Main Politically Correct History Discussion

Collapse/Expand Topics

08:13:30 AM Nov 19th 2015
Do you think an alternative name for this trope would be "Deliberate Values Resonance"? What do you think?
12:30:10 AM Nov 20th 2015
I have no idea what it means?
11:45:16 AM Jul 14th 2015
About "Rivers Of Babylon"- Err, what does smashing babies against rocks have to do with (and I hate this term) "political correctness?" Are babies an oppressed minority or something? It seems more of an example of Lighter and Softer to me. Also, I think Princess And The Frog and DEFIANTLY Pocahontas should be added. (I know this sounds stupid, but I'm not sure what to write for those entries).
01:22:19 PM Jul 14th 2015
edited by Larkmarn
Sounds about right on all accounts.

You could probably use their entries on Disneyfication as a jumping off point.
03:01:02 PM Jul 14th 2015
07:17:41 AM Jul 25th 2015
@mrdeath Thanks bro.
08:11:39 AM Nov 14th 2014
Orson Scott Card may have drawn inspiration for Alvin Maker from Joseph Smith's life, but the series is pretty obviously a fantastic alternate history, which raises the question of whether it's a real example of the trope, since it's not supposed to be historical.
03:42:01 AM Sep 7th 2014
edited by
Downton Abbey: while most of the criticisms are correct, I'm not sure adding the example of Emmett Till (living in Mississippi) is apposite for a series set in Britain. Could we not find a better example of race relations in the 1920s, relevant to the time and place, rather than an example which is effectively comparing two very different places?
09:05:46 AM Sep 7th 2014
Yeah, that is a bad comparison. From what I know English race relations in the 1920s weren't quite as bad as the example of Emmett Till would suggest.
04:14:06 AM Jan 22nd 2014
edited by
I'm not at all sure about the Merlin entry. Firstly, Merlin is so deliberately unhistorical it seems like complaining about black people in Discworld. Secondly, the bullet
  • 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.

Yes, he keeps being told that, hence the angst. And love-matches were a common part of courtly romances, hence the current meaning of the word romance.
10:55:30 AM Jan 1st 2014
  • World of Tanks includes the following:
    • No Swastikas and calling Nazi Germany, just Germany despite not doing the same for the Soviet Union.

This doesn't make any sense. Germany is called Germany and the Soviet Union is called the Soviet Union because that was their names (technically it was the German Reich and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, but still).
09:05:00 AM Dec 5th 2013
This example has been contested by an editor. If you want to contest an example, don't natter, but move it to discussion. Repair, Don't Respond, as they say.
  • Rock Star, set in The '80s, has a protagonist from a churchgoing Christian family who both sings in the church choir and fronts a Heavy Metal rock band. His parents don't seem to have a problem with this. In fact, only token mention of metal music being The New Rock & Roll during that time period is made throughout the whole film. Most of the social conflict occurs between metal musicians, who butt heads over whether to move into Darker and Edgier territory or retain their glam-pop style.
    • The idea that Heavy Metal is inherently evil has never been universally held among Christians; even when it was in vogue, its proponents were a vocal minority.
12:59:06 AM Oct 6th 2013
edited by
To the best of my knowledge, "aversions" are not to be listed except for tropes that are listed as Omnipresent Tropes. See Averted Trope for reference.

Dumping cuts here, in case they contain some salvageable material. Some of this may fit on Deliberate Values Dissonance.

