooting career to marry Frank Butler. In reality, the opposite was true: Butler began courting Annie Oakley after losing a sharp-shooting contest to her, and their marriage helped launch Oakley's public career. Considering it was made in the 50s, the film was politically correct history — for its time.
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was incredibly progressive for his time, advocating interracial marriages and women's suffrage, in a time when both were borderline illegal and even talking about them without showing signs of repulsion could cause one to be ostracized; however, similarly to Uncle Tom's Cabin, "A Scandal in Bohemia" has been misinterpreted nowadays by some as being denigrating towards women, because it shows "the Woman" who is able to outwit a man as someone remarkable — (never mind that man was Sherlock Freaking Holmes). Therefore, in the 2009 movie, Irene Adler went from the only woman able to outwit Holmes (three unnamed men are also mentioned in the books) to the only person to be able to outwit Holmes. Part of the reason she outwitted him was that his plan to beat her basically relied on her being an easily-led moron, and he found it remarkable that she wasn't, so in essence Holmes lost because his attitude was biased in a sexist manner.
- Played with in Wild Wild West. Jim West is treated pretty much exactly as you'd expect a black man to be treated in the late 19th century... even though he's a commissioned officer in the Army, prior to when the first black man actually held such a rank at the time.
- Captain America: The First Avenger: The film was criticized for including Gabe Jones as part of the Howling Commandos, due to the fact that the army was still segregated at that point in history. However it's largely moot anyway since the Howling Commandos were handpicked by Captain America in the first place: strike forces assembled from different army units are "temporary" and don't have to adhere to certain regimental regulations, so Cap may have found a good use for Loophole Abuse.
- In King David, starring Richard Gere, King David falls in love with Bathsheba and sends her husband, Uriah, to the front lines of an army to die. In the movie, Bathsheba claims that Uriah whips her to make David more sympathetic. In the actual story from The Bible, there is no mention of Uriah beating his wife, and even that wouldn't have been used to justify David's actions. The whole point of the story was that even King David was a flawed person. The film keeps a scene from the Bible in which the prophet Nathan chastises David for his sins, which leads to a Broken Aesop.
- In the Chinese martial arts biopic Ip Man, there are several changes to history to make the film more Communist-friendly. In the film, the title character is a bourgeois martial arts teacher who is forced to join the working class during the Japanese invasion. He then leaves the mainland for Hong Kong to escape the Japanese. In reality, Ip Man had a day job as a police officer and never worked as a laborer. Also, he was a supporter of the Kuomintang, the enemies of the Communists. He fled to Hong Kong to escape the Communists, not the Japanese.
- 55 Days at Peking shows the ordeal of foreigners in China during the Boxers' 55-day siege of the Legation Quarter in Peking before the armies of the Eight-Nation Alliance show up and put down the Boxer Rebellion. There's no mention of what happens next.
- The Shirley Temple movie, The Littlest Rebel, has Shirley being friends with the slaves that work on her father's plantation. When someone questions why the slaves would want to be freed, Shirley says, "Makes you think, doesn't it?" As if there's no problem with slavery.
- A Man for All Seasons: Sir Thomas More is shown as a calm and rational judge who politely but firmly discusses his views with others. In reality, he was a Knight Templar who ruthlessly suppressed "heretics", which included Protestants and anyone who dared to make unauthorised translations of The Bible into English (he did support the vernacular, but not any of the Protestant-inspired translations then extant). It also leaves out his love of Cluster F Bombs while debating Martin Luther. Of course violent and scatalogical language was common on both sides of the religious debate (read some of Martin Luther). And while More certainly supported the persecution of heretics it was never his job to do so but that of the Church of England.
- The titular character in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010) is rebellious in ways which girls of her day would have had trouble even conceptualizing, and holds attitudes which, while perfectly fitting in the 21st century, would have shocked and offended proto-feminists of the era. This results in an Alice who reads as a progressively feminist girl born in the 1980s or 1990s who has been inexplicably transported to Victorian England with no explanation. Also, her father's former business partner offers her (an unmarried 19 year old girl) a 50/50 partnership in a fledgeling business as if it were no big deal and only a little strange.
- Used to hilarious effect in Blazing Saddles, a movie set in a very racist version of the Wild West. The protagonist (who also happens to be black) is probably the smartest character in the film - he tricks his racist employers into dancing around while singing "Camptown Ladies", exploits the Angry Black Man stereotype to 'kidnap' himself from the middle of a lynch mob, and uses the 'servants are unnoticed' tendency to trick Mongo into accepting a delivery of explos... er... candy.
- To some extent in X-Men: First Class. Sexism is still present, but the racism of the era is glossed over.
- The film Gladiator has Emperor Marcus Aurelius attempting to prevent his son Commodus from becoming emperor, stating his wish to end the Empire and return Rome to being a Republic, before being murdered by Commodus. In reality, none of this happened; Marcus specifically set up his son as his successor, and certainly no Roman emperor at this time would ever have considered returning to the Republic, nor was there ever a great deal of nostalgia for the Republic, after all Julius Caesar was far more popular and well-liked than the Senate.
- Annie 1999 features an interracial couple during a time period where it may not have been illegal as it was in New York City, but it certainly would have been frowned upon. Daddy Warbucks was a chairman on many boards and worked with the president. An interracial marriage may have caused him political and financial ruin.
- Kenneth Branagh's As You Like It (set in a British Colony in late 19th century Japan) ends with two interracial marriages. Being based on a Shakespeare script with ethnically ambiguous characters, this is never commented on.
- Parodied in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, where history and logic are rewritten, often to polar opposites of what they had been, based on the whims and imperatives of the Party (a party orator switches "We have always been at war with Eurasia" to "Eastasia" in mid-sentence). The protagonist is employed in the department where outdated history and contradictory facts are consigned to the "memory hole."
