“This Is Us”: Addressing Racism

Did you catch last night episode of This Is Us??? If you didn’t….YOU SHOULD!!!! If you don’t watch the show…again YOU SHOULD!!!!The format is contrastive to any other show you may watch. It has a bit of diversity in it and the characters aren’t cliché–especially Randall’s, one of the main characters” wife. She is one of my favorites.

(Background info): The mother of the three children, Rebecca, was pregnant with triplets but one of them didn’t survive. On that same day she gave birth, Randall was born that same day and Rebecca adopted him; replacing the spot of the original triplet. Randall is also black and the family is white

(Spoiler Alert) Last night on the fourth episode of This Is Us, it shun a light on racism. As the episode took a step back into time when the main characters were kids, the grandmother to the children treated Randall different than his siblings. To Rebecca’s knowledge, she thought it was because he was adopted but in actuality, it is because he is black. The Grandmother would make rude remarks like “The twins AND Randall” versus saying the triplets, or “Who would have thought that Randall would be the one to attend a private school;” OR even better; When the grandmother visits the family, she always brings Randall a basketball. To the mother, Rebecca’s recollection, Grandma has brought Randall two basketballs before.

So if you aren’t catching what I’m throwing down or smelling what I’m stepping in, let me break it down for you:

  • First off, why does grandma have to single out Randall by adding him as an additional like he’s a dog or other relative; for example: “the kids and Lassie (a dog)” or “the twins and daisy (a cat)”?
  • Secondly, why is it a surprise that he would go to a private school? Is it because he’s black and there is a stereotype that black kids don’t attend private school OR aren’t smart enough for them?
  • Lastly, WHY does she keep buying this kid a basketball? I’ll tell you why..because there is a stereotype that ALL black people, specifically boys/men, are good at basketball. Randall said he didn’t like basketball and that he preferred football, BUT he would try it just for his grandma. Awww that’s sweet.

After Grandma did all that in the span of five minutes, her daughter Rebecca called her out on it. She flat out called her mom a racist! Now mind you, the show takes place in the late 80’s possibly into 90’s, when they go back in time. Racism, compared to the 1960’s had calmed down, so Grandma should have known better, BUT on the flip side, she grew up during a time that black people did not have equal rights.

Any who, after Rebecca called out her mom, she told her that she would have to leave her house, in which she wasn’t invited to on that specific day.  My point with all this is–right is right and wrong is wrong. If you have to call out your own mother about her remarks being racist or closed-minded then DO THAT!! What makes the show even better that it is a white woman calling out another white person about being racist.

With all the injustice and police brutality going on today, there needs to be a white person that speaks up on the issues. If some white people don’t agree with the actions and FACTS coming from black people, and another white person understands more, then the understanding white person should speak up and educate the “not-understanding” white person.

Sometimes it’s easier to listen to someone who shares the same race as you, than someone who doesn’t.


Photo Credit: DailyMotion.com

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