Category Archives: Race and Television

What does Roseanne’s tweet mean for us?

See the source imageYesterday, Roseanne Barr, star of the reboot of the 90s sitcom Roseanne, tweeted a comparison of former Obama adviser, Valerie Jarrett to an “ape.”  Jarrett has since responded during an interview with MSNBC, calling it a “teaching moment” as has the president of ABC Entertainment Group, Channing Dungey and Disney CEO Bob Iger.  He also called Jarrett.  After the cancellation of her show, Barr tweeted an apology to Jarrett.

Pundits have been discussing, dissecting and even defending her words.  It does not sound defensible but it certainly sounds familiar.  The words that follow are my response.

Her words are not “surprise” and should not come as a “shock” no matter the year we are living in.

This is not a “bad joke” or something said “in poor taste.”

This is not “crazy.”

This is not “cooky.”

This is not “just one person.”

This is not an outlier, a lone wolf or a member of the fringe.

This is not indicative of mental illness and does not require therapy.

This is not a sickness.

This is not proof of an underlying issue, which requires a closer look, more conversations, more talking points.

This is not a time to take a step back.

This is not a gross mistake, misspeaking or just a big misunderstanding.

This is not being blown out of proportion or taking away from more important issues.

This is not a distraction.

This is not insensitive.

This is not your brain on Ambien (and its creators agree).

This is not conservative versus liberal, red states versus blue states.

This is not a conspiracy.

This is not “crossing the line.”

This is not a new low.

This is not about someone’s politics or looks.

This is about the attempt to dehumanize African American people by equating them with animals.

This is America’s foundational fiction: race.

This is racism.

No ‘Confederate’

Confederate.  It’s the title of a potential new series on HBO.  An idea from the creators of the wildly popular (I hear) Game of Thrones, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss want persons to imagine that slavery in America never ended and worse still, to be entertained by it.  It is an alternate ending but it also allows persons who want to live in this state of fancy a home and an audience.  But, this is not just the whimsical fantasy of studio executives but the actual belief of some Americans– that African Americans were made to serve and are destined to perpetual bondage.

Persons have used Scripture and science but now they can point to the screen in their defense.  “See, this is how it should be.  This is how God ordained it.”

That persons would entertain the idea of African Americans remaining enslaved and treated as property today and against the backdrop of President Trump’s recent endorsement of police brutality (which has been the focus of recent social upheaval) is unexplainable.  Why does this sound like a good idea– not just for television but in the mind of any American?  And it’s not just about timing but it’s a call for a time out.  Listen to what you are proposing.  Stop this before it starts.  Because the very idea is insulting and offensive.

African Americans are free and we don’t want persons to even imagine the possibility of it being any other way.  Don’t give people these kinds of ideas.  Because American slavery was never good.  Despite the attempts of many to suggest that it was good for those enslaved, it was only good for the economy.  On the backs of enslaved human beings, this country was built.

Fact Check: America is the richest nation not because of rugged individualism but criminal capitalism.

Confederate is flawed from the start, destined to be disgusted because of its premise: the continued enslavement of African Americans by European Americans.  Didn’t this country go to war over this?  Then, why start another?  But, it’s too late.  Persons took to Twitter last night to voice their disapproval during the viewing time of Game of Thrones.  Because human beings as property is not a good storyline.

Despite the backlash, HBO released a statement last night asking persons to reserve judgment “until there was something to see.”  But, that’s just it.  African Americans and their allies don’t want to see it.  We don’t want to entertain the possibility of African Americans not being free.  Because it is hard enough to accept that our ancestors were owned four hundred years ago.  Why would any African American want to see themselves as slaves today?  The answer: We don’t.

So, who is this show really for?


A Cheerios commercial depicting a multiethnic family has prompted racist responses on social media.  USA Today reports that “Hate talk won’t derail mixed- race Cheerios ad.”  Cheerio!

Race According to Fred Sanford

I woke up this morning at 5:42 a.m. at least that’s what my clock said.  There’s only one problem; I’m not an early riser— at least not on the weekend.  I’ve been resetting things all morning, including my internet.  It seems that last night’s storm, knocked out the power in our apartment.  It’s currently 10:14 a.m.  While I was waiting for the internet to reload, the opening for Sanford & Son, a repeat of the 1974 “Fred Sanford, the Legal Eagle,” began.

In this episode, Fred, Grady and a host of other friends go to court to defend Lamont, who has received an unfair traffic ticket.  Now, if you ever watch this episode, it must be said that I object to Foxx’s use of the word nigger and his association of persons socially defined as black with that of a Tarzan movie. I will not repeat the offensive and ridiculous argument here.  While I am aware that the association did not originate with Red Foxx or Fred Sanford, the fact that he repeats it remains detestable.  Nevertheless, I digress.

The opening line is the inspiration behind this post.  Sanford is reviewing Lamont’s current state of affairs and as has been the case for me, ask a question that provides numerous answers.  Sanford says, “You got a ticket from a white cop in a black neighborhood and you’re so mad, you see red.  But, you’re afraid to fight it because you’re yellow.  Now, are you a man or a crayon box?”  Well, are you?  Are you a man, a woman or a crayon box?  You certainly can’t be both.  At least, not according to Fred Sanford!