- As a genre, historical mystery fiction (and to an extent historical fiction in general) often has some amount of this in order to keep the character sympathetic. There is definitely a continuum of this though. On one end, the title character of the Brother Cadfael series is one of the most kind and humane characters imaginable and in one book/episode reacts tolerantly toward a couple who had sex in a church. On the other end, Judge Dee is a polygamist, who (in keeping with the justice system of the time) uses beatings and torture in interrogation and sentences people to horrific forms of death. However, he is notably pragmatic about using these methods and the author likely understood that any more descriptions of torture would lose the Judge the reader's sympathy. In all fairness, medieval secular mores were rather more relaxed than those preached by the Church, and Cadfael came late to his vocation. Moreover, Judge Dee hates having to watch the executions, which makes it simple to avoid too much description.
- Parodied in Dave Barry Slept Here. A couple pages into Chapter Four: The Colonies Develop A Life-style, the Lemony Narrators interrupt the action to notify the readers that "a review committee... has determined that, so far, this history book is not making enough of an effort to include the contributions of women and minority groups. Unless some effort is undertaken to correct this situation, this book will not be approved for purchase by public school systems in absolutely vast quantities." Whereupon the narrators/authors "just now remembered... that during the colonial era women and minority groups were making many contributions, which we are certain that they will continue to do at regularly spaced intervals throughout the course of this book." They do... whenever the narrative remembers to mention it, anyway.
- In the young adult book After by Francine Prose, the school slowly starts to try to brainwash the students. One of the protagonist's friends points out that the documentary playing on the bus that day is on World War II, and was stating that the atom bombs were dropped on Japanese wilderness areas. He says, " Dude, Listen to that. I don't think that's true." followed by another friend asking, "How stupid were we?"
- Discussed throughout the 1632 series by Eric Flint, in regards to the commonly held perceptions of history by the citizens of a 20th century town transported into the middle of the Thirty Years' War, compared to the real historical facts. One example is a discussion between a modern man and a 17th century Russian noble about the possibility of abolishing slavery in Russia. The modern man is shocked to find that most of the upper nobility are quite indifferent to slavery, but the petty nobles and non-noble farmers are violently opposed to slavery abolition. The Russian explains that the real reason for this divide is that the cash-rich upper nobility can afford to go without slaves, but for the land-rich and cash-poor, having a major part of your property taken away along with your ability to get the crops in at harvest time for some vaguely defined moral principle with no foundation in legal or religious precedent is highly unpalatable. He then takes a dig at the American belief in the Aristocrats Are Evil trope.
- The German kids edutainment series "Viel Spaß mit..." (Have fun with... <insert people from history here>). While they don't gloss over the fact that the Romans had slaves, or that pigs would run around in medieval cities, the characters (typically from a Nuclear Family, with focus on the kids) act more like modern people, so the Values Dissonance doesn't take over and make the protagonists unrelatable. For example, the daughter of the Roman family is married off at the age of 16 instead of 12 - the latter is mentioned as being standard then, but the family does it differently. And of course, they always treat their slaves / servants well.
- Recent editions of Mark Twain's works that remove offensive language (one word that seems to offend above all others). This is so much the case that it's spawned uncensored versions of Twain's works.
- J.T. Edson's The Hooded Riders had a similar premise to The Birth of a Nation above. Scheming, thieving carpet-bagging scum were out to shoot practically every good Southern cowboy stone dead (even taking ex-slaves along, who fortunately couldn't shoot straight, nossir) and steal their farms in a dastardly plan to take over the United States. Dusty Fogg and his companions (one of whom is a half-Commanche dog soldier who rides a horse with no bridle and can smell your shadow a mile away) borrow the concept of wearing white hoods from the Ku Klux Klan, intimidate the sheriff's assistants and pay off the loans of every put-upon, hapless smallholder in the tri-county area. And then the President of the United States shows up, and the carpetbaggers try to murder him too! But he's saved by Dusty Fogg, the intrepid Texas Ranger! After which, the Hooded Riders renounce their KKK regalia, even though they appreciate the need for folks to protect their womenfolk from A Fate Worse Than Death, because they don't need to operate in darkness any more. The president has seen the light and now everyone knows that Reconstruction is a con. This would be almost in So Bad, It's Good territory but for a fairground fight between Dusty Fogg (who just happened to have learned Jujutsu from his uncle's Japanese manservant, improbably enough) and an angry, drunk strongman who happens to be black. The strongman loses the fight, loses his temper, tries to knife the intrepid Texas Ranger and gets killed stone dead. Then everyone tells Dusty Fogg to run and hide because those new law enforcement types from the North just won't understand, and will definitely try and convict him for murder! Add in a Southern belle who knows how to talk to "colored folks" to get information out of them, by banging her fist on the table and using the right imperious tone, and you really wish J.T. Edson had stuck to his Son of Tarzan series.
- The book and now movie The Help is receiving criticism for this. The book is about a woman writing a book about African-American maids in The '60s. While it does show some of the indignities they had to face, it doesn't emphasize the things such as sexual assault and other horrors that occurred, referring to them only briefly.
- Brother Eagle, Sister Sky by Susan Jeffers, according to Publishers Weekly review on Amazon, is "is an adaptation of a speech delivered by Chief Seattle at treaty negotiations in the 1850s". There are only three little problems. It's "not well served by images that ignore the rich diversity of Amerindian cultures (even Sealth's own Northwest people) in favor of cigar-store redskins in feathers and fringe", as a review in School Library Journal put this — i.e. The Theme Park Version. The author insists that "an ancient people were a part of the land that we love and call America", that is long gone, while 1854 is hardly "ancient" and Seeathl's people are still living and kicking — specifically, as it turns out, her book. And scavenging of New Age gold material from this speech is plain cherry-picking — since, quoth the linked review, "make a 'beautiful environmental statement' out of that, if you can":
... And when the last red man shall have perished... the streets of your cities and villages... will throng with the returning hosts that once filled and still love this beautiful land. The white man will never be alone. Let him be just and deal kindly with my people, for the dead are not altogether powerless.
- L. Neil Smith's The North American Confederacy series.
