In its first season, ABC’s Blackish waited until about the 6th episode before delving into any meaty topics of political/social controversy. In their second season, they’ve taken a slightly different approach.
On Wednesday’s season premier, an episode titled “THE Word,” blackish jumped right in and dedicated the first episode to the n-word. Jack, (Miles Brown) the 8 year old son of main character Dre Johnson (Anthony Anderson) nearly gets expelled for performing Kanye’s “Gold Digger” at a school talent show. But not for saying the word “digger.” He gets in trouble for saying the word that starts with “n” and rhymes with digger in the next line.
Finding out that his son might be expelled in accordance with his school’s zero tolerance policy on hate speech, even though his son is black, sends Dre into a fit. You see, Dre believes that black people should be able to use the n-word. Yet, his wife and parents disagree. Which sets up a great scene at a work meeting when his black and white co-workers try to shed light on his situation:
> Not only do your moms and pops not want you to say it, but your girl don't want you to say it, either?
> Yes. Can you believe that?
> Wow. They want you to live in a [bleep]-free zone.
> I'm telling you, man. My house is not a home.
> Mm-hmm. Not if you can't say [bleep] It's not.
> That's what I'm saying. They keep taking.
> I think –
> Nope. No, no, no. No, no. Tr-tr-tr-- John, no.
> I got this. Trust me, trust me. Tr-tr-tr-trust. So, as a... African-American --
> You do not have to say African-American. Just say black.
> Oh, good.
> Oh, well, in that case, you know what word I miss? Hmm? "Colored."
> Oh. Oh!
> Whoo! Whoo!
> Okay. Oh! Oh, my god! No, no, no! What's up? No, I-I just –
> Okay, uh, Mr. Stevens, that word is offensive and reminiscent of a not so great time in American history, so let's all just take it down a notch. Maybe re-holster our firearms, Charles.
> In that case, maybe someone should tell that to the naacp.
> You got a point.
> You know, that group been sending mixed messages for a long time.
> Hey, guys, guys. I'm so confused.
> Josh, all you need to know is that it's not okay for you to say the "N" word.
> "Negro's" still bad, right?
> Okay, well, in that case, maybe I should put a stop payment on the half-million-dollar check that I just wrote to the united Negro college fund?
> Come on, Mr. Stevens, be honest. You only wrote that check so you can say Negro.
> Well, I definitely don't do it so I can't
I love how this scene illustrates the hypocrisy in disallowing “negro” and “colored” as references to black people yet highlights how two of the most prominent black advocacy groups in America still have those words in their titles. But what’s up with thumping the guns on the table? Play into stereotypes much, ABC?
More on that later.
The episode culminates when Dre barges in on his son’s school board meeting in a last ditch effort to prevent his expulsion:
> You're not stopping my son from saying the "N" word.
> Mr. Johnson, what's the meaning of this? We're in the middle –
> The meaning is I know what you're trying to do, and it's not gonna work. You people are trying to eliminate a word from my son's vocabulary because you think it's ugly.
> Is it not? From you, it would be, and maybe principal green. You know he ain't even seen "Training day"?
> So, maybe we should just let everyone say it since we don't have the right to say that no one can.
> No, no, no, no. Hold up, man. Hold up. Your people got it off a lot for a long damn time. Don't you think we deserve a run at it for a while until we figure it out?
> I don't know about that, but I know the rules are clear.
> Well, you know, I-I wish someone would explain them to me, because the way I see it, like most rules, they only work against people who look like me.
> Excuse me?
> Think about it. Paula Deen says it and catches a little flack, but then in turn, gets $100 million in funding. Quentin Tarantino writes it more times than I can count in "Django," and he wins an Oscar for it. My son says the "N" word and gets kicked out of school.
> What does Paula Deen and Quentin Tarantino have to do with anything?
> I-I-I-I-I don't know. I lost my way. See, this is what happens. My blood sugar low. But -- but what I do know is that this whole country has been schizophrenic about what to call black people for two centuries. And the last person that should be held accountable for it is an 8-year-old boy who doesn't have an ounce of hate in his heart. Come on, son. We're going home. All right? All right.
> That's very sweet. There's a lot of love in our family. Oh. All right. Thank you so much. Thank you. Okay.
> You've never seen "Training day"?
Of course, the reason why Quentin Tarantino can use the n-word 87 times in a movie and get an Oscar while Paula Deen loses her show for saying it once has more to do with the hypocrisy of the media than anything else. Quentin Tarantino is loved by the left, and as such gets a free pass. The same kind of free pass that ABC will get for having a sitcom where a black man thumps a gun on the table. Meanwhile, Paula Deen doesn’t have those kind of connections to the politically correct crowd, and gets far worse.
Also convenient is how Dre only lists the white people who have “benefitted” from use of the n-word. Russell Simmons, a black music producer who owns Def Jam, has made gazillions finding and promoting rappers who use the n-word freely. “Straight Outta Compton,” a recently released movie that tells the story of a rap group (NWA) that had the n-word in their title is raking in millions at the box office, and will probably win movie awards just like Tarantino has.
Ironically, the n-word, a terrible and discriminatory word which should never be used, has become quite non-discriminatory in the sense that it has made money and helped advance the careers for both black and white alike. As long as the liberals like you, of course.