Mapping the world's opinions

argument top image

Is Black-ish a good show? Show more Show less

Black-ish is a funny and creative show about a successful upper middle class African-American family led by Andre 'Dre' Johnson (Anthony Anderson) and Rainbow Johnson (Tracee Ellis Ross). The show revolves around the family's lives, as they juggle personal and sociopolitical issues, mainly pertaining to cultural differences and controversial topics. Critics claim the show is slightly tone deaf to issues in the African American community, and that the show is not a realistic parody of black family life. Though the show has had criticism, it still pushes the black televised family forward.

Black-ish is a good show Show more Show less

The show is funny and has creative dynamics when it comes to discussing topics on black family life. It's light-hearted and easily digestible by a wide range of audiences.
(1 of 2 Positions) Next >

The show highlights controversial topics that are usually avoided but need to be addressed

'Black-ish' tackles issues that are not just racially motivated, but are also taboo in society. This is in keeping with its premise that familial problems do not strike based on the colour of a person's skin.
< Previous (2 of 2 Arguments) Next >

Context

The Argument

By virtue of its predominantly - black cast and its racially motivated premise, ‘Black-ish’ has carved for itself a comfortable niche, allowing it to comment on issues and controversies otherwise considered problematic to discuss for other sitcoms. It has succeeded in breaking the mould of other black-cast shows, particularly during the 80s and 90s that reinforced the white man’s image of black people - overly civilized and submissive[1]. ‘Black-ish’ portrays a family with strong opinions and personalities just like any other, the only difference being the colour of their skin. Discrimination based on colour is not an isolated problem. It branches into police brutality and social inferiority, accurately and sensitively dealt with in ‘Black-ish’. The Ferguson protests tackled in the show brought out the two different reactions that blacks usually have when it comes to police brutality - fear and trust. While Dre advised his children to be afraid of the police, Rainbow instead told them to respect the authorities and trust the judicial process. However, colourism is not just limited to whites and blacks. As Dre explained to his children, white is grand, light is bearable, but dark is intolerable, even within the black community, a fact that Diane, their youngest daughter had to learn the hard way because of her darker skin. Reverse racism, a topic often ignored, is brought out of the closet, visible through the preconceived notions some of the characters had towards the whites. Yet colour is not all that ‘Black-ish’ deals with. It portrays how imperfections are a part of life and run in every family. Issues like postpartum depression and divorce also make an appearance on the show, thus reflecting that the challenges we face in life are similar yet different.

Counter arguments

‘Black-ish’ is meant to portray a middle-class black family and their reactions to society, the world and life in general. In their quest, they address many issues, stereotypes and social taboos that essentially help hold a mirror up to their fellow human beings revealing the cracks in their shallow facade at being polite. However, that is where the similarity between a real middle-class black family and the Johnson family ends, on account of the latter being extremely wealthy. Money more often than not changes the lived experience of a certain event. This is true even in ‘Black-ish’. Because of the money, the reactions of the characters would often differ from reality, rendering it slightly unrelatable. This begs the question, on what level was the show trying to connect with their viewers, the issues, or the class or just an overall idea of black life?

Framing

Premises

[P1] - 'Black-ish' attempts to showcase that a black family is just like any other. [P2] - It brings out the racism that is experienced even within the black community.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] - The reactions of the Johnson family are influenced by their immense wealth, making it difficult to relate with them.

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://theoutline.com/post/4692/blackish-black-family-history?zd=2&zi=qpxg6g5e

Explore related arguments

This page was last edited on Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 15:59 UTC