- There is a major inconsistency between the special emphasis on the property rights of individual citizens that differentiates The North American Confederacy from the present timeline and the fact that slavery is abolished entirely in 1820 C.E., with no apparent backlash at all. The author, being a libertarian, probably thought that better economic systems make better people. Never mind that back then, only white people were considered to be citizens and the African-descended slaves were considered to be the property of their masters. If the individual property rights of citizens were given especial protection all along, especially with the attitudes of most white people in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, slavery would most likely have been abolished later than in our timeline, if it was abolished at all.
- In The Gallatin Divergence, he has 18th century characters talking about discrimination over "sexual preference". Although he clearly considers some sexual preferences preferable to others.
- In the Christian Middle Ages, legends and epics about old-time heroes often recast their protagonists as Christians, even if in their time and place they clearly would have been pagan. Beowulf, for example, has Beowulf and Hrothgar invoke the Christian God, while 6th century Scandinavia was still untouched by Christianity.
- In Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker series, the title character is a thinly veiled portrait of Joseph Smith, founder of the LDS, Card's faith. He's portrayed as The Paragon and the issue of polygamy is dealt with by stating that any women claiming to be married to him other than his first wife are either deluded or being put up to it by his enemies (in actual fact his plural marriages to women, along with theological sanction for them, are well recorded).
- Strongly discouraged in How NOT to Write a Novel. The authors note that having a historical character who possesses socialist/neo-conservative/etc viewpoints which did not even exist at the time the novel is set in, or a rebellious protagonist who questions the never-before questioned values of a historical society (from the perspective of the author's never-questioned Western values), will tend to violate a reader's Willing Suspension of Disbelief.
Live Action TV
- Hogan's Heroes showed anachronistic ethnic equality views by characters, with the only major implication of Kinchloe's blackness being that he can't impersonate Germans in person (although he's great at it over the phone). This may be excused by the idea that being in prison together forces them to ignore such issues to fight the larger enemy, and that the group has very strong unity. No excuse for most German characters not thinking much of Kinchloe's ethnicity, though.
- Though Star Trek is usually pretty good at pointing out the errors of our past, this is played straight in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Time's Arrow", where Guinan (a Human Alien who is played by Whoopi Goldberg and thus is indistinguishable from an Earthican of African descent) is depicted as a wealthy socialite in 1893 who goes to parties with white people who don't seem to have a single problem with her. In fact in the episode she's extremely well-liked and respected by pretty much the entire town. Probably helps that Guinan is a highly-empathetic, centuries-old alien with experience to match, so she might just be that good at making friends. It doesn't hurt that she's best buddies with Mark Twain, who was a huge backer of Civil Rights for women and African Americans. In addition, San Francisco was more tolerant than the rest of the United States.
- The CBC Mockumentary Jimmy MacDonald's Canada, despite being about a 1960s-era conservative pundit with pseudo-fascist views on children's hockey, never has him make any ethnic slurs, beyond a dismissive reference to Italians. The character probably is a monstrous racist, but it wouldn't be very funny to present.
- Sometimes-averted-sometimes-not in M*A*S*H. Black people are referred to by the historically correct term "Negroes" on the show, even by the good guys. However, later episodes gave Major Houlihan second-wave feminist views, even though the show is set more than ten years before The Feminine Mystique was first published. You could chalk this up to Houlihan being ahead of her time, except that the episode "Inga", written by Alan Alda as a love letter to the feminist movement, seems to have all the characters acting as though the 1970s women’s movement already happened, breaking any illusion that the show is really set in the early 1950s. (That episode won an Emmy, of course.) There's also the black Dr. Jones, who was Brother Chucked halfway through the first season, supposedly because the producers discovered that no black doctors served in the Korean War (they were wrong: the real M*A*S*H unit that was the basis of the original novel and by proxy the series itself had a black surgeon among its medical staff). However, it was played as a joke that he was nicknamed "Spearchucker" because he threw the javelin in college. Of course, it was also tongue in cheek, in that everyone knew it also had racial connotations. In another episode, Hawkeye permanently turns down imminent sex with a beautiful woman, because she complains about "those gooks (Koreans) marrying our (white) people." He gives her a speech as well. In another episode, Hawkeye "schools" a redneck soldier who complains about getting a transfusion of "black blood," by painting him brown and claiming that he ordered watermelon for dinner, etc. Not to mention repeating the urban legend that Dr. Charles Drew, the African-American surgeon who started the US blood bank, was refused care at a Southern hospital after being in a car accident and thus died from his injuries (false, though he did protest against segregation of the blood supply).
- The BBC's Robin Hood
- Tuck & the Abbess of Rutherford can seem like this, but Black people have lived in England since the Roman Conquest. While Black members of monastic orders and nunneries would have been quite rare, it's not impossible.
- And then we have Djaq, who is at least given a reason why an Arabic Muslim woman would be in Medieval England. However, after her introductory episode almost no one remarks upon the fact that a) she's obviously not English, b) she's not a Christian in a time and place where that would be unimaginable, c) she's a woman who dresses and acts like a man, and d) she's from a nation who the King of England is currently fighting.
- In an episode of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Kimberly travels back in time to Angel Grove of the 1800s. At the local saloon, the Identical Ancestors of her fellow Rangers, who are white, Latino, black woman, and Korean, respectively, are casually sharing drinks with one another. In another episode, Tommy's clone was also casually accepted in 1700's Angel Grove after the morphed White Ranger uses a magic artifact to put him in ye olde clothing.
- Little House on the Prairie has some examples. Filmed in the 1970s and set in the 1800s, some of the characters are anachronistic:
- When Charles finds out a local boy is beaten by his father, he takes action to help the boy. Social attitudes in the 1800s regarding parental discipline were much different from those in the 1970s.
