Friday, January 13, 2017

Like It Is - Black-ish Style



Black-ish had a great episode this week. The issue at hand was, How could the Johnson family handle the upset victory of Trump in last November’s election? Naturally, lots of anti-Trump sentiments came out. Daphne Lido (Wanda Sykes) had the best line: “That idiot goes bankrupt like Khloe Kardashian changes black dudes.”

Even Dre Johnson’s Republican boss turned away from Trump. He offered some respectable, Mitt Romneyish reasons for doing so, but then Daphne chimed in again, pointing out that his business interests were threatened by Trump’s anti-immigrant posture since the boss man depended on “absurdly underpaid” Mexican workers to jack up his profits.

Pro-Trump opinions also got an airing from a white woman who admitted to her coworkers that she voted for Trump (even though she had voted twice for Obama) because her family and the small town where she grew up had been hurting for years and Hillary just offered more of the same.
Finally, Dre blurts out that the election of Trump was driving him crazy. But then he goes on to say:

“I know how hard it is to deal with the gut punch that we are all feeling right now. It sucks. Now all I'm trying to say is that maybe instead of letting this destroy us, we take the feeling you guys felt the day after the election and say that morning we all woke up knowing what it felt like to be black.”

This exact same sentiment was reflected a few weeks ago in a clever post-election SNL skit in which two black guys (Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock) watch the election returns with their liberal white friends. When the friends start wailing with despair as Trump’s victory becomes inevitable, the black guys say, in effect, “Damn, don’t you people know that this is how we’ve been feeling all along in this country?”

The entire episode was outstanding, bringing out, with humor, both black and white views about what was happening in light of the election, and throwing light on some little known, and not at all edifying lyrics in the Star Spangled Banner as well as the searing words in the heart of Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream speech. Words like, “The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright days of justice emerge.”

What kind of a country do we, and Dre Johnson’s family have to deal with now? A troubled one, for sure. But, as Dre encouragingly adds, “Can it be better? I hope so.”

Well done, Black-ish, and by the way, congratulations to Tracy Ellis Ross (who plays Dre’s wife, Rainbow) for her Golden Globe Award.