FX’s ‘Snowfall’: Black Cops ‘Frauds’ Who ‘Betray’ Their People

July 13th, 2019 2:24 PM

Snowfall, the FX series following a fictional depiction of the crack cocaine epidemic in the Reagan years, is back for a third season, and it certainly didn’t take too long to get something wrong. True, the entire series is based on a debunked claim that the CIA was responsible for the crack epidemic in black communities, so getting facts wrong is just second nature at this point. The latest blunder comes from the idea that black cops are basically race traitors. 

The July 10 premiere “Protect and Swerve” follows the growing drug empire led by young drug dealer Franklin Saint (Damson Idris). After the CIA managed to free him from jail, he’s more determined than ever to earn his wealth and power through his crack cocaine deals. The business predictably involves a lot of threats, gang wars, and even a couple of deaths in this one episode.

All that doesn’t go unnoticed by Sergeant Andre Wright (Marcus Henderson), who happens to be the father of one of Franklin’s friends. Seeing his neighborhood fall apart from drugs, Andre’s now determined to put an end to the epidemic himself.

This leads Andre to confront Franklin directly about his deals at the end of the episode. While Andre attempts to appeal to Franklin, Franklin fires back at him calling Andre a “fraud” for being an officer, among other things.



Franklin: So, you're not gonna tell me where we going? 

Andre: Let me ask you something. What you see when you look at me? Huh? Certainly not the man who you grew up with. Who helped raise you after your daddy disappeared into that bottle. So, what is it? Gun and a badge, overprotective father -or fucking asshole?

Franklin: You really want to know? 

Andre: I really do.

Franklin: I see a fraud. A man who betrayed his people to a system built to keep 'em down. 

Andre: Is that what you think? That I'm one of them? 

Franklin: If the combat boot fits. 

Andre: Oh, damn. I mean, did it ever occur to you that I was a spy? Doing time behind enemy lines. Trying to protect my people from that system.

Franklin: Oh, yeah? And how's that working out for you? 

Andre: I don't know, pusher man. How's shit on your side of the line? 

Franklin: I see. I'm just some nickel-and-dime thug, huh? In this for the cars and pussy, right? 

Andre: If the gold chain fits. 

Franklin: Ain't no rope around my neck, Andre. Not like you. And Joe Kennedy, he was nothing but Mick trash... Till he wasn't. And what'd he do? Lifted his family up, and his boys... They ran this country. Now, that's real power. Not a policeman's salary. Taking orders from Whitey. You really want to help your people? Best thing you could do is toss that badge back to the racist motherfuckers that gave it to you, and get on my side.

Sadly, Franklin’s ideas seem to be just as rampant in 2019 as they were in 1984, even among presidential candidates. Like a modern liberal, Franklin seems to assume that cops are racist by default, even if there are minority officers. Never mind the fact that Franklin as a drug dealer has no business lecturing the police. Never mind the fact that black people are arrested more frequently simply because they disproportionately commit more crimes. The police arrest black people, so they must therefore be racist.

For his part, Andre attempts to defend his case, detailing his history of being a hustler before realizing that a life running from the cops wasn’t the answer, but even that seems to miss the main point. Law and order aren’t determined by race, and the police, more often than not, are not racists who hunt down black people. Andre comes off less as an example of how the system isn’t racist and more of the exception. Far be it for this show to completely burst the progressive bubble.

There is some hope in the episode, though, when Franklin sees a crack house and the damage it’s causing to the community. However, with nine more episodes to go, I doubt Franklin’s going to suddenly be respecting the police next week. Even if he does, it won’t be without another racial jab.