- In "The Long Road Home", Charles and Mr. Edwards get a job hauling explosives with Henry (played by Lou Gossett, Jr.). In the episode, only one person shows any form of racism against Henry, although later in the episode, Henry is told he can't ride in a passenger car with the other passengers because of his color. It's not clear whether the porter is racist or is just enforcing the rules. The same porter was just as mean to Charles and Mr. Edwards in the beginning of the episode when they tried to ride in the same passenger car, but were railroad employees, not paying customers. In the end of the episode, the one racist has a change of heart and jokingly claims he was kicked out of the passenger car because he was Irish.
- In "The Fighter," black boxer Joe Kegan goes up against local white men in almost every fight. The only time race is mentioned is when he explains to Charles that the reason he got into boxing is so he could punch white men without getting "hung." No one ever mentions his race, not even when he and his manager are renting a room.
- An episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody which involved a dream wherein the characters lived in the Revolutionary War era involved the African-American character Moseby being the proprietor of an inn, which would be unlikely to say the least in the late 1700s. The Asian-American (a racial group which did not exist in the colonies at that time) London Tipton was also shown as some sort of rich heiress. It can be excused by the fact that the character having the dream is not the smartest character on the show to begin with, and the fact that it was All Just a Dream in the first place, though.
- Moseby's race might not have been as much of a problem in the 1700s, if he was a freedman (this was pre-cotton gin).  Sam Fraunces, a Revolutionary War-era tavern owner, may have been black. This stems largely from his nickname "Black Sam." However, often this was a white man with darker hair or skin, and the fact he owned slaves makes it even unlikelier.
- Averted in the episode itself. Esteban blatantly points out how they would make a democracy (America), but how Carey (a woman) or Zac and Cody (children) would not receive a vote.
- Zig-zagged in Doctor Who with Reality Is Unrealistic:
- The show regularly has black characters in historical settings, but these are often either based on real life (such as black Secret Service agents in the 1970s) or due to episodes being set in fairly cosmopolitan places (e.g. Renaissance Venice) where one might actually have seen races mixing together. In one episode, Martha asks if she should be worried about being a black woman in old-time London, but the Doctor points out that there are other black people walking around unmolested.
- Played straight in "The Fires of Pompeii", where Caecilius' family has a mysterious lack of slaves. The episode also avoids characterizing the city's loose sexual mores, without any erotic artwork or references to brothels.
- The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. takes place in a steampunkish, deliberately anachronistic Old West where we see very little evidence of racism. The part-black, part-Cherokee Lord Bowler is treated respectfully by most of the characters (only in the pilot does one character call him a "half-breed"), and various episodes feature nonwhite characters who are treated more or less as equals to the whites, including a black woman set to become the mayor of a town.
- The Vampire Diaries has several flashbacks to the American South during the American Civil War. Though black servants are shown, they are never referred to as slaves and are never shown being mistreated. This is discussed in detail here and here.
- The show has a black Guinevere, along with her brother Elyan, the, black knight Pellinore. While there may have been Africans in Arthurian Britain, it's unlikely that there were many Afro-British knights or queens.
- 13th century romances have the Saracen (Arab) Sir Palamedes, and the Moorish (North African) Sir Morien. The writers of Merlin have also pointed out that real-world post-Roman Britain was also short on dragons and fey.
- All the angsting over Arthur being in love with a servant girl. Love marriage is a rather modern phenomenon especially for royalty. A true prince of that (or most) ages would marry for politics and have Gwen on the side for romance.
- Sleepy Hollow:
- The show stars a Revolutionary War-era British soldier who had a change of heart and joined the American side, and fully supported an end to slavery, as if having an anti-American racist for a main character was deemed too challenging for their audience.
- While there were people opposed to slavery back then, Icabod's remarkably progressive attitudes do seem a little convenient.
- He also doesn't bat an eye at homosexuality. He mentions that von Steuben was homosexual, which is accurate, but that doesn't necessarily mean that Crane would be completely unfazed by it.
- Perhaps in an attempt to counterbalance this, he makes a remark about women wearing pants.
- Downton Abbey zig-zags its handling of politically sensitive issues. It would seem that whilst the series' creators are prepared to present attitudes towards pre-marital sex in a realistic way, they are not quite brave enough to depict their characters having a realistic, period-correct attitude towards sexuality and race — most likely for fear of offending a contemporary audience's sensitivities, and to ensure the series' hero characters remain likeable. We can all cluck our tongues in guilty amusement at Violet's out-dated, ultra-conservative views, but to show her as an actual "racist" would kill her character, no matter how realistic that may be. Examples follow:
Jack: If we lived in even a slightly better world, I wouldn't give in.Mary: It may surprise you, Mr. Ross, but if we lived in a better world, I wouldn't want you to.
- The series' handling of homosexuality. While the 1920s were certainly less conservative than later decades, it seems just a little unbelievable that Thomas's homosexuality would be waved off with an "everybody's gay sometimes" from Lord Grantham, and he would receive a promotion for his trouble.
- Jack Ross, a black jazz singer. When Jack comes to Downton, Carson is rather awkward around him and makes rather innocently insensitive comments, but the Crawley family is accepting and enjoys his singing at Lord Grantham's party in a manner that is unrealistically blasé. Only Edith and Rosamund voice any kind of realistic (for the period) concern about his presence, but both Robert and Violet are unphased, in spite of Violet's established patrician ideals.
- Jack has a romantic relationship with Lady Rose, and frequently goes out in public with her, which would be a major scandal in the 1920s. Rose doesn't care about his race and doesn't think other people should. Mary, who was horrified of a (white) Irishman dating her sister, appears to be okay with it on a moral level, if not on a practical one:
- In Atlantis, the world with Atlantis in it is based mostly on Greek Mythology and culture. However, many of the characters seem to find public violent games, tournaments, public executions, etc. horrible. In ancient Greece, people would pay to see these. Why else would they exist?
- Generally this is sometimes subverted though, as said violent games and such are always shown drawing huge crowds who often cheer and clap when someone kills another. Even hero Hercules talks happily about all the food available during one such tournament, usually when the heroes voice concern about them its more out of somebody they care about might die or the methods of execution are legitemently incredibly cruel even for the time period (most famously the brazen bull that cooks people alive).
- Warm Springs: This is actually averted. The movie is set in The Twenties Georgia, with segregated public places in full view.
- Tom Loyless, manager of Warm Springs inn, was forced out of the newspaper business because he had "offended the sensibilities of a local civic group." In Real Life, Tom Loyless had been one of the few newspaper editors in Georgia to support Leo Frank, whose trial and lynching led to the rebirth of the KKK.
- One of the black employees in the Warm Springs inn is surprised when a polio victim from New York wants to shake his hand.
- Zig-zagged in the Canadian period crime drama Murdoch Mysteries, set in late-Victorian/early-Edwardian Toronto. While the racial and sexual biases of the era are prominent in the background, and often inform the cases being investigated, the central characters seldom espouse them, and if so only during subplots that require introspection and are resolved by learning the corresponding 21st-century value:
- Murdoch, a Catholic, initially receives some stick from Brackenreed for being a "Papist", but this is dropped relatively early.
- Murdoch also must come to terms with Dr. Ogden's abortion, both as a moral dilemma and because she's his One True Love.
- In one episode, Brackenreed worries that his son might be gay because he wants to play a female part in a play. This leads to the boy getting hurt badly in rugby trying to impress his dad. While the boy's ultimate reasoning for wanting the female role (she had more lines) is later revealed and accepted, it doesn't come before Dr. Ogden has to talk Brackenreed into accepting his son's possible sexuality. In an episode set nearly seventy years before the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada.
- Justified in the cases of Dr. Ogden and Dr. Grace, as two rare female physicians and pathologists during that period. Indeed, Dr. Ogden's unabashed statements of progressive views led to marital strain during her first marriage to Dr. Garland. In later seasons, we see her start an underground women's health clinic teaching birth control (which she was briefly arrested for), and vehemently object to the Marital Rape License of the period. Dr. Grace, meanwhile, engaged in a same-sex relationship. Both were involved in the nascent suffrage movement of the early 1900s.
- Very much subverted, as Rufus is quick to point out that as a black guy, "There is literally no time in American history that would be awesome for me." In the bar, several of the patrons appear ready to jump and lynch him right there, and at the police station he nearly gets beaten with batons for protesting being called "Boy".
- Traveling to 1865, Rufus notes how "my people's history sucks" and has to put up with looked down on even when he's posing as a soldier.
- Rufus uses this in a trip to 1962 Las Vegas, able to get some information as no one looks at a black waiter. "I'm invisible. It's like my superpower."
- In "Space Race," Rufus shines a light on the plight of Katherine Johnson, a black woman who was the linchpin of the Apollo 13 project, but was relegated to the basement and ignored by history. She's happily surprised when Rufus calls her his hero, but utterly gobsmacked when an elderly white man (who is another time traveler) says the same thing.
- Lucy has less pronounced problems, but they are still present. Rufus reacts to the constant racism with little more than weary resignation, but Lucy is always surprised when she is reminded of the rampant and unquestioned sexism of the past. In "Space Race" she is constantly assumed to be a secretary and given drink orders with casual sexual harassment, and in "Last Ride of Bonnie & Clyde" she tries to open an account at a bank and is asked if she has the permission of her husband or father.
- Dead Of Summer, which ostensibly takes place in 1989, has the openly, flamboyantly gay Blair working as a counselor at Camp Stillwater, and facing little real issue over it. While this wouldn't be at all unusual in 2016, in 1989 gay people were still Acceptable Targets in the popular consciousness, and the idea of a summer camp hiring a gay man to work with children would've been met with complaints from parents furious that the camp was "endangering" their sons, to say nothing of the attitudes he would've faced from his fellow counselors (especially Alex, a walking '80s Jerk Jock archetype). The fact that Drew has difficulty coming out as trans to his family and peers, whose reactions are far more mixed than they are towards Blair being gay (even Blair himself, who'd been attracted to him, gets squicked out upon learning that Drew is biologically female), is more believable, but even then, this reflects the time in which the show was made, when transsexuality had replaced homosexuality as the controversial, hot-button sexual issue of the day.
- Parodied in a sketch from the first episode of W/ Bob & David, in which a white filmmaker creates an extremely sanitized movie about American slavery, where black slaves (or "helpers") are treated with respect and compassion by their white masters.
- Skyclad "discussed" (if using a bloody axe counts) attempts to gloss over less-than-pretty moments in a song aptly named "Think Back And Lie Of England".
- The Rastafarian reggae song "Rivers of Babylon" is based on Psalm 137 but leaves out the infamous passage about smashing Babylonian infants against rocks.
- The video of "Karma Chameleon" by Culture Club is set in Missisippi in the 1800's, but features black and white people equally on the steamboat party.
- Deadlands takes place in an alternate history version of the Old West. In this version, the South freed its slaves and the Civil War's drain on manpower allowed females to gain greater social status. The rulebook stipulates that only villains be racist.
- Handwaved in Clockwork And Chivalry. So much has changed so fast, including the introduction of clockwork automation and alchemy to warfare (leading to the Battle of Naseby ending in an incredibly bloody stalemate which saw more people die more swiftly than anyone thought possible beforehand) and the unexpected mid-war capture, trial, and execution of King Charles, that it's shaken faith in the traditional order and allowed women and other disenfranchised groups an opportunity to grab for greater rights and recognition.
- Averted in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The villain is still called Injun Joe in at least some productions.
- Although what was "politically correct" was considered different back then (and entirely mandated by censorship), William Shakespeare's King Henry VIII falls squarely into this trope, carefully avoiding the more morally ambiguous things he did, such as beheading his second wife, Anne Boleyn.
- His Richard III is a perennial bone of contention for historians, since its based entirely on official propaganda, framed Richard III and his friends as "evil" or "manipulated" and everyone else as "good". When since this was the Wars of the Roses there was plenty of good and evil to spread around. For instance, Shakespeare's play makes George of Clarence into a noble victim killed by Richard III when he was actually a corrupt backstabbing Prince who King Edward IV finally killed. The marriage to Anne Neville is portrayed as a seduction when all reports indicate that it was a love marriage. It also portrays Richard III as a tyrant and Obviously Evil when he was indeed a progressive monarch and highly popular in the North and his main enemies were the Woodville-Yorkist nobility.
