A lot of leftist commentators have praised the Hulu version of “#The Handmaid’s Tale” as being a dystopian horror story that has relevance for our times. The theory is that President #Donald Trump will, in short order, relegate all women to chattel where they will be used as nothing but baby factories for the wealthy elite, the system justified by a peculiar reading of the Bible that most believing Christians cannot imagine, but that the book’s Canadian author, #Margaret Atwood, could. However, one of the sharp-eyed media critics at IO9 has discovered something unsettling about the Hulu series. It seems that “A Handmaid’s Tale" is racist.

How is ‘The Handmaid’s Tail’ racist?

The problem with “A Handmaid’s Tail” is not that African Americans and other minorities are particularly downtrodden in the Republic of Gilead. In fact, the situation is the exact opposite.

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Gilead has achieved a strange form of racial equality in that everyone, regardless of race or ethnic background, is equally oppressed. That means that if one is a fertile woman of childbearing years, one will be enslaved to one of the elites of Gilead to be raped over and over again in degrading ways no matter what race her is.

Clearly, the critic at IO9 suggests, this is wrong. No matter what kind of society exists, the mostly free United States of the real world or the madcap, theocratic fascist Republic of Gilead, minority groups must always be oppressed. Of course, one has difficulty imagining what can be more oppressive than being treated as a sex slave and baby factory by one of the one percents of a Christian version of the ISIS state.

How Margaret Atwood handled race

In the book version of “The Handmaid’s TaleMargaret Atwood dealt with race relations in the Republic of Gilead by noting that the “Children of Ham” had been shipped off to relocation camps as part of a program of ethnic cleansing.

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Ham was one of the sons of Noah and, in the fundamentalist Christian mythos, is the progenitor of Africans. In one fell swoop, Atwood was able to convey the message that Gilead was racist as well as sexist and misogynist and arrange for her not having to deal with race relations in her imaginary theocracy. Out of sight, out of mind.

The real problem with the series and the book

The real issue with “The Handmaid’s Tail” is not only how absurd the scenario is, but the madcap way some are trying to make it relevant. When the book came out in the 1980s, it was alleged to have been a warning against President Ronald Reagan and the religious right. Since Reagan was too busy ending the real life tyranny of the Soviet Union to bother creating one of his own, the boogie man for the story is now Donald Trump. But it looks like the current president is busy ending real theocratic misogynists tyrannies, ISIS and Iran, to think about making women into chattels in his own country.