ABC Sitcom Reveres Riots, Black Panther Party As 'Symbols Of Struggle'

We all know riots are bad, right? We also know that movements for racial nationalism of any kind don’t yield good results, right? Apparently ABC’s The Mayor did not get the memo since it recently gave credence to both the Black Panther movement and, of all things, riots.

The December 5 episode “Monuments Man” sees Mayor Courtney Rose (Brandon Michael Hall) trying to protect his old hangout Tito’s from going out of business. Using his power as the mayor, he tries to establish the building as a monument for preservation. How does he go about doing this? He discovers that Tito’s was previously the meeting ground for the Black Panthers. That alone to him is apparently worth historical preservation.

To remind us, Courtney’s mother Dina (Yvette Nicole Brown) emphasizes the “goodness” of the Black Panthers through their “breakfast programs for kids and community schools that taught black pride.” Sadly, the half-hour sitcom doesn’t have time to also mention the Black Panthers’ communist and black nationalist leanings. I guess that would stretch the definition of “goodness.”

Strangely enough, however, the show does briefly touch upon the movement’s past riots and unsightly public image. For example, the administrative team attempts to scale back their connection to modern Black Panthers. More importantly, a local black citizen speaks for the city against preserving the building out of his own distaste for the party’s past destruction. It’s almost remarkable how the show is willing to promote the idea that not all black people admire the Black Panther movement. Even more remarkable that they promote the idea that riots aren’t good, which is sorely needed now.

Unfortunately, this mantra doesn’t last long. Courtney later argues for it despite the riots, saying, “History is not always pretty, but those riots were born out of the struggle for civil rights, and we should never forget that. And that's why I want to save all of Fort Grey's symbols of struggle. Because one thing's for certain -- we all know struggle.”

Funny how that argument can be used to preserve a Black Panther residence but not statues dedicated to men who partook in the “struggles” of the Civil War. Or leaders of the Revolutionary War for that matter. Even worse, the downplaying of riots as “symbols” hardly sounds like a good message amidst cities burning and crime spiking as a result.

We already receive enough justification of violence from the media. We don’t need it in our sitcoms.

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Lindsay Kornick's picture