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Introduction

Black-ish is a TV program, produced by Cinema Gypsy Productions at ABC Studios. This show illustrates the struggles of Dre as he tries to gain a sense of cultural identify while raising his children in an environment where many people are affluent whites. Dre is worried that his children slowly drift apart from their black culture. Dre is married to Rainbow, a physician. They have four children, great careers, and a good home. In other words, they live the American Dream. This TV series was produced in 2013 when the Unites States struggled to end racism that was deeply rooted by some traditional laws, such as the Jim Crow Laws, even though the then President Barrack Obama was an African-American. Not only does the show illustrate racism that affluent Black Americans experience, but it also depicts racism that African Americans from other economic environments face. Moreover, Black-ish portrays racism its title, characters, workplaces, jury, celebrations, and the community.

Racism in Black-ish

Racism in the Program’s Title

The TV program, Black-ish, while having African Americans as the majority of its characters, has a racist title. In society where racism has been practiced where one race considered it superior to another one, developing a TV program called Black-ish provokes the negative emotions and feelings of people. The Unites States has fought for racial equality for a long time, and this struggle even led to the death of Martin Luther King Jr., the great opponent of racism. The title of the show sends a signal to Blacks that they are still segregated. Considering the negative stereotype about Blacks, the title devalues the show itself African Americans have been considered inferior. The title also makes Whites proud of the fact that they have been traditionally considered superior to Blacks. Dre plays a black version of a white person in his upper-middle class status, while his wife has a Black mother. Overall, the show promotes the racism as Blacks feel inferiority, whereas Whites still believe in their superiority.

Racism in the Mind

Black-ish indicates that the dominant race is able to assimilate the minor one, which is detrimental to the latter. Dre is afraid that since the environment he lives in is dominated by affluent Whites, his children will be assimilated by the White culture. Moreover, Dre believes that the culture of his ancestors is so important for his children that he is worried that they will lose it. African Americans are always proud of their culture and they always like to preserve their explicit ethnic identity. They value religion that acts as a powerful force to driving their daily activities. They are also bound by the past racial oppression, acculturation, and enslavement, which makes it difficult for them to sever this bond. Dre reasons that by providing his children with a life that is opposite to his poor childhood, he would change their lives. He explains that he has been raised in an environment where almost every person was Black. At the same time, now, raises his children in an environment where the majority of peoples are White. Dre thinks that even though his children are Black, they are slightly lesser Black than the Blacks he knows. In addition, even though his son’s name is Andre Jr., he wants to be called Andy, which sounds like a name for a Whites boy. He also wants to play field hockey, a game that Whites usually play, instead of basketball that is commonly associated with African Americans. Dre’s daughter has ended a relationship with her French boyfriend, but she feels happy that the breakup is not caused by their races. Dre has also been assimilated into the culture of the middle class since the majority of people in the class are always Whites.

Racism in Institutions

Racism is practiced in the workplace. Dre is happy about his promotion to the position of Vice President in the advertising company. Eventually, this turns to be a position for the Senior Vice President of the Urban Division. This means that Dre is not suited to occupy such a position because of his race since African Americans are considered inferior, with little ability to take leadership positions. As a result, Dre asks if they have included him in the position to rule Blacks, which indicates that they are undervalued. The politics of race is also practiced in the workplace. Dre’s workmates are against the election of Hillary Clinton, and they fight to explain why they have not voted for her. A workmate of Dre’s, Lucy, had admitted to voting for Donald Trump, which took other workers by surprise. Dre was also puzzled since he believed that voting for Hillary Clinton, who was also supported by President Obama, was the right thing to do. Nonetheless, Lucy convinced him that she had not voted for her because of a poor track record of Obama’s, and Clinton would most likely continue his policies. She explained even though she had voted for Obama twice, her family still faced the same problems as before. Obama became the President, and her town was still not developed. The explanation means that the cultural and racial mindset in individuals can only be changed through concrete explanations and arguments. Dre kept quiet when other workers explained their points until his manager asked him why he was not concerned regarding the activities of the nation. This question of his boss also indicated that he was on the side of Trump who was concerned with the nation’s activities or growth. After that Dre has a deep monolog, in which he remembers how Blacks used to be segregated based on race. He eventually says that he is used to things not going his way, which means that many things that happen in the nation contradict the wishes of Blacks. Thus, they happen in the way Whites want.

Black-ish also portrays racism in the jury. In the episode “One Angry Man”, Dre was initially reluctant to serve as a jury duty. Nonetheless, once he realizes that he is the only Black person in the jury that is to determine a case that has a Black defendant, he readily accepts the position. Dre argues that Blacks were denied rights to trial equal to Whites in case they were accused. Blacks were also not included in the juries, but when they were, prosecutors devised ways of eliminating them from serving their duty as jurors. Consequently, a low number of Whites, 1 out of 17, and high number of Blacks, 1 out of 3, went to jail. The episode also indicated that racism could end in the jury if jurors with integrity were used at criminal trials. For instance, a Black man was freed by a White female juror after she had found him innocent of the crimes he had been accused of. This is an indication that while Dre still believes that jurors practice racism, some of them are guided by facts and they do not judge based on race.

Racism During Celebrations

Racism is also evident in celebrations. Dre becomes angry that he is not invited to a party in his community, arguing that it is because of the belief that Black people cannot swim. Dre mentioned historic cases during the fight for desegregation that ended in Whites running away and withdrawing financing from drainage and town schools, which led to their closure. Moreover, for his birthday, Dre’s son asks his father to buy him a gift similar to the gifts his White friends always receive during birthdays, which means that Whites and their way of life or practices are highly valued. The “Juneteenth” episode also illustrates the non-apologetic nature of the United States in practicing racial segregation of Blacks in the past during holyday celebrations. Dre questions why black holidays, such as the Juneteenth, a day when slavery ended in the United States, are not given much attention as compared to other holidays, such as Columbus Day, whose correctness is questionable. He starts to worry about this when he realizes that the family of Johnson’s has gone to watch a school play about Columbus Day. To him, Juneteenth day should be more important than Columbus Day since it was a day that a big weight, slavery, had been taken from Blacks’ shoulders. In contrast, Whites do not pay this day much attention and instead, they are focused on holidays with less significance. Dre can also be viewed as a racist in this episode since he wants the holiday, which is associated with Blacks, to be highly recognized, but he gives less attention to Columbus Day. Nonetheless, since Juneteeth day commemorates an American thing, slavery, it is prudent to give it more attention even if it ended a bad thing. This was a part of American history, and it should not be taken for granted.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Black-ish portrays racism in various aspects, including its title and the number of African American characters. The show covers racism in the workplace, in the jury, during the celebration of holidays and parties as well as in the community. The TV program illustrates that while significant efforts have been made to eradicate racism in the USA, some elements of racism still dominate various aspects of life. Nevertheless, racism has greatly diminished in the United States, but the current generation has not fully accepted it as they still try to find a balance between practicing racism in specific instances and rejecting this practice altogether.

 
   

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