I love the sitcom “black-ish.” Usually, the thirty minute episodes are filled with laugh generating moments.
The episode of 2/24, not so much.
The summary for that episode is as follows:
HOPE: “A highly publicized court case involving police brutality and an African American teenager leads the kids to ask tough questions, but Dre and Bow have conflicted views. Dre and his parents think the children need to know the harsh reality while Bow would prefer to give them a more optimistic view of life “
Usually the setting of the sitcom is split between the upscale home of the Johnson’s and the PR office where the father, Dre, holds a high level position. Oh, by the way, Dre’s wife, Rainbow, is a doctor. Yes, this black family is an affluent black family raising black children who have never known the hardness of poverty, the mis- education of public schools, or the mean toughness of urban streets.
But, this time, the conversation is contained inside the four walls of the Johnson home against the backdrop of a wall mounted flatscreen TV through which a talking head keeps the Johnson’s apprised of the turmoil in the community.
Life has indeed been good to the Johnson family, but in this episode, they try to come to grips with the police brutality and harassment that too often targets the black community.
Dre was raised in the hood by a tough no-nonsense father and a doting black Jesus loving mother (who really needs to stop ragging on Rainbow) while his wife was raised by interracial bohemian type hippies. This difference in background is bound to result in how each sees the criminal justice system and black people in America.
Rainbow holds on to hope while Dre “knows” there is no hope!
The struggle comes when the adults engage in the often circuitous conversation about what will happen, what has happened, what should not happen and how to cope with the potentials of possibilities and eventualities.
Needless to say, there is no hard resolution to an issue so complex.
“I don’t need some book to tell me how I feel. I know how I feel and it’s lost.” ~Zoe, teenage daughter, ” black-ish”
All that remains is the determination to hold on to hope, a concept that is more often than not too nebulous for the African American community. The Johnson’s make the decision to take a proactive stand for the right to have access to a justice that is always just, to be part of a movement even when the future is murky.
This will be a thought provoking episode for some viewers. For others, it will be a revisit to conversations they have already had in their own living rooms. For too many it will be uncomfortable and downright troubling. Others will label it black paranoia and African Americans need to get over it!
My hope us that this episode will generate conversations across those hard drawn lines of them and us, that though we may not come to an agreement, we will at least take the time to listen to one another.
One can only hope!