Freeform Teaches Teens Racism ‘Still as Ugly and Pervasive as It Ever Was’

In order to work in an episode that deals with racial divisions in our country, Freeforms’s Good Trouble, a spin-off of The Fosters, brought in the two lesbian moms of Callie and Mariana for a visit. Airing February 5, “Parental Guidance Suggested” brings in Lena Adams Foster's (Sherri Saum) campaign for California’s State Assembly and the racist who attacks her on the campaign trail.

As the moms arrive to check out the living quarters of Callie (Maia Mitchell) and Mariana (Cierra Ramirez), one of the other guests at their communal-style loft living arrangement offers them freshly baked cookies but neglects to tell them that they are cannabis cookies. So, the moms unknowingly get stoned.

During that time, Lena wanders into the loft of Malika (Zuri Adele), an African-American social justice warrior and friend of Callie and Mariana. Decorating the walls are posters depicting civil rights heroes and she becomes mesmerized by a photo from the 1960s era of desegregation. Then Lena has a flashback to an ugly incident on the campaign trail when she tried to speak to potential voters on the street one day and got verbally attacked and spit upon by a white man in public, in broad daylight, with no repercussions. Apparently we're supposed to believe this is just the way things are in America these days, but if this had happened in real life, it likely would have made national news and inspired mass protest.



Lena: ...I'm Lena Adams Foster. I'm a Democrat running for State Assembly. And I believe we can end homelessness by making housing a right. Do you think that--

Man: -We should get the bums off the street. I'm sick of the eyesores of these tent cities.

Lena: Well, I wanna sponsor a bill that will force developers to build affordable housing.

Man: You lib-tards are all about the handouts. And you lazy blacks are the worst.

Lena: Okay, thank you for your time.

Man: You know, you people wanna divide this country with your "Black Lives Matter" bullshit. Well they don't. You want your lives to matter? Go get jobs. You people want to divide this-- You lazy blacks... Black Lives Matter... Go get jobs.

So, after that scene is randomly introduced, it really wasn’t unexpected that the episode would end on a note of showing solidarity among the women. Lena re-tells the story to Malika for effect.

The girls find out that Lena is contemplating dropping out of the race. There is a bizarre conversation where she thinks she isn’t getting enough support from "the Dems in San Diego who voted for this president” because she's "too progressive, too black, too lesbian." Supposedly those Democrats want a more centrist “and white” candidate, as Stef (Teri Polo) explains. Then we hear every reason under the standard SJW sun that a progressive Democrat must be heard. As if they're being silenced in California, of all places.



Lena: It's 2018. And some things have changed, but racism hasn't. It's still as ugly and pervasive as it ever was. Mariana: You can’t drop out of this race, Mama.
Callie: Yeah. You can't let this minority of ugly people in this country win.
Malika: And we don't need more politicians who are trying to play it safe in the middle. We need people who are willing to fight for what's right.
Mariana: And who better to reform education...
Malika: And fight against discrimination...
Callie: The right to healthcare...The right to choose...
Mariana: Racial income equality... And protect our love because LGBTQ rights are under attack. Fight for foster kids...
Callie: For transgender rights... Better wages for people, not tax cuts for corporations.
Mariana: Immigrants and their children who are being detained in cages.
Callie: To be out and proud. To be kind and caring. To do what's truly right.
Stef: And never let anyone tell us we're not good enough.
Mariana: Even if you don't win, think of all the people that you'll inspire.
Malika: I never get to vote for people who look like me, and understand the issues I face.

Callie: We're Adams Fosters and we don't give up. Our mamas taught us that.

Naturally, Lena decides to stay in the political race. It is unfortunate that a show with a target audience of teens and young adults would depict a state political campaign as a chance to try and deliver the message that America is no better off today than it was in the days of segregation, as far as race relations go. That is flat-out wrong and revisionism at its worst.

I’ve lived in the deep South for most of my life and I have seen a monumental change in my lifetime. Here’s hoping that young Americans really learn of our country’s history and celebrate the progress while acknowledging more work can be done.

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