So tonight on ABC Black-ish did something we should all be grateful about. They brought the dialogue discussed in black households, churches, and beauty&barber shops across America to the mainstream to see.
This is not the first time Black-ish has the show to spotlight other topics in the black community. Nor is this the first time a television show shined a light on the pain and anguish African Americans as well as other minorities and supporters feel with the insurmountable miscarriages of justice we’ve seen in the past few years. But it is a reminder of how we have come and how far we still need to go on our journey together for equality for all.
Black TV and the not so Funny Truth
Black-ish along with shows like Scandal and even The Dave Chappelle Show all at one time have used their platforms to talk about issues in the black community. Dave Chappelle made fun of taboo cultural topics in America and single handedly taught a generation about the dos and don’ts of black culture in a very humorous way.
Just like Scandal depicted institutional racism with their fictional version of a wrongful killing of an unarmed teenager, Black-ish shined a light on the way black families think about the future for the next generation. The show did so in a way that was not threatening to either side of the argument, but still bringing insight to a systematic issue that is not going away anytime soon. And to add the cherry on top, they brought a little humor to the plight to help viewers digest the topic a little easier.
Lessons Taught by The Johnsons
- We as a society have become too desensitized to the bad news and injustice in America and abroad. In the episode they mentioned one fictional case of potential police injustice still being deliberated, and the family light-heartedly debated which case the news they were watching was referring to. After naming a view instances of questionable police vs. citizen violence, you realize this gives off the illusion that this issue seems to be a common struggle to keep up with the many cases of violence. (YOU THINK!)
- We live in fear that we may not overcome some day or any day. In the episode Rainbow is trying to clarify that all police are not bad (which is very true) by stating a fictional fact that 25% of suspects in police brutality cases were unharmed. This of course left 75% of the suspects to be armed. But then Andre counters his mom by stating that if she only kills 1 out of every 4 patients that still makes her a bad doctor. (BOOM!) There you have it. You can argue either side and both have valid points, but at the end of the day there are still dead unharmed kids who are not going home to their families and police who want to help their communities and are judged badly because of the few bad apples on the streets.
- We must fight for our rights and stand up and be heard. How can you impact change when the same deadly end could happen to you just for expressing your rights? Dre told his a heartfelt story about the excitement he felt when Barack Obama was declared the President of the United States, but how that excitement turned to fear on the day of the first term inauguration when Obama stepped out the motorcade. Dre felt what I felt too, that someone was going to try to assassinate President Obama in retaliation for the color of his skin. You know some of you thought the same thing. But nothing will change if we don’t stand up and fight for what we will is right.
Dre felt what I felt too, that someone was going to try to assassinate President Obama in retaliation for the color of his skin.
What do we say to our Family?
Finally, I thought about what are some of the questions that I know have been said at my family’s dinner table or amongst close friends that are raised. What are the questions we try to answer with an uneasy feeling as we know the answer could have life or death consequences ? Here are just a few:
- What do we tell our kids, brother, sisters and cousins about what’s going on in the news?
- How much is too much to tell your young black kids so they don’t live in total fear?
- How much is too little to tell them so we don’t leave our kids naive and vulnerable to be harmed over a misunderstanding?
- What do you say and don’t say while interacting with law enforcement?
- Why is history always seeming to repeat itself?
- What can we do? Is there an answer to help fix the world we live in?
This was truly an amazing episode for me. Not because it changed anything, but Black-ish reminded me to never give up hope because it’s never too late to impact change. And each one of us has the power inside us to do so. It only takes one. Check out the episode and I pray that each of us works to provide hope for the next generation to be able to pass on as well.