    Aversions (cut) 
  • Averted in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. Joseph's buddy Smokey experiences the exact sort of racism that was unfortunately common for African Americans in the 1930's.
  • Averted with Ultimate Captain America, who indeed does have his prejudices as a result of being transported from the 40s.
  • Averted, surprisingly, in The Haunted Mansion. The hauntings are started when the butler kills the head of the family's bride-to-be the night before the wedding, to prevent the intolerable scandal of a mixed wedding. Very appropriate and realistic for the Reconstruction-era South, but astonishing to see in a Disney film. You might notice, though, that they carefully avoided actually mentioning her race as a factor. The only thing the butler explicitly said was that it was a scandal because he was marrying beneath his station, as he would have if she were just a white servant.
  • Averted in Flags of Our Fathers. Ironically, director Clint Eastwood then caught flak in some circles for failing to make politically correct history by adding token minorities to the segregated units that stormed Iwo Jima. Spike Lee in particular came after Eastwood for this, but Eastwood responded by saying that the film was meant for historical accuracy and that Lee should "Shut his face." Multiple black soldiers actually are visible in the film as extras, serving in the same auxiliary roles that they would have in real life.
  • Averted seriously in Back to the Future. After arriving in 1955, Marty discovers the future mayor of Hill Valley is working as a janitor in a tiny diner and attending night school, eager to make something of himself. When Marty points out he could be mayor some day, his (white) boss loudly scoffs, "Yeah, a colored mayor, that'll be the day." Also, Marty's mother is a serious smoker, drinker, and seems very eager to get it on with the boy she's nabbed despite her claim that she "never chased a boy or called a boy or sat in a parked car with a boy!"
    • Even further averted. The film also has 3-D, a member of Biff's gang, say "beat it spook, this doesn't concern you," to Reginald (a black man) after shoving Marty into the trunk of his car. The other three (also black men) of Reginald's band get out of the car and scare the gang off with Reginald saying, "who you callin' spook, peckerwood?" Spook was an old racist term for African-Americans in the 50's and "peckerwood" was a slur for whites.
  • Averted in Men in Black 3. Agent J travels back in time to 1969. While there, he gets pulled over by a pair of white cops for being a black man driving a fancy car (though he did in fact steal it).
    Agent J: And just because you see a black man driving a nice car does not mean he stole it!
    Agent J: ...I stole this one. But not 'cause I'm black.
    • it ahould be noted that, before he travels back in time, Agent J is explicitly warned about the discrimination he would face in the sixties.
  • Averted in many ways in Belisarius Series. However sometimes they do seem far more tolerant of religious, ethnic, and class differences then early medieval people really would be.
  • Averted, along with most of Hollywood History, in Horrible Histories. The nasty, brutal and political incorrect aspects are all on display, but so are the aversions. In Groovy Greeks for instance there is a point by point comparison of the role and privileges of Athenian and Spartan women. (Short version, Athens bad, Sparta good.)
  • The Time Scout series mostly averts this. An effort is made to be accurate to the time periods, for good and for ill.
  • Carefully averted in the Destroyermen series, given that the author is a history professor. Much of USS Walker's crew are mildly racist, and slurs like "Japs" and "Nips" fly freely (particularly in regards to their nemesis, the battlecruiser Amagi). And one enlisted is described as a "Kard-Karrying Klansman", and is noted to have put on shows in blackface to amuse the other destroyermen. Ironically, he is eventually lynched by the other enlisted for raping one of Walker's Lemurian allies.
  • Averted in a throwaway line in The Atrocity Archive by Charles Stross. Bob explains to another character that back in the day, it was illegal to work in the clandestine services and be homosexual: they viewed you as a security risk. The fallacy is that this actually made gays security risks because they were vulnerable to blackmail ("do this for me or I tell your boss and you lose your job"). So in the present, they just insist on being openly gay: you can't be blackmailed if you're not hiding anything. Hence Bob's gay flatmates getting the day off for Gay Pride to maintain their security clearances.
    • This is actually Truth in Television, more or less. Modern-day intelligence requires prospective employees to let them know if they are in the closet, for precisely that reason, so they can gauge the security risk. (Of course when it was illegal, being openly gay was still a blackmail risk. See Guy Burgess, one of the Cambridge Five for an example.)
  • Ryan West's The Rise of the Saxons makes a point out of averting this, with the Anglo-Saxon protagonists portrayed as cheerfully murdering defenceless children during their attempted genocide of the Celts, whom they view as "sub-humans" and "vermin". The fact that the author's afterword identifies the novel as an attempt to honour the Anglo-Saxons in a way which will make the modern English proud has led certain readers to question his political leanings.
  • Averted in the Hogan's Heroes episode "The Softer They Fall". Kinchloe has a boxing match with a German to divert attention from the Wacky Antics elsewhere, and Hogan warns him not to win, since the Germans would probably kill a black man who defeated their champion.
  • Averted in Jeeves and Wooster. Despite the rather nostalgic tone of the show it doesn’t shy away from portraying some of the unsavory elements of the time period;
    • Class prejudice, though seemingly absent in the younger generation, is something that a few of the characters have to overcome in order to get married or at any rate get the approval of their parents or guardians. At one point Aunt Agatha tries to get Bertie to buy off his uncle’s working class girlfriend.
    • Race comes up a few times in the series, most notably in the episode where almost all the characters are running around in Black Face. The entire Drones Club has formed a minstrel show and Bertie Wooster blacks up to blend in with them. The whole thing is rendered more funny than offensive by the fact that all of the characters involved (including Bertie) are too dumb to know anything about the history or context of that kind of entertainment. Another episode has Bertie imitating an African chief and talking in caveman speak. Once again the incident is saved by the real chief showing up and speaking better English than Bertie. In the episodes set in America it is clear that segregation is very much in place.
    • The show points out the some aristocrats were attracted to Fascism in the interwar years. Though most of the characters find would be dictator Roderick Spode ridiculous he has his own movement and his idea about drowning foreigners coming into Britain was a big hit with the inhabitants of Totleigh on the Would.