- On a similar note, Macbeth goes a little out of its way to show Banquo as a victim and a cool dude in general, as, by that time, King James was on the throne and he was supposedly descended from the historical Banquo. Note in particular the scene of the kings begotten by Banquo appearing before Macbeth — the last one is supposed to be James himself.
- Henry V has another interesting historical example. The scenes in France prominently depict the soldiers at Agincourt as a diverse (for the UK) group from England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. The real army was purely English, and Scotland was allied with France during the Hundred Years War.
- Actually, the English army at Agincourt included a substantial number of Welshmen, whose skill with the longbow was crucial to the outcome of the battle. Fluellen's dramatic pre-eminence among the celtic characters may be a nod to this.
- And the fact that the (vastly outnumbered) English Army had put the PoWs to the sword in reality? Well, that's downplayed as a purely retaliatory measure because the French did it first, mentioned in a throwaway comment from good ole' Hal.
- Modern theatre actually has Colorblind Casting as a trope. This is simply because 20th Century Drama is largely unrealistic in set design, decor and costume, often invokes Setting Update via costumes. If audiences have to suspend disbelief to see the modern-dress wearing actors as characters from Shakespeare, its not hard to pretend that the black actor is in a white role.
- High school theater productions are often forced to do this because of limited casting pools. If only three guys are trying out for the lead, and the best guy for the job is black (even though the character was white), well, you have to go with what you have. Or, alternatively, they do this in order to give kids of color a crack at good parts, instead of making them sit out many productions entirely or keep to the background. Sometimes the reverse happens, if a school has very few people of colour in the student body - the audience just sort of pretends that the white actor is a POC.
- The recent musical Hamilton has the American Founding Fathers (aka whitest group ever!) played by Hispanic and African-Americans, in reference to this trope.
- Several attractions at Disney Theme Parks are like this, most notably Pirates of the Caribbean, which was actually bowdlerized into being more politically correct. This is probably justified, as one attraction that isn't, The American Adventure, was loaded with Unfortunate Implications.
- Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, Texas was laid out with six sections representing the six flags that have flown over the state: Spain, France, Mexico, The Republic of Texas, The Confederacy and The United States. In the 1990's, the park renamed the Confederacy section to "Old South" for obvious reasons.
- Much of the background story of the first Gabriel Knight game involves American pilgrims raiding an African village for slaves. This is hardly what happened in those times; in most cases, slaves were bought from African slavers, who had them on sale as spoils of tribal strife.
- It's a gross simplification of what actually went on, but majority of the African slaves were captured by other tribes specifically to be sold for a good price to the white slave traders; wars were fought in Africa to get more slaves for sale, the slaves weren't an incidental byproduct of already existing strife.
- They were at first. However, once both the European traders and African slavers realized how profitable it was, things really took off. Soon entire kingdoms were destroyed by the slave trade.
- It's a gross simplification of what actually went on, but majority of the African slaves were captured by other tribes specifically to be sold for a good price to the white slave traders; wars were fought in Africa to get more slaves for sale, the slaves weren't an incidental byproduct of already existing strife.
- An in-world example is revealed in the first Metal Gear Solid, where Master Miller identifies Naomi Hunter as a fraud because of her family's inconsistent history: Naomi claims her Japanese-born uncle was a member of the FBI in the fifties, but Miller later points out that Edgar Hoover, a well-known racist and head of the FBI at the time, wouldn't have allowed him in the bureau.
- In Operation Darkness, K Company, 1st Platoon, or the "Wolf Pack", allows women into front line roles — something that isn't allowed even in the modern British Army, and which would be wildly anachronistic for the World War II setting of the game. Somewhat justified by the unusual nature of K Company, 1st Platoon — the British Army doesn't traditionally allow werewolves or Mad Scientists to act in front line roles, either — and Lampshaded when Jude assumes that because he's being transferred to a unit containing a woman, he's thus being moved off the front lines.
- Pirates Of The Burning Sea provides equal male and female options for all factions. There's absolutely no way a woman would have been able to openly serve in the French, British, or Spanish navies of the time — women have long been considered unlucky to have aboard ships, and would have been considered too timid, flighty, and incompetent to serve in the military. Pirates were less traditionalist, and there were indeed some female pirates known to history... but they tended to try to pass as male. In addition to the issue with "women are bad luck", female clothes of the period were highly impractical, and it was generally not a good idea to be visibly the only woman in a crew full of rowdy sailors who have been on the sea too long.
- The Sakura Wars series is set in the 1920s, but seems to show many more opportunities for and much less discrimination against women (and, in the New York-based Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love, non-Europeans) than would be expected in that time period. Of course, this is a setting with demons and Humongous Mecha, not historical fiction.
- Age of Empires III is notable for completely glossing over slavery and the genocide/relocation of Native Americans. The first Expansion Pack, The WarChiefs, slightly rectifies the latter by showing the Red Cloud's War and the Battle of Little Bighorn.
- Assassin's Creed has tended to appeal to Reality Is Unrealistic and historical revisionism. But even then, it does feature huge dollops of politically correct history:
- While Assassin's Creed I was considered daring in its time for having an Arab protagonist and portraying a revisionist view of The Hashshashin, many noted that it ended up making The Crusades a backdrop to a secular dispute between two secret societies, when this was a major conflict driven by religion. Most Assassins likewise tend to be Secular Hero with the brotherhood featuring "liberated nuns" like Sister Theodora in (Assassin's Creed II) or harmless and theologically suspect priests like the one on Connor's homestead in Assassin's Creed III.
- Patrice Desilets mentioned that in Assassin's Creed II he wanted to make Leonardo da Vinci's homosexuality explicit and mention the fact that the real-life Leonardo faced charges for sodomy in Florence, but the producers insisted they remove it. While Leonardo's homosexuality is hinted at in the vanilla game of both II and Brotherhood, only the optional DLC for Brotherhood featuring a direct acknowledgement.
