The “Black-ish” Perception
By admin on Feb 27, 2016 | In Cinema, TV, Radio
Three days ago, I watched the TV sitcom, Black-ish, a show I’ve liked from its inception. It was, to date, the program’s most serious episode, illustrating the varied reactions within the show’s primary family to news reports regarding a grand jury’s decision not to indict police officers on charges of brutality involving an African American teenager.
It isn’t often that a TV show still has me thinking about it three days later. I’ve forgotten most shows three minutes after the final commercial break. But this episode was different, and I must give credit to those involved in its creation for trying to shed some light on what is an ongoing tragedy in America.
The tragedy is actually twofold.
First, there is the tragedy of racially motivated brutality. I truly believe that the overwhelming majority of people, including law enforcement officers, deplore and would never commit any such act. However, it takes only a few individuals of differing viewpoint to have such an atrocity occur, and, based on the sheer volume of occasions on which it could happen, it happens all too often.
The second part of the tragedy, as the episode of Black-ish portrayed, is that there is a large segment of our community that, based on its experience, does not have confidence in our judicial system or the people entrusted to uphold it. I can imagine no more fearful state of affairs than to be in a position where one cannot expect the rights and protections supposedly guaranteed to every American. And to know there are those who harbor uncertainty and even fear of the very people tasked with guarding those rights is, for me, a condition of sadness the magnitude of which I do not believe I could properly describe in words.
I do not expect a half-hour sitcom to raise and thoroughly debate every conceivable issue on any given topic. So I do not hold Black-ish to such a standard. There are elements of controversy that were not touched. For example, I do not recall the show’s characters making commentary on those occasions when public protest over alleged brutality turns to violence, destruction of property, and/or looting. Violence is an act of brutality, itself; destruction of property (public or private) is malicious vandalism that further damages the community; and looting is just opportunistic thievery.
I strongly support every American’s First Amendment right “peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” However, “peaceably” assembled people do not commit the above referenced acts, and to suggest those things are justified by the circumstances is to subscribe to the school of thought that teaches two wrongs somehow make a right. That sort of convoluted logic does not coincide with the teachings of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. as I understand them.
The “case” as portrayed in the TV show was fictitious and sparse on details. So I do not believe it can be conclusively analyzed from a legal perspective, and I will not try. However, for me, the greater issue—the one perhaps we all should be analyzing—is what, if anything, can be done to lessen this racial rift over the perceptions and realities regarding our judicial system. If a TV show gets us thinking about it, so much the better for us all.
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