‘Blackish’ Addressed The Much Obvious Elephant In The Room and We Are Better For It

Blackish-Election-Episode-1

Wednesday, November 8th had a tale of two stories. There were some who were elated about a president-elect who had seemly pulled off an upset – the outsider who had rolled through the “elites” trading decorum for grandiose. Then, there were those who had the campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” ring over and over again within their minds and wondered if they were in the plans of that “America.”

A day filled with many uneasy water cooler breaks at jobs and even stretched into uneasy holidays with family. Showing that you voted for one candidate over another is almost akin to wearing a scarlet letter in some places. The countdown to the inauguration, when usually a celebratory occasion, sees many people trying to pick up the pieces and rubble from one of the most polarizing U.S. elections in history.

The ABC sitcom, Blackish aired a new episode last night called “Lemons,” which sees characters from the show try to figure out how we got to Donald Trump being elected the 45th President of the United States. Lucy (Catherine Reitman) tells of voting for current president, Barack Obama twice, but circumstances of her family not changing, thus her vote for Trump. Yes, there were people who felt like a vote for Hilary Clinton would be more of the same and not uplift them from their particular hardships. It would be wrong to state that everyone who voted for Trump is racist, however, it is hard to ignore the rather exclusionary platforms that this administration has undertaken.

Dre (Anthony Anderson) gets challenged and speaks to which many minorities have been wanting to say. One line in particular is the most harrowing:

“I love this country even though at times it doesn’t love me back.”

It should be sad that one of the most patriotic things that an American can do is continually overcome hardships. There should not be a participation medal just to get a meal or survive. Love for your country should not be an abusive relationship.

When “America First” is said, which America are we talking about? The America in which a African American man can be president and woman has a chance to win the presidency or the America that looks to repeal voting rights and not address the gender pay gap? As much as we hate to admit, in order for America to be truly inclusive, is to acknowledge the ways in which we are not.

There is another telling action that happens within this scene. As Anthony Anderson’s character is giving a very passionate and heart felt speech, people are quiet and listening. That thing you do where you are empathetic to another point of view. Yes, sometimes the most powerful people in the room are the ones don’t have to exhibit bombast to exhibit power.

Some shows can take a huge social issue and make it a intelligent, introspective microcosm. Blackish managed to both turn the mirror to our reflections to see what we’ve become and widen our scopes to see the struggles of people who we do not identify with in a masterful episode written by show runner Kenya Barris. Throughout the day, the clip of Anderson’s speech was posted and retweeted, but again ugly epithets of racism and “Pepe” memes seemed to trade barbs and fake statistics to contradict the majority of law-abiding minorities who just want a piece of the fleeting American dream.

The conversation in “Lemons” needs to happen at every work and dinner table. There’s a particular phrase on the Statue of Liberty that says, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” For many of us, currently, we are holding our collective breaths to see what a Trump administration will do to be inclusive, if at all, for all Americans despite color or region. Thankfully, we have media that puts the breath back into meaningful conversation, and at least for 30 minutes, we are all better for it.

MAIN PHOTO CREDIT: ABC

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Author: Murjani Rawls View all posts by
Writer | Photographer | Beast

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