- Despite the fact that the games are set in events central to Jewish history — the Crusades, the Renaissance, the French Revolution — none of the major games feature Jewish NPCs or supporting characters in any of the playable main and side missions, with barely any mention to the institutional and systemic anti-semitism operating in this timenote . There's also the fact that the games demonize figures like Pope Alexander VI and Maximilien Robespierre who were rare major political figures who contributed positively to Jewish rights while having the Assassins ally with the fiercely anti-semitic King Philip IV to persecute Jacques de Molay. Likewise, the depiction of Rome in Assassin's Creed Brotherhood does not have the famous Jewish quarter, filled with refugees from Spain and France, patronized by the Borgia's support. It took until Assassin's Creed: Syndicate for the series to feature major Jewish NPC — Karl Marx and Benjamin Disraeli.
- The games set in the New World however avert this: Assassin's Creed III, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Liberation, Freedom Cry deal with colonialism, native displacement, slavery and racism. Syndicate however returns with the lack of emphasis on colonialism, the greater melting pot of Victorian London, imperial politics and the fact that Jacob and Evie Frye flout a series of class and gender norms while facing no social reproach.
- A major facet of Empire: Total War is your faction's participation in the 18th century's colonial/maritime economy, but Creative Assembly really tries their damnedest to ignore the fact that African slavery was arguably the most vital cog in that economy. Two of the "trade theaters" in the game are West Africa and East Africa/Madagascar, and they exclusively produce...ivory. Slavery is also glossed over on the flavor texts for the plantations; the most mention that the practice gets is the late-game "Abolition of Slavery" technology... Though Revolutionary France abolished the practice in 1789, it was reinstated by Napoleon. The long game's ending year of 1799 was long before any American/European nation permanently abolished slavery.
- World of Tanks includes the following note :
- Black and white people in the same tank crew during World War II.
- No Swastikas.
- Adding the ability to give Soviet and Chinese troops better rations although this could just be Gameplay and Story Segregation since every nation has a food related consumable note with the same effect (improving crew performance).
- In the Ace Patrol games, the player can have both male and female pilots, despite the events taking place during World War One and World War II, respectively, and only the Soviet Union had female combat pilots during WWII (USSR is absent in both games). The second game, at least, gives you the option to disable female pilots in order to be more historically accurate.
- In 'Silent Storm'', both sides of World War II has men and women of all races serving together in all branches of the military. This would only be true for the USSR.
- Most of the games in the Civilization franchise gloss over slavery. The Call To Power series explicitly has a Slaver unit (as well as an Abolitionist unit), but beyond that slavery is largely abstracted. Civs I through III basically ignore it completely; III has a different graphic for "workers" you "capture", and they work at half the normal rate but don't cost upkeep. In IV, you have the option of Slavery for your Labor civic, but all it does is lets you rush a project at the cost of population. It's mostly gone from Civ V as well, although you can demand "workers" from City States.
- Colonization only does two parts of the Rum trade triangle - the third were slaves. However, the game allows the player to massacre Native Americans if they wish to, which leads to a mild What the Hell, Hero? towards Sid Meier in the Prima guide.
- However, slavery wasn't completely glossed over in Colonization. While slaves are not used as a trade good, they are present as actual colonists - they are as productive as regular colonists at producing raw resources, but almost useless for manufactured goods. Indentured servants, essentially people who have sold themselves into slavery for a certain time until paid off by their labour, fall between slaves and free colonists in productivity. So while the slave trade itself is not depicted (and would be difficult to include sensibly since Africa is not present at all), slavery as a source of cheap labour for the fields is.
- Played with in the BioShock franchise:
- Rapture, the setting of the first and second games, was constructed after the end of World War II and lasted into the end of the 1950s, when it all went to hell. Nonetheless, it is presented as being racially integrated and openly accepting towards homosexuality, transexualism, and pornography. This is justified, however, as Rapture was envisioned as a libertarian utopia that was not to be constrained by the social, political, and religious mores of its day. Although this is not to say period appropriate prejudices don't exist. Both games do contain racial and sexual prejudice that lingers in some of it's citizens. "Changing your race" or sex is treated in the manner of improving negative features, some of the splicers are overtly racist or sexist in their dialogue, and one of the main characters in the second game is a black woman who happens to live in the poorest part of the city...
- BioShock Infinite, which takes place in 1912 in the Steam Punk sky city of Columbia, averts this hard for the most part. The game doesn't hold a single punch when it comes to depicting the extreme levels of racism, xenophobia, and ultra-nationalism that permeated American culture in the early 20th century. In fact, Columbia is actually canonically extremist even for its day, which is part of the reason it seceded from the United States. The only social aspect of Columbia that is incongruous for the time period is the equality experienced by women, who can be seen serving on the front-lines of Columbia's police force, military, and rebellion. This is again justified, since one of Columbia's architects was a brilliant, independent female scientist and it's implied that the leader of Columbia, Zachary Hale Comstock, has been making an active effort to rid Columbia of sexism since he was grooming his "daughter" Elizabeth to lead Columbia as a messiah-like figure.
- Fallen London is set in the Victorian era and concerned with Victorian values like scandalous manners, but the game treats men and women equally for the most part, with exceptions being mostly for flavour and comedy. Apparently women can't vote in Fallen London, but it's not as if even if they could it would do much. Both male and female characters are treated respectfully by others and Everyone Is Bi by default (although the player can choose to only pursue one gender or no-one if they choose).
- The titular Order in The Order: 1886, which is a continuation of Arthur's Knights of the Round Table, has no qualms letting women into their ranks to fight for them, as evidenced by Isabeau/Lady Igraine as well as the other female knights seen throughout the game. Of course, the game takes place in an Alternate History with Steam Punk technology and a centuries-old war against lycans (ahem, "half-breeds"), so obviously some aspects of the Victorian era would be different.
