Black-Ish: An Episode of Great Humanity and Understanding

Posted on January 13, 2017 at 3:08 pm

I have never missed an episode of “Black-ish.” It’s one of my favorite television shows, smart, sophisticated, and very funny. I am a huge fan. But this week’s episode took things to another level as the Johnson family and Dre Johnson’s co-workers react to the election of Donald Trump.

Over at Vulture, my friend Jen Chaney writes:

no scripted mainstream sitcom has captured the very real mix of post-election grief, frustration, confusion, and sadness with as much spot-on accuracy — and, miraculously, also humor and openness to multiple viewpoints — as Black-ish did in this week’s episode. The fact that it was broadcast the day after President Obama’s farewell remarks and just a few days before the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., whose “I Have a Dream” speech played a key role, gave it an extra shot of timeliness.

At TV Guide, Liam Matthews said:

Dre launches into a monologue about how he loves this country, even though as a black man this country doesn’t love him back.

“You think I’m not sad that Hillary didn’t win?” he says. “That I’m not terrified about what Trump’s about to do? I’m used to things not going my way. I’m sorry that you’re not and it’s blowing your mind, so excuse me if I get a little offended because I didn’t see all of this outrage when everything was happening to all of my people since we were stuffed on boats in chains. I love this country. As much if not more than you do. And don’t you ever forget that.”
It’s an emotionally complicated monologue, and Anderson delivers it with stunning conviction.

The room is silent. If you watched it, I’ll bet you were silent, too. The monologue is rousing and demoralizing at the same time. It makes being black sound Sisyphean. It contextualizes our current predicament as one that’s been going on since America began and may not ever be solved.

This 22-minute episode of television had more insight, more humanity, and more healing than all the chattering heads and yelling partisans on all the news shows. I recommend recording it to have on hand to replay as needed over the next few months.

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