The Dystopian Future is America’s Past

Popular dystopian novels typically take place in the future. But the plot lines of dystopian novels have already happened in America’s past and it usually happened to Black people.

Fahrenheit 451 was about the government denying information to the population. Government inspectors called firemen inspect private homes and if they find books they burn them. There was a time in America’s past where books were contraband if they were in the position of Black people.

https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/literacy-and-anti-literacy-laws

Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury

The Hunger Games was about a government organized fight to the death. The link tells the tale of Black men fighting for the amusement of White audiences at carnivals. Prior to the Civil Ware slaves fought to entertain Whites on plantations. White slave owners would pit their slaves against one another in fighting contests.

https://www.ferris.edu/HTMLS/news/jimcrow/question/2014/may.htm

https://www.jstor.org/stable/27919283

Hunger Games Suzanne Collins

Enslaved Black people were bred like livestock. The fact that Black people were slaves denied them consent to sex. They had no control over their destiny and had to receive permission to marry from their owners. The marriage could also be nullified by land owners. Black sexuality prior to the Emancipation Proclamation was largely systematic rape for profit.

https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/reproductive-rights-and-long-hand-slave-breeding/

Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood

Segregation was the law in America until the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Black people were severely limited in their opportunities and how they could move throughout society.

https://www.history.com/topics/civil-rights-movement/civil-rights-movement-timeline

https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/segregation-united-states

Divergent Veronica Roth

Dystopian novels that take place in the future were inspired by the past. All of the authors I mentioned are from North America. All are American except Margaret Atwood who is Canadian. Their famous stories are undoubtedly inspired by dystopian America which is Black American history.

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