- Only three professions are forbidden to women in Darklands, specifically friar, priest and bishop (and most male PCs will never get those jobs either). Women can become knights, soldiers or students as easily as males.
- Jewish population is completely absent from the game, even in large cities, and nobody ever mentions them. The only exception are the few names in German, like Judenmarkt (Jewish Market).
- In The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!, the black Jack Fury leads the Howling Commandos, who as mentioned, are pretty diverse during World War II. Of course, seeing as that particular WW2 was between the Allied Nations and Hydra, as well as the Nazis it can probably be excused as an Alternate History.
- Subverted in the 90s X-Men cartoon, where a time-traveling Storm is told she is not welcome in a restaurant. At first, she thinks it's because she is a mutant, then once she realizes it's because she's black, she says that discrimination by race is almost quaint.
- An episode of Justice League Unlimited featured Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern chasing a Mad Scientist back to the Wild West, where they disguised themselves as law enforcers. Nobody they met saw anything odd about a woman or a black man as a lawperson. Though this might be an unintended aversion as there were black lawmen and cowboys at the time but they sort of faded out of the limelight until recently.
- An earlier episode, "Legends," before the series changed names, had the League follow a villain inside an in-show comic book and pair up with equivalents of the Justice Society of America, who were of course still in The Golden Age of Comic Books mentally. The Chick invites Hawkgirl to help cook. And when Green Lantern's childhood hero complimented him with "You're a credit to your people, son!", Green Lantern could only reply, "Uh... yeah." It was an incredibly subtle bit of animation where you could see John's thoughts written all over his face... he obviously knew that the other man wasn't trying to be insulting, he just came from an era where statements like that probably were the equivalent of being racially sensitive. (The fact that the present day Green Lantern did not meet an actual Golden Age DC superhero but the equivalent enabled the script to get away with more. Actually, an earlier draft of the script had just that scenario, but you tend to think that DC Comics might have a problem with any incarnation of one of their superheroes portrayed as a racist.)
- Sabrina: The Animated Series, "Witchery Science Theater": No one in the old B-grade movie that Sabrina and friends find themselves trapped in found Sabrina's Afro-American Secret Keeper best friend the least unusual. Then again, it's a kids' show...
- Captain Planet and the Planeteers, a time travel episode to World War II features Caucasian, Asian and African American soldiers all in the same company. It also features a handlebar mustached Führer, who, while clearly intended to be Hitler, isn't. Strangest. Censorship. Ever.
- The cartoon Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat has the Magistrate having three daughters and NO sons. No-one says anything about it. In real life, he would have been pressured to keep trying for a son or take another wife — the Kingdom could NOT be passed down to girls! Also, in real life, no matter how dumb the Magistrate is, his wife wouldn't dare talk to him as she did (in a henpecking, almost bullying, mother-like way) or she would have been beheaded!
- The 90s Fantastic Four cartoon had a Time Travel episode where the heroes are transported to ancient Greece during the battle of Marathon. The Thing asks whose side they're on and Reed Richards responds, "The Persians were brutal tyrants, while the Athenians invented democracy." While neither side was a bastion of liberty by today's standards, participation in Athenian democracy was denied to women, foreigners, and slaves (i.e., over two-thirds of the population). Meanwhile, while the Persians were conquerors and slavers they were conspicuous for how they tolerated the customs and institutions of the peoples they conquered — their general policy was that as long as they paid proper tribute to the empire and didn't rebel, their conquered states could self-govern, maintain their traditions and beliefs, and generally go on much as they had before being conquered. This is generally believed to have been a major contributor to the success of their empire, as it tended to make rebellion a much less attractive proposition than it might otherwise be.
- Lampshaded on Histeria!. Any time their depiction of history got a little less than family-friendly, network censor Lydia Karaoke would step forward and complain. Many of Lydia's complaints were more along the lines of Have a Gay Old Time, however.
- A Christmas episode of The Simpsons, set at Christmastime during World War II, shows the neighborhood of the Simpson family (or, at least, the family being portrayed by the Simpsons characters) as racially integrated. Although there were some integrated neighborhoods in the 1940s, that has not commonly been portrayed in popular culture, either then or now - and it is certainly odd to see it on The Simpsons, which is famous for its cynical brand of humor and historical generalizations.
- Not to mention it showed Marge as a combat rifleman in the war, even though women are only just now being allowed in direct-combat roles in the U.S. Army.
- That was more Played for Laughs than for political correctness. The joke had been that Marge had been drafted from the Simpson family instead of Homer because Homer was too fat to fit into the foxholes and ended up working on the weapon assembly lines instead.
- Not to mention it showed Marge as a combat rifleman in the war, even though women are only just now being allowed in direct-combat roles in the U.S. Army.
- King of the Hill had an episode dealing with this. Hank, dismayed at the fact that the school's Texas History textbook skips important events like the Alamo in favor of pop culture, produces a re-enactment of the Alamo with another man who's supposedly just as outraged. However, that man's script is a revisionist version of the story where the Texans are all braindead, drunken cowards (and one wears a dress, to boot). The man defends his version by saying the facts are unclear (and citing Oliver Stone's JFK); after briefly considering trashing the set, Hank realizes it's wrong to censor someone just for disagreeing, and presages the play with a speech about the bare facts regarding the Alamo.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender has this in-universe, when Aang accidentally infiltrates a Fire Nation elementary school and their history turns out to be systematic propaganda, including revising the comet-powered genocide of Aang's pacifistic race as a mighty victory over the mighty 'Air Nation' armies. Given they also obviously killed all the babiesnote , this isn't a story likely to hold together long against serious examination, but it makes the majority of students who hear it much less likely to start wondering about the rightness of the cause than the truth would.
Under Fire Lord Zuko, what is politically correct changes dramatically from the regime probably instated by Fire Lord Azulon, who presided over the chronological bulk of the war and making it a feasible long-term project. Something Sozin almost certainly never anticipated and Ozai never had the patience for.