ABC’s newest show For The People is quickly working its way through the Social Justice Warrior checklist. We’re only on the third episode, and already they're discussing both racial bias and illegal immigration at the same time. Here I thought we'd only have to deal with items on the liberal agenda one at a time. This might be too much even for a Shonda Rhimes show!
In the March 27 episode “18 Miles Outside of Roanoke,” Allison (Jasmin Savoy Brown) handles a case involving an African-American in possession of a firearm. In this particular case, the judge utilizes a new evaluation algorithm system known as EVALUATE to determine Allison’s client’s potential recidivism rate. To her shock and offense, Allison thinks that EVALUATE’s algorithm could be biased. That’s right. A computer data system is now racist.
Allison: This algorithm Barish wants to use is so far from objective I can't even find a word to describe it.
Jill: Subjective? It's called EVALUATE?
Allison: I evaluated EVALUATE, and Keenan is now twice as likely to get a max sentence just because he's black, from Mott Haven, and dropped out of high school at 15.
Jill: I've heard of these programs. They're intended to remove bias.
Allison: The data is biased. A computer doesn't know that Mott Haven is policed at a significantly higher rate than Riverdale.
Jill: Maybe it does know.
Allison: But it can't possibly know why. This software has no historical context. It can't account for slavery, Jim Crow, Reaganomics, the war on drugs, a crumbling education system –
Jill: 10 more seconds.
Jill: 10 more seconds of preaching to the choir, and then you have to decide what to do. You have to defend Keenan as vigorously as you can, of course, but you also have to consider whether Judge Barish is going to listen to you, whether she’s dug in, whether your digging in is gonna make it worse for Keenan. You have to be realistic.
Allison: Keenan didn't finish high school because his mom's MS went into hyperdrive. He had to work so his brother could keep playing travel football. Keenan thinks his brother can get a college scholarship, and if he lived one block over, he'd be in a better zip code, according to that stupid machine.
Jill: Then you've decided. Good. Fight the machine.
As usual, we get the liberal cry that black and Latinos are disproportionally sentenced more than white people without a single mention of the fact that they are disproportionally more likely to commit more crimes. It’s only because of Jim Crow laws, slavery, and somehow Reaganomics.
Meanwhile, public defender Sandra Bell (Britt Robertson) and prosecuting attorney Kate Littlejohn (Susannah Flood) take on opposing sides of a case involving a woman leaking classified information to the public.
The woman’s reason, it is revealed, is that she discovered the government is hijacking medical records to find and deport illegal immigrants. Now, leaking classified information is a huge criminal offense no matter what the reason, but that never seems to occur to defense lawyer Sandra.
Sandra: 24 hours ago, the FBI arrested a young woman for telling the truth, that in the false name of anti-terrorism, the United States government has been illegally accessing the confidential medical records of millions of Americans in order to identify and deport undocumented immigrants. The government tried to keep this program a secret, and now it's trying to keep this arrest a secret, but this is America. My client's name is Dani Rios. She's a hero. Not a criminal.
The show goes out of its way to paint Sandra’s client, the daughter of immigrants herself, as a sympathetic whistleblower for the sake of people terrified of losing their families or being treated like criminals. Even though, by definition, they are criminals since they broke the law.
Sadly, little nuances like the law don’t apply in this show. Sandra later defiantly asks Kate, “Why are the rules more important than the people they are designed to protect?” with regards to the laws punishing her client for releasing information. I’m sure the victims of illegal aliens would argue that immigration rules could stand to be a bit more important. Then again, when would we have time for the liberal pandering?
The characters are supposed to be employed at one of the most influential district courts in the country, yet they continually act like spoiled children who don’t get their way. It’s never their fault for being unreasonable or emotional since society always plays a role, whether it’s through racial bias or systematic oppression. We’ve only reached the third episode, but I doubt any of that is going to change soon.