People in Alabama Insist Slaves Were Not Treated Badly in Viral Video

A video showing Alabama residents insisting that slaves were not treated badly has gone viral on social media.

The clip—which comes from "Chelsea Does Racism," an episode of Chelsea Handler's 2016 series Chelsea Does—was posted on Twitter by @chris_notcapn late on Tuesday night and has been watched more than 315,000 times.

The video was shared with the caption: "Please help me understand what I just watched. 'Cause I'm speechless."

Please help me understand what I just watched.

'Cause I'm speechless.

— chris evans (@chris_notcapn) April 28, 2021

In the footage, Handler talks to residents of Tallassee, Alabama, about racism and slavery. While discussing stereotypes about people from the South, a woman tells Handler they are not racist because she attends a church where white people and Black people worship together.

A man tells Handler there is a Black woman who attends the church who wants to be known as "Big Momma." The woman then adds: "Oh, Big Momma's wonderful, everybody knows Big Momma."

A second woman tells Handler there are two minorities serving on the local police force, saying: "There's two women. One's a Black one. But that says a lot for what Tallassee represents."

Handler replies: "Yeah, it seems like a very progressive city."

She then speaks to two men dressed as Confederate soldiers for a Civil War re-enactment. When Handler asks what the war was about, one man tells her: "States' rights. The North and the South was dividing too much. Power, control, states' rights."

Confederate Flag
A Confederate Navy Jack flag is flown on August 23, 2017, in Chicago. A resurfaced 2016 clip showing Alabama residents defending slavery has gone viral this week. Scott Olson/Getty

He tells Handler that people on both sides felt they were fighting for a just cause. Handler asks him if the North trying to abolish slavery was a good or bad thing, to which he replies: "Sometimes I think the bad things are portrayed more than the good things."

The man then seems to compare slaves to farming equipment, when he says: "People were taken care of. Would you take a tractor that you just bought brand new and tear it up, misuse it? No, you're going to take care of it, 'cause you just spent a pile of money on that.

"Those people produced their crops, worked their fields, so you're not gonna mistreat something like that."

The clip then shows Handler asking the first group of Tallassee residents what Hollywood gets wrong in its depictions of slavery. The woman who was seen earlier telling Handler she is not racist says: "I would think one would be the beating of people.

"There may have been one that would do that to their slave just because they're a mean, bad person, but the majority of them would not do that.

"They were part of the family. They were like Big Momma, you know. We just love … They were just all a big family."

The woman tells Handler she knows this to be true because of her "family heritage," adding that she had been told the stories since she was young from "people whose grandparents lived it."

In a later scene from the full-length "Chelsea Does Racism" episode, the woman tells Handler she finds her questions "antagonizing" and "hurtful."

Twitter users were shocked at the attitudes displayed by people in the Netflix documentary.

@QondiNtini wrote: "White people even now are seriously thinking that racism means being mean and cruel to people, not the literal ownership of people through slavery.

"They truly believe that subjugation and segregation is OK if you are nice to your human property."

Comedian Jermaine "FunnyMaine" Johnson posted: "Racism, miseducation and delusion served with a smile! Tallassee, AL ladies and gentlemen."