  • Most games avert the trope by setting themselves in fantasy universes that do not experience the same gender and racial prejudices which would exist in an actual medieval setting.
    • Reign goes one step further, and actually explains why gender prejudices don't exist in a setting where they might otherwise seem to belong — it's commonly believed that riding a horse in the classical way will make a man infertile, so cavalry is composed of women and eunuchs. On top of that, magic is a great equalizer for the tendency for men to be larger and stronger, and one of the major world powers has been led by women since its foundation. It does feature racial prejudices, but they're actually inverted from what most players are used to — since the sun is in a fixed position in the sky at all times, most people are dark-skinned and the whites who live in the areas of permanent shadow or night are actually the ones who are hated and feared with a reputation for being primitive savages.
  • Interestingly averted in L.A. Noire, where virtually all the characters have attitudes towards women that would automatically make them villains in a contemporary setting, but which were totally normal for 1940s California. (The more sympathetic characters are still the least racist and misogynist ones, obviously.)
  • Averted in Metal Gear Solid 3 when Naked Snake talked to Sigint and found out that despite the fact that Sigint's a genius, only Zero would hire him because he didn't care about him being black.
    • Played straight in the backstory of the Boss, a woman who led a platoon in World War II and was on the front lines in the Battle of Normandy.
  • Victoria: An Empire Under the Sun averts the trope completely, featuring slaves as a trade-able commodity of all things! Of course, certain social policies can allow you to abolish slavery.
    • Europa Universalis also averts this, with natives being a key factor in the game. Large tribes are portrayed as actual playable nations that most colonial empires will inevitably fight, and any colonization in the game shows the number of natives in the province you want to colonize. Notice how that number decreases after each attempt... In fact, the game encourages you to slaughter natives. Though they provide bonus population and some good events, they can destroy or cripple the colony if they feel so. Though game features reputation system, nobody cares if you genocide whole tribes in some distant land.
    • Like Victoria and Europa Universalis, Hearts of Iron III is another Paradox Interactive game not quite true to life. The Holocaust, Russian gulags and Japanese war crimes are not mentioned, perhaps understandably, but Germany doesn't even have the right flag.
  • Perhaps one of the best aversions is Liberty's Kids. Despite being an American cartoon about the American Revolution, it does not gloss over issues of slavery (especially concerning Thomas Jefferson), mob violence, the treatment of Native Americans, or other morally questionable actions by pro-Revolution parties. And it's a kids show!
  • For a less obvious form, compare the amount of smoking that goes on in shows and movies made in The '50s and The '60s with the amount in those which are just set in the Fifties. Its easier to list the Aversions:
    • Good Night, and Good Luck., in which all of the characters seem to be chain smokers. The film included a now-unbelievable period cigarette commercial to play up how things have changed; the DVD commentary mentions how many of those people died of lung cancer (Andy Rooney, who never smoked, lived much longer than his colleagues at Murrow-era CBS News).
    • The 2004 film Ike: Countdown To D-Day. Nonsmoker Tom Selleck couldn't quite match Eisenhower's smoking habit, but he did his best.
    • Smoking in movies of the time was also exaggerated, due to Product Placement. Actual smoking rates in the U.S. peaked at about 56% among men during The '50s (and at about a third of all women during The '60s.) So at most, just over half of all men were smokers; an outrageous number today, but not as universal as period films would have us believe.
    • Parodied in Thank You for Smoking, when Senator Finistre tries to have cigarettes in old movies digitally replaced with candy canes, etc.
  • So, so, so completely averted in Deadwood. To the point where one character is called "Short Nigger General" more often than he is anything else.
    • Truth in Television considering Samuel Fields was a real person, who referred to himself as a "sly-coon."
    • And going to bed with a Chinese prostitute is considered so far beneath a white man's dignity that the pimps have to offer their prostitutes to Deadwood's males for practically nothing.
  • Averted, then beaten to death with a crowbar in Mad Men. Racism, sexism, and various other forms of non-PCness run rampant in the series... exactly as they would have throughout the 1960s. A few, generally younger, characters have more enlightened perspectives (particularly Peggy on sexism and Pete on racism), but for the most part, if someone's disgusted with something sexist/racist/what have you, it's for some other reason (e.g. Don's disgust with Roger's Uncle Tomfoolery in blackface at his wedding was not so much because of the racism but because he thought his friend was making a fool of himself). Justifiable, given the Rose Tinted Narrative that tends to surround The '60s; but on the other hand, it might go too far in the other direction. There are no minorities except for janitors, maids, and bellhops in one of the most racially diverse cities in the country. Discrimination existed, of course, but to see diners and jazz clubs without a single non-white face begs an eyeroll or two.
  • There is one single outright aversion in Doctor Who, "Remembrance Of The Daleks": The racist Mike Smith and a racist sign, pissing off Ace since her friend's flat was firebombed by skinheads. The black cafe worker who serves the Doctor mentions that his ancestor was kidnapped to be a slave, so his family became English.
  • Animorphs has a weird aversion: in one book, villains changed history to create a modern-day America in which slavery and racism are still commonplace. A lot of authors would make their heroic main characters still have the same personality and tolerance they have in the main timeline, despite having grown up in such a racist society. Not the case here though: in the alternate timeline, our main characters are okay with owning slaves, they're racist towards black people and their alien friend, they consider turning each other in for "radical tendencies" as a good Nazi would, and they support the killing of rainforest tribes because they "don't want a world filled with Primitives any more than [they] want a world filled with [alien invaders]". They revert to their normal selves only once their memory of the "real" timeline is supernaturally restored, at which point they are revolted by how they just thought and acted.
    • Note that there is a black girl on the team, who typically serves as The Heart. Being cut off from her cannot have done the white characters any emotional good.
01:31:14 AM Sep 25th 2012

  • Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar series has a feudal society with equal rights for women and universal education. The characters really have values identical to most modern Americans.

Since this takes place in a fantasy world (with magic even) this trope does not apply. Since it does not take place in the real world, there is no real "history" involved. Fantasy worlds can have any values the writer wants them to have.
10:14:36 PM Aug 7th 2012
The lone entry at Advertising doesn't hold water. The poster evidently believes that before the early '70s black and white people in the USA never broke bread together. It was in some places rare, in others unthinkable, but to say it didn't happen at all is patently absurd.
01:57:15 AM Sep 25th 2012
It would be very unusual.

Now imagine the advertisement showing all the women and girls wearing pants. Sure, you could say that women wore pants in the 1950s, and indeed, they did. But a "typical" bunch of families sitting down at picnic tables to eat would have the females wearing dresses. It would also not include white and black people eating together.

Since this is TV Tropes and not The Other Wiki, we tend to look for mass media cultural tropes and not exact details. Someone looking at the ad with a eye to history would realize that while it might be true, it looks like an attempt to whitewash history with a Nostalgia Filter.
10:47:52 AM Jul 26th 2012
Why should we take out the Real Life section when several of the other sections also deal with real-life history? It seems to me that the other sections would be no less controversial than the Real Life section.
04:38:49 AM Aug 5th 2012
The trope is about history retconned/rewritten/misrepresented in media representations.

A list of Great Wrongs that need Righting is off-mission.
08:46:02 AM Aug 2nd 2011
I heard there are books that act like prequels to "Pirates of the Carribean", talking about Jack Sparrow's past. Part of it involves him rebelling against the idea of slavery. In works that take place during a time when Slavery was common, expect the main characters to be against slavery.

So, if anyone has that book, why not add it.
10:49:20 AM Jan 1st 2014
The Abolitionism movement.
05:09:01 PM Jul 1st 2011
would Bowman the black member of the SOG in Call of Duty Black Ops count for this since it's set in the Vietnam era.
06:23:54 AM Jan 28th 2012
No, because there were black soldiers in the US Military. The military was desegregated by the Vietnam War.
07:41:20 AM Jan 28th 2011
edited by Westrim
Why is the Napoleon Dynamite quote here? That is a perfectly accurate definition of what is accepted as historic fact.
09:29:43 AM Jan 28th 2011
edited by Westrim
His use of "decided" means that people often choose to believe a historical narrative that may not necessarily be grounded in fact, like 99% of national origin stories.

It's the Thousand Shinji quote that is a bit questionable.
07:37:54 AM Dec 12th 2010
I was originally just going to delete the Irene Adler bullet talking about Doyle's belief in fairies, which I thought was natter, but looking over that whole example, I think it could use some fixing/perhaps should be elsewhere.

Along with the Trope Namer for the Moriarty Effect, Irene Adler just tends to get larger roles in adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, and I believe this has been the case for a while. The example is kind of complaining about how modern audiences/feminists and stating about the Holmes stories being Fair for Its Day.

I would say that the recent film gives her significant xenafication, but I'm not so sure it would fit this trope, because the characters' attitudes aren't really ahistorical (and Adler is still this kind of seedy thief/spy/Honey Trap- it's not like she's teaching at Cambridge).

09:07:52 AM Feb 26th 2011
It's not because of her characterization was fair for it´s day. It´s because in the movie she is reffered to as the only person to outwit Holmes when in the books she was known as the only woman out of four people to outwit Holmes.

Besides she went from an Opera Singer to victorian age Catwoman. She was never a spy, a thief or a honey trap. She was just a smart woman.
04:13:35 AM Jan 22nd 2014
edited by
(Pressed reply when I meant new topic)
Collapse/Expand Topics