HBO’s half-hour drama In Treatment follows a therapist contending with the issues of her patients as well as her own mental struggles. Sure enough, those issues also include the fake epidemic of “watching black kids get murdered” by police. Welcome to therapy in 2021.
The June 7 episode “Laila-Week 3” has our therapist Brooke (Uzo Aduba) speaking with a teenager named Laila (Quintessa Swindell) at the request of Laila’s grandmother. Laila, being a teenager, is the typical obnoxious, sardonic character who mourns how the generations before her are ruining the planet. Of course, we’re supposed to end up sympathizing with Laila mostly because the character is a young, black lesbian (the actress also identifies “non-binary”).
And the episode does include racial issues because heaven forbid we get a show that doesn’t bring them up at least once at this point. Laila ultimately admits that her family has beaten her before, but even this is somehow tied to how racist America and police officers are.
Laila: I don't deserve to be hit, and I wasn't hit. I was spanked. I mean, there's a difference! And when I look at these white kids that go to my school, I know that they wouldn't be acting foolish if their parents had just, I don't know, spanked them -a time or two—
Brooke: Those white kids have a mental freedom you will never know. That I will never have. That our culture has—
Laila: Abu Ghraib.
Laila: That's the name of the-- that prison in Iraq where they tortured those people. We learned about it in social studies in middle school. Those white soldiers? I mean, they were having a good time! White police officers, too! It's fun for them to kill us! They post about it on Facebook. They make jokes about it! White ladies be getting amped to call 911 on us and have cops come and teach us how to act, but-but that doesn't matter either! I feel like I've spent my entire life watching Black kids get murdered! Like, for what? For nothing! For a water gun! For... I mean, Black girls getting dragged down the middle of the street for being too loud! Like, the stakes, they're too fucking high for Black kids to be anything but quiet! Acting right...doesn't make a difference.
Considering Brooke adds that white people have a “mental freedom” that she and Laila don’t have, it doesn’t seem like the show is quick to correct Laila’s beliefs. She'd be right about spending her "entire life watching black kids get murdered" if she was talking about gang violence, but given the context, that's clearly not what she meant. It’s only natural that believing the police and white people are out to kill black citizens would cause mental issues, but unless there’s someone to point out that’s a lie, kids like Laila aren’t likely to get better.
With half a season to go, it’s unlikely Laila will ever get better, much less any time soon. Near the end of the episode, Laila still believes black people are “set up to fail” despite coming from a wealthy black family and sitting with a confident black therapist. Even then, Laila mourns that the future is either “never-ending capitalist bullshit” or “trash that this country already thinks” of black people. Black Lives Matter is clearly doing wonders for this person.
In truth, therapy is probably the perfect place for victims of the BLM culture, so long as it’s as far away from HBO's version as possible.