As far as sitcoms go, blackish is as innocuous as any other family show featured on ABC. The father, played by Anthony Anderson, is more post-rapping and hood movie-making Ice Cube than pre-Law & Order: SVU Ice T. The mama, played by Tracee Ellis Ross, is pretty much the sweet, medicine-practicing daughter that Cliff Huxtable always envisioned Sandra to be. The kids are well mannered and a typical level of adorable. Even the pop-pop is relatively harmless, serving as comic-relief thanks to the talent of Laurence Fishburne.
Sure, they tackle issues like race, but not in any way that ought to make White folks afraid. It’s not a show tackling the shooting deaths of Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, or Renisha McBride nor is it engaging in the kind of conversations on class that made Roseanne such a standout in the 1990s. Even when talking about masturbation in its most recent episode, Dré the dad refers to it as “hand-to-gland combat,” which is clever and cutesy, but not especially controversial. Needless to say, this is not the sort of show that will rile up the Vice President the way Murphy Brown did decades ago when it tackled single motherhood.
Still, some people are offended, and more specifically, some White people are oh so mad about the title of the show.
How is ABC Television allowed to have a show entitled “Blackish”? Can you imagine the furor of a show, “Whiteish”! Racism at highest level?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 1, 2014
Now, Donald Trump is the court jester of civilized conversation. He is unserious man who clamors for the respect that a serious man actually bothers to earn. Trump will never get such an honor, but he damn sure tries to by blabbering out any and everything with the megaphone the news cycle has unfortunately handed him. I do my best to ignore him as much as humanly possible, however, what he says in this tweet about blackish cannot be completely ignored as I’ve seen other White people echo the same sentiment via social media.
The complaint is on par with other ones in comparable situations that all boil down to one thing: cries of “reverse racism.” Yes, it is a crock, and no, we should never let people who pimp out this useless term get away with it, but damn, is it ever tiring.
Never mind that up until very, very recently, Black people have been widely missing from television. We’re only now seeing Black women have leading roles on various TV shows (after decades of nothing) and even with slight improvement comes the reality that in terms of television reflecting the country its wide array of diversity, we have a long ways to go.
Case in point, in 2014, there are only two Latina women who exist on daytime television – Rosie Perez on The View and Adrienne Bailon on The Real, respectively. When Wendy Williams noted this in an interview with Perez on her talk show on Thursday, Rosie called it a “disgrace.” It is. As is the other examples of TV’s lack of diversity with respect to race, gender, and class.
But those like Trump can only think of one thing: their lily-white selves.
You can pick so many networks on television and call their whole programming blocs whiteish, only there’s no need to because it’s already apparent. Would calling a specific show whiteish truly please these people? It is unlikely. Their grievance is ultimately a statement of their selfishness. They already have so much, and yet, this one little show that dares to speak its identity in its title enrages them. Mind you, it’s doing it in tongue-in-cheek, and if one actually bothered to watch the show, you’d quickly learn that blackish pertained to the “ish” that Black folks have to deal with.
You know, like being called racist for self-identification by members of the most privileged group in America.
Even when trying to avoid offending people, our mere existence does so anyway. I hope blackish continues to surge in the ratings. I hope it continues to piss these people off. I hope it makes it to 100 episodes so it can go into syndication and be viewed all across the world a million times over.
For those clamoring for whiteish, they can turn on Friends or Hannity or Girls or, insert about any other damn show’s title here.