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Playing With / Politically Correct History

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Basic Trope: A work that takes place in a different time period has situations and character relations suited to the tastes of modern audiences.

  • Straight: A story that takes place in the Deep South just after the American Civil War depicts Alice, a black woman, running a very successful business. None of the other characters blink.
  • Exaggerated:
  • Downplayed:
    • Some subtle hints that Alice might be a lesbian or bisexual are dropped.
    • You Have to Have Jews, even when religious or cultural background wouldn't be really important to the story.
    • Alice has to deal with racism that was appropriate for the time period, but doesn't deal with the type of sexism that was normal in that era.
    • Alice does well but the dress shop is 'officially' owned by and Alice is 'employed' a generous white man who despises racism who is really a silent partner to give a veneer of acceptability to society. This shields her from the worst of the problems as racists can rationalize her as merely a good servant of someone 'proper'.
  • Justified:
    • Alice just has such a knack for business that no one cares what color she is or what her genitals look like.
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    • It's a true story, or Based on a True Story.
    • This is an Alternate History story.
    • The work takes place in a setting is a Wretched Hive. One of its very few upsides is that nobody gives a damn about who or what anyone is. Deserters, pirates, murderers, thieves, and traitors prowl the city and everyone knows it. Given the amount of 'bad people' nobody is likely to care about lesser issues like some excommunicated clergy marrying two men even if it would incite a riot in more 'respectable' cities. Besides mocking a pirate captain over liking men is likely to get you stabbed.
  • Inverted:
    • The work depicts Alice as having lost everything, even implying that she was (somewhat) better off as a slave.
    • Alice is a Fish out of Temporal Water from the modern era, and time-travels into a ball, where she gets funny looks for the color of her skin and the fact that she's wearing pants instead of a dress. The guards are also surprised when it turns out she can handle herself in a fight.
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    • The work is set in the modern days with the viewpoints of the past still unchanged with all of its flaws. Alice is still considered property in an otherwise modern 2017.
    • The bigotry manages to become historically inaccurate. While people may look down on Alice for being a lesbian in Chicago in the 1970s she couldn't be arrested for that explicitly.
  • Subverted:
    • Alice is a brothel madam. Most of her girls are young black women, and most of the clients are sleazy white men.
    • Alice is not very well off at the beginning, but she gets married to Bob, a wealthy white man (who happens to be the son of her former owner.)
    • Alice's blackness is later revealed to have been based upon a historical misinterpretation. When accounts described her as dark skinned and from Africa they meant she was well tanned and from Boer farmers who immigrated. She was still white and considered as such.
  • Double Subverted:
    • She's managed to buy her way into high society, in an era where that would have been extraordinarily difficult for someone like Alice.
    • They married for love, and it's shown that Bob clearly cares about her and respects her as a human being. None of their neighbors make any negative comments about their interracial marriage (which is also a real, legally-binding marriage at a time when it wouldn't be), and anyone that does is shown to be a less-than-sympathetic character.
    • She still gets to do things that any woman at the time, let alone a black woman, would be unlikely to get to do, and she's still very sympathetic to the audience.
  • Parodied: For some bizarre reason, Adolf Hitler is depicted as openly promoting peace and equality between all people.
  • Zig Zagged: An alternate history mixes various levels. While gender roles are rigidly enforced more approrpiate to the 1800s than the 1980s transgender people are accepted regardless of their birth sex. The situation with homosexuality however is about the same still.
  • Averted:
  • Enforced:
  • Lampshaded: A note flashes at the beginning noting that casting was done both colorblind and genderblind with minimal line changes resulting in the politically correct history - with bizarre implications.
  • Invoked: Alice finds herself in need of money to feed her family now that she's free. She has a real talent for sewing (in fact, that's what she did as a slave), so she finds a way to get the materials she needs and starts a lucrative dressmaking business. Everyone loves her dresses.
  • Exploited: Alice uses her place in society to advance civil rights.
  • Deconstructed:
    • While everything seems peachy at first there but it becomes increasingly clear that something wrong is happening with the timeline. A few anachronisms and inconsistent names start slipping through such as referring to things as lynch mobs metaphorically despite that /never/ happening after the war. It turns out that there is a heavy degree of meddling to achieve this tolerant history and it may result in some very nasty side effects far worse than the cognitive dissonance.
    • Alternatively it is shown just how extreme circumstances and efforts would be to force the Antebellum South to accept Alice in spite of the prejudices of the day and the damage caused by forcing it. Alice has to be a 'successful businesswoman' in the same sense as Al Capone. She may get treated with modern respect but it is only because everyone is so afraid of her.
  • Defied: People just aren't ready to accept Alice, so they don't buy her dresses... and Alice eventually loses her business and goes back to square one.
  • Discussed: ???
  • Conversed: ???

You and your ahistorical tolerance are perfectly welcome back in Politically Correct History.

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