Academic Writing

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Blackish, the new show on ABC offends me. Not on the basis of race, as many people assumed it would be, but based on how incredibly immature and selfish the adults in this show are. 

Blackish was originally marketed as a show which would buck stereotypes and show a thriving, affluent black family with two professional parents living in a nice house on a nice block.  They have 4 kids who go to a good school. 

Aside from the fact that the frenetic pace of the show and the dad's obsessive preoccupation with his kids being "black enough" makes it practically unwatchable, the parents utter selfishness just compounds it. 

Father Andre and mother Bo force their children to conform to their wants and needs. In one episode rather than taking pride in his son's social and academic achievements, Andre laments his son's disinterest in subscribing to black codes and notes that are largely irrelevant to his life. It's one thing to build in a love of ones heritage into a child's upbringing, it's another thing entirely to force it down their throats after the fact. And even another still to do it for your own reasons because of your own guilt and needs and not really for your kids. 

This is a running theme throughout the show. The parents time and again insist on their children behaving in certain ways because it's what they want, not because it's best for their kids.  This seems to be a growing trend in TV parents overall. There's an infantilization of parents and adults throughout TV these days.  It's hard to say or understand exactly why, but it seems like networks are pandering to their target audience - 25-54 year olds - and if they keep them feeling young they'll keep tuning in. Maybe that means it's not a problem with the shows, but rather with this generation of young adults who aren't ready to grow up and who aren't being told that they have to grow up. I'm not excluding myself from that group, it's scary to grow up and to be told that we have real responsibilities, but ignoring them and sidestepping them will not benefit anyone - not ourselves and not our children. Our children need mature adults to look up to and to learn from. They don't need to grow up emulating parents who look out for themselves and the best interests above all else. 

Media has always been a lens that both reflects and in turns influences our culture and society. Do we want to project the best or the worst of what the parents of the next generation will be. Do we want our children growing up to emulate parents who look out for themselves or for their children's needs. 

I won't be turning in to watch more of Blackish. It's too upsetting and frustrating to see what parenting has become, or expected to become. 

No comments: